Category Archives: Emory people

The Sword in the Library

I was talking with Emory College junior Karan Malhotra about nineteenth-century secret societies when he suddenly asked, “What do you know about Archie Drake?”

Not a thing, I said. Who was he?

“There’s a sword in the alumni house with his name on it. His full name was Archelaus A. Drake.”

Hmmm. That name rang a bell, but I couldn’t place it. An antebellum Emory student? A faculty member who served briefly before disappearing from the school and its history? Not sure. But a sword in the alumni house? I’d never heard of it.

“I could show you the sword. Do you have time?”

We walked from the coffee shop to my car in the Oxford Road deck and drove to the alumni house, where we rousted Tom Brodnax, resident curator, and climbed the stairs to the Schley Library.

Karan walked to a far window, reached behind the sideboard there, and pulled out a sure-enough sword in a tarnished but emblem-adorned scabbard.

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The hilt of the Archelaus Drake sword.

The thing cries out chivalry, knighthood, crusades. The pommel on the hilt is a knight’s helmet, while figures of knights adorn the scabbard and hand guard. The blade of the sword is engraved from guard to tip with scenes of knights on horseback, desert oases, and something resembling the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.

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Part of the blade of the Drake sword.

A scouring of available alumni records back to the Civil War turned up no Archelaus A. Drake, but faithful Google found two: Archelaus Augustus Drake, who lived from 1857 to 1929 and is buried in Texas; and Archelaus Augustus Drake III, son of Archelaus A. Drake Jr. and a member of the Citadel class of 1945. He enlisted in 1943 and and died in combat in Europe the next year. His nickname was Archie.

A search of the Emory website also turned up Archie Drake. His friend William Matheson, who attended Emory one year in the 1940s and for whom the magnificent reading room in the Candler Library is named, created the Archie Drake Prize in memory of his childhood friend in Macon. The prize in Archie’s name recognizes an Emory College junior who has demonstrated academic growth and leadership potential.

An engraving on the blade near the hilt has the logo of Pettibone Bros. of Cincinnati, Ohio, which apparently was the premier maker of Masonic and other regalia in the 1890s to 1920s. So this likely was a Masonic sword owned by the first Archeleaus Drake, Archie’s grandfather. The description of a sword up for auction online fits almost exactly the description of the Drake sword, from the reclining knight and red cross on the scabbard down to the Masonic emblem near the embossed name on the blade.

But the provenance of the sword is a mystery. It probably was passed from grandfather to son to grandson and may have come to Mr. Matheson after his friend’s death. It’s possible he then donated it while creating the Drake Prize.

Time for more detective work.

Gary Hauk

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Love in the time of malaria

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.

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A visiting nurse makes a call on a family near Ichauway Plantation, circa 1940s. Photos courtesy of Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library.
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The field station on Ichauway Plantation would later coordinate its efforts with the U.S Office of Malaria Control in War Areas, forerunner of the CDC.
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Field research included monitoring mosquito populations in the marshy areas of Baker County.
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The only good mosquito was a netted mosquito, usually trapped at towers like this one at Ichauway.

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.

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Researchers proved their epidemiological chops by mapping the incidence of malaria in Baker County.

Ichauway plaque copy

Gary Hauk

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 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 second-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