Special Collections acts as a unique resource

Kristen Maddox | Staff Writer | Sept. 4, 2019

Angie Yones | Art Director &
Lindsay Stevens | Managing Editor

Special Collections offers GC students access to valuable records and historical objects.

The staff at Special Collections can help students find anything to meet their needs. Special Collections preserves the life of local communities by keeping records, like archives, heirlooms and trial papers.

These archives are not only for history majors. Any students wanting to enhance projects, papers, or research are welcome to discover unique items and archives at Special Collections.

“There is so much more that’s available,” said Holly Croft, digital archivist and Assistant Professor of Library Science. “There are so many things that aren’t just online, and they can really, really make your projects so much better. So talk to your archivist and see what they can find.”

Special Collections protects and preserves history, so the rules for using the materials are essential. Archives must be handled with care. Students should not bend, trace or write on any documents. Food, drink, bags, personal books and papers are not allowed while students utilize materials.

“Just like if a friend was letting you borrow their books or clothes, you would return it to them in the same condition, if not better, than it was in when they gave it to you,” said Ashley Johnson, a freshman history major.

Milledgeville is the home of Flannery O’Connor, an American novelist, short story writer and essayist. GC Special Collections has over 7,000 of her drafts and completed works.

“We have approximately 300 books from her private library and correspondence to and from friends, colleagues and family,” said Nancy Davis-Bray, associate director for Special Collections.

Using anything from the Flannery O’Connor collection requires special rules. Students can only access her records by prearrangement and photocopying is not allowed under any circumstances.

Students cannot even bring a cell-phone with them while using O’Connor archives.

Johnson described using Special Collections to create a persona for her GC1Y project. The persona she created was a female student attending Georgia State College for Women from 1944 to 1945.

Her task was to write letters as this persona and use archives to back them up. When Johnson found student handbooks from the 1940s, she hit a treasure trove.

“The handbooks include everything a student needed to know,” Johnson said. “And comparing how things were on campus back then to now was definitely interesting.”

Special Collections is open 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. Monday through Friday. This is a valuable resource for any GC student and should be utilized for projects, research and more, but remember to handle these valuable items with care.

Researcher requests are available for students, however, it is not required that they are filled out with the exception of the O’Connor archives.