The purposes of the Athens Historical Society are:
- To discover, collect, and preserve all materials, especially orginal and source materials, pertaining to the history of Athens, Clarke County, adjacent counties and related areas.
- To disseminate this knowledge for enlightenment of our citizenry through preparing, editing, and publishing historical materials descriptive of Athens and related areas, or sponsoring programs and activities of historical interest.
- To promote historical research.
- To promote preservation and perpetuation of historic sites.
- To bring together those interested in the history of these areas.
- To promote and stimulate public interest in and appreciation of the history of Athens and related areas, and to develop in every way an understanding of their historical past.
The Athens Historical Society is committed to the preservation of a collective history of the people of Athens, Georgia. We are guided by the belief that an inclusive perspective of the past must uphold historical truths, must encompass multiple voices, and must not suppress uncomfortable information that that helps explain why we are the way we are today. In pursuit of these goals, we will actively work to appeal to all Athens citizens through a wide array of historical topics and by fostering external partnerships that expand our perspectives.
“At Rest” by Jack Burk
Watercolor of Oconee Hill Cemetery
History of Society
By Michael W.Kitchens, April 2015
(Building upon the history prepared by Sue Fan Tate in 1980, and later expanded by Charlotte Thomas Marshall, then Eve B. Mayes)
The Athens Historical Society (AHS) was first organized on February 3, 1899. On that cold Friday night twenty Athenians gathered at the antebellum mansion of Augustus (“Gus”) Longstreet Hull (1847-1909) to form a group whose purpose was to preserve, record and protect the history of our great city.
It was only fitting that they met in the home of Augustus Longstreet Hull, as he is one of Athens, Georgia’s most prolific and notable historians. By the time the Athens Historical Society was formed that night, Hull had already authored A Historical Sketch of the University of Georgia in 1894 and Sketches of Athens, Georgia from 1830- 1865 in 1893. He had also edited Sketches from the Early History of Athens, Georgia 1801-1825 authored by his father, Dr. Henry Hull. Seven years later Augustus Longstreet Hull was to publish perhaps his best known work, Annals of Athens, Georgia, 1801-1901. This book has become the first source most historians consult when studying the earliest years of Athens and the University of Georgia.
Gus Hull was elected as the organization’s first president. The first roll of members of the organization reads like a Who’s Who of Athens and Georgia history: it included Howell Cobb, Jr., J. H. T. McPherson, J. C. Bloomfield, Sylvanus Morris, H. H. Carlton, E. D. Newton, D. C. Barrow, W. W. Thomas, H. C. White, S. C. Upson, Harry Hodgson, Ulrich B. Phillips, H. H. Linton, and J. D. Mell, among others.
The organization was an active one during its first year of existence with local newspapers writing accounts of their meetings in which each respective member would make presentations to the group on areas of historical interest which they had researched. However, after 1899, no further notice was taken of the society in local papers. It is not known for how long the first iteration of the society remained intact. For reasons now lost in the haze of time, however, the AHS disappeared.
It was not until October 11, 1959 that a second group of Athens’ history-minded citizens gathered to reconstitute the Athens Historical Society into a vibrant organization and the AHS was re-born. Such distinguished Athenians forming this group included Sarah Maret, Director of the Athens Regional Library; John E. Talmadge, Professor of English at the University of Georgia; Porter Kellam, Director of the University of Georgia Library; Kenneth Coleman, Professor of History at the University of Georgia; Richard N. Fickett III, an Athens antiquarian; Marion West Marshall, the wife of distinguished UGA Professor of English, George Marshall; Harry Hodgson, Sr., UGA Trustee and Athens businessman; John W. Bonner, Special Collections Librarian, the University of Georgia Library; Susan B. Tate, Library Assistant, the University of Georgia Library; Miss Lucy Clark, English teacher at Athens High School; and Robert G. Gibson, an Athens lawyer.
Temporary committees were formed to plan the general organizational meeting held on October 29, 1959. At this meeting the organization’s constitution was approved and the society’s goals and purposes were formulated. These goals have remained largely unchanged since that time.
Officers and Board of Directors
Board Members are elected to serve two years terms, staggered by a one year overlap to allow for an effective transition. At any given time, there will be no fewer than 10 and no more than 15 board members.
Board of Directors (2019-2021)
Board of Directors (2018-2020)
History of Membership
List compiled by R.N. Fickett III, January 1963
Founding members are designated with an asterisk.
|Abney, Beth Mobley (Mrs. George M.)|
|Abney, George M.|
|Barrow, Phyllis Jenkins (Mrs. James)|
|Bedgood, Mrs. W.R., Sr.|
|Betts, Miss Allea|
|Bishop, Dorothy Prickett (Mrs. Julius)|
|Bondurant, Miss Birdie|
|Bonner, John W., Jr.|
|Brandon, Frances H.|
|Brockman, Charles J., Jr.|
|Brumby, Miss Anne Wallis|
|Brumby, Miss Mary Harris|
|Butler, M. Tyus|
|Campbell, Mrs. J. Phil, Sr.|
|Carithers, Mrs. J.Y.|
|Clark, Miss Lucy|
|Collier, Elaine (now Mrs. Richard Neal)|
|Collier, Grace E. Hardigree (Mrs. Joseph L.)|
|Collier, Joseph L.|
|Cook, Mrs. J.E.|
|Coulter, E. Merton|
|Davidson, Miss Ida|
|Davis, Mrs. Dorsey|
|DeRenne, Mrs. Wimberly W.|
|DeRenne, Wimberly W.|
|Doster, Miss Helen|
|Dubose, Minnie Thomas (Mrs. Bolling S., Sr.)|
|Elijah Clark Chapter, NSDAR (Mrs. T.J. Moran, Regent)|
|Fickett, Richard N., III|
|Gibson, Robert E.|
|Gunn, Uly S.|
|Harris, Leila May Hull (Mrs. Hunter)|
|Hartman, Mrs. Ruby|
|Head, Mrs. Sylvia Gailey|
|Hodgson, Edward R., Sr|
|Hodgson, Harry, Sr.|
|Hynds, Ernie C.|
|James, Mrs. William T.|
|Jenkins, Mrs. John W.|
|Jones, Mrs. W.N.|
|Lampkin, Miss Lucy P.|
|Lesher, Miss Madge|
|Maret, Miss Sarah|
|Marshall, Marion West (Mrs. George O., Jr.)|
|McWhorter, Mrs. Howard|
|Milner, Agnes White (Mrs. Thomas H., Jr.)|
|Milner, Thomas H., Jr.|
|Mize, Miss Jessie J.|
|Montgomery, Gladys Anderson (Mrs. Horace)|
|Moran, Cary Clark (Mrs. T.J.)|
|Newton, Miss Charlotte|
|Newton, Miss Virginia|
|Nicholson, Mrs. M.G.|
|Orr, Sarah Treanor (Mrs. Craig)|
|Owens, Hubert B.|
|Parks, Edd W.* Parks, Mrs. Edd W.|
|Pittman, Mrs. Eula B.|
|Prunty, Eugenia Wyatt (Mrs. Merle, Jr.)|
|Prunty, Merle, Jr.|
|Ray, Mrs. W.T.|
|Redwine, Morgan R., Jr.|
|Reid, Frances West (Mrs. Henry)|
|Ritchie, Mrs. H.B.|
|Roberts, O.M., Jr.|
|Smith, C. Jay, Jr.|
|Smith, Daisy Andrews (Mrs. C. Jay, Jr.)|
|Smith, J. Douglas|
|Smith, Milton B.|
|Stephens, Grace Winston (Mrs. Robert G.)|
|Stephens, Mrs. Eugenia Doughtie|
|Stephens, Ralph H.|
|Stephens, Robert G.|
|Talmadge, John E.|
|Talmadge, Mrs. John E.|
|Tate, Susan Barrow (Mrs. William)|
|Teasley, Miss Julia|
|Thompson, Jack C.|
|Thompson, Miss Rose|
|Thompson, Mrs. Jack C.|
|Tolnas, Mrs. Olaf J.|
|Tresp, Lothar L.|
|Tresp, Lucy Nickerson (Mrs. Lothar L.)|
|Walker, Lester C., Jr.|
|Warren, Mary Claire Bondurant|
|Watson, Mrs. Margaret|
|West, Mrs. Henry Haynes|
|Wier, Miss Mary Lou|
|Wier, Mrs. Joel A.|
|1960||John E. Talmadge|
|1962||Mary Bondurant Warren|
|1963||Richard N. Fickett III|
|1964||John W. Bonner, Jr.|
|1965||Joseph L. Collier|
|1966||George O. Marshall, Jr.|
|1967||Miss Lucy Clark|
|1968||Richard N. Fickett III|
|1969||Miss Callie McWhirter|
|1970||B. Phinizy Spalding|
|1973||Colquitt P. Brackett|
|1974||Anna Pryor Cobb (Mrs. Henry, Jr.)|
|1975||Ralph Draughton, Jr.|
|1978||Robert Crout / Miss Ellen L. Sumner|
|1979||Ralph H. Stephens|
|1980-81||Beth M. Abney (Mrs. George M.)|
|1982||M. Tyus Butler|
|1983||Tommie LaCavera (Mrs. Anthony)|
|1984||W. Hugh Agee|
|1985-86||Robert “Skeet” Willingham, Jr.|
|1987||Jane M. Agee (Mrs. Hugh)|
|1988||Charlotte Thomas Marshall (Mrs. George O., Jr.)|
|1989||Ronald L. Bogue|
|1990||Tommie Elaine Shattuck (Mrs. Gary)|
|1991||Lee Anne Seawell|
|1992-94||Goodloe Y. Erwin|
|1995||Robert G. Stephens|
|1996||Tommie LaCavera (Mrs. Anthony)|
|1997-98||Mary Bondurant Warren|
|1999||Marion J. Rice|
|2001||W. Thomas Wilfong|
|2002||John W. Timmons, Jr.|
|2003||Verner F. Chaffin|
|2004-05||Betty Alice Fowler|
|2006||Jenny W. Best (Mrs. Edward)|
|2007-08||Mary Anne Hoit Abbe (Mrs. Winfield)|
|2009-10||A. Blair Dorminey|
|2011-13||James K. Reap|
What We Do
The Athens Historical Society is motivated by an effort to serve its membership and the community at large and to fulfill its purpose to protect, promote and record the history of Athens and its surrounding area.
Event and Tours
The AHS hosts at least four programs each year in which authors, historians, and/or lecturers conduct seminars or offer presentations about topics of interest. In recent years, programs have been offered on early maps of Athens, Augustus Longstreet Hull and his impact on Athens history, and historic landmarks on the UGA campus.
The society has also organized and sponsored on-site visits and one-day rambles to historic properties, providing a unique opportunity for members to obtain personal experience with the places that have shaped the history of our region, state, and nation. However, programs and site visits make up only part of AHS’s offerings. The society also hosts various social gatherings during the course of a year, including receptions and holiday parties. Nearly all of the foregoing events are free to society members.
Visit our events page for current events.
The Athens Historical Society is proud to participate in the publication of unique works by both academic and non-academic authors, the publication of the society’s own papers via The Historian, and the presentation of the historic Papers of the Athens Historical Society, published by the earliest formations of the AHS. The society has also published and sold books important to recording Athens’ history, including, among others, Charlotte Thomas Marshall’s Historic Houses of Athens (1987, out of print); Gary Doster’s A Postcard History of Athens, Georgia (2002); and Charlotte Thomas Marshall’s Oconee Hill Cemetery, Volume I (2009).
The Athens Historical Society Newsletter is issued about four times per year. It details current news about the society, articles on local history, book reviews, and additional information about historical happenings in Athens.
Sign up for our newsletter below!
Or read more about our newsletter here.
The A. L. Hull Award
The Athens Historical Society has created the Augustus Longstreet Hull Award as a way to publicly recognize and honor those individuals whose long and extraordinary service to our organization and the community at large has significantly impacted the study and recordation of the history of Athens, Georgia, and its surrounding area. In bringing attention to those who have helped preserve the historical record of the Classic City and the surrounding counties, we hope to generate interest in the general public for the mission of the Athens Historical Society, as well as the accomplishments of those receiving the award.
The Name of the Award
The name of the Augustus Longstreet Hull Award is intended to honor the author and editor of Annals of Athens, Georgia 1801-1901, Augustus Longstreet Hull. Through his own research and writing, and compiling the memories of his father, Reverend Henry Hope Hull, Annals of Athenspreserved much of the early history of Athens, Georgia, and provided detailed, unique information which otherwise would have been unrecorded and lost to future generations. This book now serves as a foundation for modern historians and researchers of Athens’s rich nineteenth-century history, and provides an example of the type of service his namesake award is intended to honor.
Nominations for the Augustus Longstreet Hull Award can be submitted by any member of the Athens Historical Society. The nomination must be submitted to the Athens Historical Society Board of Directors, or any individual member of the Board, who will present it at the Board’s next meeting for consideration. The Board can vote to either consider the nomination at a subsequent meeting or table the nomination for up to one year to allow for additional nominations to be acquired and considered.
Once the recipient or recipients is chosen, AHS will present the Hull Award at our Annual Meeting in January. As this award is intended to recognize only those who have given great service to Athens, AHS, and/or the historical community, if no one is nominated or gains enough votes by the Board to receive the award, then no award will be given that year.
A simple majority of the Board is required to bestow the Hull Award, taking into consideration the following criteria:
* The candidate’s length of service to Athens and/or the Athens Historical Society;
* Quantity of the works performed;
* Importance to research or the community at-large of the work performed;
* Varied aspects of contribution to the historic community and/or knowledge base of Athens and/or Athens-area history;
* Unique quality of the work of the candidate;
* The example the candidate has set to encourage others to emulate.
While we prefer the use of the nomination form provided on this page, any other format that includes all the relevant information will be considered.
The Board reserves the right to request further information from the person who submitted the nomination, if necessary.
2019: Gary Doster
2018: Charlotte Thomas Marshall
2017: Mary Bondurant Warren
2016: Patricia Irvin Cooper (accepted by her daughter, Alice)
2015: Augustus Longstreet Hull (accepted by his descendants)