The Archives of the Philip Weltner Library supports the purposes and goals of Oglethorpe University by identifying, collecting, preserving, arranging, describing, and providing access to documents, records, and publications of enduring value relating to the growth and development of the University from its beginnings in Midway, Georgia in 1835 to the present. It further seeks to encourage the preservation of our cultural heritage and to promote an appreciation of the value of archival primary sources in scholarly research.
The collections include manuscripts, records, photographs, University publications, rare books, journals, and artifacts related to the history of the University and its traditions. They range from 19th century records, pamphlets, notebooks, and correspondence dating from the “Old College,” to the more substantial materials which document the refounding of the University in Atlanta in 1913 and its development to the present day. Included are the following:
Manuscripts: The Archives houses papers of many of its past presidents, including those of Thornwell Jacobs (1915-1943), who was responsible for the refounding of the University and of Philip Weltner (1944-1953), prominent lawyer, civic-minded citizen, and educator whose educational philosophy and ideology distinguish the University’s liberal arts curriculum to this day.
Additional collections focus on primary and secondary sources related to the life and times of General James Edward Oglethorpe, founder of the colony of Georgia and namesake of the University; to alumnus Sidney Lanier, the distinguished southern poet; and to the Crypt of Civilization, the extraordinary 20th century time capsule conceived by Thornwell Jacobs.
University Publications: The collections include University bulletins, catalogs, brochures, pamphlets, the yearbook, Yamacraw (1920-2004), student news and literary publications, including The Oglethorpe Times (1916), The Petrel, The Stormy Petrel (1919 to 2004), and The Tower (1974-2004), as well as alumni publications, including The Flying Petrel (1944-2003).
Photographs: An extensive photograph collection featuring visiting dignitaries, students, faculty, alumni, clubs, organizations, buildings, and events is in processing and will be available for research and reproduction. Please also visit our Digital Photograph Collections website.
Location and Hours
The Archives room is located on the basement level of Philip Weltner Library and is open by appointment during regular library hours. Please call (404) 364-8514 to make arrangements.
Transfers and Gifts
The Archives welcomes materials relating to all aspects of the University including annual reports, correspondence, minutes, biographical information for faculty, administrators, and staff, University and student publications, audio-visual materials documenting the University’s history, and artifacts and memorabilia. The Archives does not collect personnel files, student records, or multiple copies of publications.
Archival collections are an invaluable resource for primary source materials, and digitization now makes many of them available to anyone with access to the Web. A few of the myriad sites available are listed below as examples.
The National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC)is a national-level searchable database of information about collections held by participant institutions.
The Georgia Archives identifies and preserves the state’s historical documents.
The American Memory Collection of the Library of Congress offers more than 7 million digital items from over 100 digital collections. Topics include Art, Business, Education, History, Government, Performing Arts, Social Sciences, Transportation, and Communication in such diverse formats as books, manuscripts, sheet music, maps, motion picture, photographs, and sound recordings.
The Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Collection brings together materials from several collections, all relating to the discovery in 1900 by the U.S. Army Yellow Fever Commission of the role of the mosquito Aedes aegypti in the transmission of yellow fever.