University of Georgia Special Collections Libraries
Home Movies



27 - 8mm film reels


The Shields-Ethridge Heritage Farm outside of Jefferson, Georgia, has been owned by the Ethridge family for generations. During the 1940s and 1950s, Ira Lanis Ethridge made 8mm home movies around the farm and home, showing family, sharecroppers, and neighbors who assisted in the harvests. These films were preserved with a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation.

The Ethridge Home Movies depict life on Southern farm land which was originally settled in 1799 and is now known as the Shields-Ethridge Heritage Farm. The films specifically document the mid-20th century (since 1939), showing Georgia farm life, and the family and Southern travels of Ira Lanis Ethridge (1899-1970). 

Mr. Ethridge, a farmer, was born and lived all his life in Jefferson, Georgia, twelve miles north of Athens, Georgia.  The Shields-Ethridge Heritage Farm was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. 


Several sections of the property are still actively farmed.  His daughter, Susan Chaisson, who still lives on the property, has been working tirelessly to document all aspects of the farm through archival documents, photographs, tools, and restoration of buildings (cotton gin, grist mill, blacksmith shop, schoolhouse, plantation home, wheat house, etc.). 

Programs at the farm tell the history of north Georgia farming and the farm serves as an educational venue for agricultural methods and life.  Ms. Chaisson hosts visiting K-12 school children/classes regularly (most recently, 800 students in three weeks) and manages annual public events such as Heritage Day and Mule Day, which incorporate live interpretive folk/farm events such as candle making, hay baling, cotton processing, blacksmithing, etc.  The Heritage Farm has received grants and awards for its preservation, stewardship, and education programs.