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Finding Aid for Omer Clyde Aderhold Collection 1920-1975 (UGA 97-100)

116 linear feet : 116 boxes
Record Group: 1

Creator Note
Scope and Content
Box Listing
Content Inventory

Creator Note

Omer Clyde Aderhold, sixteenth president of the University of Georgia, was born in Lavonia, Georgia as the 19th century was drawing to a close, on November 7, 1899. Raised in rural Northeast Georgia, he took his education past the traditional 9th grade finishing level, and went on to the 9th District A & M School in Clarkesville. From there, he went on to study education at the University of Georgia, taking his Bachelor’s degree in 1923.

A period of service as teacher, principal, and Superintendent of Schools in Jackson County followed, leading Aderhold almost inevitably to a return to the University of Georgia in 1929 as an associate professor. He received his M.S. from Georgia in 1930, and would complete his PhD at Ohio State University in 1938.

Sixteen years later, Aderhold accepted the post of Dean of the College of Education, a position that he held until assuming the duties and responsibilities of President of the University of Georgia in 1950. During his tenure as Dean, Aderhold was for a term also the head of the Georgia Education Association. In this capacity, he directed a statewide study of public education in Georgia. This massive undertaking would lead to state legislative action to guarantee funding of public education, and earned Aderhold the title of father of the Minimum Foundation Program for Education in Georgia.

As President, Dr. Aderhold likewise left his stamp on both the state’s flagship university, and all who were parts of this explosively growing community. From 1950 until his retirement in 1967, the Aderhold years were characterized by expansion of both the student body and the physical plant needed to not only sustain their educations, but to also extend it into areas previously unimagined in the state. The value of the physical plant jumped from $12 million to $100 million during his tenure, and 22 separate building projects came to fruition. Some of the latter were modest single buildings, but there were three massive complexes which arrived during the Aderhold years: the Georgia Center for Continuing Education (1957); the Science Center (comprising Physics/Geography-Geology-Speech/Chemistry/Biological Science/Livestock/Poultry/Food Science Buildings, built 1959-1960); and the married housing of University Villages (1964-1966). There were also 12 dormitories, a dining facility, a Coliseum, a Visual Arts center and a new Library built during Aderhold’s time in charge at UGA.

Again on his watch, development of the Library holdings saw a jump from 250,000 to nearly 1,000,000 volumes. To match the building program, the Brumbaugh report in 1958 provided a critical examination of the tripartite mission of the University of Georgia, and it’s future educational goals and aspirations. This report cast the die for the modern-era Self-Studies that have become a regular part of institutional planning and development.

President Aderhold was described as “a large quiet man with a sense of humor”, and that quiet nature was put to the test with the Federally mandated integration of the University in 1961. This was a dangerous moment in the institution’s history, and Aderhold’s role in navigating these treacherous waters was characterized by Russell I Thackrey, executive director of the National Association of Land-Grant Colleges and Universities, as follows: “He did not hesitate to lay on the line both his personal physical safety, his professional career, and the future of the University he loved to do what he thought was right. That all three survived the event, and that the University’s rapid pace of advancement to true distinction under Dr. Aderhold went on unchecked, is a tribute to the basic faith of the people of Georgia in both.”

Following his retirement as President, Dr. Aderhold served as consultant in science and graduate education to the Southern Regional Education Board. He died on Independence Day in the summer of 1969.


A Note on Organization:

The papers of President Aderhold came into University Archives in the mid-1970s, and the 120+ boxes were placed into the University Presidential Papers holdings without being processed. For a number of years, it was hoped that the papers could be reorganized into a large Administrative Subject and Administrative Correspondence File, as they had been “batch retired” as working files, and little order had been imposed upon the collection between its retirement/assembly and its arrival in University Archives.

Towards this end, the Archives welcomed the assistance of Ms. Jennie Johnson, a volunteer worker who had, for a period of time towards the end of President Aderhold’s tenure as president, served as a secretary in the President’s Office, and thus was familiar with the filing protocols in place when the records constituted an active working file. Ms. Johnson began a survey of the papers, but prior volunteer commitments required her time and attention, and we instead decided to provide a finding aid of the papers in the disturbed provenancial state in which they were received. The advent of electronic searchability of the electronic iteration of this aid made the choice an easier one to make, as the original intent behind the desire to rework the papers was to make them more accessible to researchers.

Thus, in the late summer of 2002, Ms. Tiffany Coleman began a file-level inventory of the Aderhold Papers, taken in the original sequence in which the records had been received (save a housing modification of materials related to the 1961 integration of the University of Georgia which will be treated separately later). Ms. Coleman completed this task in early April of 2003, yielding the inventory, which provides the bulk of this finding aid.

Scope and Content:

The O.C. Aderhold Papers can be grouped (broadly) into eighteen series. Because the choice was made to retain the original “provenance of receipt”, the series fall out along several more-or-less organic lines. Some breaks of series are temporal in nature, reflecting the “batch retirement” which characterized the movement of the papers from active use to inactive storage. This is particularly true with the several series of Administrative Subject and Correspondence files. There are some series delineated by physical format, such as the clippings file, the framed memorabilia, and the books. Some series represent other roles for President Aderhold, including his consultation files. Two of the series have been detached from the Aderhold papers.

The individual series are as follows:

  • Series 1: [Box 1-15] Administrative Subject/ Correspondence File [1931] 1948-1965.
  • Series 2: [Box 16-22} Admin. Subject/Correspondence and OCA Personal Files 1938-1969. 97-100:17 includes Holmes/Hunter Admittance Materials
  • Series 3: [Box 23-26] Admin. Subject/Correspondence Files and Speeches 1949-1969.
  • Series 4: [Box 27-28] Desk & Engagement Calendar Contents [1847] 1938-1969.
  • Series 5: [Box 29-31] Newspaper Clippings 1943-1969.
  • Series 6: [Box 32-33] Board of Regents Records 1950-1954.
  • Series 7: [Box 34-39] Memorabilia/Appointments/Football Correspondence 1951-1968.
  • Series 8: [Box 40-46] Admin. Subject/Correspondence Files/Commencement 1960-1964.
  • Series 9: [Box 47-63] Administrative Subject/Correspondence Files 1950-1966.
  • Series 10: [Box 64-86} Admin. Subject/Correspondence Files/Athletics 1950-1966.
    Subseries: Arts of the United States consultancy.
  • Series 11: [Box 71-77} Materials related to the Integration of the University of Georgia in 1961; see also 97-100:17.
  • Series 12: [Box 87} Atlanta Division 1948-1955.
  • Series 13: [Box 88-94; Box 103-104] Books from OCA personal library.
  • Series 14: [Box 95-96] Books from OCA personal library, relocated to UGA Rare Books 10/02.
  • Series 15: [Box 97-102] Oversized/Framed Memorabilia 1944-1966.
  • Series 16: [Box 105-110] Memorabilia/Programs 1950-1967.
  • Series 17: [Box 111-118] Memorabilia/Private Consultation 1954-1975.
  • Series 18: [Box 119-122] Miscellaneous Files transferred to F.C. Davison Papers (97-101)

Processed/Prepared by: Tiffany Coleman, Gilbert Head, Jennie Johnson, Jennifer Keller, Brandy Savarese. November, 2002. Online version: Carol Bishop, April 2004.