The Dooley Statue

To the best of my recollection, this is how the the statue of Dooley came to Emory.

The initial idea belonged to Lance Henry, an economics and music major who graduated from Emory College in 2007. He had an interest in Emory history and once proposed resurrecting the name of the first Emory student publication – The Collard Leaf, from before the Civil War – to create an alternative to the Emory Wheel and the Emory Phoenix. When he approached me about getting the new publication started, we got so far as designing a banner and recruiting writers, but waning interest and lack of funds meant that the Collard Leaf never sprouted.

Determined, I suppose, to leave his mark at Emory somehow, Lance next proposed erecting a statue of Dooley. His vision was to mount it on top of the old Dobbs University Center (replaced by the current student center) – like the statue atop the U.S. Capitol – with Dooley facing east, toward his home in Oxford. This seemed self-defeating to me – how would anyone see Dooley a hundred feet above them on top of a fairly flat dome? – but I agreed to help him see whether the notion of a Dooley statue somewhere on campus could get traction. Lance took the proposal to the Student Government Association, which offered encouragement but no funding.

To gauge campus interest, we created a survey to see which Emory students had any knowledge of Dooley and whether attitudes toward Dooley were mostly positive or negative. Unsurprisingly, far more undergraduates knew about Dooley than graduate or professional students, and while the undergraduates varied, a majority leaned positive.

After discussing the proposal with the Public Art Committee, and with the help of Linda Armstrong, Kerry Moore, and other members of the Visual Arts Department, the Traditions and History Committee published a national request for proposals in Art Papers and Sculpture magazine, asking sculptors for credentials and photographs of representative work. We received nineteen responses, and after reviewing all of the materials, a selection committee invited four artists to present models of their proposed statue of Dooley. The artists came from Maryland, Atlanta, Washington State, and Chicago; one was an alumna.

In early 2007 we brought the artists to the Visual Arts Studio to meet with the selection committee, who included members of the Visual Arts Department, the Public Art Committee, and the Traditions and History Committee. Of the four presentations, one clearly stood out – the model presented by Matthew Gray Palmer, of Friday Harbor, Washington. Among his many sample photos, we saw sculptures of birds and animals that were constructed of thin metal plates curved, cut, and attached in a way that suggested shape but also latent and kinetic energy. His model for Dooley used the same technique. The accurate representation of a life-size skeleton appeared to be hurrying forward and leaving in its wake an enlivening rush of wind and energy – just what one would expect from the “spirit” of a place. Whimsically, Matthew shows Dooley casting aside his skeleton costume to reveal that underneath, he is really — a skeleton! A mystery within an enigma.

The model presented by Matthew Gray Palmer.

Installation of the sculpture required approval of a series of committees as well as the board of trustees. We presented the model and the site proposal to the full Public Art Committee and to the Real Estate, Buildings, and Grounds (REBG) Committee of the board. The minutes of the May 23, 2007, meeting of the REBG Committee state:

Dr. Gary Hauk joined the meeting with a model of the Dooley statue designed by Matthew Gray Palmer. This design is the culmination of student surveys and a national sculptor search. The design has received affirmations by the Public Art Committee, the Art History Department, and the Visual Arts Program. The statue will be constructed in either bronze or steel and will be placed between the Anthropology Building and the roundabout on Asbury Circle. The Emory Alumni Association will be asked to support fundraising for the project, estimated at $85,000.

The committee approved the statue, as did the board at its meeting the following month.

We commissioned Matthew to complete the sculpture, which took about eight months. In addition to funds for the sculpture, we had to find money for the site preparation. Much of the funding came from donors, with the balance coming from a university landscape fund. The campus community gathered for the dedication of the sculpture in September 2008.

Campus reaction was mixed. One longtime faculty member, at Emory for more than three decades, told me that it was the best addition to the campus in years. Some admired the statue’s sense of grace and dash. Others, however, thought the statue was (like Dooley himself, in their view) “ghoulish” or disturbingly dark.

Almost immediately the statue became a mannequin to be adorned with costumes appropriate to the season, whether hearts for Valentine’s Day, a green headband for St. Patrick’s Day, beads for Mardi Gras, or whatever fit the theme of Dooley’s Week in a given year. His outstretched top hat often contained coins dropped in by passersby presumably inviting good luck.

One online commentator (at ) remarked, “Immortal public art often takes time to be accepted. The same will likely be true for Lord Dooley. . . . Dooley is proof that college is still a place where ideas can flow and shape freely, even if the end result is a scary skeleton that reminds people that they will die. And when the cultural pendulum eventually swings and campuses again resemble a 1970s Grateful Dead concert, Emory students will say that they have the most freakin’ awesome mascot ever. And they will be right.”

Mourning Hank Aaron

The death of Hank Aaron on January 22 reminded me of his receiving an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Emory at Commencement in 1995. When the University celebrated the man who broke racial barriers along with Babe Ruth’s home run record, the occasion seemed to call for the citation writer — me — to swing for the fences too. And if I couldn’t hit the ball over the fence with my words, at least I could summon an echo of poetry. Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall” came to mind, with its line that “good fences make good neighbors.”

Emory president Bill Chace presents Hank Aaron his honorary Doctor of Laws diploma as board chairman Brad Currey looks on.

Home-Run King, Diligent Citizen:

A young man not yet able to vote,

you left family and home to follow your life’s great calling.

North and South you pursued, as well,

your nation’s destiny of colorblind opportunity.

Along the way you entered the large and consequential realm

of American myth. Through perseverance and fortitude,

you showed good fences make good targets.

In our springtime of anxiety about America’s pastime and future,

your career—in baseball and since—reminds us that,

however simple the games of our youth,

our collective history has no simple eras.

For your heart—its strength and striving toward good

and for your hands—their power and building of good

we confer on you the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

You can see more about Hank Aaron and his relationship with Emory here.

In a day when plenty of fences still divide us, our country owes great thanks to this American hero. Thank you, Henry Louis Aaron, for helping us to see that we can change society for the better without violence, but with courage, truth, and hope.

Gary Hauk

Emory Historian Emeritus

Emory and the 1918–20 Pandemic

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year, many questions have come up about the impact of the 1918-20 pandemic on Emory. How did that terrible influenza more than a hundred years ago affect life on campus for students, faculty, and staff? What role did Emory’s new medical school play in battling the pandemic, if any? How did Wesley Memorial Hospital (later Emory University Hospital) respond in its location in downtown Atlanta? (The hospital moved to Druid Hills in 1922.)

When the virus hit in 1918, Emory college was still located on its original campus, in Oxford, Georgia, while the schools of theology, law, and medicine had barely gotten a start on the Druid Hills campus, which opened in 1916. The student body on both campuses was small, and both campuses were somewhat isolated from major population centers. Still, the 1918–20 influenza pandemic infected millions of Americans and killed more than 31,000 Georgians in 1918 alone.

Caelan Bailey, a first-year student at Oxford College of Emory University, has written the most thorough history of that earlier pandemic as well as the current pandemic in the context of Emory. I’m grateful to her and to the Emory Wheel, where the story was originally published, for permission to repost the story here.

Gary Hauk

Emory University Historian, Emeritus

The 1918 Pandemic: Then and Now

by Caelan Bailey

Copyright, The Emory Wheel

November 18, 2020

When a virulent disease upended Katherine Anne Porter’s life, the author turned to writing to process her experience. 

“All the theaters and nearly all the shops and restaurants are closed, and the streets have been full of funerals all day and ambulances all night,” Porter wrote.

While the scene may sound familiar in 2020, that excerpt is from “Pale Horse, Pale Rider,” Porter’s 1937 collection of short stories largely based on her experience surviving the 1918 influenza pandemic, commonly known as “The Spanish Flu.”

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

October marked 102 years since the deadliest month in American history when 195,000 Americans succumbed to the Spanish Flu. The peak of the pandemic came in the fall of 1918 and by the end of 1919, the disease left a total of 50 million deaths, 675,000 of whom were Americans.

Despite its immense toll, with influenza deaths surpassing those of coinciding World War I, Emory pediatrician and medical historian Dr. Hughes Evans noted that knowledge of the 1918 pandemic was not widespread until recent decades.

“For a long time, people called the 1918 epidemic America’s forgotten epidemic because it was as if it never happened,” Evans said. “No one talked about it, no one taught about it, no one read about it.”

Ten months into the COVID-19 pandemic, global deaths have reached one million worldwide. By press time, the New York Times estimated that 246,879 Americans and 8,740 Georgians have died of COVID-19. 

“It’s useful to make a comparison [between 1918 and 2020] only to say that the virus is the public health crisis of the century,” said Dean of the Rollins School of Public Health Dr. James Curran. “We’ve not had anything like this in a hundred years that has such worldwide impact and such consequences — economic consequences, other health consequences, international consequences.”

While the specific origin of the 1918 strain of influenza is unknown, the first outbreak occurred in March 1918 at Camp Funston in Kansas, according to John M. Barry’s “The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Plague in History.” Troop movement during World War I facilitated its spread throughout Europe and the world, likely mutating along the way to become deadlier to humans by its second wave.

The disease was later dubbed the “Spanish flu,” which was largely due to Spain’s reporting of the sickness when no other countries did, according to infectious disease expert Dr. Robert Gaynes of the Emory School of Medicine. 

“When it began to occur in Spain, they reported it,” Gaynes said. “People erroneously believed it started there.”

Today, the World Health Organization uses “Spanish flu” as an “example to be avoided” in the naming of new diseases, advising against including geographic locations in names of viruses. President Donald Trump’s use of “China virus” to describe COVID-19 has endured similar criticism.

Unlike most viruses, including COVID-19, the 1918 influenza largely impacted young and healthy people. Gaynes said as fear grew about the swiftly acting disease, the phrase “well at breakfast, sick at lunch and dead by dinner” became popular.

Medicine at the time, according to Evans, was in its “pre-virology days.” 

“They knew it was a respiratory infection,” Evans said. “They thought it was probably bacterial, although I think there was some vague understanding that there may be something else going on.”

In Georgia, the disease first appeared in September 1918 at Camp Gordon, a temporary military training camp outside of Atlanta. Military officials placed the camp under quarantine, with reports of “iron-clad sanitary precautions being forced on each man at the camp.” Nurses were in short supply.

However, by Oct. 4, 1918, the Georgia State Health Board issued a warning as influenza showed “a considerable presence,” advising that “the epidemic now sweeping the country must be intelligently met or a vast toll of suffering and many deaths will result.”

In Atlanta, doctors reported 230 influenza cases in early October and the city instated a “ban on public gatherings” as the police force was “instructed to keep vigilant watch over persons who expectorate in the streets.” As the Red Cross opened work rooms to sew masks, health authorities assured the public that there was “no reason for alarm.” 

The Atlanta History Center noted public outcry in October 1918 as movie theatres closed to prevent the spread, citing former President Woodrow Wilson’s own continued patronage. Outdoor entertainment like the Georgia state fair and college football games, however, continued with masked crowds, as they do today.

By the end of October 1918, The Atlanta Constitution ran the headline “Influenza Showing Decrease in State.” A health official credited the “early closing of schools, churches, theaters, and other places of public assembly” for the “relatively small number of cases in Georgia.” By November, the Atlanta city health officer announced the threat had subsided. 

In the Georgia State Board of Health report for 1918, officials wrote, “We will never know how many succumbed to the disease in Georgia, but the death rate has been high.” With 30,768 instances recorded, influenza was listed as the leading cause of death.

According to Oxford College’s Dean of Campus Life Joseph Moon, Emory College chose its original location in Oxford, Georgia, because it was away from coastal marshes that harbored diseases like malaria, although influenza spread would theoretically not have been impacted.

In 1918, when it was still a white men’s college, Emory began its last school year on Oxford campus. There is a gap in University records for that time, for which archivists credit the move to Atlanta and World War I. Oxford campus partially converted into a military training camp during this time. 

At the end of the school year, Atlanta University, now Clark Atlanta University, extended its academic calendar by two weeks in the summer “to make up for time lost in the fall on account of the influenza.” 

In June 1919, however, The Atlanta Constitution reported on “the historic final Oxford commencement of Emory college,” writing it was “delightful.” The paper made no note of influenza.

The newly amalgamated Emory University School of Medicine and School of Nursing were active in treating the outbreak both in Atlanta and abroad, mobilizing medical resources as Emory’s schools are today with COVID-19.

The School of Nursing’s 1918 annual report stated “very few cases” of influenza were recorded among nurses at the school and “none were serious,” although the house physician “contracted the disease and died.” The school was “very much handicapped this year for want of lecturers,” although the report was unclear about the purpose of doctors’ absences.

University Historian Emeritus Gary Hauk wrote about a group of Emory doctors and nurses dubbed “The Emory Unit” who established Base Hospital 43 in France, where they treated influenza patients during the third global wave in 1919.

Barry underscored that during those past epidemics, “governors and mayors, and nearly all the newspapers insisted that this was influenza, only influenza.” Meanwhile, the Public Health Service sent out six million copies of an informational flyer whose “warning to avoid crowds came too late to do much good.”

According to Gaynes, the recurrence of influenza to this day is due to changes in molecules on the outside of the virus that specifically trigger mammals’ immune responses. In 1918, the shift of both at the same time caused such a virulent strain. The virus then causes a “cytokine storm,” where immune cells leak too much typically helpful liquid, which leads those afflicted to “essentially drown in their own fluid.” 

Medicine was ill-equipped to respond. In the Georgia State Board of Health’s original statement, it incorrectly identified the cause of influenza as “influenza bacillus,” a bacteria scientists could inconsistently isolate from patients. Scientists developed a vaccine to treat the bacteria, and the board wrote that their “laboratory forces cannot begin to supply the demand for this vaccine.”

Barry wrote that “no medicine and none of the vaccines developed then could prevent influenza.” He added that due to the presence of improved antibiotics today, “modern medicine could likely prevent significantly more than half of those deaths” in a modern-day 1918 pandemic. 

Despite such improvements, the danger of a potential epidemic still loomed. 

“We were worried about a H1N1 flu epidemic a few years ago and no one thought it was going to be as bad as 1918 but we were concerned that it was going to be quite a disruption,” Curran said. “COVID has really been as bad as we were worried about H1N1 flu. … We have a new organism which seems to, in some cases, defy treatment and has kind of taken over the world.”

Evans highlighted that medicine has been “decreasing the deadliness” of COVID-19 by tailoring treatments for those infected. Curran emphasized that the over 5,000 patients admitted to Emory Hospital “do really quite well compared to the national average with COVID.”

In a recent interview, Barry underscored that COVID-19 is a slower spreading and less deadly disease than influenza, although they share similarities in respiratory transmission, ability to affect various organs and novel demands on public health. 

Regarding long term effects, Barry added, “In 1918, there were complications that didn’t surface at all until the 1920s. We just don’t know.”

Doctors have reported strokes and seizures associated with COVID-19. Recent research has documented a range of neurological effects in hospitalized patients and there have been recent instances of “brain fog” after those infected recover.

Evans noted that masks in 1918 that were often made out of gauze or other thin fabrics likely did little to protect people. PBS’s American Experience compared wearing a mask to combat the 1918 influenza to “trying to keep out dust with chicken wire.” In contrast, modern masks significantly reduce COVID-19 spread.

Distancing procedures, however, have remained as effective a century later.

“The main method has always been there,” Barry said. “Social distancing is more important than anything else.” 

World War I was a critical cultural context for the influenza outbreak as well. Barry wrote, “the preservation of morale itself became an aim” for the Wilson administration. When the pandemic threatened the war effort, Wilson “express[ed] concern about shipping troops to Europe,” but otherwise “continued to say nothing publicly.”

Wilson contracted influenza in the spring of 1919 amid peace negotiations, leading some to draw parallels to Trump’s recent contraction of the virus after dismissing ts threat.

When state and city health officials spoke on the virus, they denied the severity of influenza to maintain wartime morale, quickly losing the public’s trust. 

“It is impossible to quantify how many deaths the lies caused,” Barry wrote.

Curran expanded on this lack of government transparency, saying, “Public health is always political because we’re trying to save the lives of groups of people. … [There] are different political considerations that require consistent leadership at the state and federal level to bring people together.”

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, inconsistent directives on mask-wearing have stood in the way of establishing mask-wearing as the public-health norm. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp filed a lawsuit against Atlanta’s mask-mandate over the summer before dropping it in Aug. and shifting his position to allow local mandates. Georgia local governments have since passed 25 mask mandates.

In 1919, influenza receded despite the lack of an effective vaccine. According to Evans, influenza viruses “kind of just peter away.” With COVID-19, numerous people have asked Curran: When’s it going to be over? Where’s the magic bullet?

“It’s very clear the vaccine is not going to be the answer, it’s going to be hopefully another tool,” Curran said. “We don’t really know exactly what’s going to happen.”

Curran noted Emory’s ability to control COVID-19 case numbers, largely due to the accessibility of asymptomatic testing, contacting tracing, mandated masking and distancing on campus. 

In September 1919, The Atlanta Constitution published an excerpt from the U.S. Health Service’s Flu Warning: “The most promising way to deal with a possible recurrence of the influenza epidemic is to sum it up in a single word, ‘preparedness.’ And now is the time to prepare.”

The COVID-19 pandemic is not our first. Yet even after 102 years, Americans were ill-prepared for another. 

“This is the public health crisis of my lifetime and our century,” Curran said. “I think there will be a recognition of the shortcomings and needs for public health going into the future. Save your masks. I think that they’ll come in handy after COVID is over.”

Caelan Bailey (22Ox, 24C) is from Charleston, South Carolina.

Remembering John Lewis

Screen Shot 2020-07-20 at 7.58.46 AM
Congressman John Lewis delivering the Commencement address at Emory in May 2014.

John Lewis’s death on July 17 marked the passing of a great American and a good friend to Emory. He was our representative in Congress and a frequent visitor to campus, where he delivered the Commencement address in 2014 and the Oxford Commencement address in 2019. An endowed chair in the law school honors him.
His leaving us prompted me to dig out the citation I wrote when he received the Emory President’s Medal in 1999. Unthinkingly, I had scheduled his speech and the award ceremony for the first Sunday afternoon in February, the beginning of Founders Week at Emory–oops, also Super Bowl Sunday! Happily, the program was scheduled before the big game, and Glenn Memorial filled with an audience eager to hear this American hero.
The reference to his “cooped-up compassion” was an inside joke for him, who recounts in his autobiography, “Walking with the Wind,” that he used to preach to the family chickens in the hen house when he was a child.
Gary Hauk
John Robert Lewis
Son of Alabama, Midwife of a Revolution, Walker with the Wind:
Thank God for the adamantine hardness of your head,
upon whose fractured skull broke waves of arrogance—
arrogance that saw its doom in the patient marching,
the willing endurance
of those who did not have enough
but by God had surely had enough.
Thank God for the caged-bird heart of you,
in whom childhood’s cooped-up compassion grew large
to embrace the one wielding a weapon against you
as well as the beaten-down.
Thank God for those sturdy feet
that walked the fifty-four miles from Selma to Montgomery
and trod the floors of Woolworth’s and W. T. Grant and Kress
in search of lunch-counter hospitality—
those feet that know the halls of Congress
and remember the furrows of a sharecropper’s cotton field.
Thank God for the ears that listen for the Spirit of History,
the arc of the moral universe bending toward justice.
Built for the long haul, built for holding on to truth,
you clasp to you the moral outrage bursting from your soul
but also the hope that infuses the weak with strength,
with power as a mighty river of truth.
Make it clear, John Robert Lewis:
You have had your rides in paddy wagons,
those freedom chariots.
You have had your forty arrests,
your forty years in the wilderness,
your forty days and nights on the mountain
in a drama of good and evil, no less.
We do not come to sanctify you today, however;
we will not make of you a stained-glass saint.
Our day, no less than a generation ago, requires
that ALL be mobilizers,
that ALL clarify blurred vision,
that ALL reject self-interest and seek the common good.
Our day requires the principles of nonviolence and democracy.
Our day requires that decency rise above difference,
honesty above pride,
and conscience above the world’s beguilement.
By this award we pledge not adulation but common cause
in the effort to live as the Beloved Community
on a scale that encompasses all.
Humbly acknowledging the humility that motivated you,
we bestow on you the Emory President’s Medal.


The Quad as Coke Bottle?

More frequently than one might guess, the question pops up: Is the Emory Quadrangle deliberately shaped like a Coke bottle? Given the historic and long relationship of Emory College and Emory University to the Candlers, the Woodruffs, and the Coca-Cola Company, the question is understandable.

Here is Exhibit A—the Quad.

Screen Shot 2019-11-20 at 4.20.35 PM

Here is Exhibit B, which needs no explanation.

Screen Shot 2019-11-20 at 11.58.45 AM

Here’s what I know. Emory University received its charter in DeKalb County on January 25, 1915. The Emory board of trustees commissioned Henry Hornbostel to design the new campus of the University in 1915. The Coca-Cola Company patented its uniquely shaped bottle in 1915. Coincidence?

I think so but am uncertain.

Let’s start with the design by Hornbostel. He originally intended the Quad area to be a large courtyard between what is now Convocation Hall and what is now Carlos Hall, closest to the bottom of the image below. He envisioned a tall and grand building where the flagpole now rises from the center of the Quad, but of course that expensive structure was never built. Beyond that tower Hornbostel extended a lawn stretching toward where Candler Library now stands. Had that large central building been constructed, there would be no bottle-like shape at all.

Screen Shot 2019-11-20 at 4.26.11 PM


Moreover, the 1915 Coca-Cola bottle, shown below, was much fatter in the middle than the current bottle and was shaped rather like a python that swallowed a rabbit. (The Coca-Cola Company website offers a timeline with images of the different bottles used for the beverage.) So had Hornbostel wanted to imitate that 1915 bottle, the Quad would have looked very different—more round in the middle and pinched at the ends.

Screen Shot 2019-11-20 at 9.23.51 AM
Prototype of 1915 Coca-Cola bottle.

The current configuration of the Quad came about somewhat haphazardly. The Callaway Center South opened in 1919 as the Physics Building and was renovated and renamed in 1993. The building across from it opened more than three decades later, as the History Building (renovated and renamed Bowden Hall in 1991). This was long after the roadway circling the Quad—Kilgo Circle (now mostly gone)—was already in place. So Bowden Hall had to fit between the roadway and the Quad.

If campus planners had wanted to shape the Quad to look like a Coke bottle, they certainly failed. As the campus map below shows, the “top of the bottle,” between Callaway and Bowden, is not perfectly symmetrical, and the middle of the Quad doesn’t have the curvature of the Coke bottle.

Screen Shot 2019-11-20 at 8.51.40 AM

If anything, the Quad looks more like an old-fashioned milk bottle than a Coca-Cola bottle.

Screen Shot 2019-11-20 at 12.01.10 PM

Is the Coke-bottle Quad a real thing? Probably not. But thinking about it offers a pause that refreshes.

Gary Hauk

Emory and the Vietnam War: Evolution of a Community’s Confidence

Continuing the series of posts written by students in my “History of Emory” course last year, I offer here an excellent brief account of changing student views at Emory during the Vietnam War. The author, Zach Ball, was a sophomore at the time.

Gary Hauk


The Vietnam War was the preeminent American military conflict of the late 1960s and early 1970s, the central focus of our foreign policy for over a decade. Throughout the course of the war, public confidence regarding its rationale — to stop the spread of Communism — waned drastically, and a nationwide counterculture movement led by young people served to further erode support for the effort. In this way, the war was waged on two fronts: as a military operation in Vietnam and as a battle for the hearts and minds of the US public.

Like many institutions of higher education, Emory University was heavily affected by the Vietnam War, and the views of students, faculty, and administrative figures towards the conflict, as expressed through newspaper articles and public statements, varied and evolved significantly as the war raged on.

As tensions between the United States and North Vietnam began to escalate in 1966, the student body generally seemed to support the increasing American military presence in Vietnam. In February of that year, a prowar student organization named Affirmation Vietnam held a successful rally at the Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium in support of the conflict. The event drew more than 15,000 attendees, including Emory’s president, Sanford Atwood, as well as Georgia’s  governor and  US Senators and Secretary of State Dean Rusk.

Screen Shot 2019-09-16 at 8.58.36 AM

At the same time, there was some backlash against the administration for providing student funds to prowar campus organizations. One Emory Wheel article argued that this action constituted a political stance by Emory leaders, and one that many dissenting students would not appreciate, because their tuition money was being used to fund efforts with which they vehemently disagreed.

By the end of the 1960s, student opinion about the war seemed to be changing, as students and faculty opposed to the war continuously pushed the Atwood administration to take steps in an antiwar direction. Atwood joined other university presidents in signing on to an October 1969 letter to President Richard Nixon urging a de-escalation of American involvement in Vietnam, and arguing against the war’s divisive nature and the resources being drained from domestic business and educational institutions.

In the years that followed, students and faculty alike became increasingly disillusioned with the war, failing to discern a sufficient justification for the increasing body count. In October 1971, religion professor Dr. Eugene Bianchi wrote a lengthy, impassioned op-ed in the Wheel criticizing the war on moral grounds, viewing its continuation as a vehicle for defense contractor corruption and unwarranted American exceptionalism abroad. A longtime advocate for peace, Bianchi joined Emory students in the early 1970s in antiwar demonstrations, which increased in number as the war grew more and more unpopular.

Screen Shot 2019-09-16 at 8.59.13 AM

By 1972, it seemed overwhelmingly clear that the majority of Emory’s campus was no longer happy about the American presence in Southeast Asia. That year, a demonstration on the Quadrangle drew nearly a thousand students, who demanded action on the second anniversary of the Kent State shootings that had left four students dead. Emory’s student body had grown weary of the war and called for withdrawal of troops from the region.

The Vietnam War challenged the Emory community’s resilience, and the sentiments of students toward the conflict changed greatly over the course of several years. Although the students’ activities stoked division at times, their passion at each stage provides valuable insight into the commitment of Emory students to engage with moral dilemmas of the day and to offer their best judgement in resolving them.

Zach Ball 21C



Geffen University — Otherwise Known as Emory!

As a new academic year at Emory begins, I take delight in sharing blog posts created by some of the students in my history of Emory course from the fall of 2018. These undergraduates dug into the University archives in Rose Library to write research papers, which they pared down to create the posts. I hope you enjoy their work. The first is by Isabella Cantor, who was a freshman in Emory College when she took the course.

Gary Hauk

The entwinement of the Geffen family with Emory formally began in the fall of 1919, with the enrollment of Joel Geffen 22C, the eldest son of Rabbi Tobias Geffen and Sara Hene Geffen. Emory had only recently established itself as a new university in Atlanta — perfect timing for Joel, who had just graduated from Boys’ High School.

As the story goes, Rabbi Geffen approached Chancellor Warren Candler regarding the admission of his son. He told Candler that he would like to send Joel to Emory University, but that Saturday classes would be a problem for the family. Until 1929, Emory held classes Tuesday through Saturday in order to give Christian students a Monday break after church on Sunday.[1] Because the Geffens were Orthodox Jews, the laws of Shabbat prevented them from riding buses or streetcars to Saturday classes, and prohibited them from taking notes and exams on Saturdays. The Chancellor, a Methodist bishop, promised Rabbi Geffen that not only would Emory be happy to accommodate Joel’s observance of Shabbat, but Joel would receive reduced tuition as the son of a clergy member. It did not seem to matter to Candler that Geffen was an Orthodox rabbi and not a Methodist minister.

Screen Shot 2019-08-27 at 10.09.44 AM
Cartoon from a 1954 article about the Geffen-Emory story in The Atlanta Journal

After Joel’s enrollment, five more children of Tobias and Sara Geffen would find their way to Emory. Despite the break in cost, it was nothing short of a miracle that a rabbi’s salary in 1920 could afford private university tuition for six children.

One of Tobias and Sara’s grandchildren, Peter Geffen, is the son of Rabbi Samuel Geffen 26C 31L (the third Geffen at Emory). For Peter, what was most impressive about his grandfather’s decision to send his children to college was that he did not limit the education to his sons. Despite his strong Litvak (Lithuanian) Jewish background, Rabbi Geffen firmly believed in women’s equality in education. Just as the Geffen sons studied the Talmud (a book of Jewish law) with their father, so did his daughters. To Rabbi Geffen, there was no distinction.

Screen Shot 2019-08-27 at 10.08.51 AM
Of eight Geffen children, six graduated from Emory University.

When Bessie Geffen graduated from Girls’ High School in 1926, she wanted to attend Emory just as her three older brothers had done. In addition to the issue of classes on Shabbat, however, another roadblock was in the way. Until 1953, Emory College enrolled few women, and no College undergraduate female students lived on campus. Rabbi Geffen spoke with the administration once again, and Bessie was admitted to the college’s education program, which did enroll female commuting students. Thus Bessie joined the class of 1929.[2]

The subject of Bessie’s admission to Emory was a frequent topic in the Geffen family newspaper, The Geffen Household. The family called the morning streetcar from South Atlanta to Druid Hills the “Emory Special,” which welcomed Bessie aboard. When she finally started school in the fall of 1926, the family joked that “[Emory does] not seem to ever get rid of the Geffens.”[3]

Rabbi Geffen raised his children with strong Jewish backgrounds, so when he sent his children off to a Methodist university, there was no concern that they would lose their Judaism. In fact, the Geffen family’s connection with Methodism turned into a bit of a running joke within the family. When Sam graduated from college, he was not able to march in the Commencement processional because he had to conduct the hymns from the platform. In an article about Bessie’s acceptance to Emory titled “Good Old Methodism,” the writer jokes that “John Wesley, noble as he is, has again saved a soul from damnation. The Geffen Household will again fill its seat in chapel with Bessie singing the stirring hymns.”[4]

An article published in 1954 in the Emory Alumnus tallies up the sixteen grandchildren of Tobias and Sarah Geffen and muses that “this adds up to a lot of prospective Emory Students.”[5] Of the sixteen, however, only one — Rabbi David Geffen 59C — ended up an Emory student. There are plenty of great-great-grandchildren, however, so perhaps a few more Geffens will enter our ranks soon.

Screen Shot 2019-08-27 at 10.10.16 AM
Louis Geffen 23C standing in front of Alabama Hall in Commencement regalia

Isabella Cantor

[1] “The Rabbi’s Children.” The Emory Alumnus.

[2] Jane Wilensky Ravid, email communications with author, November 11, 2018

[3] “Abie, Last Member to Attend Fair St. School Begins Final Year at Latter Institution,” The Geffen Household.

[4] “Good Old Methodism,” The Geffen Household.

[5] “The Rabbi’s Children.” The Emory Alumnus.

Emory and Methodism, Part 2

The 1915 birth of a new university named Emory relied heavily on Methodist connections. The first board of trustees of the new university comprised members of the Educational Commission of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (MECS), and a number of them continued as trustees when a new board was elected in 1916. Even before the university received its charter on January 25, 1915, the theology school of the university began operations in September 1914 at Wesley Memorial Methodist Church, built by the North Georgia Conference of the MECS in downtown Atlanta in 1910. Bishop Warren Candler, former president of Emory College, guided the design and completion of the edifice.

Not far from the church was Wesley Memorial Hospital, which had been established in 1905 by the North Georgia Conference with significant funding from Asa Candler; in 1922 this Methodist-founded hospital moved to the new Druid Hills campus of Emory to become Emory University Hospital. Along with the hospital came a nurses-training program, which later became the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. Another part of the health sciences center at Emory with links to Methodism is the Rollins School of Public Health, established with the support of a family of prominent Georgia Methodists whose patriarch, O. Wayne Rollins, designated his first gift to Emory to the Candler School of Theology.

After the move of Emory College to Atlanta in 1919 to join the professional and graduate schools already growing on the Druid Hills campus, Emory continued its entwinement with Southern Methodism through the first half of the twentieth century. The first three presidents of the university—Harvey Cox, Goodrich White, and Walter Martin—all had roles in local, state, and national Methodism, while two deans of the theology school—William R. Cannon and Mack B . Stokes—were elected bishops of the United Methodist Church in 1968. The first three chairs of the university board of trustees—Asa Candler Sr., Charles Howard Candler Sr., and Henry Bowden Sr., who served for a combined sixty-four years, from 1915 to 1979—all were prominent Methodist lay leaders in Atlanta.

Methodist faculty members in the theology school played critical roles in debates over the reunion of the southern and northern branches of Methodism in 1939 and later played a still more important role in helping the university move toward integration in the late 1950s and early 1960s. One of the arguments in favor of opening the doors to African American students was that the 1952 Discipline of the Methodist Church stated, “There is no place in the Methodist Church for racial discrimination or racial segregation.”

Founded by Methodists who were keen on educating their children through a Methodist lens, Emory nevertheless has always been open to believers (and nonbelievers) of every stripe. Presbyterians and Baptists, while scarce, enrolled in the college during the nineteenth century. Jewish students began enrolling in the late nineteenth century and became a growing presence from the early twentieth century on, after Bishop Candler—the university chancellor from 1915 to 1920—excused the children of Orthodox Rabbi Tobias Geffen from Saturday classes.

In time, Roman Catholics and, later, adherents of the world’s other major religions would come to outnumber Methodists among the student body. The openness of the campus to this religious multiplicity reflects the Methodist tradition of seeking unity within diversity.

John Wesley himself expressed this attitude. He recognized his own fallibility and sought to learn how other traditions practiced holy living, even as he held fast to his belief in the truth of Christianity. In a sermon titled “A Caution Against Bigotry,” Wesley encouraged his followers to support whatever activity advances the love of God in the world, even if that activity is the work of other sects or other religions.

This article of the Methodist creed was tested at Emory in 1997 when controversy erupted over the question whether same-sex commitment ceremonies could be performed in Emory chapels. An employee of Oxford College had requested use of the chapel on that campus for a commitment ceremony with his male partner. The dean of Oxford College initially granted permission but later rescinded it over concerns about the university’s relationship with the church. The Book of Discipline prohibits use of United Methodist churches for same-sex ceremonies and prohibits United Methodist clergy from performing them.

After extensive discussion, the university adopted a chapel policy that relied on Emory’s nondiscrimination policy but also called on the Methodist tradition of respecting the practices of other religions—including the right to perform ceremonies that might not comport with the United Methodist Discipline. This chapel-use policy was approved by the board of trustees, including all of the United Methodist bishops on the board.

Once nurtured in part by a somewhat Methodist-heavy hierarchy in the university administration, over the past quarter of a century the relationship between Emory and the church has lost much of that unofficial connection—what Russell Richey, former dean of the theology school, has called “embodied presence and unified leadership.” Today the relationship of church and university depends largely on the theology dean, development officers, chaplains, counselors, and other administrators whose work in various niches of the university overlaps with the interests of the church. (This month, Emory President Claire Sterk appointed the first non-Methodist chaplain in the university’s history, the Rev. Gregory W. McGonigle, a Unitarian-Universalist minister.)

Owing to the university’s charter relationship to the Southeastern Jurisdiction (SEJ) of the United Methodist Church, senior leaders of the university report on the status of the university at each quadrennial jurisdictional conference in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. In addition, Emory periodically hosts the SEJ Committee on Coordination and Accountability. Emory thus enjoys a healthy and collaborative relationship with the United Methodist Church.

The Emory University charter and bylaws do not mandate Methodist representation on the Emory University Board of Trustees. By custom, however, a number of the positions on the board are filled by United Methodist bishops, including the resident bishop of the North Georgia Episcopal Area. Moreover, one of the vice chairs of the trustees traditionally has been the senior bishop on the board.

As confirmed by the Georgia Nonprofit Corporation Code, regulations of the Internal Revenue Service, and historic activity of the Emory University Board of Trustees, the university is a separate and self-sustaining corporation not controlled by the United Methodist Church. Nevertheless, the university’s work and self-understanding continue to respect a traditional relationship between the church and the university.

Different institutions with different missions, the church and the university collaborate and inform each other as independent entities. Their shared history suggests that the church has learned as much from the instruction and example of Emory as Emory has benefited from the church, each institution balancing and nourishing the life and commitments of the other.

Gary Hauk

Emory and Methodism across the Years

This week the United Methodist Church Southeastern Jurisdiction Historical Society will meet at Emory, so it seems appropriate to reflect on the long history between Emory and Methodism. Both the Pitts Theology Library and the Stuart A. Rose Library at Emory are storehouses of archives and books that fill out the story. This post is the first of two; look for the second one tomorrow.

The relationship of Emory University to the United Methodist Church and to Methodism generally often surprises casual observers and visitors, even Emory students and faculty members. Emory’s Methodist heritage has no prominence on university websites or in official publications. The make-up of both the student body and the faculty has long demonstrated a mutually respectful mix of the world’s great religions as well as the greater secularization of Western society.

Yet the historic connection between Emory and Methodism is long, deep, and complicated. It is somewhat like that of a dear, benevolent aunt and a headstrong, independent niece who is embracing her maturity and setting her direction in life.

Once a powerful influence in the daily life of Emory College, the church has become a more distant presence while maintaining a proud interest in Emory; the university in turn has continued to acknowledge the church’s legacy while recognizing that any university worth its charter must adapt to changes in society and to increased knowledge.

Emory University has its roots in the founding of Emory College by the Georgia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church (MEC) in 1836. Half a century had passed since the formal organization of Methodism in the United States at a conference in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1784.

Methodism provided a solid foundation and rationale for a new college. John Wesley—an Anglican priest and founder of the Methodist movement in England—was above all things an educator of great energy and vision. He built schools, started publishing enterprises, wrote prolifically, and preached and taught tirelessly, all with the aim of transforming English society by the education of hearts as well as minds, or what he called “religion and reason joined.”

Wesley’s brother Charles, also a leader of the movement, phrased the aim somewhat differently as the union of “knowledge and vital piety, truth and love.” At Emory today, this heritage translates into “a legacy of heart and mind,” as Emory has long spoken of educating the whole person, body, mind, and spirit.

In the American context, the Methodist movement planted seeds of social uplift not only through the establishment of churches and Sunday schools but also in the founding of academies and colleges. The founders of the Methodist church in America had heard themselves addressed by a gospel promise that the truth would set them free, and in their minds freedom, education, and religious faith all relied on each other to some extent. They established dozens of academies and colleges throughout America in the nineteenth century; in Georgia alone, these included not only Emory College but also Wesleyan College, LaGrange College, Andrew College, Young Harris College, Paine College, and Reinhardt University.

Emory College’s namesake, Bishop John Emory, from Maryland, had played a role in founding Wesleyan University, in Connecticut, and had chaired the board of trustees of Dickinson College, in Pennsylvania, until his death in 1835. Set within a new town laid out specifically to house the new college—a town called Oxford to honor the university that had educated the Wesleys—Emory quickly became a center of intellectual and spiritual life among Methodists in the South.

From the beginning, the faculty, presidents, and trustees of the college demonstrated a conviction that faith and science were not at odds, and that education should embrace all of human experience. In their view, a traditional education heavy in Latin, Greek, and the Bible should expand to include modern languages and up-to-date understanding of the natural sciences.

Tragically, within a decade of the founding of the college, some of its leaders figured prominently in the division of national Methodism over the issue of slavery, which John Wesley had abhorred, and which the American movement initially had prohibited in its Book of Discipline. The details of this split are told in many chronicles of Emory history, but the gist of the matter is that leaders of the college, defending the institution of slavery, helped lead the Methodist churches of the South to secede from the MEC and create the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (MECS). This rift would not be healed until 1939.

In the meantime, the Southern Methodist church came to view Emory College as the institution where its most talented clergy should serve as faculty members and presidents. Many of the faculty and nearly all of the twelve presidents of Emory College until 1915 were Methodist clergy, and four of those presidents were elected to serve as bishops.

The church also viewed Emory as the place where future leaders of society would mature, and Methodist alumni of Emory College in many respects justified this expectation. They included, before 1915, the most renowned Methodist missionary to China, a future government minister of Korea, a US Supreme Court justice, a future vice president of the United States, the founding president of Georgia Tech, many presidents of other colleges and universities, the founders of Paine College for freed African Americans, the first state superintendent of education in Georgia, and countless lawyers, doctors, clergy, and business leaders who returned to their home towns from Oxford to lead their communities.

The establishment of the university in 1915 changed the mission of Emory to a significant degree, but not the institution’s Methodist identity. The sole impetus for the founding of Emory University in Atlanta was the role of the church in education. The MECS had created Central University in Nashville shortly after the Civil War. A gift of a million dollars to the university from Cornelius Vanderbilt, in 1873, led to the renaming of the institution in his honor. Over the next four decades, a growing dispute over policy decisions and the locus of authority led the church to part ways with Vanderbilt University and create a new university — Emory.

Next: Methodism in the life of Emory since 1915.

Gary Hauk

The Carlos Museum, from Tibet to Niagara Falls and Beyond

By the time Maxwell Anderson left the directorship of the Carlos Museum in 1995, he had brought the museum into the Internet age and had built the museum staff to twenty-two full-time and twenty part-time professionals. One of those professionals, Catherine Howett Smith—who had grown up on the Emory campus as the daughter of art history professor John Howett, and who had earned B.A. and M.A. degrees from Emory—agreed to serve as acting director while Emory searched for a new director.

The search took two years, but meanwhile Howett Smith guided an initiative that would leave Emory’s stamp on the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games. This was the renovation of part of the old Sears building on Ponce de Leon Avenue (at that time dubbed City Hall East) for the installation of works by self-taught African American artists. Called “Souls Grown Deep,” the exhibit was paired with a showing of Thornton Dial’s art at the Carlos as a signature part of the Cultural Olympiad.

In 1997, the two-year search for the new director led at last to the Bayley Art Museum at the University of Virginia and Anthony Hirschel, who had earned a reputation for understanding what Emory provost Billy Frye called “the dual nature of the [university] museum as both an arm of the academic community and a public museum.”

Screen Shot 2019-06-12 at 1.27.43 PM
Anthony Hirschel

When Hirschel arrived at Emory in the spring of 1997, he immediately began planning an exhibition of artwork about the Buddha that built on some of his experience at Virginia. The aim was to have the exhibit up in time for Commencement in 1998, when His Holiness the Dalai Lama would be the keynote speaker. The exhibit included a rare nineteenth-century copy of The Blue Beryl, borrowed from monks in the Buryatia region of Russia, and exhibited for the first time in the West.

Screen Shot 2019-06-12 at 1.36.41 PM
Catalog from 1998 exhibition of Tibetan medical paintings. From Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

The exhibition was also the occasion for the first sand mandala at Emory — a kind of performance art whose week-long completion has become an annual tradition during Emory–Tibet Week in March.

Screen Shot 2019-06-12 at 1.35.06 PM
Monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery create a sand mandala at the Carlos Museum.

The next year, in 1999, the reputation of Emory for housing mummies gained renewed stature when Hirschel seized on an opportunity in Canada. The Niagara Falls Museum, which had opened almost a decade before the founding of Emory College, was going out of business and selling off its collections, which in some ways resembled those of the Emory museum before 1982—stuffed animals and birds, a collection of eggs, a humpback whale skeleton, mastodon bones, and relics from China and Japan. Peter Lacovara, the curator of Egyptian collections at the Carlos at the time, called Hirschel’s attention to the Niagara museum’s ten Egyptian mummies and scores of Egyptian artifacts, many of which had been brought from Egypt in the 1850s. They were now available at the fire sale price of $2 million.

With seven days to raise the money, Emory turned to the Atlanta community for help. Carlos advisory board chairman James Miller and his wife, Karina, put up half the funds, and donors ranging from schoolchildren to Emory staff members contributed another $750,000—enough to secure a commitment from the museum to sell all of the collection to Emory.

Among the mummies that arrived on campus later that year was one that had lain in the Niagara Falls museum since 1860. The profile of the mummy resembled those of two others resting in a museum in Cairo, Egypt—Seti I and Ramesses II. These were the son and grandson of Ramesses I, whose mummy had gone missing. Could this mummy at the Carlos be the missing Ramesses I? Off to Emory Hospital went the patient for CT scans, X-rays, and radiocarbon dating. Experts from Egypt arrived to study the remains. In the end, while the evidence proved inconclusive, the head of Egyptian Antiquities, Zahi Hawass, pronounced that he felt certain that the mummy had royal bones; whether those were the bones of Ramesses or not, it was impossible to say with a hundred percent certainty.

In 2003, to the delight of many and the consternation of a few, Emory officials decided that after a period on view in the Carlos Museum, the mummy would return to Egypt, where he now lies in state in the Luxor Museum. Hawass said, “Children in Atlanta will learn that, once upon a time, there was a king at the museum there.”

Beyond the Deer and the Pharaoh

By the time Ramesses, or whoever he was, made his way back to the Middle East, Tony Hirschel had decamped, in 2001, to the Middle West as director of the Indianapolis Art Museum. In the fall of 2002 the new director, Bonnie Speed, arrived from Dallas, where she had been director of the Trammell and Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art. She brought stellar marketing chops along with a graduate degree in art history and experience as a printmaker, designer, and businesswoman.

During the past seventeen years, the full-time museum staff has grown to number thirty-eight, a modest size considering the level of activity inside and outside the walls of the museum. Some seventy-five to eighty thousand visitors come through the portals annually, including twenty-five thousand Atlanta school children and six thousand Emory students. For some exhibitions, the numbers reach 160,000, and for the 2009 Tut exhibition that the Carlos helped organize at the Atlanta Civic Center, the numbers were stratospheric.

Curators and educators at the museum continue their collaborations with Emory departments, including environmental studies and chemistry as well as the usual suspects. Exhibits and programs make the ancient world relevant to moderns, whether that means a showing of Romare Beardon’s twentieth-century prints that use Homer’s Odyssey to reflect on the Great Migration of African Americans, or an exhibition of Fahamou Pecou’s contemporary art, which pulls from history and traditions in its own way. The workhorse attitude of the talented team pulling in harness together has brought the Carlos Museum to a place of distinction that in every way fulfills the dreams of a hundred years ago.

Over the next quarter-century, we can expect that successors to the Candlers, Sheltons, and Bakers will continue to open new doors of discovery, and we can hope that the university and the public will reward those efforts with the resources and recognition they so richly deserve.

Girl and statue

Gary S. Hauk