Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council Honor Outstanding Efforts in Archives and Records Work

Staff Report

Thursday, December 1st, 2022

Christopher Davidson, State Archivist and Assistant Vice Chancellor, Dr. Ashwani Monga, Executive Vice Chancellor, from the University System of Georgia, in addition to Dr. Toby Graham, Chair, Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council (GHRAC), and the entire GHRAC board, recognized the GHRAC Award winners during the 20th annual awards ceremony, held at the Georgia Archives on Tuesday, October 25, 2022. The GHRAC Awards recognizes outstanding efforts in archives and records work in Georgia.  

In his introduction, Davidson stated, “As State Archivist, I work closely with the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council, which among its other duties, encourages cooperative efforts to improve the condition of Georgia’s historical records. GHRAC uses the Archives Awards Program to acknowledge the outstanding work of some of the users of Georgia’s archives and of those who have advocated for improvements in the care of records in Georgia.”  

2022 GHRAC Award Winners 

Award for Advocacy 

Gwendolyn Ware-Redwine, for leadership service in the Troup County Historical Society and the Troup County Preservation Society, and for projects documenting the legacy of Horace King. A Georgia historical preservationist, community leader, and Troup County native, Ware-Redwine is dedicated to capturing Troup County African American history. 

Award for Local History Advocacy 

Evan Kutzler, PhD, for documenting the history of Americus with the websites “Influenza in Americus,” “Americus History Trails,” and “The Public History Newspaper Project.” His public history website, “Influenza in Americus,” reveals how a medium-sized city in southwest Georgia experienced the global influenza pandemic of 1918-20. 

Skeeter Parker, for work contributing to the mission of the Berrien Historical Foundation, and for projects documenting the history of Berrien County. As a board member of the Berrien Historical Foundation, he has long contributed to the work of the Foundation in its educational purposes. In addition to many publications, Parker research and compiled: The Encyclopedia of Berrien Athletes,” Hometown Teams-How Sports Shape American, Agriculture in 1940s-Berrien County, Georgia,” and The Black Schools of Berrien County, Georgia. 

Award for Excellence in Student Archives-Centered Work in a Public Institution  

Lla Anderson, Ayana Arrington, Luke Christie, and Sidonia Serafini, University of Georgia, for the digital symposium “Digital Clinton: Slavery and Freedom in Middle Georgia and Reflections on our Mutual Past.” William and Ellen craft escaped from slavery in Macon, Georgia. Ellen who could pass for white, disguised herself as a gentleman slaveholder. William accompanied her as his “master’s” devoted slave valet. They traveled openly to arrive in free Philadelphia in 1848. In the virtual symposium, research is presented through a series of interactive maps of Clinton, Georgia, during the childhood of Ellen Craft.    

Award for Excellence in the Educational Use of Historical Records 

The Georgia Historical Society, for the project “Teaching the Civil Rights Movement with the Georgia Historical Marker Program Teacher Training Course.” Through the ten-week online course, GHS shared strategies for using the Georgia Historical Marker Program and primary sources from the collections of the Library of Congress and the Georgia Historical Society to teach American Civil Rights. 

Award for Excellence in Documenting Georgia’s History 

Jackie Kennedy, for the book Herds and Heritage: The History of Georgia's Cattle Industry. LaGrange-based journalist Jackie Kennedy’s book, Herd and Heritage: The History of Georgia’s Cattle Industry, examines the thriving agricultural and livestock operations that once powered west-central Georgia’s economy.  

Christopher R. Lawton, PhD, Laura E. Nelson, and Randy L. Reid, PhD, for the book Seen/Unseen: Hidden Lives in a Community of Enslaved Georgians. The book is the previously unknown tale of a vibrant community of people held in bondage by one of the wealthiest and most politically prominent families in the United States. It explores the lives some of the approximately 700 people enslaved by the Cobb-Lamar family, who owned a vast network of plantations, that spanned Georgia.  

Ronald L. Bogue, PhD, J. Thomas Bowen, PhD, Richard B. Lane, and Sam Thomas, for the book The First Presbyterian Church of Athens, Georgia. A Bicentennial History: 1820-2020. The book offers profiles of the many men and women who have worked through the church for the betterment of Athens, while documenting the development of the church as an institution.  

Award for Excellence in Research Using the Holdings of Archives 

Ashley Callahan, for the book Frankie Welch's Americana: Fashion, Scarves, and Politics. Callahan’s book introduces readers to the ultimate Washington insider. Frankie Welch worked her way into the closets of first ladies and other political women as a stylist, personal shopper, and designer of campaign fashions. 

Monica Carol Miller, PhD, for the book Dear Regina: Flannery O'Connor's Letters from Iowa. The book is about the relationship between gender and region in American literature as well as the scholarship of teaching and learning. It offers a window into the early years of one of America’s best-known literary figures. 

Timothy J. Minchin, PhD, for the book America's Other Automakers: A History of the Foreign-Owned Automotive Sector in the United States. The book focusses on the growth of foreign-owned firms, which operate largely in the South. These “transplants” now produce more than half of all vehicles sold in the United States.” 

Award for Excellence in Student Research Using Historical Records, Graduate Level 

Mark Clark O’Dell, Georgia Southern University, for the project “Benevolent Burials: Charitable Organizations Represented in Savannah's Laurel Grove Cemeteries.” The project outlines the development of two web-based, self-guided cemetery tours, and a supporting website that explains content in deeper detail.  

Jeffrey M. Ofgang, Georgia Southern University, for the online exhibit “Jim Crow in Savannah's Parks.” Ofgang’s exhibit examines segregation and discrimination within Savannah’s parks and recreation system, and details “how Savannah denied Black people access to the best public parks and recreation facilities.” 

Award for Excellence in Student Research Using Historical Records, Grades 9-12 

Jonathan Dorminy, Sola Fide Home School in McDonough, for the National History Day project “The Secret Christmas Trip to the White House: Debate and Diplomacy at the Arcadia Conference of World War II.” The project argues that it is the Arcadia Conference that marks the real organization of the allied war effort, including setting priorities and guidelines for combined command. The decisions made at the conference were the product of “diplomacy at its finest.”   

Mansi Patel, Luella High School in Locust Grove, for the National History Day exhibit “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” Patel’s work shows that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights brought a moral awareness to the importance of legally binding human rights protections inclusive to everyone.   

Award for Excellence in Student Research Using Historical Records, Grades 6-8 

Drew Searles and Ismini Vasiloglou, Westminster Schools, for the National History Day exhibit “Taking Down the Iron Curtain: How the Truman Doctrine Contained Communism and Redefined US Diplomacy.” Their research included the collections of the Truman Presidential Library, the US Department of State, NATO, NARA, and others, as well as various newspaper collections. The students’ work helps us better understand the effects of the ideology behind the Truman Doctrine on US diplomacy.  

Lifetime Achievement Award 

Valerie Boyd, posthumous award for extensive work in the field of non-fiction writing and archival research and for the book Gathering Blossoms Under Fire: The Journals of Alice Walker. Boyd was a Georgia-born journalist and scholar, best known for writing the definitive biography of Zora Neale Hurston, Wrapped in Rainbows. For the past decade, Ms. Boyd’s research and writing was grounded in the archival collection of one of America’s most prominent women writers, Alice Walker. Boyd’s laborious, ten-year project, debuted under the title, Gathering Blossoms Under Fire: The Journals of Alice Walker, which was published in April 2022. 

Ann McCleary, PhD, for excellence in educating public historians, archivists, and museum professionals and for undertaking projects that document the history of west Georgia. She has served since 1999 as director of the University of West Georgia public history and museum studies program, which has produced well over 100 graduates who are now serving the field in Georgia and other states. McCleary has directed the Center for Public History, established in 2000, and worked on many Georgia history-related projects for a variety of partners as well as local and regional organizations. She has coordinated the Georgia Humanities and Museums on Main Street exhibits including five tours in 58 communities around Georgia and produced five exhibit catalogs. McCleary has been involved in writing histories for three Georgia parks and has worked closely with the regional office to facilitate archival processing of park records throughout the southeast region. 

GHRAC works to promote the educational use of Georgia’s documentary heritage and to support efforts to improve the condition of records statewide. The Board is charged with advising the Chancellor and the Georgia Archives on records and policy issues. Nominations for the 2023 Awards will be accepted beginning February 1, 2023, and they must be postmarked by June 1, 2023. More information is available from the Georgia Archives website