GHRAC Graduate/Undergraduate Awards

I have been asked to help publicize these two awards, offered annually by the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council:

CALL FOR NOMINATIONS

2017 AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE

GRADUATE AND UNDERGRADUATE PAPERS OR PROJECTS IN GEORGIA HISTORY

GEORGIA HISTORICAL RECORDS ADVISORY COUNCIL (GHRAC)

The Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council (GHRAC) is now accepting nominations for its 2017 Awards for Excellence Program. The deadline for submission of award nominations is Thursday, June 1, 2017.

The GHRAC Awards Program recognizes excellence in historical research and scholarship utilizing archives and records, as well as other endeavors in archival and records management in Georgia, in 12 award categories. Two of the award categories are:

Award for Excellence in Student Research Using Historical Records, Graduate Level

and

Award for Excellence in Student Research Using Historical Records, Undergraduate Level.

GHRAC is requesting your assistance in bringing to its attention student work of excellent caliber, by nominating such work for one of these two awards.

Information about the GHRAC Awards Program is located on the website of the Georgia Archives, www.georgiaarchives.org. On the homepage, in the top blue banner, click on “About Us,” and then click on “Advisory Council” in the dropdown menu. Scroll down, and under the heading “Programs and Services,” click on the blue text which reads “Awards Program.” You can then click on links for the Nomination Form and instructions, the Award Categories and Selection Criteria for all 12 awards categories, and a list of all award recipients 2004 through 2016.

A nomination package consists of the one-page nomination form (please provide all requested contact information), a 500-word summary or project description, a copy of the work itself, and any supporting documentation necessary to appropriately portray the complete work (in the case of a project which includes an exhibit, a website, or an audiovisual, instructional, service, or performance component).

If submitted electronically, one copy of the nomination package should be emailed to:  christopher.davidson@usg.edu

If submitted as hard copy, six (6) complete nomination packages should be sent to:

GHRAC
Georgia Archives
5800 Jonesboro Rd.
Morrow, GA  30260

[Copies will not be returned.]

Nominators should pay particular attention to the following requirements:

  1. Georgia students who research and write in an area other than Georgia history or a Georgia subject must use the resources of Georgia records repositories to qualify for these awards.
  2. Student nominations which are self-nominated, or nominated by a family member, must be accompanied by a letter of support from a professor, teacher, adviser, or other appropriate representative of an organization or institution.

Award recipients are typically notified in August or September, and the annual GHRAC Awards Reception and Ceremony are typically held at the Georgia Archives in October.

Please share this solicitation of nominations widely with all interested parties whom you think might like to submit nominations.

If you have any questions about the preparation of a nomination, please contact:

Christopher Davidson
Director, Georgia Archives
christopher.davidson@usg.edu

or

Jill Sweetapple
Reference Archivist, Georgia Archives
jill.sweetapple@usg.edu

We look forward to receiving your nomination, and thank you for your participation in the 2017 GHRAC Awards for Excellence Program.

The Black Prince

This news is a bit old now but I record it here for posterity. I met Guilhem Pépin at Kalamazoo one year; I found his work on the war-cry “Saint-Georges!” most inspiring. Here, he helps to rehabilitate Edward of Woodstock, Prince of Wales and hero (or villain) of the Hundred Years’ War:

Was Edward the Black Prince really a nasty piece of work?

A newly discovered letter that has lain unread for over 600 years is forcing a rethink of a 14th Century prince with a controversial reputation, writes Luke Foddy.

He was the superstar of his age, winning his spurs in battle aged just 16. But the reputation of Edward of Woodstock – or the Black Prince, as he has become known to history – is still the subject of the same type of dispute that rages over the reputations of Richard III and Oliver Cromwell.
A persistent theory runs that Edward’s nickname refers to the cruelty he inflicted upon the French during the Hundred Years War – the dynastic struggle for the crown of France.

The blackest stain upon Edward’s reputation is the sack of the French town of Limoges in September 1370.

An English possession, it was ruled by Edward as Prince of Aquitaine.

In late summer 1370, the Bishop of Limoges, Johan de Cross – a friend of Edward’s and godfather to his son – betrayed the prince and defected to the French. He welcomed a garrison into part of the town, and held it against the English.

According to the chronicler Jean Froissart, Edward was incensed at the news and stormed it. A massacre followed, says Froissart.

“It was a most melancholy business – for all ranks, ages and sexes cast themselves on their knees before the prince, begging for mercy; but he was so inflamed with passion and revenge that he listened to none, but all were put to the sword. Upwards of 3,000 men, women and children were put to death that day.”

Despite some academics dismissing Froissart’s account, the sack of Limoges has become a well-known aspect of Edward’s career to modern schoolchildren and history buffs. In a recent episode of the BBC’s QI, host Stephen Fry described how the prince “almost destroyed the entire population of Limoges”.

But now, a previously unknown letter written by the prince is shining new light on the controversy.

The letter was discovered by French historian Dr Guilhem Pepin in a Spanish archive.

“The letter was written by the Black Prince three days after the sack of Limoges,” says Pepin, who will be presenting his research at the International Medieval Congress conference in Leeds this week.

“He was writing to the great Gascon lord Gaston Febus, Count of Foix, to tell him what had happened.”

In the letter, Edward describes how he took several high ranking prisoners in the attack, including the bishop of Limoges and Roger de Beaufort, the brother of Pope Gregory XI.

Crucially, however, Edward refers to the number of prisoners he took in the town. “He specifies that he took 200 knights and men-at-arms prisoner,” says Pepin. “When we compare this new evidence with other sources, it becomes very significant.”

One source, the Chandos Herald, says there were 300 men garrisoning the town. “We also have a contemporary, local source written at the abbey Saint-Martial of Limoges, which says there were around 300 fatalities in total in the city,” says Pepin.

“So, when this evidence is combined, it seems that 100 soldiers and 200 civilians were killed, as opposed to Froissart’s claim of 3,000 innocents.”

In the medieval world, the death of hundreds of people during the storming of a town was far from unprecedented. But the cold-blooded murder of 3,000 civilians would have been scandalous. Richard the Lionheart’s decision to execute a similar number of Saracen prisoners at Acre during the Third Crusade in 1191, for example, has led to him being a controversial figure even in modern times.

It is now clear, though, that Froissart greatly inflated the scale of violence at Limoges, making it seem extraordinarily, excessively cruel. That Froissart’s version has stuck is an injustice to Edward, argues Pepin.

“It now seems he doesn’t deserve the ‘evil’ reputation he has for what happened at Limoges.” Froissart’s credibility is further undermined by Edward making no reference to a massacre in his letter.

More at the link.

County Histories and Historical Records

I was pleased to read a new column by David Parker, professor at Kennesaw State University and friend to Reinhardt’s history program. Happy archives month!

County histories remind us of need to preserve historical records

In 1929 the Georgia General Assembly passed a resolution urging counties to compile their histories in honor of the state’s upcoming bicentennial (in 1933, 200 years after the founding of Georgia in 1733). More than 100 counties appointed official historians, and nearly three dozen published their histories. These books varied, but they typically included chapters on geography and natural resources, Native Americans, the Civil War, churches, schools, newspapers, and so forth.

Among the authors of these books were teachers and lawyers, preachers and journalists, school superintendents and county court judges, and leaders of local historical or patriotic societies. The published histories tended to be long—an average of nearly 500 pages, from Schley County’s 33 pages to Upson’s 1,122. Many of those pages consisted of census records, military rosters, lists of county officials, and reprints of newspaper articles. Some books had lengthy biographical sections, with histories of prominent individuals or families. Many included general sections on life in the old days—quilting bees, militia days, barn raisings, corn shuckings, log rollings.

David Kyvig and Myron Marty, authors of Nearby History: Exploring the Past Around You (1982), noted that the county histories written in the early 20th century tended to be “long on local pride and short on critical observations.” The first part of that formula was certainly correct. The title page of the Coffee County history explained that the book was “a story… showing that Coffee County, in South Georgia, is God’s Country and a good place to live.” Walker County residents were “a hardy, brave and patriotic citizenry,” and those of Chattahoochee were “splendid men and women… whose lives are a credit to the civilization of America.”

The books were certainly “long on local pride,” but were they “short on critical observations”? In many cases, yes. A number of the county historians uncritically embraced Lost Cause ideology, a historical perspective that downplayed the role of slavery in the coming of the Civil War, overstated the support of white southerners for the Confederate cause, and distorted the nature of Reconstruction.

Perhaps the Lost Cause is most evident in the discussions of slavery. The Dougherty County historian noted that the institution “was a feudalism as illustrious as that of any medieval country of Europe. The barons were the slaveholders—the serfs were the negroes, and perfect tranquility in relations prevailed.” In Schley County, “White settlers were kind to their slaves, clothed and fed them, and allowed them to worship with them in their churches.” In Upson County, “Everyone knows that slaves were treated very kindly indeed, and only in rare instances was there any trouble between slave and master.” In Walker County, “There were generally, almost universally, the kindest of relations between master and servant.” And in Coffee County, “The training the negroes received while they were slaves has been a great blessing to them.”

Embarrassing sentiments, to be sure, but not universal ones. Find out more at the link.

The Swords of John Sharp and Augustus Reinhardt

A joyous occasion this afternoon in Hill Freeman Library as the University celebrated the acquisition of the ceremonial swords of its two founders, Augustus Reinhardt and his brother-in-law John Sharp, who had been officers in the army of the Confederate States of America. These had been in the possession of the Sharp family for four generations; Sharp’s great-granddaughter Sherry Gray of Pennsylvania donated them to Reinhardt University this past summer. Here she is with her cousin Jim Davis (a grandson of Sharp’s and a local resident) presenting the swords to Reinhardt’s president Kina Mallard:

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Photo: Lauren Thomas.

Here is a closeup of the sword hilts. They will be temporarily on display in a glass table in the library, until they can be permanently mounted in a specially built case on the wall.

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Photo: Lauren Thomas.

Here are images of the two original possessors:

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A.M. Reinhardt

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J.J.A. Sharp

These two photos were part of a display put together by Joel Langford, which featured documents from Reinhardt’s early days:

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Photo: Lauren Thomas.

And here is Reinhardt history professor Ken Wheeler in action. The text of his speech for the occasion is reproduced below, courtesy the author.

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Brief Remarks on the Lives and Careers of Captain Augustus M. Reinhardt and Lieutenant Colonel John J.A. Sharp

In 1861, at the beginning of the American Civil War, Augustus Reinhardt and John Sharp signed up to fight for the Confederate States of America. Augustus, born in 1842, was still a teenager. He stood 5 feet, 6 inches, he was fair complected, with blue eyes and dark hair, and he spent the first year as a private, serving in Virginia, but he became so ill that he was discharged and sent home in December. By March he was able to re-enlist, in a new unit drawn mostly from the Waleska area, and perhaps because he had more experience than the others he was first a lieutenant and soon the captain, leader of a company of 145 men. Presumably this is when he acquired his sword. Reinhardt’s company fought in Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky, and then went to Mississippi. There, in May, 1863, at the Battle of Baker’s Creek, or Champion Hill, east of Vicksburg, Reinhardt’s unit was decimated, and Reinhardt was shot in the knee. He would recover but have a limp for the rest of his life. Evidently he and his men retreated to Vicksburg, where they and thousands of other Confederate soldiers came under siege for a month and a half, and were pretty much starved into submission. The Union general, Ulysses S. Grant, who captured this Confederate army released them, and Reinhardt and his men made their way back to Georgia. It was a discouraging time, and in January, 1864, Reinhardt resigned his commission—quit the Confederate cause. Enlisted men could not resign, but officers could, and Augustus Reinhardt left the army over the year before the war ended. Perhaps his knee never fully healed, but we really don’t know.

John Sharp, born in 1828, was in his early 30s at the outbreak of war, had served as a militia colonel, and he raised a company that he served as captain, and he climbed the ranks to lieutenant colonel as he fought all four years. In addition to a variety of smaller engagements, Sharp saw action in the battle of Seven Pines, at Antietam, at the battle of Fredericksburg. He was captured at the battle of Chancellorsville and held in a prison in Washington, D.C. for twenty days and was then exchanged, after which he saw more Confederate military service from Virginia to Florida before he was shot down and wounded severely while leading a charge in North Carolina at the battle of Bentonville, in March, 1865, just weeks before the war ended. Afterward, he did not romanticize the Confederacy. In 1866, he signed a published letter defending Alexander Stephens. Before secession Stephens told his fellow Georgians not to leave the Union. “The greatest curse,” said Stephens, “that can befall a free people, is civil war.” Sharp and others now recognized Stephens as “the Prophet, who… warned us against the fatal error” of secession and civil war, “which we all now lament and are anxious to correct.”

At war’s end, Reinhardt and Sharp beat their swords into plowshares—well, not literally, but they successfully re-entered civilian life. Reinhardt, still just 23 years old, moved immediately to Atlanta, studied law, and became an attorney. He speculated in real estate, and helped found a trolley company that made his suburban plots of land accessible to people who wanted to live close to the Ponce de Leon Springs but still have quick access to the downtown. In politics, people elected Reinhardt to Atlanta’s Board of Aldermen, which basically ran the city, and he lobbied against alcohol, helped open Grady Memorial Hospital—and in his final year he served as head of the aldermanic board—he was mayor pro tem of the city of Atlanta.

Meanwhile, Sharp stayed in Waleska. He had married in 1859, but his wife died during the war, and in 1868 he married Mary Jane Reinhardt, a sister of Augustus, making the men brothers-in-law. Sharp, like Reinhardt, got into politics and served two terms as a state legislator. Sharp, like Reinhardt, invested in a local gold mine. Sharp, sort of like Reinhardt, opened a real estate business. He ran his Waleska farm and his store. In the mid-1870s he edited a Canton newspaper, the Cherokee Georgian. He, like Reinhardt, was interested in transportation and championed an effort to make the Etowah River navigable from Canton to Rome, Georgia, where it becomes the Coosa River, so steamboats could go all the way from Canton to the Gulf of Mexico. Sharp and Reinhardt partnered on another transportation venture, a proposed railroad, the Kingston, Waleska, and Gainesville Railroad, which would run across northern Georgia. The railroad was never built, but the point here is that Reinhardt and Sharp made big plans to develop northern Georgia and make it prosperous. And, no surprise, Sharp, a former schoolteacher, published editorial after editorial in the Cherokee Georgian promoting education. In “How to Build Up A Town,” he argued that “an enduring prosperity” depended on the combination of “two forces… the moral and the educational… The influence of a flourishing school, liberally supported by a community, penetrates into every walk of life.” “Education,” Sharp concluded, “is the only instrumentality by which permanent improvement can be affected in any human pursuit or acquisition.”

And so in 1883, when Reinhardt came to Waleska and talked to John and Mary Jane about founding a school, they acted at once. Sharp purchased a saw mill, and Reinhardt went to talk to the Methodists (both the Sharp and Reinhardt families were Methodist) about obtaining a teacher, and the school opened the following year. When they applied to the state for a charter, they explained that the school was “for the education of the youth of both sexes in the usual branches of our English and classical education… solely with a view to advancing the educational interests of the County.” The school they founded has flourished, and everyone associated with Reinhardt University today owes a debt of gratitude to Augustus Reinhardt and John Sharp, for their values, their vision, their interest in future generations, their belief in the power of education to elevate and transform lives. It is a pleasure and a privilege today to accept these tangible reminders of who they were.

A Discovery!

From the Guardian:

***

Henry VIII’s evidence to support break with Rome turns up in Cornish library

Book of legal and philosophical advice on king’s efforts to have his marriage to Catherine of Aragon annulled helped change the course of English history

A book which helped changed the course of English history, part of the evidence Henry VIII and his lawyers gathered in the 1530s to help win an annulment from Catherine of Aragon and ultimately to break with Rome, has turned up on the shelves of the magnificent library at Lanhydrock, a National Trust mansion in Cornwall.

The book, a summary of the theories of the medieval philosopher and theologian William of Ockham, has been newly identified by a US scholar and expert on the history of Henry’s library. The book was damaged but escaped destruction in a disastrous fire at the house in 1881, and crucially the fly-leaf survived. It still carries the number 282, written in black ink in the top right-hand corner, which Prof James Carley identified as corresponding with an inventory taken in 1542 of the most important of Henry’s books, five years before the king’s death.

Paul Holden, the house and collections manager at Lanhydrock, said: “It was an amazing moment. The old long gallery here is about the length of a football pitch, and the professor lapped it about six times when we found the book.”

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Read the whole thing.

Nova Magna Carta

Apparently an archivist has found a previously unknown copy of the 1300 reissue of Magna Carta – just in time for the 800th anniversary of the original document of 1215. This one turned up in the borough of Sandwich, Kent (one of the Cinque Ports). One hopes it is not a convenient plant – if it is real, it brings the number of copies up to 24, and people are wondering if there could be more out there.

Even the Guardian can’t help but note, right there in the headline, that the document may be worth £10 million! Not to worry, Sandwich is not planning on selling it to any American plutocrats, but is “hoping to benefit from its potential as a tourist attraction.”