Mapping Emory history

“Whose maps are we trying to read?” asks Rebecca Solnit in Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas. “And what are we trying to draw? It’s so common to live in a place without truly knowing its history, its systems, and the people who are different from you and who move through different versions of the city.”

I’ve been trying to read the different versions of Emory by viewing the maps stowed away in the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library. What do they tell me about the university’s history, systems, and people? Well, here is an example.

The map below bears the date 1950. Knowing what I do about the campus today, the first thing that strikes my eye is the vast vacancy to the right side of Clifton Road. Where now stand the law school and edifice upon edifice of clinics stretching from North Decatur Road up to the railroad tracks, there were, in 1950, a house, some apartments, a “grill & bookstore,” a “doctors’ bldg,” and a post office, which I happen to know also had a pharmacy next door.

Campus map 1950
Campus map, 1950, courtesy of Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

What I glean from this is that some Emory folks lived conveniently closer to work and study than nearly anyone does today. Faculty physicians occupied modest space. And commuters or visitors to the campus needed not a single concrete deck in which to park. President Goodrich White probably walked from his home at the corner of North Decatur and Clifton to his office, which was in Candler Library until the Administration Building was constructed five years later.

At the top of the map, I notice the words “federal dormitories” and “federal apartments.” How odd, that word “federal” on a private, church-affiliated campus.

The dormitories were built to accommodate the enrollment boom after World War II. Thomas English, in his 1965 history of Emory, describes them: “[T]hree Federal Public Housing dormitories were brought in and set up beyond the railroad, in which 384 men shivered in winter and baked in summer.” A generation reading “Li’l Abner” in the comic strips dubbed the place “Lower Slobbovia.” These “eyesores,” as English called them, remained until 1955. It’s hard to know what students born in the middle of the Depression and weaned on war rations thought of their accommodations, but most likely the humble dorms made graduation “a consummation devoutly to be wished for.”

The “federal apartments” were what English called “plywood and tar paper barracks . . . erected for married couples farther out Clifton Road, long to be remembered without affection as ‘Mudville.'”

Anyone out there reading this who may have dwelt in one or the other of these complexes, let me hear from you. I would love to hear about your experiences.

More maps anon.

Gary Hauk





The legend of the Wesley holly

A story passed down through the decades recounts the legacy of a visit by Bishop Warren Candler to St. Simons Island with his wife, Antoinette, sometime during his chancellorship of the university. (He was chancellor from 1915 until his retirement from the job in 1920.)

Both John and Charles Wesley, the founders of Methodism, had ministered to Native Americans and English colonists around Savannah and on St. Simons in 1736, shortly after the founding of the colony of Georgia. The Wesleys often preached outdoors, and tradition held that one particular large and impressive live oak tree on St. Simons had shaded the young Charles Wesley during a service of prayer and preaching. Some claim that John later preached there also. The tree came to be known as the Wesley Oak, and a photo of it appears in Lucian Lamar Knight’s Georgia Landmarks, Memorials, and Legends (1913–14, Vol. 1, p. 66).

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The Wesley Oak on St. Simons Island as it appeared in the first decade of the 20th century.

Knight described the tree as rising “to a height of some two hundred feet, while, over an area of several acres, its cool shade rests like a benediction.” Knight held out the suspicion that the tree may not have been the identical one that shaded the Wesleys, but he acknowledged that the tree’s size suggested that it no doubt harked back to the early colonial era.

A historical marker pointing to the former location of the tree can be seen on the web here. The tree suffered its demise sometime in the 1920s, and the historical marker reports that a cross made from its wood hangs near the pulpit in Christ Church Frederica on St. Simons (the cross is just visible behind the American flag in the photo below).

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The nave of Christ Church Frederica, St. Simons,

In a pilgrimage the Candlers made to that live oak, Nettie, as the bishop called her, spotted a small holly bush growing out of a crook of the tree—probably from a seed left by a bird in its droppings onto the shallow soil accumulated there. According to lore, Nettie uprooted the little holly and brought it back to Atlanta for transplanting on the Emory campus near the Old Theology Building.

Years later, that holly had grown huge, sinking deep roots, and it had to be removed to make way for new steam pipes under the Quadrangle. Groundskeepers took cuttings from it first, then rooted them and planted them around the campus. Here and there (in front of the Psychology and Interdisciplinary Sciences Building, for example, and at the corners of Bowden Hall and Candler Library, and around Glenn Memorial), descendants of that original East Palatka holly bush, the “Wesley Holly,” still flourish. They are offspring of the holly that grew from the bole of a live oak under which, according to tradition, the Wesleys once had preached.

Wesley Holly at Candler Library
A descendant of the original Wesley Holly, beside Candler Library.

Nettie herself was something of a landscape gardener, by all accounts—the first in a long line of stewards of the campus who have dedicated themselves to keeping it green and beautiful. Under her guidance the ravine behind the old law school building (now Michael C. Carlos Hall) was turned into a garden with an amphitheater spacious enough to serve as the site for Commencement in the 1920s. Called Antoinette Gardens to honor its chief overseer, the area reverted to wildness after the Commencement activities moved elsewhere in 1926. Now called Baker Woodlands, the ravine honors another early steward of the landscape, the late biology professor Woolford B. Baker.

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A view, circa 1925, of what is now Michael C. Carlos Hall from what was then Antoinette Gardens, now Baker Woodlands.

Gary S. Hauk

Emory’s other two-year college

Oxford College of Emory University has flourished over the past three decades and is now, more than ever, a sparkling jewel in the Emory crown. It is also unique in American higher education–a two-year college completely integrated into a major research university.

Many people are unaware, though, that Oxford College was not Emory’s first two-year division. That distinction belonged to a campus in Valdosta, Georgia, about ten miles from the Florida border and nearly 250 miles from Atlanta.

It’s not entirely clear why the citizens of Valdosta petitioned Emory in 1927 to create a two-year college in their town. The state had established a “normal college,” or teachers’ college, in 1906 but didn’t provide funds to open it until 1913. In 1922 the college was renamed Georgia State Woman’s College, so perhaps the dedication of the college to the education of women prompted the city’s leaders to look for gender balance from Emory, which at that time educated mostly men.

Whatever the reason, the request came at an opportune time. Emory College was revamping its curriculum to create a “lower division” and an “upper division,” essentially dividing the undergraduate student body into a two-year general-education college, after which students would specialize in their last two years. This concept translated easily to a campus almost in Florida. Students there could complete the same foundational courses as those on the Atlanta campus, then come to Atlanta for their last two years of baccalaureate work.

In 1928, with a gift of forty-three acres, a main building, and a $200,000 endowment from the city, Emory launched Emory-at-Valdosta. The building shown in the photo below served as the administration and classroom building.

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Emory-at-Valdosta, photo courtesy of Emory University Photograph Collection, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library.

The photo below, from the estate of Gardner B. Allen and held in the Rose Library collections, shows students, faculty, and administrators gathered on the steps of the Assembly Hall (now the AMUC) during “Junior College Day,” May 1930. Kneeling in front are, left to right, President Harvey Cox holding the hand of a little girl; Comer Woodward, dean of Emory-at-Oxford; William B. Stubbs 19C, dean of Emory-at-Valdosta; Goodrich White, dean of Emory College; and Theodore Jack, dean of the Graduate School. The children are unidentified. Stubbs, a Rhodes Scholar, had practiced law in Savannah before becoming the founding dean of the new junior college in Valdosta.

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During World War II, Emory closed the Valdosta campus and transferred faculty and students to Atlanta. For a short period after the war, enrollment climbed to nearly 250, but when the state decided to enlarge the women’s college and make it coeducational in 1950, the death knell sounded for the Emory junior college. As Emory’s higher tuition made competition with the state university challenging, enrollment at Emory-at-Valdosta slipped to sixty-five students in the spring of 1953. That May, the trustees of Emory, facing continuing deficits at the junior college, voted to offer the campus and its endowment to the University System of Georgia. The regents quickly accepted and incorporated the land and buildings into Valdosta State.

The original Emory building still stands on Pendleton Drive in Valdosta, now surrounded by other, more imposing structures that are part of the state university and the South Georgia medical Center.

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Satellite view from Google Maps.

Nowadays Pound Hall, as it’s called, houses the Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration.

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Gary Hauk


Doggerel for the Class of ’77

One delight of my job is the invitations I receive to speak to various gatherings about days of yore at Emory. Such a gathering occurred during Homecoming last month as the Emory College Class of 1977 convened in Ackerman Hall of the Carlos Museum to renew friendships and swap reminiscences.

Emory Morsberger, who had served as Student Government Association president during the class’s senior year, recalled the astonishing fact that he won the Domino’s Pizza–sponsored pizza-eating and beer-drinking contest. What was astonishing about the event was not who won it—the identity of the victor is really immaterial—but that the university sanctioned the event at all. The drinking age in those years was 18. But still . . . Bishop Candler surely was turning in his grave.

Charged with the task of commemorating the class’s era in seven minutes or less, I went to work in Rose Library digging through the Campus yearbook, the Emory Wheel, and other sources, then penned a bit of doggerel to read aloud. For those readers who have memories of the era, some of the lines may ring with a note of familiarity.

Epic of the Class of Seventy-Seven

It was back in the autumn of seventy-three

When the Watergate scandal was raging,

And the gas lines were long because OPEC was strong,

And your parents were all middle-aging.


Pharrell Williams and FedEx were born in that year,

Hip hop launched a new genre of music.

On the other hand, Bruce Lee, Picasso, Jim Croce

All fell to the Grim Reaper’s choosing.


By the time that year ended King beat Bobby Riggs,

Nixon told the press “I’m not a crook.”

And the people before me—alumni/alumnae—

Had taken to life with a book.


It was then, as I’m sure you remember quite well,

That you came in your tie-dyes and blue jeans

To this old Druid Hills with its woodlands and rills,

Trading family and home scenes for new scenes.


And the fall of your first year at Emory was wild:

A Dooley’s Den coffee house opened;

Yom Kippur brought a war; gas prices still soared,

But at Horton’s, The Grille kept you copin’.


The dean who made Wonderful Wednesday resigned,

While the president looked toward retirement.

He enjoyed his pipe smoke while the students would toke,

Though today’s smoke-free campus would fire him.


In the fall of your second year traipsing the Quad

You could hear a quite famous exhorter,

As the great Margaret Mead told the students, “Take heed—

Your tuition’s nine-fifty a quarter!”


There was fear that old Emory was just for the rich,

While financial aid needed some boosting.

Meanwhile AMUC, alas, didn’t have enough class

As a place to support student roosting.


Through the culture at large there pervaded a sense

Of bleak doom that the era was rousing.

Yet if all went to pot, the doom simply would not

Put a damper on campus carousing.


By the time you were juniors a theme had emerged

In the pages of Campus, the yearbook:

Every party and dance seemed to offer a chance

For each student to have their own beer truck.


As September of seventy-six rolled around

You were wrestling with things existential:

Should you plan on more school, find a job, or play cool?

Meanwhile questions arose presidential.


For the nation was voting that fall to decide

Between Ford and our own peanut farmer.

While much closer to home, Sandy Atwood made known

He would take off his president’s armor.


As the board of trustees got a search underway

For the seventeenth leader of Emory,

Lots of other good things came on stage from the wings—

Let me name some and freshen your memory.


In November Theology remade its home

As a library, painting it pink.

Although students were pissed for the chapel they missed,

They soon left off from causing a stink.


In curricular matters, ten years of hard work

By a Methodist chaplain named Boozer,

Endowed a chair newish for studies quite Jewish.

David Blumenthal, hats off to you, sir.


At the business school two million dollars was tabbed

For enhancing the school’s future picture.

Soon a three-story stack was tacked onto the back,

And the Rich Building thus became—richer!


On the student front, life often felt like a grind,

Or so said a Wheel editorial.

The inadequate gym, dormitories quite dim,

And the ancient Alumni Memorial


Raised the question if twenty-five years farther on

There would be any student activities.

Surely something must change to address the full range

Of students’ creative proclivities.


As the search for a president grew more intense,

Unfortunately so did the winter.

That year it was colder than Aspen or Boulder—

Even Yankees at Emory felt bitter.


Well, the spring soon arrived, and the trustees announced,

After being with questions just peppered,

That theology deans were the stuff of their dreams—

They chose Laney to be Emory’s shepherd.


As you marched on the Quad in regalia in June

To receive your new-minted diplomas,

You may have felt shaken, as if now awakin’

From four-year-long undergrad comas.


For the world now before you was risky and cold

When compared to your warm alma mater.

But you went forth with grace and a smile on your face

Marked by Emory’s hard-won imprimatur.


Forty years have flown by in the blink of an eye.

Here you are for a wondrous regathering.

I have talked long enough about lots of old stuff

And should leave you to drinking and chattering.


But before I sign off, let me offer a toast

To the spirit with which you have leavened

Your Old Emory dear. Let us give a loud cheer

To the Class of Seventy-Seven!


Gary S. Hauk

Read to the reunion of the Emory College Class of 1977

At Carlos Reception Hall, October 21, 2017


Emory then and now                         1977                              2017

Fall enrollment (total)                        7,572                           15,252

Varsity athletic teams                               8                                   18

Full-time faculty                                   904                              3,000+

Degrees conferred                            2,010                                4,721

Total operating budget             $136.3 million                 $4.8 billion

Sponsored research                      $25.7M                             $628M

Endowment market value      approx. $165M            $6.5B (8/31/16)


An old building’s makeover

In an earlier chapter of my life, I worked for three years as the reference librarian in the Pitts Theology Library at Emory. The building fascinated me almost as much as the gargantuan collection of books, one of the finest assemblages of theological materials in the country.

Built in 1916, the Old Theology Building, as it is now called, is undergoing a renaissance. Part of the makeover includes its name. For sixty years it was simply the Theology Building, then for another forty the Pitts Theology Library. With the move of the Candler School of Theology into the Rita Ann Rollins Building in 2009 and the transfer of Pitts into new quarters in 2014, the heavily worn and now empty building became simply “Old Theology.”

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The Theology Building, circa 1920. Courtesy of Stuart A. Rose Library, Emory University.

Designed by the great Beaux Arts architect Henry Hornbostel, the Theology Building was half of a pair of twins that comprised the only academic buildings on the new campus in 1916. (The other was the Law Building, now Carlos Hall, which mirrors Theology.)

The building was both elegant and spare. Hornbostel’s sweeping staircase had little ornamentation, and the entrance foyer was minimalist.

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Early view of the Theology entrance foyer.

On the other hand, the wood-paneled office of Chancellor Warren Candler–later the theology dean’s office and then the theology librarian’s–had a marble fireplace that is being restored to working order with gas-burning logs.

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The chancellor’s fireplace.

Amazingly, work crews stripping away old drywall this summer uncovered a long-forgotten fireplace below the chancellor’s office. This, too, will be restored to working order.

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Basement fireplace below the chancellor’s.

In the early years, the building served as a kind of attic for the University. Whatever they didn’t have room for elsewhere went into Theology. When Emory College moved from Oxford in 1919, the college dean had his office in Theology briefly, and the college library was squeezed into the basement until the Asa Griggs Candler Library was built in 1926.

For most of its life, the building served the theology school as library, offices, classrooms, and chapel.

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Library reading room, circa 1930.


Then, in 1974, Emory acquired a 220,000-volume collection of rare books being sold by the Hartford Theological Seminary, and the entire building was made into the Pitts Theology Library. Paul Rudolph, dean of the Yale School of Architecture and son of the first graduate of Candler School of Theology, redesigned the interior of Old Theology to incorporate steel mezzanines in all the rooms, and fill the space with shelves. The chapel became a book-filled reference room.

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This second-floor room, once filled with shelves of books, will become offices after restoration of the Old Theology Building.
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The view from the second story, once blocked by an exterior steel fire escape, now looks onto Rudolph Courtyard and the new theology buildings. The fire escape will be replaced by interior fire stairs.
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Chapel service, circa 1950s. Courtesy of Stuart A. Rose Library.


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The former chapel will be revived as a place for University events.

In many ways, the restoration of the building will accomplish what Henry Hornbostel may have intended by his original design–a work that pays homage to the past through its neoclassical revival, while making room for engaging the present and preparing for the future. Fitted with high-tech digital capabilities, the restored building will also preserve the ornamentation and whimsical touches of its creator.

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Interior of ornamental window in Old Theology.

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View from window to molding around entrance. Under the eaves, Henry Hornbostel alternated ornamental crosses with crowns of thorns to note that this was the Theology Building.

When it reopens sometime in 2019, the Old Theology Building once again will be a shining jewel on the Quadrangle.

Gary Hauk

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

Unlucky DUC

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.

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The exhumed time capsule, still sealed until 2036.
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Explanatory plaque that had been set into the ground above the buried time capsule.

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.

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Time capsule was buried near the large shrub just above the truck with the white cab, lower right.

Gary Hauk