De Renne Society Purchases Historic Letter
by Leandra Nessel
The De Renne Society was created by the Libraries in an effort to provide our Special Collections Librarians with discretionary funds that would be immediately available for purchases. Many collections are being sold at auctions or are being acquired by competing institutions that have the funds available to quickly purchase these items when they become available. Several generous donors have already become De Renne Society members and it is through their generosity and foresight that the Libraries have recently acquired a letter that documents an important part of Georgia’s Revolutionary History.
In 1769, Virginia-born George Walton moved to Savannah and began a successful law practice. Active in Georgia’s Revolutionary government, he became a delegate to the Second Continental Congress in 1776 and was the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was joined in Philadelphia by Richard Howley, a native of Liberty County. Howley had also served as governor of the state of Georgia prior to his service in the Continental Congress.
The letter that the Libraries have acquired was written by Walton and Howley in August of 1781. Although the recipient of the letter is not clear, from the context it was most likely intended for General Nathanael Greene.
In the letter, the two delegates are providing an update on state of the Revolutionary War in Georgia and suggesting sending a printing press to aid the cause against the British, saying, “It is in contemplation to send Mr. Timothy on to you with a press, which would give you a new, and we think efficacious weapon against the Enemy. The people of the country might certainly be regulated in their opinion, and be brought at once to contemplate and pursue a common object; and tories [sic] might be painted out of countenance.”
The University of Georgia Library is already home to the largest collection of Georgia history in the state. The acquisition of this letter give us a greater understanding of what life was like in Revolutionary Georgia and makes our collection that much stronger. Thank you to all of the De Renne Society donors who have helped make this acquisition possible.
If you would like more information on the De Renne Society, please contact Chantel Dunham at 706-542-0628 or a email@example.com