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Richard Holmes Powell Papers

Overview

Abstract

Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Biographical Materials and Board of Trustees Minutes

Correspondence

Correspondence

Special Topics

Articles and Speeches

Babylonian Clay Tablets

Correspondence (Duplicates)

Special Topics (Duplicates)

Articles and Speeches (Duplicates)

Academic Regalia



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Richard Holmes Powell Papers, 1895-1933 | Valdosta State University Archives and Special Collections

By Deborah S. Davis and Amy R. King

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Collection Overview

Title: Richard Holmes Powell Papers, 1895-1933Add to your cart.View associated digital content.

ID: UA/2/1/1

Primary Creator: Powell, Richard Holmes (1875-1947)

Extent: 10.0 Boxes

Subjects: Alfred Powell, Annie Powell Hopper, Arthur Powell, Ashley Hall, B.D. Purcell, Babylonian Clay Tablets, Banks, Edgar James, 1866-1945, Board of Trustees, Agricultural, Industrial, and Normal College of South GA, Byron Bower, Charles Snelling, Commencement Addresses, Converse Hall, Edith Patterson, Erle Cocke, Hughes Spalding, J.F. Wood, Lucian Lamar Knight, May Day Festival, Morton Turner, Old English Christmas Festival, Powell, Betsy, Rev. Richard W. Wallace, T.B. McDowell, Training School South Georgia State Normal College (SGSNC), University Sytem of Georgia Board of Regents, West Hall

Languages: English

Abstract

Dr. Richard Holmes Powell was the first president of South Georgia State Normal College.  He was elected in 1911 by the Board of Trustees, and served for 22 years (1911-1933).  Dr. Powell was born in Blakely, Georgia, in 1875.  He received an A.B. from Mercer University in 1894, an M.A. from the University of Colorado in 1898, and an honorary LL.D. from the University of Georgia in 1924.  He married Freida Berens in 1907, and they had three sons: Alfred, David and Richard; and one daughter, Elizabeth (Betsy).

Prior to his appointment at SGSNC, Powell held several distinguished positions in his career as an educator/administrator.  He was the principal of the Tennille (Ga.) Institute (1984-96); the head of the English department at the  New Mexico Normal School in Las Vegas, N.M. (1898-1903); and associate professor of English and history at the Colorado State Normal School in Greeley, Colo. (1903-06).  Powell returned to Georgia in 1906, and was the head of the English department at the Georgia Normal and Industrial College in Milledgeville (1906-10).  He later became the State Supervisor for Rural Education (1910-11), then accepted the post as president of SGSNC.

Powell was integral to the establishment and development of SGSNC.  He was on the committee that selected the Spanish-style architecture, and oversaw the construction of the first buildings on campus, including West Hall, Converse Hall, and Ashley Hall.  He possessed a keen sense of duty regarding the educations of the young ladies at the school, and sought nothing but the best for them, including teachers and amenities.

The school opened its doors to students in 1913.  During Powell's tenure, it evolved from a high school and junior college to one offering a four-year, bachelor's degree program. This is remarkable, considering the country was struggling with a lagging post-WWI economy that drifted into the Great Depression.  Money was always a struggle, yet under Powell's direction, the school weathered the rough spots and continued to grow.  In 1922, the school's name was changed to Georgia State Womans College at Valdosta by a legislative act, and a four-year degree program was offered.  The last high school class graduated in 1927, and requirements for faculty were strengthened-- new faculty hires had to have a master's degree.  GSWC became a fully-accredited liberal arts and teachers' college in 1931.

Many student activities and traditions were established during Powell's presidency, including a Medieval Christmas Festival and May Day Festival.  GSWC publications include the Pine Branch, established in 1917; Campus Glimpses, started in 1920; and the Pine Cone, the school yearbook, began in 1924.

The newly-formed Regents of the University System of Georgia reassigned Powell in 1933 as president of the Co-ordinate College in Athens.  His departure greatly upset the College and Valdosta communities.  He retired in Athens in 1946, and was killed in an automobile accident there on June 2, 1947.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The papers in this collection are of particular interest and importance.  They are the earliest records of establishing a college in Southwest Georgia, and clearly indicate the city of Valdosta's and Lowndes County's desire to have an institute of higher learning.  Powell took his job as the first president of the College very seriously, and this is reflected in his writings and correspondence.  His papers outline the struggles of literally starting a school from the ground up, and deal with issues such as construction, finances, faculty and students. The bulk of the collection is comprised of correspondence with various education officials, such as the school's Board of Trustees, the chancellor of the University System of Georgia, and, in later years, members of the Board of Regents.  Part of this collection are two bound volumes of meeting minutes of the Board of Trustees, which include Powell's annual report on the state of the College from 1911 to 1931.  These reports provide an excellent yearly analysis of the trials and tribulations involved with managing all aspects of a developing school.  Some of Powell's additional writings include the history of some of the College's early traditions, such as the May Day and Christmas festivals.  He was also a sought-after speaker, and many of his speeches, both to GSWC students and statewide civic associations, are part of this collection.  These addresses reveal his commitment to education, and how strongly important he felt it was.  Powell was also a very scholarly man, and we are fortunate to have some of the papers he submitted as part of his undergraduate and graduate work.  Thanks to Powell's daughter, Betsy, the collection includes a variety of photographs, spanning the years 1913-1940.  These include snapshots of life at the College as well as some family pictures.  Lastly, true prizes of the collection are ten Babylonian clay tablets, of which eight are in excellent condition.  During his stint as a Red Cross volunteer during World War I, Powell acquired the tablets from Edgar J. Banks, also known as "the original Indiana Jones." Each tablet is accompanied by a translation of the cuneiform writing. Powell brought the tablets back to Valdosta for the College students' benefit.  The tablets have been scanned and are on online exhibit with their translations and history.  Three boxes of duplicates of most of Powell's original papers are part of the collection.  Researchers will be given a duplicate to review when available, rather than an original document.  This is an effort to preserve the historical first documents of the College.  The final box contains the hood of Dr. Powell's academic regalia.

Biographical Note

Dr. Richard Holmes Powell was the first president of South Georgia State Normal College.  He was elected in 1911 by the Board of Trustees, and served for 22 years (1911-1933).  Dr. Powell was born in Blakely, Georgia, in 1875.  He received an A.B. from Mercer University in 1894, an M.A. from the University of Colorado in 1898, and an honorary LL.D. from the University of Georgia in 1924.  He married Freida Berens in 1907, and they had three sons: Alfred, David and Richard; and one daughter, Elizabeth (Betsy).

Prior to his appointment at SGSNC, Powell held several distinguished positions in his career as an educator/administrator.  He was the principal of the Tennille (Ga.) Institute (1984-96); the head of the English department at the  New Mexico Normal School in Las Vegas, N.M. (1898-1903); and associate professor of English and history at the Colorado State Normal School in Greeley, Colo. (1903-06).  Powell returned to Georgia in 1906, and was the head of the English department at the Georgia Normal and Industrial College in Milledgeville (1906-10).  He later became the State Supervisor for Rural Education (1910-11), then accepted the post as president of SGSNC.

Powell was integral to the establishment and development of SGSNC.  He was on the committee that selected the Spanish-style architecture, and oversaw the construction of the first buildings on campus, including West Hall, Converse Hall, and Ashley Hall.  He possessed a keen sense of duty regarding the educations of the young ladies at the school, and sought nothing but the best for them, including teachers and amenities.

The school opened its doors to students in 1913.  During Powell's tenure, it evolved from a high school and junior college to one offering a four-year, bachelor's degree program. This is remarkable, considering the country was struggling with a lagging post-WWI economy that drifted into the Great Depression.  Money was always a struggle, yet under Powell's direction, the school weathered the rough spots and continued to grow.  In 1922, the school's name was changed to Georgia State Womans College at Valdosta by a legislative act, and a four-year degree program was offered.  The last high school class graduated in 1927, and requirements for faculty were strengthened-- new faculty hires had to have a master's degree.  GSWC became a fully-accredited liberal arts and teachers' college in 1931.

Many student activities and traditions were established during Powell's presidency, including a Medieval Christmas Festival and May Day Festival.  GSWC publications include the Pine Branch, established in 1917; Campus Glimpses, started in 1920; and the Pine Cone, the school yearbook, began in 1924.

The newly-formed Regents of the University System of Georgia reassigned Powell in 1933 as president of the Co-ordinate College in Athens.  His departure greatly upset the College and Valdosta communities.  He retired in Athens in 1946, and was killed in an automobile accident there on June 2, 1947.

Subject/Index Terms

Alfred Powell
Annie Powell Hopper
Arthur Powell
Ashley Hall
B.D. Purcell
Babylonian Clay Tablets
Banks, Edgar James, 1866-1945
Board of Trustees, Agricultural, Industrial, and Normal College of South GA
Byron Bower
Charles Snelling
Commencement Addresses
Converse Hall
Edith Patterson
Erle Cocke
Hughes Spalding
J.F. Wood
Lucian Lamar Knight
May Day Festival
Morton Turner
Old English Christmas Festival
Powell, Betsy
Rev. Richard W. Wallace
T.B. McDowell
Training School South Georgia State Normal College (SGSNC)
University Sytem of Georgia Board of Regents
West Hall

Administrative Information

Repository: Valdosta State University Archives and Special Collections

Processing Information: Partial support for this project came from the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Board, The Georgia Archives, Office of the Secretary of State.  Amy R. King of the VSU MLIS program and Deborah S. Davis, completed March 2003. Thank you to Steven Brown and the University Archives of the University of Georgia for extra information on President Powell in Athens.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Box:

[Box 1: Biographical Materials and Board of Trustees Minutes],
[Box 2: Correspondence, 1912-1933],
[Box 3: Correspondence, 1933],
[Box 4: Special Topics],
[Box 5: Articles and Speeches],
[Box 6: Babylonian Clay Tablets],
[Box 7: Correspondence (Duplicates), 1912-1933],
[Box 8: Special Topics (Duplicates)],
[Box 9: Articles and Speeches (Duplicates)],
[Box 10: Academic Regalia],
[All]

Box 5: Articles and SpeechesAdd to your cart.
Folder 1: Powell Papers-'Some Dramatic Elements of York Mystery Plays', 1896Add to your cart.
Paper titled 'Some Dramatic Elements of The York Mystery Plays A Paper Prepared for and Read before Prof. Tolman's Class in Old English Drama University of Chicago Dec. 15 1896.' Typed.
Folder 2: Powell Papers-'Attitude of Thomas Gray to the Romantic Movement', 1902Add to your cart.
Paper titled 'The Attitude of Thomas Gray to the Romantic Movement as Shown by His Critical Writings.' A class report prepared in the seminar of Professor McClintock in the Beginnings of the Romantic Movement at University of Chicago 1902.  Handwritten and typed copies with handwritten notes.
Folder 3: Powell Papers-'Historical Background of Shakespeare'Add to your cart.
Paper titled 'The Historical Background of Shakespeare' 27 pages typed no date
Folder 4: Powell Papers-Cardinal Newman and John Stuart MillsAdd to your cart.
Paper titled 'Cardinal Newman and John Stuart Mills: Two Nineteenth Century Minds' handwritten no date.
Folder 5: Powell Papers-'Motor Education Demanded by Race History'Add to your cart.
Paper titled 'Motor Education Demanded by Race History.' Typed paper no date.
Folder 6: Powell Papers-The Story of Santa Claus Satan and Sunny Sammy 1911, 1911Add to your cart.
Powell's story 'Santa Claus Satan and Sunny Sammy' dated 1911.  Handwritten on 5 X 7 paper.
Folder 7: Powell Papers-Brief Plans and Historical Sketch of SGSNCAdd to your cart.
'Historical Sketch of the South Georgia State Normal College' five typed pages no date 'A Short Outline of Plans for the South Georgia Normal College' two pages typed no date
Folder 8: Powell Papers-'What is College For?' by Woodrow Wilson, 1914Add to your cart.
'What is College For?' by Woodrow Wilson three pages typed no date.
Folder 9: Powell Papers-President's Opening Address 9-1-1916, 1916Add to your cart.
Powell's opening address for the school  SGSNC on Sept. 1 1916 as printed in the Bulletin
Folder 10: Powell Papers-Commencement & Baccalaureate Addresses at GSWC Early years to 1929, 1910-1929Add to your cart.

Baccalaureate-Commencement Addresses as follows

Handwritten no year 1924 as printed in Bulletin 1926 as printed in Bulletin 1928 typed copy 1929 typed copy also copy of VDT with same address.

Folder 11: Powell Papers-Commencement & Baccalaureate Addresses at GSWC 1930-33, 1931-33Add to your cart.

Commencement and Baccalaureate-Commencement Addresses as follows

1930 handwritten 1931 typed draft with notes and 1933 typed.

Folder 12: Powell Papers-Women's Club Convention Address, 1923Add to your cart.
Speech titled 'Relation of the State Womans College to the Woman's Work of the State.'  This speech was given to the eleventh district convention of womans clubs in Valdosta. Published 'by request of the convention.'
Folder 13: Powell Papers-Proposal for Joint Investment for Valdosta SchoolsAdd to your cart.
Paper titled 'Proposal of a Joint Investment for The College the City of Valdosta and the City Schools' handwritten no date. Perhaps working copies of such plans--hard to read in places.
Folder 14: Powell Papers-Various Speeches, 1923Add to your cart.
Two items  Typed paper seven pages addressed to 'Mr. Chairman' on the principles of a college education no date several copies and thirteen page written paper possibly a commencement address  written on combination of Henry Grady Hotel and GSWC stationery no date.
Folder 15: Powell Papers-Speech Business OrganizationsAdd to your cart.
Speech to business organizations seven handwritten pages draft form.  Refers to College and Training School but no date.
Folder 16: Powell Papers-Speech to Confederate Veterans and UDCAdd to your cart.
Speech given to Confederate Veterans and United Daughters of the Confederacy.  Sixteen typed pages with handwritten notes.  Also enclosed is undated newspaper clipping regarding the finding of R.E. Lee's order disbanding the Confederate Army
Folder 17: Powell Papers-Speech Training of Teachers, 1913-1933Add to your cart.
Paper titled 'The Training of Teachers.' Typewritten five pages draft copy.  No date or audience listed but written while he was President of GSWC.
Folder 18: Powell Papers-Commencement Address Cuthbert Ga. 5-29-31, 1931Add to your cart.
Commencement address given by Powell to graduating high school class in Cuthbert, Ga. on May 29 1931.

Browse by Box:

[Box 1: Biographical Materials and Board of Trustees Minutes],
[Box 2: Correspondence, 1912-1933],
[Box 3: Correspondence, 1933],
[Box 4: Special Topics],
[Box 5: Articles and Speeches],
[Box 6: Babylonian Clay Tablets],
[Box 7: Correspondence (Duplicates), 1912-1933],
[Box 8: Special Topics (Duplicates)],
[Box 9: Articles and Speeches (Duplicates)],
[Box 10: Academic Regalia],
[All]


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