Category Archives: Rose Library

Emory’s religious pilgrimage

When I was a freshman at Lehigh University, more years ago than I care to admit, my fellow frosh and I took a survey that the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) has been administering to first-year students since 1966. It’s a useful tool for studying how students at American colleges and universities have changed over the decades — not only in terms of income levels, ethnic and racial backgrounds, and similar measurements, but also in terms of attitudes, aspirations, and aptitudes.

Among the dozens of questions, the survey always includes one about religious preference. My only recollection about my freshman class in this regard is that one student checked the box beside “Other” and wrote in “Druid — Reformed.”

I’ve been thinking of this in light of Emory’s United Methodist affiliation and the latest data on religious affiliation of Emory students.

The Methodist trustees who wrote the University bylaws in 1915 said that Emory “was founded . . . for the promotion of the broadest intellectual culture in harmony with the democratic institutions of our country and permeated by the principles and influences of the Christian religion. It is designed to be a profoundly religious institution without being narrowly sectarian. It proposes to encourage freedom of thought as liberal as the limitations of truth.”

Such language neatly fit the vision of John and Charles Wesley, who sought to blend “knowledge and vital piety.” Methodism launched scores of colleges in the United States out of a faith that education would improve the soul as well as the mind.

In many ways, of course, the founders in 1915 understood our “democratic institutions” differently than we do today. Jim Crow laws still prevailed in the South, and women would not have the right to vote in federal elections for another twenty years.

Similarly, what it means to be “profoundly religious . . . without being narrowly sectarian” has changed. In those days, it meant that this Methodist university would admit students without regard to whether they were Presbyterian, Baptist, Episcopalian, or even Catholic or Jewish. It would be a long time, however, before the Emory Christian Association, formed by students in the 1930s, would be renamed the Emory Religious Association to reflect the growing religious diversity of the university.

Nowadays, a very vibrant interfaith program run by the Office of Spiritual and Religious Life brings together students from dozens of religious persuasions. Cannon Chapel is the scene of Muslim Jumah prayers on Friday afternoons, Jewish observances on high holy days, Catholic masses on Sunday mornings and evenings, and ecumenical Protestant worship.

The latest data for Emory undergraduates — from the fall of 2017 — indicate that Methodism no longer outnumbers other religions on campus, and in fact Methodist students are not even the most numerous among Protestant Christians. The chart below tells the story.

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As matters of religious conviction continue to infuse our national and international politics and determine the worldviews of most of the world’s people, it’s a fair question to ask whether Emory continues to present itself as a place of scholarship and inquiry where the study and practice of religion also matter. Emory is not a Methodist Notre Dame or Georgetown or Brandeis, where the institution’s religious identity is as well known as its scholarship and teaching.

Still, the Candler School of Theology (the world’s largest United Methodist seminary), the groundbreaking Center for the Study of Law and Religion, and pioneering efforts like the Interfaith Health Program in the Rollins School of Public Health and the Journeys of Reconciliation sponsored by the Office of Spiritual and Religious Life go a long way toward that blend of scholarship and faith imagined by Emory’s founders.

The most recent CIRP survey turned up no sign of Reformed Druids at Emory, but I plan to keep my eye out. One is likely to be along any time, and I suspect that I’ll have much to learn in our conversation.

Gary Hauk

A house puzzle

Leafing through old photos in the archives of the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library at Emory, I often find it difficult to identify their places and dates — not to mention their many anonymous faces. Occasionally the photo backs will have that information, but most of the time there is nothing. And sometimes what I do find on the back of a photo creates more puzzles than it solves.

Take this photo, for instance.

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Shot sometime in the late 1800s, the photo has no identifying inscription. The fancy wood trim on the porch, however, resembles the trim on a house that appears in Erik Oliver’s book about Oxford in the Images of America series (Arcadia). Professor George W. W. Stone, one of the earliest graduates of Emory College and for decades afterward a member of the faculty, owned this house, which passed down through the generations of his family.

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The Stone House as it appears in “Images of Oxford,” by Erik Oliver.

Both clapboard houses have the same wood trim around the porch, but you’ll notice that the house behind the students has more windows than the Stone House. Actually, the house with the students more closely resembles the front of the President’s House, shown below and in this “Emory History Minute.” The President’s House now serves as the official home of the dean of Oxford College.

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The number of windows matches those in the photo with the students, and the porch trim is the same — perhaps made by the same craftsman, as the houses were both built in the 1830s. But the wings of the President’s House, added in the 1840s, don’t appear in the much later image with the students. The roof line in the image with students also lacks the dentils that appear under the roof line of the President’s House. All very curious.

When I showed the photo of the students to Kathy Shoemaker, reference coordinator in the Rose Library, she remarked that they resembled a group of SAE students she’d seen. When I looked in the SAE photo files, behold — there were the same students in a similar pose on the same porch, photographed around 1900. On the back of the photo was written, “SAE students at Alexander Means house.”

So yet another house enters the mystery.

Alexander Means bought Orna Villa, his Oxford house, some eight or nine years after it was built in 1825. The house has the right number of windows, but unless the photo was taken on the back porch, Orna Villa’s front is very different from the front of the house in the students’ photo.

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For me the evidence is inconclusive—I can’t tell where those students posed for that photograph sometime around the turn of the nineteenth century to the twentieth. But I do take one lesson from these photos. Any of us who still actually print photographs and collect them in albums or drawers should always take a minute to write on the back their dates and locations and the names of the people in them. I’m going to my collection with a Sharpie right now.

Gary Hauk

The vanished log cabin at Emory

In a more rustic era, a variety of simple structures like the one below graced the Emory campus, lending the place an air of a Boy Scout camp or a Civilian Conservation Corps site. Notice the tracks running past it.

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Photo from Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

I was reminded of this image a couple of weeks ago when Jim Morey, English professor and resident of Druid Hills, wrote to me with a question about something I had posted in a brief story about the original Druid Hills campus.  The map in that post is one I pulled as a screenshot from Google Maps. Jim noted the “Emory Trolley Line Substation” in that image and wondered whether that referred to the small brick building at the corner of Oxford Road and Eagle Row. You can see that notation on the map below.

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There is, indeed, a Georgia Power substation on that corner, and aerial photos suggest that the small red-brick building in that area dates from the late 1940s, while the high brick wall behind it, surrounding the large steel structure and high-tension wires of the substation, may be a somewhat later construction, or may have been enlarged as the demand for power in the neighborhood increased.

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It’s interesting but odd that Google Maps would identify that space with the Emory trolley!

It’s true that until about 1947, a trolley ran from Briarcliff Road along the Byway to Oxford Road and then to a stop near the Emory Village intersection. There — at about where Chipotle and Romeo’s Pizza now share a building — the trolley reversed direction and returned to Atlanta (this was long before Emory was officially part of the city). The route appears as a red line in the map below.

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The location of the little shelter at the trolley stop also appears on a campus map from 1940-41, below.

1940-41 map

That trolley stopped running in 1947 — coincidentally, the same year that Gilbert and Thompson residence halls were constructed near that corner. Perhaps the small brick structure for the substation went up at the same time.

It’s fascinating to imagine that recent decisions by Atlanta, MARTA, and Emory might one day bring back to Emory light rail reminiscent of the trolley. But the log cabin likely will remain a thing of the past.

Gary Hauk

Taking the trolley to Dobbs?

I recently came across a photo in Rose Library that made me wonder whether a trolley once ran through the Emory campus, although that seems farfetched, and nothing I’ve read or heard has ever suggested it.

Dobbs Hall, named for donor and trustee Samuel Candler Dobbs, a nephew of Asa Candler Sr., originally housed theology and law students when it opened in 1916 as one of the first two residence halls on the Druid Hills campus. The building — made for student life before radio, let alone television, stereos, hair-dryers, coffee makers, microwave ovens, mini-fridges, George Foreman grills, and computers with their accessory printers — still houses first-year students in Emory College, for whom the cramped shared rooms build “esprit de corps.”

In 1962, to accommodate a growing student body, Emory built a concrete addition, which you can see in the photo below. Taken last week, the photo is not great, but it offers the same perspective as the next photo, in black and white, which was taken perhaps in the 1930s or 1940s.

Dobbs Hall 2018

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The street going off to the right in the second photo is the current Dickey Drive, formerly called Pierce Drive until a realignment of streets in the early 2000s (named for earlier Emory presidents James E. Dickey and George Foster Pierce). The street going up to the left was formerly called Arkwright Drive and is now simply a sidewalk between Dobbs Hall and the Woodruff Physical Education Center and soccer field. (Preston Arkwright was an early 20th-century trustee and the first president of Georgia Power.)

What caught my attention in this photo is the overhead wires going up Arkwright Drive. They look like trolley wires, but they may be simply power lines serving nearby buildings.

Below is another photo of Dobbs Hall from roughly the same perspective in March 1960, two years before the addition of the back section of the building.

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I would love to hear from any former residents of the building who have stories about life in Dobbs.

Gary Hauk

 

Hallmarks of a good mace

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The seal of Emory University graces the ball at the foot of the university mace. The mace is housed in the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library.

Last week, the 173rd Commencement exercises at Emory brought the Emory University mace into prominence for me in two ways.

The first came in a question from Joe Moon, dean of campus life for Oxford College and the resident expert on the history of the Oxford campus. He sent the photograph below and asked what the marks on the back of the mace indicate.

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I thought the marks had something to do with the manufacture of the mace, and it turns out that, indeed, these are the hallmarks of the London artists who made it. The lion with the tail, second from the left, indicates nearly pure silver (there is also some gold), while the face of the lion next to it indicates that the mace was manufactured in London. The letter i on the far right indicates the date of manufacture, 1964. I’m not certain what the hallmark on the far left indicates, but it may signify the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, who “executed” the mace in silver and gold.

For a short description of how to read hallmarks, here is the website for the Assay Office in Birmingham, UK.  This additional link shows the letters that correspond to dates of silversmith production in London from 1956 through 1974.

Eric Clements, of Birmingham, England, designed the mace with the help of George Cuttino, long-time professor of medieval history and the chief marshal of Emory University from 1976 through Commencement 1984. (See this Emory Magazine article for more about the mace.) DVS, the Senior Society, presented the mace to Emory on January 25, 1965, during the convocation marking the fiftieth anniversary of the university’s charter in DeKalb County. The president of the Student Senate at the time, E. Culpepper (Cully) Clark 65C received the mace, and six months later he was the first president of the student body to carry the mace in a Commencement procession—a tradition that continues to this day.

In 1967–68, the student body restructured its governance by abolishing the Student Senate and establishing the Student Government Association (SGA), whose constitution was approved by President Atwood and the University Senate. The first SGA president to carry the mace at Commencement was Walter “Sonny” Deriso 68C 72L.

By happy coincidence, this year Sonny was also the first former president of the student body to march in the Commencement procession with the Corpus Cordis Aureum, the Golden Corps of the Heart—alumni who graduated fifty or more years ago.

Here Sonny shines in his golden robe with (left to right) Bob Goddard, chair of the Emory board of trustees; outgoing SGA president Gurbani Singh 18B; and President Claire Sterk.

50-year mace reunion

Commencement reminds us, as Dooley, says, that “students may come and students may go, professors may come and professors may go, presidents may come and presidents may go, but Dooley goes on forever.”

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The ball in the open teardrop at the top of the mace indicates the globe and is divided by stippling to connote the nine schools of the university. The cross on top signals Emory’s relationship to the United Methodist Church. Dooley watches over all.

Gary Hauk

The remarkable Sledds of Emory

Last Friday I had the privilege of meeting a descendant of one the makers of Emory history whom we celebrated during the university’s 175th anniversary observance in 2011.

Rebecca Sledd Williams 95C had emailed me weeks earlier to say that her son was looking at colleges and wanted to visit Emory. They would like to meet and hear a bit about the history of the place. Incidentally, she said, she is the great-granddaughter of Andrew Sledd and the granddaughter of James Sledd, Emory College Class of 1936.

The Emory career of Andrew Sledd offers a fascinating study of the risks inherent in the unfettered search for truth.

A graduate of Randolph-Macon College, in his native Virginia, Sledd came to Emory in 1898 with a master’s degree from Harvard. The next year he married Annie Florence “Foncie” Candler, daughter of former Emory president Warren Candler.

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Prof. Andrew Sledd, center, wearing fedora, appears with the Emory College Bicycle Club in the 1898 Zodiac yearbook of Emory College. Courtesy of Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library.

No doubt all would have gone smoothly in Sledd’s career had it not been for a particularly gruesome lynching near Newnan, Georgia. The story of mob violence against Sam Hose is told in horrific detail by Edwin T. Arnold in What Virtue There Is in Fire (University of Georgia Press, 2009) and in brief at the “New Georgia Encyclopedia” article on lynching.

The sheer barbarity of the incident outraged Sledd, who recognized lynching as a symptom of a wider disregard for the rights of African Americans under the law. In an article published in the Atlantic Monthly in July 1902, Sledd upbraided both northerners and southerners for their attitudes toward African Americans. But he leveled a broadside particularly against southern customs and laws, which effectively dehumanized African Americans. He denounced lynching as the lowest form of immorality and a complete abrogation of humanity.

Such a public stand took courage, and it incurred a swift penalty. Spurred on by Rebecca Latimer Felton, Georgia newspapers and citizens called with self-righteous fury for Sledd’s dismissal from Emory. Sledd sought to save the college’s reputation by resigning. To their everlasting shame, the trustees accepted his resignation. Historian Terry L. Matthews tells the full story here.

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Andrew Sledd, circa 1902

Sledd went on, the next year, to complete his PhD degree in classics at Yale, then became the founding president of the University of Florida (1904–1909) and, from 1910 to 1914, president of Southern University in Alabama.

Emory had an opportunity to redeem itself with respect to Professor Sledd, for when the Candler School of Theology was established in 1914, Sledd was among the first persons appointed to its faculty. As a professor of New Testament studies, he was a vital part of the theological modernism changing Southern Methodism in the 1920s—a liberal perspective that fostered critical thinking about the Bible in the historical context of its writing. When Biblical literalists took him and other Candler faculty to task for their views, the faculty found a defender in none other than Bishop Warren Candler, who was the chancellor of Emory University and as stalwart a bastion of “tradition” as there ever was. It may have helped Sledd that Candler was his father-in-law.

Sledd taught at Candler until his death from a heart attack in 1939. Eight of his nine children graduated from Emory–seven of them with Phi Beta Kappa keys–and two sons went on to academic careers of their own. James Sledd, who would teach English at the University of Chicago and the University of Texas, was one of Emory’s twenty Rhodes Scholars. A couple of letters from him to Professor Thomas H. English, his mentor at Emory, are part of the Thomas English Papers in the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library.

Bill Chace, president emeritus of Emory, has reminded me that James Sledd also taught at the University of California, Berkeley, where one of his doctoral students was JoAn Chace, a future first lady of Emory and faculty member in the Emory English Department.

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James Sledd, from the 1936 Campus yearbook in the Rose Library.

James was the grandfather of Rebecca Sledd Williams, who traveled from California with her son to see where her grandfather — whom she called the smartest man she ever knew — and her great-grandfather had lived the life of the mind, imbued by the liberal arts, to such a great and lasting impact.

Gary Hauk

The corner of Winship and Dobbs

As the new Campus Life Center (CLC) rises to its full height and fills out the space formerly occupied by the Dobbs University Center (DUC), it’s good to recall what used to occupy that site.

The wonderful aerial photo below shows progress on the CLC as of two weeks ago. The Emory campus of 2018 is packed. Amazingly, the scene includes the Woodruff Library (upper-right corner), the Goizueta Business School (top), most of Emory Hospital and the Emory Clinic, some medical research facilities, the School of Medicine, some Campus Life facilities, and the newer freshman residence halls to the lower left. It’s either a beehive or an anthill.

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In contrast, the aerial below, from the 1930s, shows a similar perspective but a less built-up campus. The spot now occupied by concrete pillars and steel beams was, back then, the location of one of the first two dormitories on the Druid Hills campus, Winship Hall. That building bore the name of the trustee who paid for it, George Winship, who had had an extraordinarily successful career in manufacturing and cotton. He died at the age of eighty-one in April 1916, just months before the opening of the dormitory that would bear his name.

In the photo, Winship Hall  stands between the oval athletic field and the 1927 dining hall/auditorium, which was expanded to become the Alumni Memorial University Center in 1950.

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Photo from Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Below is a close-up of Winship from the 1920s. Note the lovey autos! The basement of this building provided space for the first gymnasium on the Druid Hills campus, but it wasn’t much of a gym by our standards. According to Clyde Partin Sr., in Athletics for All (Bookhouse, 2006), the gym contained “parallel bars and other equipment–poles, weights, Indian clubs, punching  bags, and mats, . . . along with room for wrestling and boxing.”

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Photo from Rose Library

When the University needed to expand the 1950s-era AMUC in the 1980s to accommodate a larger student body and more student organizations, Winship Hall came down, and in its place rose the west wing of the DUC. The legacy of Winship remained in the name of the Winship Ballroom, on the second floor of the DUC.

R. Howard Dobbs, who made the lead gift to help build the DUC, also served as an Emory trustee following an eminently successful career with the Life Insurance Company of Georgia.

By coincidence, the other of the first two dormitories in Druid Hills–across the street from Winship and, later, the DUC–also bore the name of Dobbs. This was  Samuel Candler Dobbs Hall, named for a nephew of Coca-Cola Founder Asa Candler. Samuel was no relation to Howard.

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Dobbs Hall, built in 1916 across Asbury Circle from Winship Hall and shown here in 1960, still serves as a dormitory for first-year Emory College students. Photo courtesy of Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library.

Samuel Dobbs worked for uncle Asa at the Coca-Cola Company and eventually rose to become president of the company from 1919 until 1920. In that capacity, he hosted the annual Coca-Cola Convention for a photo op in front of “his” dormitory in January 1920.

In the photo below, Dobbs is the man with the handsome head of curly white hair seated between two women. The woman to his right is most likely Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans, the first woman to serve on the Coca-Cola and Emory boards. (A residence hall at Emory bears her name.) The man to Dobbs’s left is bishop and University chancellor Warren Candler, and to Warren’s left sits his brother Asa Griggs Candler Sr.Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 10.41.12 AM

As they look toward the then-empty space that would be filled by the Campus Life Center a century later, it would be interesting to hear their thoughts about the way the place has changed.

Gary Hauk