All posts by emoryhistorian

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.

Lone gal among Oxford guys

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?

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Emory-at-Oxford graduating class, June 3, 1950, standing in front of Old Church. (Emory-at-Oxford was renamed Oxford College of Emory University in 1964.) Photo courtesy of Rose Library, Emory University.

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.

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Dorothy “Dot” MeGahee in the 1950 Memory yearbook of Oxford.

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.

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Officers (and the only available members) of the Coed Club at Oxford in 1950: Virginia Davis, left, Dorothy MeGahee, center, and Dorothy Dodson.

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.

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Dorothy Dodson (left), Virginia Davis, and Dorothy MeGahee meet with Oxford dean Virgil Y.C. Eady in 1950.

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 doctors in World War I

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.

Gary Hauk

Emory from the Sky

Alumni returning to Emory often exclaim—sometimes lamenting, other times just flabbergasted—how the campus has changed since their student days.

No kidding!

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.

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Henry Hornbostel’s campus plan

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.

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Emory University, circa 1922

 

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.

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Emory, 1932

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.

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Emory campus, circa 1952-55

 

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.

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Emory campus, 1963

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!

Gary S. Hauk

Emory Law in the American Context

This week (April 24–29) Emory Law School is ratcheting up the year-long observance of its centennial with a weekend celebration. The school opened its doors as the Lamar School of Law on September 27, 1916, bearing the name of Emory’s then-most-illustrious alumnus, Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar (see my post from January 1, 2016). On Saturday, the 29th, the school will honor another eminent alumnus, former US Senator Sam Nunn 62L. Former President Bill Clinton will speak at the gala dinner.

Happily, history will be remembered. The school has invited me to give a talk to alumni on Saturday afternoon, and the challenge has been finding ways to limit the storytelling to 40 minutes. There’s much to tell.

For instance, the decade of the 1930s brought to Emory Law women and men who would go on to have a profound impact on Emory, Atlanta, Georgia, and the nation. It was a decade of stars: Patricia Collins Butler 31L, Henry Bowden 32C 34L, Boisfeuillet Jones 34C 37L, Randolph Thrower 34C 36L, Ben Johnson Jr. 36C 40L.

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Patricia Collins Butler 31L. Courtesy of Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University

Pat Butler was one of the 175 makers of Emory history celebrated during the University’s 175th anniversary in 2011. When she died at age 101, in 2009, she had left a trailblazing legacy. Although she graduated second in her class in 1931, she struggled to find a job in Atlanta but was hired to establish the antitrust library for the Department of Justice in Washington, DC. She went on to work for sixteen attorneys general, and with the case Johnson v. Shaughnessy, in 1949, she became one of the first female lawyers to argue before the Supreme Court. Together with Chief Justice Warren Burger she founded the Supreme Court Historical Society in 1974. May I add that while Emory law women were succeeding in the world, it would take Harvard Law until 1950 before it admitted its first woman, by which time Emory had graduated 25.

I can’t help wondering whether the social dislocations of the 1930s shaped the way these women and men viewed society and their responsibility for making it more just, more fair for everyone.

Just one more story for today—that of Randolph Thrower 34C 36L.

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Randolph Thrower with President Eisenhower in the Oval Office. Courtesy of Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University

If you want to hark back to the politics of a different era, consider the life and legacy of Randolph Thrower. He was a Republican in a Deep South state that had been run by Dixie Democrats since the end of Reconstruction. To get a sense of how things have changed, note that as a Republican he drafted the 1969 Tax Reform Act that raised taxes on capital gains, and he was a founding member of the Lawyers Group for Civil Rights Under Law, an organization launched by President Kennedy to provide legal support for the civil rights movement. In 1987 he was a member of the ABA’s first Commission on the Status of Women in the Profession, which was chaired by an Arkansas lawyer named Hillary Clinton—who, appropriately, was the first woman to deliver the Thrower Lecture, endowed at the law school in his honor. The enduring mark of his integrity and commitment to the rule of law, however, was his being fired as IRS Commissioner in 1971 by Richard Nixon for refusing to use the IRS as a weapon against Nixon’s enemies.

Like Pat Butler, Randolph Thrower had surpassed his own century mark by the time he died peacefully at home in 2014. Centennials abound!

Gary S. Hauk 91PhD

 

 

 

 

Never-before-seen photos!

Pardon me for trying to grab your attention à la The National Inquirer or some click-bait headline. But when I came across these images in the Stuart A. Rose Library, I was stunned and wanted to share them.

Ever since I first laid eyes on the tower next to the dam in Lullwater Preserve, more than thirty years ago, I have wondered what it looked like in its glory days. Below is its current condition.

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See here for a closer view. Note the vegetation on the far bank. Behind it and to the right of what you can see in the photo rises the Atlanta VA Hospital along with its parking decks.

Walter Candler, Emory College Class of 1907, was the youngest son of Coca-Cola founder and Emory benefactor Asa Griggs Candler. When Walter began developing his 183-acre estate in 1925, DeKalb County had not fully developed its electrical grid, and county power did not extend to the house, which Candler occupied in 1926. He thus had to generate his own power with the help of the dam that he built across the South Fork of Peachtree Creek, shown above.  Machinery within the tower cranked out electricity. The generating equipment has long since been removed, and the tower has fallen to rack and ruin.

Below is what it looked like when newly built.

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Courtesy of Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University

Note the bridge over the dam, which was removed in the early 1990s because it had become hazardous. In the distance, where the VA Hospital now stands, a horse pasture spreads toward Clairmont Road. And there are two of Candler’s horses!

Most magnificently, the pointed roof sports clock faces—in case you got to wondering what time it was while fishing the stream.

The photographer who took the old photo, possibly in about 1930, turned around and then took the photo below. The dam is now to the photographer’s back.

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Courtesy of Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University

The wooden bridge in the photo straddled a stream that flowed in from about where the road vanishes in the distance. That stream is now known as Earnest Richardson Creek, after the long-time caretaker of Candler’s estate. Beyond the stream lies a low pasture, and beyond it rises an embankment topped by a white fence. Farther still rises a hillside. Lullwater House, the English Tudor-style home that Candler built, now the home of Emory presidents since 1963, stands at the top of the high hill whose base rises up to the right of the photo.

At some point, Candler decided to dam Richardson Creek at about the lower left corner of the photo to create a lake that would fill in that far pasture. Below is the same view, taken in January 2017. The vehicles belong to an Emory Campus Services crew removing fallen trees near the dam.

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The photo below shows the dam that created the lake.

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Note that the far bank of the lake still is topped by the dirt road that was there in the earlier photo, but the distant hill is entirely wooded. Those woods are part of the “Emory Forest” whose preservation is part of the long-term sustainability plan for the campus.

Amazing what a difference 90 years can make.

Gary Hauk

Robin Thomas, who graduated from Emory College with highest honors in Italian studies in 1999 and now teaches art history at Penn State, sent me news that Marion Luther Brittain’s house is being demolished in Midtown Atlanta to make way for an office tower, hotel, and residences.

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Marion Luther Brittain, from the 1944 Georgia Tech yearbook The Blueprint

Brittain (1866–1953) was one of the 175 “makers of Emory history” celebrated during the University’s 175th anniversary observance in 2011. An 1886 graduate of Emory College, he served as state school superintendent from 1910 until his appointment in 1922 as the fourth president of Georgia Tech, from which he retired in 1944. In 1942, Brittain donated funds to Emory to create the highest student award for “recognition of unselfish service to the University,” an award named for him.

Brittain lived in this house with his family between 1911, when it was built, and 1922, when he moved into Georgia Tech’s presidential home.

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The Brittain house in the 1990s.

Located at 1109 West Peachtree Street, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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The front porch of the Brittain house

The impressive columned façade gives entrée to a spacious interior, which was divided into four apartments after the Brittains moved out.

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Downstairs parlor of the Brittain house

It’s sad to see another old, historic home disappear from Atlanta’s inventory. Happily, plans are underway to restore, rather than demolish, another home on the National Register—Buddie Candler’s Briarcliff mansion, owned by Emory.

Gary Hauk

Merry Christmas from the Woodruffs

Emory colleagues Kathryn Dixson and Gretchen Warner have a gift for making material from the archives more eye-catching than a Macy’s store window on 34th Street. They design and mount exhibits in Emory’s Rose Library and Schatten Gallery, and for the last couple of years they have graciously added to their work the display case on the first floor of the Administration Building.

Two weeks ago, in time for the holidays, Kathy and Gretchen created a display of the beautiful Christmas cards that Emory philanthropist Robert Woodruff used to send. In case you can’t get to the Administration Building, I share parts of the display here.

Beginning in 1924, the year after Woodruff became president of the Coca-Cola Company, he and his wife, Nell Hodgson Woodruff, sent annual Christmas cards.

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Robert and Nell Hodgson Woodruff at Ichauway.

Initially graced with holiday images, the cards soon featured photos of Ichauway, the South Georgia plantation the Woodruffs bought in 1929 as a vacation refuge and bird-hunting retreat.

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The Woodruffs’ Christmas card from 1935, featuring the interior of the lodge at Ichauway.

 

In 1941, however, the Woodruffs began a new and magnificent holiday tradition featuring the commissioned paintings of Ichauway’s birds by Italian-born artist Athos Menaboni. By the time of Robert Woodruff’s death, in 1985, Menaboni’s paintings would grace the front of 44 Woodruff Christmas cards. A number of reproductions of these paintings are housed along with Menaboni’s papers in the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library at Emory. The cards themselves are among the Robert W. Woodruff papers in the Rose Library.

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Examples of Menaboni’s work for the Woodruffs’ Christmas cards.

The card for 1968 bore only Robert’s name on the inside. His beloved Nell had died in January of that year, less than a year after Emory named its school of nursing in her honor. The couple of green-winged teal shown in the card poignantly suggest the long flight of life that Robert and Nell had shared, for more than 55 years.

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1968 Christmas card illustration

The last Woodruff/Menaboni card appeared in 1984, featuring the great blue heron.

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1984 Woodruff Christmas card.

Woodruff died on March 7, 1985, and Menaboni lived another five years, dying on July 18, 1990, at the age of 94.

In the spirit of beauty and grace reflected in the Menaboni cards sent by the Woodruffs, I take the occasion to wish you a merry Christmas and a peaceful, happy new year.

Gary Hauk