April is National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month, so the Georgia Heritage Room today honors Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Steven Vincent Benet, who was born in 1898, and spent his early years living in the Benet House, built sometime between 1827 and 1829 and serving as officer’s quarters at the old arsenal. The house was named for Steven Vincent Benet’s father, Col. James Walker Benet.



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National Library Week

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The Georgia Heritage Room is celebrating National Library Week with an exhibit highlighting the history of the Augusta Public Library. The exhibit is located on the third floor of the headquarters library at 823 Telfair Street.

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National Library Week Exhibit

The eighteenth century origin of the Augusta Library is a bit convoluted, but sometime between the two recorded dates of 1732 and 1750, Augusta, Georgia saw the formation of its first public library. In the early 1830s a number of wealthy benefactors from Britain donated books for a public library in the colony, many of which arrived on the ship, Charming Nancy. In Augusta, public sentiment was high for the formation of a library, and by 1750, Augusta had ten titles listed in the Catalogue of Augusta’s First Library, for public use.

Several groups and societies were involved in the early establishment of the public library; among them, The Augusta Library Society (1730), and The Thespian Society and Library Company of Augusta (1808), but finally in 1848, with the formation of the Young Men’s Library Association, Augusta’s first official public library was opened. The Young Men’s Library Association and Reading Room was opened on March 13, 1848. By 1855, the library housed 2,000 volumes, which had grown to 12,000 by 1908. Until 1926, when the library was moved into the Old Richmond Academy Building, several locations were home to the growing collection, and sadly the library was temporarily closed in 1906 due to a lack of funding.

The library remained in the Richmond Academy Building until 1960 when all 103,542 volumes were moved to the newly constructed midcentury modern facility designed by architects, Eve and Stulb, on the corner of 9th and Greene Streets. Finally, the library had a permanent home, until June 25, 2010 when it was moved to its present location on Telfair Street.

In honor of National Library Week, Sunday, April 12-Satuday, April 18, 2015, the Georgia Heritage Room is hosting an exhibit honoring the history of the Augusta Public Library. The display is located on the third floor of the Headquarters Library at 823 Telfair Street.

Catalogue of Augusta’s First Library
199 Years of Augusta’s Library by Berry Fleming

Common Prayer Books, 22 copies
Companion of the Sick, 12 copies
Duty of Man, 13 copies
Faith and Practice of a Church of England Man, 12 copies
Help and Guide to Christian Families, 20 copies
How to Walk with God, 50 copies
Spelling Books, 12 copies
The Great Importance of a Religious Life Considered, 6 copies
The Young Christian Instructed, 12 copies

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Spirit of the Centuries

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On exhibit through April, a collection of St. John United Methodist Church historic and current documents highlighting its founding in 1798 as the first Methodist church in Augusta, Georgia to the present.

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Preserving Memories: Heritage Scrapbooking Class

scrapbooking flyer

Preserving Memories: Heritage Scrapbooking Class
Monday, April 27
2:00 pm
In honor of Preservation Week, April 26-May 2, the Georgia Heritage Room will offer a scrapbooking workshop with the Library’s own, Aspasia Luster. Learn artful ways of preserving old family pictures, memorabilia and documents within the pages of a beautiful scrapbook. Some supplies included, but feel free to bring your own. This class is limited to ten participants, so call to register (706) 826-1511.

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An Ecological History of the CSRA

SREL program

An Ecological History of the Savannah River Valley
Saturday, April 25  1:00 pm
Carol Eldridge of the University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory will be here to present a program on the natural history and ecology of the CSRA. She will discuss major habitats of the area, including, wetlands, bottomland hardwood forests, and sand hills. Accompanying Ms. Eldridge will be several live animals native to the various habitats. Great program for the whole family! The event is free and open to the public. Please call (706) 826-1511 for details.



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The Georgia Heritage Room regrets to announce that the program FROM DEVIANCE TO DEATH ROW: A HISTORY OF WOMEN’S IMPRISONMENT scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday, 19th at 2:00 pm has been cancelled due to illness. The program will be rescheduled so please stay tuned.

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Paine History Club Reenactment at Cedar Grove

The Paine College History Club will host its annual Living History Re-enactments on Saturday, March 28, 2015, at the historic Cedar Grove Cemetery. This year’s participants will present noted African Americans from the CSRA like Amanda Dickson-Toomer, one of the wealthiest black women in the late 19th century, and other prominent local figures in African-American history like Rev. Dr. C.T. Walker and Dr. T.W. Josey. “We are excited to host this re-enactment that showcases important figures in African-American history,” said Triest Fisher, president of the Paine College History Club. “Each made significant contributions to our community and we welcome everyone to join us for this event.”

Tours are scheduled for 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. Admission is free. Cedar Grove Cemetery is located at 120 Watkins St.

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Slave Songs of Augusta

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Don’t forget to join us in the main auditorium of the Headquarters Library on Saturday at 11:00 am for SLAVES SONGS OF AUGUSTA, presented by Robert Hester with musical accompaniment by local African-American choral group Creative Impressions.


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Black History Month Programs

In honor of Black History Month, the Georgia Heritage Room of the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library will exhibit a collection of rare and antique books on African-American history from the Elvin Thompson collection. The exhibit will run through the month of February in the Heritage Room on the 3rd floor. The library is located at 823 Telfair St.

Laney Museum will host it’s Annual Historian Awards program on Wednesday, Feb. 25, from 5-8 p.m. Dr. Mallory Millender, former French professor and campus historian for Paine College, will be honored. He continues a quest to uplift and preserve the city’s history by researching the historic institution. This event is free and open to the public.

Reese Library will host a discussion titled “Brown vs. Board of Education: A Panel on School Segregation and Integration” on Wednesday, February 25, at the JSAC Coffeehouse of GRU Summerville campus from 6:30 to 8 p.m. A little over 60 years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that school segregation was illegal in the landmark case of Brown vs. Board of Education. Join us as we listen to the stories of African Americans who experienced school segregation and those whose lives were transformed by school integration. Parking will be free. For more information about this event, please contact Erin Prentiss at 706-667-4912.

Sodexo will host a cooking demo at the Terrace Cafe’s Magnolia/Dogwood Room on Friday, Feb. 27, at noon. The Terrace Café is on the second floor of the Georgia Regents Medical Center.

The Georgia Heritage Room will also present “Slave Songs of Augusta” on Saturday, February 28, at 11 a.m. at the Headquarters Auditorium. The program will be presented by Robert Hester with musical accompaniment by Creative Impressions.

Barnes & Noble will host Black History Month Story Time with Mayor Hardie Davis on Saturday, Feb. 28, at 11 a.m. at Augusta Mall. There will be cookies, arts and crafts available for children.

Redcliffe Plantation hosts March 7 event. Tour the historic 1859 mansion at Redcliffe Plantation of Beech Island, S.C. and learn what life was like late in the Civil War for well-to-do Senator’s wife and refugee, Virginia Clay. The 4 p.m. tour is followed by a special presentation and discussion of Mrs. Clay’s popular memoir “Belle of the Fifties” and its vivid descriptions of Redcliffe’s African-American inhabitants. Limit of 35 people. Register in advance by calling 803-827-1473 or e-mailing redcliffe@scprt.com.

Watch for finalized details on the upcoming March Cedar Grove Cemetery tour to be conducted by the History Club of Paine College. For those of you who have visited the past tours, it’s a treat to see the students in fine fashion wear of the times as well as to hear their recitation of some of the more memorable inhabitants of Cedar Grove.

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