UGA Libraries’ Media Archives receives earliest known home movies of Georgia

July 10, 2012 – 4:15 PM

The University of Georgia Libraries’ Walter J. Brown Media Archives, the only public institution in Georgia devoted entirely to preserving moving images, has received a rich and varied film collection including what are likely Georgia’s earliest surviving home movies.

Pebble Hill Plantation in Thomasville, Georgia, was the winter home for the Howard Melville Hanna family of Cleveland, Ohio. Elizabeth “Pansy” Ireland Poe, granddaughter of Howard Melville Hanna, was the last family member to live at the plantation’s main house until her death in 1978. She earlier created a foundation to ensure the property become the historic house museum and environmental preserve it is today. Pebble Hill’s trustees donated the family’s films to the university in order to preserve their unique scenes of the family and property.

“We are pleased to have forged this partnership with the University of Georgia Libraries Walter J. Brown Media Archives. Pebble Hill is intertwined with the history of southwest Georgia in so many ways and these films are a part of that history. We are confident the library will preserve the Pebble Hill films and that they will be available for generations to come,” said Warren Bicknell III, speaking for the Pebble Hill Foundation Trustees.

“We are extremely fortunate to have received these important early home movies from such a prominent South Georgia family,” added Ruta Abolins, head of the Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection. “These may be the earliest moving images shot in Georgia. We will be funding their preservation over the next couple of years so that they can be shared across the state and, of course, Pebble Hill will use the images to expand its story of the Hanna family in Thomasville. The addition of ‘The Sportsman’s Club’ television programs is a bonus since we house the third largest broadcasting archives in the country–the Peabody Awards Collection.”

Always on the lookout for films which depict Athens, UGA, Georgia, and the Southeast region to add to the visual history of the South, the Media Archives will be hosting one of the national Home Movie Day screening events on Oct. 20 at the Russell Special Collections Building from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Another Home Movie Day event will be held in Cleveland on Nov. 3.  For more information, contact Ruta Abolins at 706-542-4757 or see

The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection ( is one of the three special collections libraries housed in the new Russell Building

For more information on Pebble Hill Plantation, visit their website,



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