1913 or 1914: When was Georgia State “Founded”?

August 1927 catalog

We know that Georgia State University was “founded” in 1913. Or was it?

University Archives includes many early “bulletins” (course catalogs) that clearly state on title pages: “Georgia School of Technology. Evening School of Commerce. ORGANIZED 1914.”

What should we make of this? Relying primarily on late Georgia State professor emeritus Merl Reed’s research for Educating the Urban New South, supplemented by early sources in University Archives and at Georgia Tech, the following timeline can be sketched out:

1911: W. M. Fambrough (Tech’s alumni association president and J. B. McCrary’s business manager) suggests to alumni and administrators the need for business courses: to give businessmen a college training, and engineering students a business training. Juniors, seniors, and alumni support the idea, and Tech President Matheson presents a plan to faculty. Fambrough and alumni conduct a funding drive to raise $25,000 (over $600,000 today) for the proposed course.

1912: February 1912—McCrary, Fambrough, Joel Hunter, and Samuel Inman start an evening lecture series which juniors and seniors are encouraged to attend (Spring 1912). At the end of spring term, faculty put commerce lectures on the senior’s regular schedule. Several prominent Atlantans become alumni “guarantors,” providing nearly four years of partial funding until Tech could assume the obligation (state funds had already been allocated, and Tech’s charter restrained its functions).

1912-13 academic year: (September to June) Tech approves a commerce program, and a full series of monthly business lectures is scheduled. This first course, offered in Winter 1912, centers around lectures on accounting, commercial law, buying, and selling. A faculty committee selects six Atlanta businessmen including certified public accountant (CPA) Joel Hunter and senior attorney Edgar Watkins to teach it. In addition to these six non-academics and a few part-time instructors (also in business or related fields), a few regular Tech faculty like Wayne Kell participate. Kell, who taught metallurgy and geology, also becomes one of the earliest Georgians to earn a CPA license. Attending lectures is now mandatory. This work leads directly to the creation of Tech’s School of Commerce in 1913.

1913-1914: By September 1913, Tech’s new School of Commerce offers two programs. One, taught by the “commercial division,” is intended for businessmen and meets evenings between 6 and 8 p.m. Graduates receive a three-year Bachelor of Commercial Science (B.C.S.) degree and “irregular” students receive a certificate. The other, taught under the “engineering division,” provides regular engineering students with business training and meets during regular daytime hours. Kell becomes assistant professor of accounting and finance, and dean.

1914-15: As day and evening classes continue on campus in 1914, Tech and Dean Kell also rent quarters in the downtown central business district and open an evening school of commerce, making it easier for students employed in businesses and government to attend classes after work. Located initially in the Walton building, the Evening School of Commerce grows rapidly and moves repeatedly to more spacious locations downtown.

1915-16: Tech graduates its first Commerce class with B.C.S. degrees in summer 1916. All seven men have full-time jobs.

1916-1918: The on-campus program began diverging as early as Fall 1916, when Tech not only assumed funding responsibility but introduced a four-year Bachelor of Commercial Science (B.C.S.) degree, available to downtown students only by taking several courses on campus during the day. In addition, while night classes were offered in both locations in Fall 1916, only six courses were on Tech’s campus while ten were at the downtown Evening School—another clear indication of its rapid growth. And finally, the downtown school distinguished itself most sharply from all-male Tech when, in Fall 1917, it admitted women—at a time when co-education was not permitted.

Peachtree Arcade, second home of Evening School of Commerce in downtown Atlanta (LBGPNS 10-007j)

So when was GSU created? Certainly our origins date to 1913, when Tech established its School of Commerce as an independent unit with its own administration, which graduated its first class in 1916. But ironically, “in offering commerce courses to part-time students and moving its Evening School to Atlanta’s downtown area, Tech unwittingly laid the tenuous foundation for what became Georgia State University.” ¹

¹ Merl Reed, “Educating the Urban New South:  Atlanta and the Rise of Georgia State University, 1913-1969,” pp. 6-7, unpublished manuscript (G2009-58), Georgia State University Archives.

Want to investigate further? Look for Reed’s book and digital copies of early undergraduate catalogs in the Library’s collections, and the Georgia State University History research guide.

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New VR Games for Play!

Spring semester is here, but winter isn’t over yet. Stay out of the cold and immerse yourself in some new VR games available on the library’s HTC VIVE instead.

The Virtual Reality Gaming Room (room N275) is on the 2nd floor of Library North, across from the Technology Support Desk. Thanks to the Arthur Vandenberg Library Innovation Fund, we’ve been able to add more VR games for both education and recreation.

So what do we have?

The artistically inclined may enjoy 3D painting and modeling in Tilt Brush or MasterpieceVR.

Students taking anatomy might be interested in using 3D Organon VR or Physiology of the Eye to study for the next exam.

If you’re just looking for something fun, you might try Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality or Space Pirate Trainer.


Reserve the VR Room here

A more complete list of purchased games is viewable from the blue “Info” button on the reservation page. The room can fit up to four people at a time, but your friends may be tempted to record your VR flailing. Tweet us your best and worst VR moves @gsu_library.



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*NEW* Data After Dark Workshops in the Evening

For the last two-and-a-half years the Library’s Research Data Services Team has offered workshops on various data topics during day-time hours with great success. But we’ve occasionally gotten feedback like the following:

“I work full-time during the day and can only come to campus after I get off work — do you ever have workshops at night?”

“My classes during the day conflict with when you have your workshops — do you ever have any at night?”

Since we try to meet all of our campus researchers’ needs to our best ability, we are experimenting with offering some workshops in the evenings this spring semester. They begin at either 6:30pm or 7:00pm to give people time to grab some dinner, hop in their chosen transit mode, and get through Atlanta traffic. So…

Come do Data After Dark with us!

Below are the evening workshops for spring semester, linked to the associated Library calendar pages with more information about the workshop content, the date/time/location, and the place to register.

Stata After Dark

NVivo After Dark

Survey Design After Dark

SPSS After Dark

Networks After Dark

SAS After Dark

Mixed Methods After Dark

ICPSR After Dark

Looking for more *FREE* training opportunities?

  • You can find out about all of the Library’s upcoming workshops (day or night, data or not) at library.gsu.edu/workshops
  • The PantherTech technology training team offers a wide variety of introductory technology workshops as well — check those out here.

Are you looking for help with data analysis tools and methods? With research data visualization or data management? The Library’s Research Data Services (RDS) Team can help. The RDS Team offers:


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Get RDS@GSU Data Certified — it’s worth it!

The Georgia State University Library’s Research Data Services (RDS) Team offers a wide variety of workshops on data analysis tools & methods, mapping & data visualization, finding data & statistics, and survey design. This Spring 2019 semester the RDS Team is offering 54 workshops — the most offerings we’ve had in a single semester to date. We’re even offering some evening workshops this semester to better accommodate campus researchers’ needs.

Why should you attend the Research Data Services (RDS) Team’s data workshops?

Data skills — even just basic data skills — are highly valued by today’s employers — being called “the most lucrative skill[s] to have” and “the most valuable skill[s] you can learn.” So, attending our data workshops will give you a leg up once you’re out there looking for a job.

Best of all, our data workshops are all free.

You may be thinking, “So what if they’re free?” Well, we researched how much workshops on our various topics would cost out in the real-world market, and what we found may make you re-think that “so what” reaction:

  • You could expect to pay $110 on average for a 1.5-hour workshop (the typical length of our workshops).
  • You could pay as low as $61/1.5-hour workshop, or as high as $200/1.5-hour workshop.
  • So, the 54 workshops that the RDS Team is offering for *FREE* in this coming semester equates to an average $5,940 total cost at the market price, and it could range from $3,294 to $10,800 in total cost.

In other words, our free workshops are clearly quite a bargain and something you should be taking advantage of while you can…

Need even more incentive to come to our data workshops?

Okay, how about this for an incentive:

You can get RDS@GSU Data Certified!

  • Register for Research Data Services (RDS) workshops on the Library Calendar.
    • Look for the logo with the GET DATA CERTIFIED seal (see image at right).
  • Attend a minimum of five unique RDS workshops in the Spring 2019 semester.
    • Make sure you sign-in on the paper sign-in sheet at the workshop so we can track your attendance.
    • While you’re welcome to attend the same workshop multiple times to hone your skills, to earn the data certificate you need to attend a minimum of five *unique* workshops.
    • Attending a Data in the ATL talk *does not* count as a workshop toward the certificate.
  • By April 24 if you’ve attended a minimum five workshops, you’ll be invited to a ceremony in the Library (date TBD) where you can mingle with others committed to getting RDS@GSU Data Certified *and* receive a custom certificate signed by our Dean of Libraries and the Leader of the Research Data Services Team (see example below).
    • ​If you are unable to attend the ceremony, we will send a PDF version of the certificate to your campus email.

Yes, it’s that easy! And by getting RDS@GSU Data Certified, you demonstrate to potential employers that you are committed to growing the data skills that they look for in hires.

So, get RDS@GSU Data Certified! It’s free, and it’s worth it.

Are you looking for help with data analysis tools and methods? With research data visualization or data management? The Library’s Research Data Services (RDS) Team can help. The RDS Team offers:


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Remembering Aaron Swartz

©2015 Digital Disruption Partners, LLC

Today, we remember Aaron Swartz on the sixth anniversary of his death.

Although Aaron Swartz (1986-2013) initially saw copyright as an obscure issue not worthy of his energies, he grew to view aspects of copyright law as tools in larger systemic problems. In the academic community, a few very lucrative publishers control most of the access to research. This situation creates ecosystems of global inequality and greatly limits the legal teaching and sharing practices often needed for learning and scientific advancement. Alongside these ideas, Swartz participated in the creation of the Open Library and the Creative Commons and wrote the Guerilla Open Access Manifesto. He led the initiative that brought down SOPA, as he saw this legislation as a tool for government censorship.

Considered a brilliant prodigy, Swartz participated in the creation of RSS feed at the age of 14. He went on to co-found Reddit and become an activist for an internet that would allow freedom of speech, access to government and academic resources, and much more. In 2013, the American Library Association awarded him the James Madison Award posthumously.

Learn more about Aaron Swartz’s life and his many contributions not mentioned above:

Aaron Swartz’ Google Scholar profile

Akbarzadeh, A. (Director). (2015). Killswitch. [Video file]. Random Media.

Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. (2018, June 12) Aaron Swartz on The Open Library [Video File].

F2C2012. (2012, May 21). Aaron Swartz awesome speech Internet freedom [Video File].

Knappenberger, B., et al. (2015) The Internet’s own boy: The story of Aaron Swartz. [DVD]

Lessig, L. (2014). The unstoppable walk to political reform.

Peters, J. (2016). The idealist: Aaron Swartz and the rise of free culture on the Internet. First Scribner hardcover ed.

Swartz, A. & Lessig, L. (2015). The boy who could change the world: The writings of Aaron Swartz.

Swartz, A. Aaron Swartz.

The GSU library recognizes the complexities of barriers influencing the sharing of scholarly research and academic resources and supports legal initiatives to make such content more accessible to the world. As an author, you may have options for releasing your content. Learn more about author’s rights, rights reversion, and options for posting your content in Scholarworks@GSU. If you are an author wanting to make your scholarship more accessible, please contact Laura Burtle. What about course content? The GSU library supports the creation, adaptation, and adoption of open and affordable course content. Learn more on the Open Education guide or contact Denise Dimsdale for more information about free or affordable course content.

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Free digital textbooks from the University of North Georgia Press

In partnership with the Affordable Learning Georgia initiative, the University of North Georgia Press offers a number of free digital textbooks. Most of the free digital textbooks include a Creative Commons license that allows them to be uploaded to iCollege and shared with the world. Most also have options to purchase an affordable print copy.

Here are a few UNG Press digital textbooks that might catch your interest, or go here to see all of their free digital textbooks.



Introduction to Art: Design, Context, and Meaning

The digital version is free with a CCBYSA license. Individual images throughout the work are clearly cited with licensing information under each image. The Digital version is free with no login required. Get a Print version for $29.99.





British Literature I: Middle Ages to the Eighteenth Century and Neoclassicism

The digital version is free to download and share with no login required. This book is nearly 3000 pages and is divided into 4 parts. You may print what you need yourself, or the individual sections are offered for purchase at an affordable price.





World History: Cultures, States, and Societies to 1500

The Digital version is free to download and share with no login required. Get a print version for $29.99.





If you don’t find what you need here, take a look at the GSU Library’s Open Education Guide. Or, contact Denise Dimsdale, Affordable Learning Georgia Library Coordinator, at the GSU Library. The GSU Library is happy to assist instructors with locating open resources, publishing open content, and locating course content and library resources that provide affordable options for students and pedagogical opportunities for instructors.

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Meet a Librarian: Ellen Barrow

Who is Ellen?  

Ellen is a Librarian Assistant Professor at the Perimeter College Clarkston library. She provides reference services, teaches library instruction classes, and is the subject liaison for Anthropology, History, Political Science, and World Languages. Her research is focused on the history of American abolitionism and the impact of making historical artifacts accessible to undergraduate students.  

What and where has Ellen studied? Did she always plan to be a librarian? 

Ellen earned a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from University of South Dakota, and a Masters of Library Science from Emporia State University in Kansas. She has completed some post-graduate Humanities studies at California State University – Domingo Hills.  

Ellen planned on becoming an Anthropologist, before becoming a librarian. However, during her undergraduate career while working on research projects, Ellen worked at the law library. She loved the environment, the people, and the opportunity to teach research skills to other students.  This work experience prompted her to attend graduate school for a library degree.  

Where else has Ellen worked?  

Right before she came to Perimeter College Clarkston, Ellen was the director of a public library in South Carolina. Aside from libraries, Ellen’s work experience runs the gamut! She’s worked on a ranch, attended welding school, washed dogs, and worked in a greenhouse. Ellen also worked several lambing seasons. She uses some of the skills that she learned helping sheep have their babies in her current work with students–patience and expect the unexpected.  

What does Ellen think is important about the Clarkston campus? 

Clarkston is one of the oldest campuses at Perimeter. The people are wonderful, and there is an enormous amount of diversity. Clarkston is a pretty campus with a lot of trees and lots of parking! 

Quick Facts About Ellen: 

Cake or pie?: Her mother’s apple pie. Ellen continues the tradition using the same recipe.  

Favorite Book: The Last Crossing by Guy Vanderhaeghe 

Favorite Movie: Days of Heaven (1978) starring Richard Gere, Brooke Adams, and Sam Shepard.  

Hot tea or iced tea?: Hot tea, specifically PG Tips, a very good British black tea. It’s a “power tea that will make your spoon stand up!” 

Pets: A cat named Mihira. She adopted this charming, sweet cat from PAWS Atlanta in 2006. He’s a big love bug who’s constantly purring at everyone he meets. Mihira also loves watching television. He’s partial to The Waltons, Daniel Boone, TCM classic movies and anytime another animal appears on the screen!

Interviewed by Jennie Law

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Johnny Mercer Tribute Concert on GPB

Johnny MercerMissed the Johnny Mercer Tribute Concert earlier this year?  You’re in luck, GSUTV recorded the concert and it will be aired on Georgia Public Broadcasting Sunday December 9th at 7:00 pm and again on Tuesday December 11th at 6:00 pm.

It’s been said that getting through the day without hearing one Johnny Mercer song is almost impossible—and why would you want to? Georgia’s own Johnny Mercer wrote the lyrics to over 1,400 songs, including four Academy Award-winners. From the light-hearted “You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby” and “Jeepers Creepers” to the cinematic “Hooray for Hollywood” and the timeless “Moon River,” Mercer wrote words and music for an American century.

Hard-bop trumpeter and vocalist Joe Gransden and beloved blues, jazz, and gospel singer Francine Reed join the Georgia State University Jazz Band’s tribute to Mercer’s incomparable legacy, as they perform a selection of his many hits and new arrangements of some of his unpublished works.

Want to know more? Visit the Johnny Mercer Collection at Special Collections and Archives or contact Kevin Fleming, archivist, Popular Music and Culture Collection, at 404-413-2880 or archives@gsu.edu.

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Oral History Project Planning 101

“An oral history interview generally consists of a well-prepared interviewer questioning an interviewee and recording their exchange in audio or video format.”

-Donald Ritchie, Doing Oral History

Oral histories can include official interviews with important figures. They can include family histories, and they can document the ways that communities or neighborhoods have grown and evolved over time. Oral histories can also provide a history for under-documented communities, when no official records or narratives exist.

While published accounts and archival records can tell you “what happened,” oral histories can tell you how decisions were made in order to facilitate events and what it felt like to watch, participate in, or be affected by these events. They can provide an insider’s perspective, and they often provide multiple, sometimes competing narratives. Awash with memory, personal interpretations, humanity and emotion, they can make history come alive.

Archivists at Georgia State University have a long history of documenting communities through oral histories, and on Saturday, December 1, from 1:00-4:00 pm, they will share their knowledge and advice during a new Oral History Project Planning 101 workshop.

This workshop will take place at Georgia State University’s Clarkston campus and is free and open to the public. Registration is required, and space is limited. See below for the details or visit the library’s event page.

Oral History Project Planning 101

Do you have an idea for an oral history project but need help developing a plan? Attend this workshop presented by Georgia State University Library’s Special Collections & Archives to find out what steps you need to take to shape your idea into a viable project. We’ll share what’s worked for us (and what hasn’t), review key decisions you should make before starting, and help you create a project plan.

Attendees and archivists from our June oral history workshop.


  • Small group breakout sessions
  • Personalized advice from Georgia State University archivists
  • Hands-on interviewing practice
  • Discussion of ethical & legal issues
  • Preservation & storage tips
  • Equipment recommendations & more!

Hands-on interviewing practice.


Saturday, December 1st, 2018, 1:00 PM-4: 00 PM


Georgia State University Library
Clarkston Campus, Building CL
555 N. Indian Creek Dr.
Clarkston, GA 30021


Register here: http://ow.ly/yZo950jDsig 


For more information contact us at 404-413-2880 or archives@gsu.edu

Want to find out about similar events? Visit the Special Collections & Archives website and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Thank you and we hope to see you soon!

-The Special Collections & Archives team

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Upcoming Workshop: Teaching with Primary Sources: Using Sources to Build Narratives

WSB radio banner“Teaching with Primary Sources” is an ongoing series of workshops designed to introduce faculty and graduate student instructors to creative strategies for incorporating a range of primary sources, including but not limited to archival, digital, and/or subscription primary sources, into classroom instruction.

Kevin Fleming, Popular Music and Culture Archivist, and Jill Anderson, Humanities Instruction Librarian, are offering the “Teaching with Primary Sources: Using Sources to Build Narratives” workshop for faculty and graduate student instructors. This workshop will be held on Monday, December 3,  1pm to 3pm, in the Colloquium Room, Library South 8, on the Atlanta campus.

In this hands-on workshop, attendees will be the “students” for an exercise utilizing primary materials from Special Collections and Archives and from the Library’s general collections. The workshop will suggest creative ways to introduce a research activity or project by developing a narrative from a selection of primary sources.

The exercise will be followed by discussion and brainstorming on other creative ways to use these resources for teaching.

Register on the library events calendar. Contact Jill or Kevin if you have any questions. Please join us!

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