The Journal
The Latest from the History Center
Newsletter March 18-22
March 22, 2019


This week the fourth grade students of Royston Elementary School meet Harriet Tubman during a Live Webcast from the Cottrell Digital Studio. Mrs. Tubman told students about her early life as an enslaved person in Maryland, the hardships she faced, and how she became determined to escape enslavement and help others do the same. The students wondered how she found the courage to risk her life to help others. She described the feeling of God giving her a special purpose to bring others out of slavery, even at the risk of her own life. She also described visions and vivid dreams that she believed were premonitions from God about her sacred duty.

Some details of Mrs. Tubman's life that the students did not know included her service during the Civil War as a spy for the Union Army, her assistance in the freeing of over 700 slaves during the Combahee Ferry raid in 1863, and her suffrage activism later in life.

Harriet Tubman is portrayed by Atlanta-based actress Chiara Richardson. Chiara has portrayed Gainesville educator and activist Beulah Rucker for Gainesville Chautauqua and our Webisode series. Chiara is also an award-winning poet, an educator, and artist. When the students asked why she loved portraying Harriet Tubman, she told them how inspired she was by Mrs. Tubman's bravery, determination, and faith.

From inside the Cottrell Digital Studio

harriet tubman

From the students' perspective

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Guests from Cresswind at Lake Lanier enjoyed a special tour of the History Center. Director of Media & Communications Libba Beaucham showed them the Cottrell Digital Studio and demonstrated how our Live Webcasts work through green screen technology. Executive Director Glen Kyle presented a special Living History program on the War of 1812, including a challenge to load and fire his musket in under one minute. He did it in a minute and six seconds! Our guests seemed quite impressed with the History Center and we look forward to having them back for our programs.




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The Artificial Ear Drum Company sold "medicated ear-drums" in the early 1900s which were advertised as enabling hearing in "a man who is so deaf that he cannot hear thunder to hear a clock tick thirty feet away!" The artificial eardrum was to be inserted into the ear canal to act as a medium for receiving sound and to deliver medication to reduce inflammation. It was sold by George P. Way who claimed to be both an engineer and the inventor of the product. However, the patent is under his wife's name F. M. Way who was a homeopathic doctor.

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Like many products of the 20th century (and today) with such extraordinary claims, the artificial eardrum did not fulfill its promise. In a 1913 publication of The Journal of the American Medical Association, a physician describes the product as "quackery" going on to to say, "they are about the worst things that could be used in such a condition. The amount of damage a piece of fakery of this kind can do is almost beyond belief."

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The first truly helpful hearing aids appeared after the telephone was invented. People with hearing loss noticed that they could hear better through the telephone receiver. Thomas Edison, who also suffered from hearing loss, invented a carbon transmitter which amplified the telephone by 15 decibels. This led the way toward handheld hearing aids that could increase sound by up to 70 dB through vacuum tubes that controlled the flow of electricity better than carbon. Hearing aids continued to become more discreet over time, especially after technological advances during World War II, leading up to today's digital hearing aids.

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Taste of History 2019
Thursday, April 11th at 6PM
$125 per ticket
Our annual fundraiser Taste of History will celebrate Sandra and Nathan Deal for their lifetime of service. The event will take place at the Ramsey Conference Center at Lanier Technical College on Thursday, April 11th at 6PM. A plated dinner will be served and we'll have an open bar with beer and wine. Sponsorships of $1,500 and up are available. To purchase tickets or inquire about a sponsorship, please call 770-297-5900.

Family Day The Civil War in North Georgia
Sunday, April 14th from 1-4PM at the History Center
FREE thanks to the Ada Mae Ivester Education Center
An examination of the Civil War's effects in North Georgia, this family-friendly event features living-history demonstrations, hands-on activities, games and museum theater performances.

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The Northeast Georgia History Center at Brenau University - 322 Academy St NE Gainesville, GA 30501 - 770.297.5900 -