Our Mission

The purposes of the Athens Historical Society are:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3.  To promote historical research.
  4. To promote preservation and perpetuation of historic sites.
  5.  To bring together those interested in the history of these areas.
  6.  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

Charter Members

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, James
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
Coleman, Kenneth
Collier, Elaine (now Mrs. Richard Neal)
Collier, Grace E. Hardigree (Mrs. Joseph L.)
Collier, Joseph L.
Cook, Mrs. J.E.
Cory, Wallace
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.
Jones, Wilbur
Kellam, Porter
Lampkin, Miss Lucy P.
Lesher, Miss Madge
Maret, Miss Sarah
Marshall, Marion West (Mrs. George O., Jr.)
McWhorter, Howard
McWhorter, Mrs. Howard
Milner, Agnes White (Mrs. Thomas H., Jr.)
Milner, Thomas H., Jr.
Mize, Miss Jessie J.
Montgomery, Gladys Anderson (Mrs. Horace)
Montgomery, Horace
Moran, Cary Clark (Mrs. T.J.)
Moran, T.J.
Murdoch, Richard
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)
Tate, 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.

Former Presidents

1960 John E. Talmadge
1961 Kenneth Coleman
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
1971 William Tate
1972 Carl Vipperman
1973 Colquitt P. Brackett
1974 Anna Pryor Cobb (Mrs. Henry, Jr.)
1975 Ralph Draughton, Jr.
1976 David Foley
1977 Kenneth Coleman
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
2000 Wilson Elder
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
2014-15 Ashley Simpson
2015 Janet Patterson

Holman Hotel, present day Bank of America Building

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.

Publications

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).

Contact us if you are interested in publishing with us, or browse our publications in our store.

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 Newsletter

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

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.

Nominate Someone for the Hull Award

Nominations for the Award can be made at any time, however a deadline of September 1st is required for the calendar year, with all nominations submitted after September 1st rolling over to the next year.

Selection Criteria

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.

Previous Recipients

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)