The Augusta-Richmond County Public Library System COVID-19 Community Documentation Project

We are living through a historic moment, and the Georgia Heritage Room of the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library System (ARCPLS) wants to preserve this momentous event for our community’s historical record. To do so, we are asking the community to share their impressions and experiences of how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected and changed their lives.

The type of information we are seeking is written documentation, personal stories, photographs (images), audio recordings and video clips, which will be collected into an archive chronicling the pandemic in the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA) so future generations can look back and better understand this period.

While everyone is urged to participate, as we are all in this together, we are particularly interested in the stories of first responders, medical professionals, hospitality workers, small business owners, military, and students. Because Augusta has a strong medical infrastructure, as well as a military presence with Fort Gordon and the NSA, and is home to the Augusta National, we welcome documentation that address these subjects.

By submitting content you agree to the following terms:

Contributors to the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library Pandemic Project will retain copyright of their material but grant permission and license to the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library System to use the materials for educational and display purposes which may include both physical and online exhibition.

ARCPLS reserves the right to decline submissions that do not adhere to the purposes of this project, or follow the terms of agreement.

Please only submit content you have created. If you are under the age of 18, a parent or guardian must submit material on your behalf.

Do not include sensitive personal health information about yourself, or other people.

For those with Google accounts, click here.

If you do not have a Google account, you can fill out the form here.

If you have any additional questions about the project please email the Georgia Room at genealogy@arcpls.org

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National Library Week: “Find the Library at Your Place”

In honor of National Library Week, the Georgia Heritage Room has put together a little scavenger hunt for you! This week we will provide three different scavenger hunts highlighting a specific digital database your library card gives you access to.

Our first hunt will focus on the Digital Library of Georgia (DLG).

The Digital Library of Georgia is a gateway to Georgia’s history and culture found in digitized books, manuscripts, photographs, government documents, newspapers, maps, audio, video, and other resources.

Many of the materials are from the holdings of GALILEO member institutions, and the Digital Library of Georgia continues to grow through its partnerships with libraries, archives, museums, government agencies, and allied organizations across the state.

To search or browse the holdings of the Digital Library of Georgia, visit the DLG homepage at: http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu. The DLG is accessed through GALILEO so if you don’t know the current password then please contact us at genealogy@arcpls.org.

On with the hunt!

First, tell us how many collections from Augusta-Richmond County Public Library System are available in the DLG?

Picturing Augusta: Historic Postcards from the Collection of the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library System

Find the postcard depicting the Hampton Terrace Hotel. What year did the hotel burn (hint: the Augusta Chronicle reported it)

Next level – How many horses are depicted in the “Busy Morning on Broad Street” postcard

Next-Next Level – What is the name of the mill depicted in the background of the Allen Park postcard?

Augusta Chinese-American Oral History Project

Choose an oral interview to listen to.

Can you find an interview in which the person discusses the 1970 Augusta Riots?

African American Funeral Programs from the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library System

Find the oldest funeral program in the collection.

Next Level- Find the funeral program for Sharon Jones. What is her date of death, and what is she famous for?

Next-Next Level – How many programs in the collection are of famous persons?

Oral Memoirs of Augusta’s Citizens – Augusta-Richmond County Public Library System

Choose an oral interview to listen to.

Next Level- Find the interview by Margaret Louise Laney about Lucy Craft Laney. How is Margaret Laney related to Lucy Laney?


Confederate States Patent No. 60 in the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library Collection


Who created the patent, what year was it created, and what was it for?

Augusta Motor Club Travel Guide in the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library System Collection

What was the purpose of the guide?

Next level – How many rooms and baths does the Hotel Richmond boast?

Next level – Who donated the cotton for the air service experiment conducted on 4 June 1923?

Next Level – What is the name of the Candy Factory depicted in the book?

Next-Next Level – Where was this building located? What is significant about this address today?

What is the distance, speed limit and driving time listed in the book between Augusta and Columbia, South Carolina?

Stereographs in the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library System Collection


What was the name of the bell tower depicted and what was its purpose?

Next level – how many people are shown in the flood damage of 1888 stereographs?

Next level – who created the stereograph of the Confederate Powder Works?

Next-Next level- What device is used to view stereographs?

If you’d like to share your results or have any questions please email the Georgia Room at genenalogy@arcpls.org

Thanks for playing along!

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Augusta’s First Library Started with Ten Volumes

The old Richmond Academy building was the location of Augusta Public Library from 1926 until 1960 when the library moved to its first permanent home on Greene Street.

In 1958 the American Library Association designated April as the month to honor libraries all across the United States, and since then, a week is set aside each April to celebrate all things library and the myriad contributions librarians have made to our nation’s history. This week (Sunday, April 19, 2020 – Saturday, April 25, 2020) marks the 62nd annual event, and gives us a chance commemorate one of Georgia’s most historic library systems.

By all accounts, Augusta, Georgia has one of the oldest, if not the oldest libraries in the state, but its eighteenth century origin is a bit convoluted. What we do know though, is that 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, and among them were, 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 grew 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 mid-century modern facility designed by architects, Eve and Stulb, on the corner of 9th and Greene Streets. Finally, the Augusta Public Library had a permanent home, until June 25, 2010 when it was moved to its present location at 823 Telfair Street.


A 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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The 1918 Spanish Flu in Augusta, Georgia

Camp Hancock, Georgia 1918

How to Avoid Spanish Influenza

Avoid crowds. Practice scrupulous cleanliness. Always wash hands before eating. Get plenty of fresh air. Get plenty of nourishing food, and do not worry.

Printed in the Augusta Chronicle a little over 100 years ago, on September 30, 1918, this statement issued by president of the Augusta Board of Health, Dr. John Wright sounds eerily familiar to what we are being told to do today by the Center for Disease Control and the National Institute of Health to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Augusta Chronicle 30 September 1918 p. 2

While none of us have lived through a pandemic such as COVID-19, and the world is a much different place than it was at the end of World War I, the Spanish flu does set a precedent for us and offers some guidance on how to proceed. Many studies were conducted following the 1918 Spanish influenza, comparing how major U.S. cities responded, and what measures were taken to limit the spread of the virus. For example, Philadelphia waited longer than most cities to implement social distancing measures, such as closing schools, churches, and banning other social gatherings, and even decided to host a parade that drew a crowd of over 200,000 people. Because of this, the city saw a total of 748 deaths, compared to St. Louis, a city that implemented strict social distancing measures early on in the pandemic, thereby “flattening the curve,” and at 358 deaths, had one of the lowest mortality rates of any major U.S. city.

National Geographic. How Some Cities Flattened the Curve During the 1918 Flu Pandemic, 27 March 2020
National Geographic. How Some Cities Flattened the Curve During the 1918 Flu Pandemic, 27 March 2020

The first known U.S. case of the Spanish influenza occurred at Camp Funston, Kansas in March of 1918, and from there quickly spread across the country. The first cases reported in Georgia occurred at Camp Gordon in Atlanta. A September 17, 1918 article in the Augusta Chronicle stated that the camp had been quarantined in light of the illness, and went on to compare other cases at army camps in Massachusetts, Virginia, and New York where U.S. Army Surgeon General, William Gorgas said the disease was at epidemic levels. Because of the crowded conditions, and the travelling of military officials from camp to camp and across the Atlantic, the virus spread unabated through army and navy installations throughout the United States.

Augusta Chronicle. 17 September 1918, p. 2

For days afterwards, the Chronicle reported no influenza at Camp Hancock nor in Augusta proper, but it was only a matter of time before cases began popping up, and on September 30, 1918 in bold, block print on the front page, the newspaper reported that 13 out of 3000 troops, recently arrived to Camp Hancock from Camp Grant in Rockford, Illinois were infected with the dreaded flu. Army officials downplayed the cases, insisting that none of the infections originated at the camp, and given the healthy conditions of Camp Hancock compared to other army camps around the United States, they believed “the disease will be controlled at this point without great difficulty.” However, the camp went on immediate lock down, quarantining those sick, and limiting the movement of soldiers within the camp, but stopping short by continuing to allow soldiers to visit downtown Augusta.

Camp Hancock was a massive World War I temporary military installation named for Civil War General Winfield Scott Hancock. Located on 1,777 acres at the top of “the Hill” where Wrightsboro and Highland Roads converge with Daniel Field, the rising tent city held 35,000 men, and 1,300 buildings, barracks, eating halls, hospitals, showers, latrines, storerooms, garages and office buildings.

Augusta Chronicle 30 September 1918, p. 1
Augusta Chronicle 30 September 1918, p.2
Augusta Chronicle 30 September 1918, p. 2

The following day on October 1st, the number of reported cases at the camp jumped to 700 and the city’s Board of Health began enacting social distancing measures.  Streetcars were ordered to not overcrowd, limiting them to the carrying capacity of seated passengers only and soldiers from the camp were banned from riding any public transport though they could still accept rides in private vehicles.  The Board also ordered the newly arrived Ringling Brothers Circus to limit their crowds to 1200 people at a time.  Time and again, the disease was downplayed as “not that serious” and as long as people kept themselves clean and well nourished they would have no trouble avoiding the disease or quickly recovering if they did become ill. 

Augusta Chronicle. 1 October 1918, p. 1.

By October 4, 1918 three cases were reported in the city, but two days later on October 6th, the Chronicle reported a total of forty-seven cases scattered around Augusta, including 200 cases in Graniteville and fourteen in Blythe. Area health officials began issuing face masks to local physicians and encouraging them to have their nursing staff wear the same. Travel to Camp Hancock was also prohibited. By October 5th, the Camp had suffered a total of thirty-two deaths since the outbreak began on September 30th with ten of the deaths happening in a forty-eight hour period. Elliott Funeral Home handled the funerals, and the newspaper began listing the dead. Striking are the ages of those who succumbed to the virus. Unlike COVID-19, the Spanish influenza was especially fatal to the young and those with strong immune systems.

Augusta Chronicle 4 October 1918, p. 7
Augusta Chronicle. 5 October 1918, p.1
Augusta Chronicle 6 October 1918, p. 5.

On October 7, 1918, Augusta reported sixteen new cases in the city, and twenty-five deaths at Camp Hancock. The following day the newspaper reported a total of sixty-five cases emerging in a twenty-four hour period bringing the total number of to 112. Stating that the numbers in Augusta had not yet reached epidemic levels, but in an effort prevent that from happening, the Board of Health issued an immediate city-wide quarantine – closing schools, churches, movie houses, and banning public gatherings, although “open-air” gatherings for funerals, church services and fairs were still allowed.

Augusta Chronicle. 8 October 1918, p.7
Augusta Chronicle. 8 October 1918, p. 7

During the month of October 1918, the city of Augusta suffered eighty deaths as a result of the Spanish flu, which the Chronicle reported to be the highest number of deaths to occur during a single month period in the history of Richmond County. However, by the end of the month cases at both Camp Hancock, and in the city had begun to wane, which city health officials attributed to the strict quarantine measure.

Augusta Chronicle, 27 October 1918, p. 5.

The Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918, ending World War I, and with fewer cases emerging in Augusta, the flu seemed to be losing steam as well. As a result, the Board of Health decided to end the six week quarantine on November 15, 1918.

Augusta Chronicle. 11 November 1918, p. 1.
Augusta Chronicle. 15 November 1918, p. 5.

Almost immediately new cases of Spanish Flu were reported.  Schools still reopened and Augusta went back to its normal routine, but by December 17, 1918 it was obvious that the epidemic was not over.  On January 9, 1919 the Board of Health once again placed a flu quarantine on the city.  Despite the order, several churches reopened to the public “for prayer” only. Advertisements for every tonic and “cure-all” to fight the flu appeared in the paper daily, and had been since the epidemic began.  This time the quarantine ban stayed in place until February 1, 1919, although schools remained closed until February 10th.  By this time the number of new cases being reported to the Board of Health was dropping significantly and officials were more confident that the pandemic was finally passing.

Augusta Chronicle. 9 January 1919, p. 7
Augusta Chronicle. 17 December 1918, p. 3.

Ultimately, the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic lasted until 1920, and according to Center for Disease Control estimates the disease infected at least 500 million people worldwide, with about 675,000 occurring in the United States. The worldwide death toll was a least 50 million, but some sources believe it could have been as high as 100 million, making it the deadliest pandemic in modern history.

“Though seriously affected by the Spanish flu epidemic, Georgia escaped the massive numbers of sick and dying counted in other states along the east coast.”1

It seems Augusta too escaped the worst of the pandemic. In late 1918, the Chronicle reported a total of 1,400 cases in the city and 118 deaths, and Camp Hancock had 7,800 cases with 500 deaths.

Let’s hope we fare as well this time around.

  1. Womack, Todd. “World War I in Georgia.” New Georgia Encyclopedia. 05 November 2018. Web. 07 April 2020.

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Georgia Heritage Room Offers Remote Research Assistance

While the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library System remains closed to the public due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the staff of the Georgia Heritage Room have arranged to provide limited services remotely. Now might be a great time to start that family history research project you’ve been putting off, and the Georgia Room staff can help by answering basic getting started and how to research questions. We can assist with accessing the Augusta Chronicle digital archives, using Ancestry Library Edition from home (available remotely until libraries reopen  to the public), and searching the Digital Library of Georgia Historic Newspapers website. Any requests requiring look ups in our print and microfilm collections will have to wait until the library reopens. We are available for basic newspaper searches, such as obituaries, and local history articles as well. Please send questions and/or requests to genealogy@arcpls.org. If you have questions about the Galileo password, or your library account password call the Headquarters Library at 706-821-2600. We look forward to seeing our local history and genealogy patrons when the Augusta Public Library reopens. In the meantime, stay healthy and safe.

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Ancestry Library Edition Available From Home Until Libraries Reopen to the Public

Ancestry Library Edition is now available remotely to all Georgia PINES library card holders “as long as libraries are forced to closed due to the current situation.” Ancestry Library Edition is the library subscription version of Ancestry.com and is accessible through GALILEO. If you’d like more information on how to access the database remotely, please send an email to genealogy@arcpls.org. The Georgia Room is closed but we are checking our email daily. Thank you and stay healthy.

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Ancestry Library Edition Class

Free Ancestry.com at Your Public Library
Tuesday, January 21, 2020
10:30 am
Third floor Computer Lab at Headquarters Library
Did you know an Augusta Public Library PINES card gives you free access to Ancestry.com? Join Georgia Room genealogist, Tina Rae Floyd, to learn how to search this vast collection of digitized records and find the ancestors you have been missing. This live tutorial will cover how to look through the various databases, mine the Learning Center to improve your research skills, and use the charts and forms available to keep your research organized. There is something for beginner and advanced researchers alike! Space is limited so be sure to call 706-826-1511 to reserve your spot!

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Historic Augusta Newspapers Now Available Online

Great news for Augusta, Georgia researchers and family historians. Thanks to a grant from the R. J. Taylor, Jr. Foundation, the Digital Library of Georgia (DLG) has digitized 188 Civil War and Reconstruction-era newspapers. The titles will be available through the Georgia Historic Newspapers Website, and among those digitized are several historic Augusta, Georgia newspapers: Atlanta/Augusta Daily Register (1864), a Civil War refugee newspaper, published in Augusta during Sherman’s March to the Sea; the Daily/Weekly Loyal Georgian (1867-1868), Augusta’s first African American newspaper, published during the early years of Reconstruction; Pacificator (1864-1865), Georgia’s first Catholic newspaper, published in Augusta during the Civil War; Southern Cultivator (1867-1870), an agricultural newspaper established in Augusta in 1843 and published in Athens after the Civil War.

Coming in the Summer of 2021, Augusta’s longtime evening newspaper, the Augusta Herald will be available too. Stay tuned!!

For more details, see the press release below:

For Immediate Release
December 11, 2019

WRITER: Mandy Mastrovita, mastrovi@uga.edu, 706-542-0587
CONTACT: Sheila McAlister, mcalists@uga.edu, 706-542-5418

Georgia Civil War and Reconstruction newspapers now freely available online

ATHENS, Ga. — As part of a $27,405.00 grant from the R. J. Taylor, Jr. Foundation, the Digital Library of Georgia has digitized over 100,000 pages of Georgia newspaper titles published from 1861 to 1877 from microfilm held by the Georgia Newspaper Project (libs.uga.edu/gnp/).

The project creates full-text searchable versions of the newspapers and presents them online for free in its Georgia Historic Newspapers database at gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu in accordance with technical guidelines developed by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress for the National Digital Newspaper Program (see loc.gov/ndnp/).

The Georgia Historic Newspapers database will utilize the Library of Congress’ open-source tool, Chronicling America, for the online delivery of the full-text newspapers. Users will be able to search the database for geographic, corporate, family, and personal names.

Vivian Price Saffold, chairman of the R. J. Taylor, Jr. Advisory Committee, states: “Since 1971 genealogy researchers have depended on publications funded by grants from the R. J. Taylor, Jr. Foundation. The Foundation has funded the printing of thousands of books in traditional format. More recently the addition of digital projects, such as the Digital Library of Georgia’s newspaper project, has made possible free online access to tens of thousands of Georgia newspaper pages that previously were difficult to research. The DLG project is a great example of the kind of grant request the Foundation is proud to fund. Georgia newspapers are a valuable resource. On the technical side, the online newspaper images are sharp and clear, and the functionality of the indexing is excellent.”

188 Civil War and Reconstruction-era titles have been digitized from the following Georgia cities:

Alapaha, Americus, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Bainbridge, Brunswick, Buena Vista, Calhoun, Carrollton, Cartersville, Columbus, Conyers, Covington, Crawfordville, Cuthbert, Dallas, Dalton, Darien, Dawson, Eastman, Eatonton, Elberton, Ellijay, Fairburn, Florence, Forsyth, Gainesville, Greensboro, Greenville, Griffin, Hamilton, Hartwell, Hawkinsville, Hinesville, Jesup, LaGrange, Lexington, Louisville, Macon, Madison, Marietta, Milledgeville, Monroe, Palmetto, Quitman, Ringgold, Rome, Sandersville, Savannah, Social Circle, Summerville, Talbotton, Thomaston, Thomasville, Thomson, Washington, Waynesboro, and West Point.

Papers of interest include:

Christian Index (1867-1878) – Baptist newspaper published in Atlanta after the Civil War that claims the distinction of being the oldest continuously published religious newspaper in the United States.

Atlanta/Augusta Daily Register (1864) – Civil War refugee newspaper that fled approaching Union forces in Knoxville and published in Atlanta, and later Augusta during Sherman’s March to the Sea.

Daily/Weekly Loyal Georgian (1867-1868) – Augusta’s first African American newspaper published in the early years of Reconstruction.

Lucy Cobb Institute Messenger (1876) – School newspaper covering the events of the Lucy Cobb Institute, a young women’s secondary school in Athens.

Pacificator (1864-1865) – Georgia’s first Catholic newspaper published in Augusta during the Civil War. The paper advocated for an end to the fighting in the later years of the conflict.

Southern Cultivator (1867-1870)- Agricultural newspaper established in Augusta in 1843 and published in Athens after the Civil War.

Newspaper title highlights from Georgia regions include:

East Georgia:

  • Augusta Weekly Chronicle and Sentinel (1861-1881)
  • Jefferson/Louisville News and Farmer (1871-1923)
  • Washington Gazette (1866-1885)

Metro Atlanta:

  • Atlanta Daily New Era (1866-1871)
  • Conyers Rockdale Register (1876-1877)
  • Marietta Field and Fireside (1877-1879)

Middle Georgia:

  • Forsyth Monroe Advertiser (1873-1888)
  • Macon Georgia/Daily Journal and Messenger (1862-1869)
  • Hawkinsville Dispatch (1867-1877)

North Georgia:

  • Athens Georgia Collegian (1870-1872)
  • Calhoun Weekly/Saturday Times (1870-1877)
  • Cartersville Express (1867-1879)

South Georgia:

  • Dawson Journal (1866-1882)
  • Savannah Daily Herald (1866-1867)
  • Thomasville Southern Enterprise (1867-1876)

West Georgia:

  • Carroll County Times (1872-1880)
  • Columbus Daily/Weekly Sun (1861-1873)
  • Thomaston Herald (1870-1878)

Selected Images:

Banner of the South, October 15, 1870, page 1
Burke’s Weekly for Boys and Girls, June 6, 1868, page 1
Southern Cultivator, April 1, 1867, page 1
Daily Loyal Georgian, June 1, 1867, page 1
Pacificator, October 15, 1864, page 1

About the R. J. Taylor, Jr. Foundation

The purpose of the R. J. Taylor, Jr. Foundation Trust is to promote genealogical research and study in Georgia in conjunction with the Georgia Genealogical Society and the Georgia Archives. Grants are made to individuals and organizations to defray the expense of publishing (print or digital) records of a genealogical nature from public and private sources. The primary emphasis is on preserving and making available to the public genealogical data concerning citizens of Georgia who were residents prior to 1851. Visit the R. J. Taylor, Jr. Foundation at taylorfoundation.org

About the Digital Library of Georgia

Based at the University of Georgia Libraries, the Digital Library of Georgia is a GALILEO initiative that collaborates with Georgia’s libraries, archives, museums and other institutions of education and culture to provide access to key information resources on Georgia history, culture, and life. This primary mission is accomplished through the ongoing development, maintenance, and preservation of digital collections and online digital library resources. DLG also serves as Georgia’s service hub for the Digital Public Library of America and as the home of the Georgia Newspaper Project, the state’s historic newspaper microfilming project. Visit the DLG at dlg.usg.edu.

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ONE DAY ONLY!!!!

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Take Me Out to the Ballpark

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