Category Archives: Rose Library

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.

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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.

The Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library holds copies of the History of the Emory Unit: Base Hospital 43, U.S. Army, American Expeditionary Forces. Author Joel Chandler Harris, whose papers also are housed in the Rose Library, had a hand in editing and publishing the book.

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; photo from Stuart A. Rose Library

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; photo from Stuart A. Rose Library

 

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; photo from Stuart A. Rose Library

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; photo from Stuart A. Rose Library

 

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; photo from Stuart A. Rose Library

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

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

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. The photos and cards are from the Robert W. Woodruff collection in the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library.

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

The water tower and the golfer

It stood above the campus like a sentry, as if to guard against drought and keep watch for welcome rain clouds on the horizon. In my recollection it was always blue, though not Emory blue–more like the blue of a robin’s egg.

It should have been painted white, with trompe l’oeil stippling to mimic the look of a golf ball. Because after I heard someone refer to it as “the Bobby Jones Memorial,” I could never again see it as anything but a golf ball on a tee. (Bobby Jones was the Emory alumnus who graduated from the law school in 1929 and went on, the following year, to become the only person ever to win the grand slam of golf. Some of his papers — and a bronzed golf shoe! — are held in the Stuart A Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library.)

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The old water tower on Emory’s campus resembled a golf ball on a tee. The tower appears here in the catalogue of the manufacturer.

The tower was installed in 1933 and made it into the pages of the November-December 1933 Emory Alumnus.

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By 2007 the water tower, in terms that Bobby Jones would have been familiar with, had become a waterless hazard. It had not held water since the 1980s, and improvements to maintain its structural integrity were estimated to cost several hundred thousands of dollars. While realigning Eagle Row to make way for new residence halls, the university dismantled the tower and recycled its steel.

I learned recently that Mathew Pinson, senior director of development in the Candler School of Theology, has a personal connection to that bygone tower. His great-grandfather, Bryan M. Blackburn, was employed by R.D. Cole Manufacturing Company in Newnan, Georgia, when he patented the design of the hundred-thousand-gallon tank. Mathew shared images of the design that was approved by the US Patent Office on February 20, 1934 (after the tower had been installed at Emory). The patent and the catalogue from the R.D. Cole Manufacturing Company are in the Pinson family archives.

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Great-grandfather Blackburn was a member of the twenty-fifth graduating class of Georgia Tech and began developing this design while he was a student.

Great thanks to Mathew for sharing these design images and the information about his ancestor.

Curiously, Emory University was not the only Emory with a water tower that resembled a golf ball on tee. Check out the one from Emory, Texas, below. I believe ours was built first–and unfortunately had to be removed first.

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Gary Hauk

End of an era

September 21, 2016, will mark sixty years since the most damaging fire in Emory’s history—a conflagration that began in the Administration Building’s fourth-floor offices of public relations and development (aren’t they always trying to set people on fire for Emory?) It was a Friday morning in 1956, little more than a year since the building had been dedicated.

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North end of Administration Building, now adjacent to White Hall, as it burned on September 21, 1956. Photos from Stuart A. Rose Library.

Most of the fourth floor suffered smoke damage, but all of the roof burned. A few days later Hurricane Flossie blew through Atlanta and poured rain onto the fourth floor.

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Firefighters clean up the president’s suite after the fire on September 21, 1956.

All this came to mind because, six decades after the building was dedicated, in 1955, the first major renovation of the board room is under way.

Here are trustees in the room after a meeting sometime in 1956-57. Not exactly a happy-looking group. Not very diverse, either, except for the shades of their suits.

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Emory Board of Trustees in the Administration Building board room, circa 1957.

The man seated fourth from the left is Goodrich C. White, Emory’s president at the time. To his left sits Charles Howard Candler, chair of the board, who would die in October 1957. His successor would be Henry Bowden, the tall man standing seventh from the left in the back row. Twenty-two years later, Bowden’s service as board chair would be honored by the naming of the board room for him on his retirement from service.

Bowden Board Room plaque

Over the years grew the tradition of commissioning oil portraits of presidents and board chairs on their retirement from office. Soon the walls became crowded. And people noticed that the galaxy of stars around the room was no more representative of the university demographics than that 1957 photograph of the board.

Here is the board room in 2015, from two different angles. The top photo shows (left to right) Presidents Cox, White, and Atwood. The bottom photo shows (left to right) board chairs Asa and Charles Candler, Bowden, Robert Strickland, and Brad Currey. Not visible, on the left in the bottom photo, are portraits of Presidents Laney and Chace.

Bowden Board Room portraits

This summer the room will be renovated to bring it technologically into the 21st century and update its furnishings and walls. The portraits will be re-installed in spaces and buildings that bear the names of the portraits’ subjects (except for Strickland and Currey, whose portraits will go to the Rose Library).

Meanwhile, here’s the Bowden Board Room stripped and waiting its new garb. The bottom photo shows the space where the board sat for its photo in 1957.

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More later, when the renovation is complete.

Gary Hauk