Serving in senior administrative positions at Emory University since 1988, including secretary of the university, vice president, and senior adviser to the president, I was appointed university historian in October 2015. My PhD degree, from Emory, is in Christian ethics, and I have BA and MA degrees in English (Lehigh) and a divinity degree. After writing my dissertation on Iris Murdoch, I became increasingly interested in the way institutional ethos is shaped and the way Emory, in particular, has transformed and been transformed by the moral imaginations of its people.
In 1985, Emory added a John Portman-designed wing to the west façade of the 1927-vintage dining hall and auditorium, which stood on one of the highest points of the campus. An earlier addition to the east side of the dining hall, dedicated in 1950, had led to the renaming of the structure as the Alumni Memorial University Center, or AMUC. Rechristened at its dedication in 1986 as the Dobbs University Center, in honor of its principal donor, R. Howard Dobbs Jr. 27C, the entirety of the new student-life center quickly gained the nickname of the DUC.
The year after the DUC opened, Emory observed its sesquicentennial, and part of the celebration of that milestone included the burial of a time capsule near the DUC. I commented on this time capsule in an earlier blog. Plans call for the time capsule to be opened in 2036, at the bicentennial, but no one said anything about digging it up before then.
With the demolition of the DUC this summer to make way for a new Campus Life Center (CLC)–which you can see in a drone’s-eye fly-through–construction crews had to dig up the time capsule and set it aside for reburial later.
Al Herzog, the Emory manager overseeing demolition of the DUC and construction of the CLC, sent me this photo of the time capsule last week to reassure me that it is safely in the hands of folks in Campus Life.
Al also sent an aerial view of the construction site, which shows the vacant area where the DUC once stood. The time capsule had been buried near the large bush in the lower right corner. In the back stands the old AMUC, with its 1927 façade covered by plywood for protection against construction debris. Plans call for restoring the AMUC as a stand-alone building.
Some say a ghost haunts the stucco-covered building behind the Winship Cancer Institute. Certainly history lingers there. Nestled under the trees along Uppergate Drive, this structure, now dwarfed by Winship and a parking deck, once was home to Arthur Tufts and his family.
The Atlanta-born Tufts, a graduate of Georgia Tech, was a contractor who supervised the construction of Camp Gordon near Atlanta. He made his fortune, however, by earning the gratitude and confidence of Asa Candler Sr. and the Coca-Cola Company in constructing the Candler Building in Atlanta, the Candler Building on 42nd Street in Manhattan, and other edifices commissioned by Candler for his business empire. Candler, who always wanted things done right, not only gave the first million dollars and seventy-five acres for the new university next to his Druid Hills suburb; he also enlisted this trusted builder to develop the new campus.
To be close to the construction, Tufts bought a 25-acre tract along Clifton Road and built his house there in 1917. Henry Hornbostel, the architect who designed the university’s first marble-clad concrete buildings, also designed the Tufts house to be built of concrete, but covered with pink stucco. Tufts called the place Woodland.
The driveway leading to the house had two gates—an “upper gate” (perhaps because it was farther north, or farther up the road from the campus) and a “lower gate”—hence, names that still survive in Uppergate Drive and the Lowergate Parking Deck.
Described by the late George P. Cuttino in his Dooley’s Book: A Guide to the Emory Campus, the house “was entered through a porte-cochère, and it was built for gracious family living. Included on the first floor were a kitchen, servants’ rooms, a columned sun room, and a living room. Sleeping porches and bedrooms were on the other two floors.” Tufts and his wife, Jeannie Tufts, had four children, one of whom died in infancy.
From this proximity to the campus, Tufts supervised the construction of Emory until his death from pneumonia in 1920 at the age of forty. Jeannie Tufts continued living at Woodland until 1940, when she moved into a smaller house across Ridgewood Drive. Emory bought Woodland in 1943. (Jeannie Tufts died in 1975.)
Renamed Uppergate House, the Arthur Tufts home served for a time as a dormitory for nursing students. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Uppergate House housed the Biomedical Data Processing and Analysis Center and the burgeoning university computing center. A former director of the computing center has told the story of working alone in the house late at night when a ghostly woman appeared out of nowhere in search of her son—and then disappeared. Now painted white, the Tufts House currently is home to the Emory University Psychoanalytic Institute.
The death of Robert James Waller in March prompted a lot of retrospection toward his bestselling novel The Bridges of Madison County and the movie based on the book. Those bridges may have been featured in the title, but they definitely had merely supporting roles in the story.
Okay, yes–bridges are intended to be supporting.
Yet while pedestrians and drivers alike often pass over the bridges of Emory without much recognizing them, those spans have a history and presence worth celebrating.
When Henry Hornbostel laid out the Druid Hills campus, he traversed the ravines and streams with several single-arch bridges, whose elegance belies their concrete construction.
The original entrance to the campus from Emory Village must have given the impression of entering a country estate, as the drive passed through woods to the left and the right. The roadway then crossed the bridge shown below, over a gully that would later be filled into construct the driveway around Glenn Memorial. After turning left beyond this bridge, the road then crossed a second bridge, which still stands astride the ravine behind Carlos Museum.
A campus map from 1940–41 (below) shows both the now-vanished bridge and the still-standing Mizell Bridge, named in memory of Robert Cotter Mizell, Class of 1911 and long-time administrator and trustee of the University..
The view in the photo below, taken around 1946 and archived with these other photos at the Rose Library, looks toward the Quadrangle. Candler Library appears to the left and the Physics and Chemistry Buildings (now the Callaway Center) to the right. Fourteen years later the ravine on the near side of the bridge would be filled in with the construction of Cox Hall, and five decades after that, weekly farmers’ markets would line the bridge with locally grown and prepared foods, as the University brought greater awareness of locally grown products to its emphasis on sustainability.
Meanwhile, the sense of walking across a bridge in front of Cox Hall has faded from the perception of all but the most observant pedestrians.
William Dillingham, the Charles Howard Candler Professor of English, Emeritus, and a 1955 graduate of Emory College (1956 from the graduate school), once remarked, “When I came to Emory, it was a small school in a forest.” The photo below may have been taken about the time Dillingham arrived at Emory in 1951.
The view looks southeast from the corner of the Quadrangle where Candler Library almost meets Bowden Hall. The path led across a bridge and up the hill toward the now-vanished C. L. Fishburne Building. That building, which housed the Educational Studies Division, stood approximately where the Goizueta Business School now rises beside Clifton Road. In 1969 the ravine crossed by this bridge was filled in by the new Robert W. Woodruff Library, and the creek was channeled through a steel conduit under a ramp leading up to the library. (That ramp also has vanished, replaced by an addition to the Woodruff Library and an overhead bridge to the Candler Library.)
The photo below shows the same footbridge viewed from the stream that flows through the ravine.
In the early 2000s an effort to call attention to the streams on campus and make them the object of greater care led to the naming of four streams. This one, through Baker Woodlands, bears the name Antoinette Candler Creek, or Nettie’s Creek, to honor the wife of Chancellor Warren Candler for her stewardship of the ravine as a garden in the first decade of the campus.
Among the many sites now vanished from campus, the small wooden bridge shown below may have served streetcar passengers disembarking on Oxford Road near where the Mathematics and Science Center now stands.
Other bridges on campus include the pedestrian bridge that spans the CSX railroad tracks between Longstreet-Means Hall and the Whitehead Research Building; the pedestrian bridge across Houston Mill Road connecting the Emory Conference Center Hotel to the Miller-Ward Alumni House; the Brumley Bridge connecting the Health Sciences Research Building with the Emory Pediatrics Center; the bridge that carries shuttle buses on Starvine Way to the Clairmont Campus; and a suspension bridge in Lullwater Preserve crossing South Peachtree Creek near the president’s house.
With summer in full swing, mosquitoes are biting, and with every bite comes the possibility of disease. Nowadays our concerns focus on Zika and West Nile viruses, transmitted by different species of mosquito. As recently as the 1930s, however, the most ravaging mosquito-borne disease in the American South was malaria–still one of the most epidemic infectious diseases in the Southern Hemisphere.
For a region dependent on agriculture and a workforce necessarily exposed to flying pests outdoors, the costs of malaria were high in both human and economic terms. Children missed school, dragging down their academic achievement and future prospects. Farm workers missed days of labor, reducing their income and their families’ well-being. Large-scale employers often hired twice the number of necessary workers, anticipating significant absenteeism.
In Baker County, Georgia, Coca-Cola magnate and Emory philanthropist Robert Woodruff saw the devastating impact of the disease on the men and women who lived around his Ichauway Plantation. He offered to establish a research center to study the spread and potential containment of the disease, and with the help of Emory administrators and physicians, a field station was opened in 1939. This field station, which operated until 1957, arguably was the seed from which both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Rollins School of Public Health would spring. Sean Suarez has told the story in Southern Spaces with the help of archives from the Stuart A. Rose Library.
Photos in the Rose Library photograph collection add richness and humanity to the tale.
During World War II, as U.S. military personnel were deployed to North Africa and the South Pacific–regions where malaria posed a significant threat to military effectiveness–the federal government established the Office of Malaria in War Areas in Atlanta to intensify the kind of work going on at Ichauway. After the war, this office would become the Communicable Disease Center–now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which moved next door to the Emory campus with the help of Robert Woodruff. In time, collaborations between the Emory School of Medicine and the CDC would lead to the founding of one of the top schools of public health in the United States, the Rollins School of Public Health, named for one of the great families of Emory philanthropists.
Flipping through a folder of archived photographs in the Rose Library, I was surprised to see a young woman in a group identified as the Oxford graduating class of 1950. This was three years before the board of trustees agreed to admit women to Emory College as residential students, and several years before the first female residential student showed up at Oxford.
The only woman among 25 men, she stands in the center of the front row looking demure under her sun hat but confident in the appropriateness of her place. She knows she belongs there. Who could she be?
I turned to my 91-year-old friend Harold Wilson Mann to see whether he might remember her. After earning three degrees from Emory, he taught history and directed the glee club at Oxford in the 1950s. His stint there didn’t begin, though, until a couple of years after this photo, so he had not crossed paths with the mystery student.
University archivist John Bence told me that Oxford course catalogs at that time listed students in the two-year college curriculum. Digitized and available online, the catalog published in March 1950 includes a “register of students” with three women’s names: Dorothy MeGahee, a second-year student, and Virginia C. Davis and Dorothy J. Dodson, both first-year students. MeGahee was listed as hailing from Covington, Davis from Toccoa, and Dodson from Austell. So perhaps the graduating woman in 1950 was Dorothy MeGahee.
Not only the catalogs but also the old Oxford yearbooks are now digitized and online. Sure enough, in the 1950 Memory, I found her. “Dot,” she was called.
She had quite the full dance card: editor-in-chief of the yearbook, vice president of Phi Epsilon Upsilon literary society (the Few Society), officer of the International Relations Club, and president of the Coed Club–whose membership included all three of the female students.
A further chapter in these women’s story turned up in the archives. As I looked through more photos, I happened on one of the three of them with Dean Virgil Eady.
Turning it over, I found the women’s names and hometowns and this text:
Dodson and Davis will be sophomores [in] the coming term. MeGahee graduated in June, 1950, and is now enrolled in the Emory summer school. According to Dean Eady no more coeds will be enrolled at Oxford. The above will be allowed to graduate.
Little did Dean Eady suspect that many more women were on the way.
Dorothy MeGahee went on to graduate magna cum laude from Emory with a degree in nursing and later earned a master’s degree in nursing administration from the Medical College of Georgia. She married her classmate Hamlin Callahan Jr. just after graduating from Emory College and apparently remarried at some point, to a man named Davis. She was working as the supervisor of the Warm Springs Foundation Hospital in Warm Springs, Ga., when cancer claimed her. She died at the young age of 50, in 1982, and is buried next to her parents and brother in her hometown of Covington.
Gary S. Hauk
Thanks to University archivist John Bence for locating the digitized 1950 course catalog and 1950 Memory yearbook.
Emory alumnus Ren Davis has a personal connection to one of the more remarkable stories of Emory University’s service to the nation. He is the grandson of Edward Campbell Davis, MD, who a century ago was serving as a professor in the school of medicine in the relatively new Emory University, when the United States entered World War I. Dr. Davis also was co-founder, with Dr. Luther Fischer, of the Davis-Fischer Sanatorium, which later became Crawford Long Hospital and later still Emory University Hospital Midtown.
Ren has published the compelling story of his grandfather’s response to the call to serve. You can read it here, in the Saporta Report, the excellent online journal created by longtime Atlanta business reporter Maria Saporta.
My thanks to Ren for allowing me to point my blog readers to his story.
Alumni returning to Emory often exclaim—sometimes lamenting, other times just flabbergasted—how the campus has changed since their student days.
In the past fourteen years alone, the University has built nine residence halls, two new theology buildings, three medical education or research buildings, one for public health, a new home for admissions and the bookstore, a new psychology building, new sorority lodges, and at Oxford a new science building, new library, and new dining hall. Not to overlook sundry smaller projects like the traffic circle and new entrance in Emory Village.
Nothing, however, gives a sense of the changing landscape like a view from the sky.
While we don’t have an aerial photo of Druid Hills before the Atlanta campus was built, we do have an architect’s vision of the campus as it nestled into what had been “the old Guess place.”
The original 75 acres given by Asa Candler straddled two hills divided by streams and covered with pine woods. To turn this rural landscape on the edge of Atlanta into a university campus, the trustees hired the inimitable Beaux Arts architect Henry Hornbostel. He found the hills and pines of the Emory terrain reminiscent of Tuscany and hit upon an Italian neo-Renaissance look, with marble façades, red-tile roofs, broad eaves, and Roman arches for doors and windows.
Using bridges to cross the streams and connect the hills, he laid out the academic heart of the campus on a hill that is now the Quadrangle, with a farther hill set off for living, dining, athletics, worship, and other social activities. While the design was too expensive to implement fully, the first buildings, opened in 1916, included the Theology Building and Law Building (lower center of the photo) and the Physics Building (now Callaway Center South), to the left of the tall tower, which was never attempted. The sole residence hall designed by Hornbostel and still standing is Dobbs Hall, shown in this design in the center of the semicircle of buildings to the left. Emory Village would grow up at the V shown at the lower edge of the photo.
The photo below, probably taken in 1922, shows why William Dillingham 55C 56G, professor emeritus of English, remarked about his student days, “When I came to Emory, it was a small school in a forest.” The campus had been even more remote three decades earlier, as the woods and fields of DeKalb County stretched north and east of Druid Hills.
The two buildings swathed in construction scaffolding in the upper right corner are Wesley Memorial Hospital, later renamed Emory University Hospital. These buildings, completed in 1922, replaced the hospital’s original home in downtown Atlanta.
Two campus landmarks help to date precisely the photo below—one landmark by its presence, the other by its absence.
Glenn Memorial Church, shown in the lower center of the photo, was constructed on the Emory campus in 1931, the gift of board chair Charles Howard Candler Sr. 1898C 1902M and his wife, Flora Glenn Candler. What’s missing from the photo is the water tower that was installed in 1933 near where the tall boiler smokestack rises above the athletic fields. (See blog post of October 3, 2016.)
The end of World War II and the benefits of the GI Bill sparked an unprecedented growth in the student body and faculty at Emory. To accommodate all the new people, the University built in a frenzy while using trailers and wooden barracks for temporary space. The forest began to give way. The History Building (1951, now Bowden Hall) in the center of the photo below and the Woodruff Memorial Research Building (1952) to the left of the hospital help date this photo. Missing is the Administration Building (1955), which would close off the western end of the Quadrangle, still very wooded in the lower center of the photo. Note the water tower rising from the trees above the athletic fields.
As the Baby Boom hit Emory in the 1960s, the campus began to sprawl. Cox Hall (1960) appears in the photo below, above the hospital buildings; off to the right rise the new buildings of the Centers for Disease Control, which moved to Clifton Road in the 1950s. Missing from the photo is Robert W. Woodruff Library, which in 1969 would take another large bite out of the woods toward the lower-left corner of the photo.
Later aerial photos would show even more dramatic growth—as well as the loss of some of the buildings shown above. Thus—lament and astonishment!