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Library Exhibits

Browse Exhibits (20 total)

A Race Against Time: Saving Atlanta's Photographic History


A Race Against Time: Saving Atlanta's Photographic History is an exhibit featuring photographs and negatives from Georgia State University’s Special Collections and Archives. Consisting of images from six photographic collecting areas: Lane Brothers Commercial Photographers, Tracy W. O’Neal, Ernest G. Welch, Tom Coffin, David Lennox, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Photographic Archives. These visual treasures document daily life in Atlanta and the region during the twentieth century.

This exhibit explores several different types of photography, from commercial to photojournalism, and the challenges of preserving a variety of photographic prints, negatives and born-digital materials of ever-changing technological formats. Over time, these unique images deteriorate, endangering our ability to provide access to the unique information about the many facets of public and private life as well as the built environment and natural world that only a photograph can provide.

The physical exhibit is housed at Georgia State University's Library Special Collections and Archives department from September 23, 2018 - July 1, 2019. For directions, please visit us Online.

This exhibit was created by Hilary Morrish, Archival Associate, and Michelle Asci, Photographic Technical Assistant, with the Special Collections and Archives department at the University Library. Thanks to William Hardesty, Assistant Department Head, and Spencer Roberts, Digital Scholarship Librarian, for their assistance with the creation of the exhibit. 

Bridging Communities: 50 Years of Collecting at GSU

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Founded in 1913, Georgia State University grew as it supported the educational needs of Atlanta and the state of Georgia. Originally an evening program intended for the Atlanta business community, the school achieved university status in 1969. With this new phase of academic growth, the administration focused on expanding the University Library’s ability to support advanced research. The Library’s Special Collections and Archives launched formally in 1971, with the mission of collecting rare and unique primary source material to support teaching and scholarship.  

Our first collections directly engaged the research needs of our faculty and students focusing on the people, communities, and events that shaped modern-day Atlanta, Georgia, and the New South. This focus on documenting the sometimes contentious, too often racist and sexist, but always fascinating story of modern-day Atlanta has led us to seek out and preserve the stories of everyday people. The stories maintained in our archives are not just of the powerful and famous, they are the stories of everyday people who recognized injustice and organized their peers, family, coworkers, and lives around rectifying that injustice and making Atlanta a more equitable city.  

Fifty years ago, our collections started with one box and a single collecting focus on southern labor unions. As our collecting areas have grown from one to nine, so has the department. Today our collecting areas -- Southern Labor, Photographs, Women’s, Gender & Sexuality, Music & Radio Broadcasting, Social Change, Rare Books, Pulp Literature, and University Archives -- consist of 8 miles of materials and several terabytes of digital content. Georgia State’s Special Collections & Archives gives researchers an in-depth view of life in 20th and 21st Century Atlanta and the Greater Southeast Region.  

This expansion of collecting has been possible only through creating connections to passionately engaged community partners. From the LGBTQ Institute and We Love BuHi to the Atlanta Journal Constitution and the AFL-CIO, Special Collections builds relationships with communities all over Atlanta and the South. The collections entrusted to us document the stories, accomplishments, and struggles of those communities. 

Bridging Communities introduces a few stories found in our collections, such as the women who organized domestic workers for basic work protections; a woman who recognized a need to support families of incarcerated mothers; a sanitation workers’ strike protesting continued discrimination in hiring and promotions, poor working conditions, and low pay; women fighting for equal rights; the University’s struggle with racial tensions on campus; a grassroots campaign to retain the musical director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra; and organizations working to assist the homeless and other marginalized groups. This exhibit is a testament to the important role archives play within the communities they serve.

Equal Playing Fields



The Women’s Collections at Georgia State University seek to tell the stories of women who fought for equal treatment in all aspects of society. This exhibit features the century-long fight for equality in women’s sports, the legislative action required to achieve it, and the controversy that still surrounds it today.  

Exhibit curated by Samantha Harvel

Fighting For Lady Liberty


The Women’s Collections at Georgia State University were founded in order to record and remember the efforts of women in Georgia who fought for the ratification of the ERA. This exhibit seeks to honor that original mission by tracing the history of the Equal Rights Amendment and by illustrating the work of the women who fought for it both nationally and here in Georgia.

This exhibit was curated by Samantha Harvel.

Five Points & Alice Hoffman: A Retrospective


This exhibit chronicles the relationship between Five Points: A Journal of Literature & Art and the author Alice Hoffman.

The exhibit was created by Georgia State University undergraduate student Jenissa Graham and Dr. Megan Sexton, co-editor of Five Points. Content and materials used in this exhibit were taken from the Five Points Collections housed in the Special Collections and Archives at Georgia State University.


Grady Hospital School of Nursing


Introduction to the Exhibit 

The Grady Memorial Hospital School of Nursing, chartered in 1898, was the first nursing school in Georgia and served as a cornerstone to the education and training of nurses in the region and across the United States. In 1917 the Municipal Training School for Colored Nurses at Grady was chartered, providing nursing education to black nursing students; these two programs were integrated in September 1964. During its tenure of 84 years, the School trained over 4,000 nurses as it grew and developed along with the field of nursing education. You can access the Grady School of Nursing Collection Digital Collection online


This exhibit was created by Kathleen LaPorte, a graduate student at The School of Public Health, Georgia State University, and graduate assistant for the Southern Labor Archives, Special Collections and Archives, University Library. Thanks to Spencer Roberts, Digital Scholarship Librarian, for his guidance and assistance with the creation of the exhibit and Traci Drummond, archivist for the Southern Labor Archives. The exhibit was created to commemorate the 120th anniversary of the founding of the Grady Memorial Hospital School of Nursing. 

Health Is a Human Right [Race and Place in America]

Health Is a Human Right [Race and Place in America] is a repurposing by the Georgia State University (GSU) Library and the GSU School of Public Health of elements from the CDC’s David J. Sencer Museum’s 2014 exhibition.

This exhibition examines some historic challenges of the past 120 years in achieving health equity for all in the U.S. We know that “race and place” are as important as personal choices in achieving our full potential. People with low-incomes, minorities, and other socially disadvantaged populations face significant inequities in opportunity for optimal health. This can lead to inequities in health, along the lines of race, ethnicity, and place.

This exhibit is an evolving, on-going project with input, research and up-dates from GSU students and faculty as lesson plans and curriculum related to the exhibit content are developed and implemented.

The physical exhibit is housed at Georgia State University College of Law. For information about how to view the exhibit in person, visit


The development of this website is supported by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health (NIH) under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012340 with the University of Maryland, Health Sciences and Human Services Library. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Curatorial assistance provided by Laurie Sedicino.
Omeka exhibit created by Sharon Leslie, Georgia State University Library.

Exhibit Team
Kim Ramsey-White
Laurie Sedicino
Stacie Kershner
Margaret Hooker
Sharon Leslie

Participating Faculty
Kimberly Cleveland
Iris Feinberg
Matt Gayman
Jeffrey Glover
John Steward
Cassie White

Digital Design Team
Eric Willoughby
Spencer Roberts


Emerson Elementary School Class Photo Courtesy of the San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.

Digital exhibit copyrighted by Georgia State University Library.

Johnny Mercer


Introduction to the Exhibit 

Even if you’re not aware of it, you’re probably already familiar with the music of Johnny Mercer. His songs, with their wide range of musical styles, have been heard by millions of people all over the world on recordings, radio programs, films, television programs, and Broadway shows throughout the past century.


This exhibit was created by Amber Moore and Michelle Leasure, Archival Assistants at Georgia State University, Special Collections and Archives. Thanks to Kevin Fleming, Archivist for the Popular Music and Culture Collections, and thanks to Michelle Asci for the banner image design. The exhibit was created to commemorate the legacy of Johnny Mercer and to support the mission of The Johnny Mercer Foundation. 

Additional Resources 

For regular updates and periodic collection highlights, follow The Johnny Mercer Foundation on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

More information on the life and career of Johnny Mercer can be found below: 


Kell Hall Digital Preservation Project

In 1945, the Georgia Evening College purchased the Bolling Jones Building, a parking garage and office building on Ivy Street in downtown Atlanta. Because the school had outgrown its previous home, Director George M. Sparks had found a large, centrally-located space to serve the expanding number of day and night school students, including veterans returning from World War II.

Originally built in 1925 as one of the first parking garages in the city, the Ivy Street Garage was renovated and opened to students in 1946. Since then, the building has served as a centerpiece in the downtown campus. In 1964, it was renamed Kell Hall to honor Wayne S. Kell, the original director of the school. Although the extensively-modified Kell Hall no longer suits the needs of a modern university, its legacy is worth preserving.

Kell Hall: Capturing the Legacy
is a collaboration between Georgia State University Library and the Student Innovation Fellowship to digitally preserve the histories, aesthetics, and experiences of Kell Hall to commemorate its place in the history of Georgia State University.

On the website, you can browse the collections of digital items we've gathered, read about Kell Hall's history, take a virtual tour of the building, and contribute your own stories to the project.

Out In The Archives


The Gender and Sexuality Collections at Georgia State University have grown rapidly since the first donation in 2011. Currently, the manuscript collections measure over 550 linear feet. An extensive periodical collection with over 670 titles includes more than 8,700 individual items, and almost 3,000 books have been donated. Further, 110 oral histories have been conducted by GSU staff and volunteers and 46 interviews have been donated by others.

This exhibit, curated by Morna Gerrard, Hilary Morrish, and Michelle Asci, highlights the parts of Atlanta's LGBTQ+ history that are most fully documented by the collections currently in our custody. It is by no means comprehensive. If you see a gap in the history, please help us to fill it by either offering us your own collections, or encouraging others to donate.

Passing the Torch of Activism

The struggle for rights, autonomy, and certain freedoms has been waged throughout human existence, and the torch of activism has been handed down from one generation to the next. Activism is defined as, “the policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change.” Dr. Martin Luther King inherited the legacy from Gandhi, who used such activist tactics to help end segregation. In light of recent events, such as Ferguson, Missouri, the enduring message of peaceful civil disobediance from Gandhi and King is as relevant as ever.

As George Santayana has been quoted as saying, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” A new generation needs to be mindful of maintaining and preserving these rights that previous generations fought so hard to attain.

Archives are repositories of primary resources. Georgia State University Library’s Special Collections and Archives are filled with information documenting individual and grass roots activism, from correspondence to protest signs. Firsthand accounts in GSU’s oral history collections serve to record activists’ times of “vigorous campaigning.”


Technologies of Knowledge

From ancient scrolls to digital narratives, the forms that knowledge takes influence how and what people write and read. This exhibit is based on the GSU Honors course “Technologies of Knowledge from Papyrus to iPad,” taught in Fall 2017 by Dr. Lindsey Eckert. The course explored how material and digital forms of knowledge crucially inform the history and future of ideas. The objectives of the course were that students develop skills for working with and analyzing rare books, innovate new ways to present research digitally, employ relevant vocabulary for analyzing print and digital literature, and question how technological innovations influence the creation and reception of knowledge.

Small groups of students “adopted” five rare books from GSU Library’s Special Collections & Archives. The students researched each book’s history and material characteristics then considered how best to share the book and their knowledge through this digital exhibition. By conducting in-depth bibliographic research, the students developed a comprehensive descriptive and analytical bibliography for each book.

We hope that you will enjoy and appreciate the extensive work that went into this exhibit.

The "Dawson Five": Crime, Race Relations in Georgia, and the Specter of Jim Crow

On January 22, 1976, Gordon B. Howell went into a convenience store outside Dawson, Georgia to buy some cigarettes. It was the last thing he ever did. Shortly after he entered the store, a group of men came in to rob it, and one of them murdered Howell. Within two weeks, the Terrell County Sheriff Department arrested five young, African American men: Roosevelt Watson, Henderson Watson, J.D. Davenport, Johnny B. Jackson, and James E. Jackson Jr. 

In time, the whole country would know them as the "Dawson Five."

The arrest and trial of the Dawson Five sparked a fierce debate about how much had changed in Georgia since the days of Jim Crow. As the case proceeded, Jimmy Carter became the first President from Georgia, and he had sought to convince voters that the South had put the worst of its past behind.  

Details revealed during the case left many people wondering if that was really true. All five suspects were African American, and they claimed that the police— all of whom were white —forced them to confess to a crime they didn’t commit. Millard Farmer, the Dawson Five’s attorney, believed that law enforcement's handling of the suspects reflected a deep, systemic bias among the region's populace. He told reporters, "A kid who is black and lives in Terrell County understands and knows he's going to be mistreated if he's arrested.”

This exhibit draws on the Millard Farmer Papers housed at Georgia State University's Special Collections and Archives to tell the story of the crime, the investigation, and the fight to free five innocent men. In addition to newspaper articles and records kept by Farmer's defense team, the exhibit also lets visitors hear Millard Farmer's personal account of the events, marked "In His Own Words." Finally, visitors can submit their own views toward the relationship between race, crime, and the justice system today. 

Exhibit created by William Greer.

The History of Radio Broadcasting in Georgia


A friend of mine said the other day: I never listen to radio anymore.....Then I started questioning him and I found that he still listened to radio in the morning when he got up...he still listened in his automobile...He still listened at dinnertime and he still listened when he went to bed....."Come to think of it," said my friend, "I guess I still listen to radio a heck of a lot and didn't realize it." - Promotion Script, ca.1960s

This exhibit documents the history of radio broadcasting in the state of Georgia over a 50 year period from its inception in 1922 through the 1970s.

The exhibit was created by Georgia State University graduate student Sara Patenaude and Popular Music and Culture Archivist Kevin Fleming in conjunction with John Long from the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame. Content and materials used in this exhibit were taken from the Radio Broadcasting Collections housed in the Special Collections and Archives at the Georgia State University Library and from the collections at the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame.

The exhibit was unveiled in October of 2013 coinciding with the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame’s 7th Annual Induction and Awards Ceremony.    

The Milk of Woman Kindness

The Women’s Collections at Georgia State University provide numerous examples of purposeful acts of kindness, as they document women and women’s organizations that give of themselves to organize, empower, assist and raise up other members of their communities. This exhibit, which is comprised of papers, records, oral histories and artifacts, highlights only some of these women and their benevolent activities.  Much, much more can be found throughout the collections. 

"The whole piece around organizing the community, giving back, realizing that…our purpose on Earth is to do something for others, was deeply instilled in our household, and that came to me from my mother.”  
Deborah Richardson oral history, May 14, 2008 

Exhibit curated by Hilary Morrish, Morna Gerrard and Caitlin Harris, exhibit design Michelle Asci