Russell Library’s “Outside the Box” — April

March 31, 2009 – 12:49 PM

Object: AMVETS Silver Helmet Award
Collection: Erwin Mitchell Papers

Harlan Erwin Mitchell was born in Dalton, Georgia, on August 17, 1924. He served as a first lieutenant in the United States Army Air Corps (1943-46) during World War II and returned to Georgia where he earned an L.L.B at the University of Georgia School of Law. Following further service in the U.S. Air Force (1951-52), Mitchell became solicitor general, and briefly as a Superior Court judge, for the Cherokee Judicial Circuit.

In early 1958 Mitchell was elected as a Democrat to the 85th Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Henderson L. Lanham (7th District) in November 1957. He won re-election the following year and during his term in the House (1958-61), he served as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Patents and Scientific Inventions, as well as a member of the Committee on Science and Astronautics and the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. After leaving Congress, Mitchell served as a State Senator in the Georgia General Assembly (1960-61) and then returned to Dalton to resume practicing law.

“The Veteran’s Oscar”…
Also known as American Veterans, AMVETS is a volunteer led organization which has provided wide-ranging assistance to American veterans and their families since its founding in 1947. The Silver Helmet Award, often called “the Veterans Oscar,” is presented annually by the organization to recognize excellence in “Americanism, defense, rehabilitation, congressional service and other fields.” Erwin Mitchell received this honor in 1960 for his service on the Veterans Affairs Committee in the U.S. Congress.

To Read Erwin Mitchell’s account of the award ceremony in 1960, visit “Outside the Box” on the Russell Library’s Blog.

April’s “Outside the Box” object will be on display in the lobby gallery of the Russell Library, open 8:30am-4:30pm, Monday through Friday, until May 1st. For further information on the Erwin Mitchell Papers, please contact or visit

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  1. One Response to “Russell Library’s “Outside the Box” — April”

  2. September 13, 2011

    Longtime Dalton attorney Erwin Mitchell passes away
    Jamie Jones
    The Daily Citizen

    Longtime Dalton attorney Erwin Mitchell passed away early this morning after a brief illness.

    He was 87.

    Mitchell was a military veteran, a former U.S. Congressman, served as a superior court judge and was one of the driving forces behind The Georgia Project, which brought bilingual teachers from Mexico to schools in Dalton and Whitfield County.

    Funeral arrangements are incomplete and are being handled by Love Funeral Home.

    Read Wednesday’s Daily Citizen for a full report.

    By Jim Cook on Sep 13, 2011

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