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Heritage Room

Visit the Heritage Room to research genealogy, local & Georgia history, and more!

Heritage Room Hours

  • Wednesday 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
  • Thursday 1:00 - 8:00 p.m.
  • Friday 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
  • Saturday 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
  • Sunday 2:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Please call (706-613-3650 ext 350) or email the heritage staff (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) if you have any questions.

Heritage Room News

May 2014 Events and Classes

Personal Digital Preservation Webinar: Bigger than a Shoebox

Thursday, May 1, 2014
Multipurpose Room A

For many of us, our correspondence, diaries, research, family photographs, oral histories, and personal expressions are created and saved in a variety of digital forms on multiple devices and platforms. That makes them easy to tote with us and access now, but will cause tremendous challenges when we think about accessing our digital objects in the future. Unlike the paper materials of the past that might begin to show signs of deterioration in thirty, fifty or one hundred years - digital materials may only have three-five years before we have difficultly accessing the content, not to mention handing them down to future generations!

Each of us needs to develop strategies for saving, accessing and migrating our personal digital materials. This live online class will examine some of the challenges of personal digital preservation and techniques that may be used to create a plan for long term access to digital materials. This class is provided by LYRASIS and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Division of Preservation and Access.

Registration is required.  Please call the Heritage Room at (706) 613-3650 x350 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to reserve your spot.

Wilbur G. Kurtz, Sr. visual arts collection, VIS 197, Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center

150 Years Later: The Battle for Atlanta

with Jim Miles, author of Civil War Ghosts of Atlanta
Saturday, May 3, 2014
Multipurpose Room C

Celebrate the sesquicentennial anniversary of the Atlanta Campaign with this compelling overview of the battle.  Author and historian Jim Miles will take attendees through the leaders, conditions, and forces involved, and trace the campaign as it unfolded from Dalton to Jonesboro.

Jim Miles is a retired high school social studies teacher and has written eight books about Civil War campaigns, two titled Weird Georgia, and three about Georgia Civil War ghosts.  He has been a historical adviser to two History Channel documentaries.

Registration is required.  Please call the Heritage Room at (706) 613-3650 x350 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to reserve your spot.

Books & Bites: American Afterlife: Encounters in the Customs of Mourning

with author Kate Sweeney
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Multipurpose Room A

Someone dies.  What happens next?

A family inters its matriarch's ashes on the floor of the Atlantic.  Another holds a memorial weenie roast at a green burial cemetery.  An 1898 ad for embalming fluid promises, "You can make mummies with it!" while a contemporary leading burial vault is touted as impervious to the elements.  Someone dies.  What happens next depends both upon our personal stories and where those stories fall in a larger tale--that of death in America.  Its a powerful tale.  And yet it's usually hidden from our everyday lives until it happens to us.

Books & Bites is a new Heritage Room brown bag lunch lecture series focusing on authors of historical works.  Join author Kate Sweeney for a delightfully morbid conversation about death, mourning, and mortuary practices.  Sweeney will discuss her research for the American Afterlife and the myriad records she consulted.  As the phrase goes, "History Buff: I'd find you more interesting if you were dead!"  This program is a must for genealogists and history lovers alike. Bring your brown bag lunch to enjoy during the conversation.  Coffee and water will be provided.

Registration is required.  Please call the Heritage Room at (706) 613-3650 x350 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to reserve your spot.

Athens Local History Book Club

Thursday, May 15, 2014
Heritage Conference Room

The Athens Local History Book Club will meet to discuss a selection of five articles from the Athens Historian:

  • Vipperman, Carl.  "The Power to Destroy: Taxation as a Cause of the Civil War," Athens Historian, Vol. 8, Fall 2003.
  • Goodloe, Erwin Y. "Stoneman's Raid and the Battle of Barber's Creek," Athens Historian, Vol. 10, Fall 2005.
  • Rice, Marion J. "Athens in 1860," Athens Historian, Vol. 12, Fall 2007.
  • Smedlund, William S.  "The Troup Artillery's "Sallie Craig," Athens Historian, Vol. 5, October 2000.
  • Gagnon, Michael.  "Industry and Discord in Confederate Athens," Athens Historian, Vol. 5, October 2000.

All volumes are available in the Heritage Room at the Athens-Clarke County Library.

The Importance of Family History in Your Memoirs

Saturday, May 17, 2014
Multipurpose Room A

Join William E. Bray and the Clarke-Oconee Genealogical Society for a presentation on using family trees and genealogy in writing your memoirs.

This program is co-sponsored by the Clarke-Oconee Genealogical Society and the Athens-Clarke County Library Heritage Room.  Light refreshments will follow the program.  Free and open to the public.

Getting Started with Genealogy

Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Heritage Conference Room

This class will help you get started with your family research.  This is a pre-beginning genealogy class.  Registration is required.  Please call the Heritage Room at (706) 613-3650 x350 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to reserve your spot.

April 2014 Events and Classes

Image of a Bank of Athens $20 dollar bill.

Money Talks: A Chronology of the Use of Currency in Georgia

Saturday, April 5, 2014
3:00 p.m.

To kick off Money Smart Week 2014, local author and historian Gary Doster will discuss the history of the use of currency in the South. Mr. Doster will showcase examples from his impressive collection of obsolete Georgia currency from the colonial period through the War Between the States.  A light reception generously donated by Home.Made Catering will follow the presentation.

Gary L. Doster was born in Athens and has lived in the area for most of his life.  Mr. Doster retired from a robust career with the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, headquartered at UGA's College of Veterinary Medicine, but continues to pursue his life-long interest in U.S., Georgia, and Athens history.  He has collected historical memorabilia and artifacts since childhood, and has published several books and magazine articles, most notably From Abbeville to Zebulon: Early Post Card Views of GeorgiaA Post Card History of Athens, GeorgiaDear Sallie, The Letters of Confederate Private James Jewel, Echols Light Artillery, Oglethorpe County, Georgia; Athens (in Arcadia Publishing Company’s Postcard History Series); and six other books published by Arcadia Publishing Company. Gary currently is involved with 10 other Athens historians in writing a book on early Athens history titled The Tangible Past in Athens, Georgia. The book is scheduled for release later in 2014.

Incorporating Business Ventures in Antebellum Athens

Monday, April 7, 2014
11:00 a.m.
Multipurpose Room A

As part of our week-long series of financial programming events in honor of Money Smart Week 2014, author and historian Dr. Michael Gagnon will talk about the nature of corporations in Athens by looking at the interconnections between banking, insurance, and the capital finance of railroads and factories. Dr. Gagnon will be signing copies of his book, Transition to an Industrial South: Athens, 1830-1870, published by Louisiana State University Press in 2012.  Copies will be available for purchase in the Library Store.

Dr. Michael Gagnon is Associate Professor of History in the School of Liberal Arts at Georgia Gwinnett College.  He is a graduate of Hall County public schools and served in the U.S. Navy as an enlisted person on a nuclear powered submarine. He has degrees from Gainesville Jr. College, Georgetown University, and Emory University. He began teaching college history courses in 1992. His next major project is a biography of Augustin Clayton, for whom Clayton County is named.

How Did We Get This Way?  Banking in Athens in the Last 50 Years

Wednesday, April 9, 2014
7:00 p.m.
Multipurpose Room B

As the final portion in the Heritage Room's historical treatment of finance and capital in Athens, as part of Money Smart Week 2014, life-long Athenian Peter Hodgson will discuss the history and legacy of the First National Bank of Athens, the local influence of the Southern Mutual Insurance Company, and the familial relationships that influenced investing in Athens, Georgia.

Peter Hodgson worked in the banking industry from 1970 to 2008.  While his métier covered many facets in banking, his entire career was in Athens with the First National Bank of Athens, which later became Sun Trust Bank.

Genealogy on the Internet

Monday, April 14, 2014
6:00 p.m.
Computer Training Lab

This is a brief introduction to the types of genealogy Internet resources. Participants will receive handouts so they can use the tools on their own. This is NOT a beginning genealogy class. Participants must know how to use a mouse and how to search the Internet with a search engine. Registration is free, but required. Class is limited to 10 people. If you are registered and cannot attend, please call and we will try to let someone else take your place.

Call (706) 613-3650, ext. 350, to register.

Local History Book Club

Thursday, April 17, 2014
6:00 p.m.
Heritage Conference Room

Join us for our discussion of Confederate Athens by Kenneth Coleman, available for checkout or for free online at the Digital Library of Georgia.  All ages and experience levels welcome!

From Amazon: "Kenneth Coleman's study of Athens, Georgia, during the Civil War focuses on what life was like for the 4,000 people living there. Despite the hardship and deprivation, life went on, heightened by the effects of war. Churches and schools remained the core of social life; women's groups continued to meet; parties and concerts added amusement to people's lives. But war did make drastic changes. People lost loved ones, and knew the hardship of living from day to day as prices soared and goods, once necessities, became unobtainable luxuries. Coleman weaves a broad and illuminating tapestry of a people who met a great challenge while managing to hold on to, for as long as possible, their peacetime ways."

Annual Heritage Room Book Clinic

with Ken Jewell of the National Library Bindery Company
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Heritage Room

Do you have cookbooks, family Bibles, or other treasured books whose bindings are becoming weak or are in need of repair?  Then bring them to the Heritage Room's Book Clinic, where Ken Jewell, a representative of the National Library Bindery Company, will be on-hand to give estimates and advise on repairing and re-binding your materials.  Books will be returned to the Library within two months and payment will be due in advance of pick-up.  No registration required; patrons will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis.  Questions?  Contact the Heritage Room at (706) 613-3650 x350.

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