The Journal
The Latest from the History Center
Journal Newsletter August 26th - 30th
September 01, 2019

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A Day Off from Labor, Celebrating Labor!

-By Director of Education Ken Johnston

Labor Day in the United States is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors not only the American labor movement, but also the contributions that workers have made to the development, growth, prosperity, productivity, and well-being of the country. By the time it was recognized as a Federal holiday during Grover Cleveland’s 2nd Administration in 1894, thirty states in the US already celebrated their own Labor Day on May 1. The September date was chosen by President Cleveland to avoid association with the May 1 day.


A Labor Day parade in Gainesville, Georgia in 1949. The Navy Band play as they walk down Main Street.

The date of May 1 - the ancient folk holiday known as May Day - emerged in 1886 as a holiday for the celebration of labor, later becoming known as International Workers' Day; currently more than 80 countries celebrate this holiday. The date was chosen by the Second Internationale of Socialist and Communist parties to commemorate the Haymarket affair, a fatal series of confrontations between police and protesting workers which occurred in Chicago on May 4, 1886.

President Grover Cleveland was one of those concerned that a labor holiday on May 1st would tend to become a commemoration of the Haymarket Affair and would strengthen anarchist movements that backed the May Day commemoration around the globe. In 1887, he publicly supported the September Labor Day holiday as a less inflammatory alternative. The date was formally adopted as a United States Federal holiday in 1894.

So, enjoy the long weekend and we’ll see you back at the History Center on Tuesday!

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Ella Hilliard and Katrina Bishop of Dahlonega Walking Tours visited the History Center this week hoping that we could help them find out more information about a single shoe that was discovered in the one of the historic buildings along their walking tours. Our Director of Education Ken Johnston examined the shoe and determined that it was likely from the late 1880s to 1920s. Ken showed Ella and Katrina some of our 19th century reproduction shoes as well as photos of clothing of common folk in the 19th century from Jones Severa's Dressed for the Photographer. We never know what will be brought to the History Center, but we are always up for unraveling (or in this case untying) a mystery!



From left to right: Katrina Bishop, Ella Hilliard, and Ken Johnston with reproduction shoes

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Gift Baskets with a Historic Twist!

- By Museum Services Manager Sommer Stockton

The History Center's Gift Shop is premiering their brand-new History Baskets! History Baskets are full of items about and from Northeast Georgia and come in Little and Big baskets. Little History Baskets are only $10 and contain two books, two greeting cards, a special edition newspaper about the history of journalism published by the NEGAHC, and one multimedia item. Big History Baskets are $30 and contain three books, three greeting cards, our special edition newspaper, and a surprise item! We also have new $5 Kids Mystery Bags (middle) with fun history-inspired items.


The Northeast Georgia History Center Museum Shop is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10am until 4pm. Stay tuned for online order forms for all History Baskets and Kids Mystery Bags!

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- By Archival Media Assistant Lesley Jones

This week From the Archives is a children’s handbook for the United Nations Organization. The book was published in 1946 by the Charles E. Merrill Co., Inc. Charles E. Merrill Jr., son of one of the founders of Merrill Lynch stock brokerage and investment firm, dedicated his life to philanthropy and education. Merrill Jr. served as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Morehouse College in Atlanta where he strove to give education to minorities and the less fortunate. Charles E. Merrill Co., Inc. published textbooks for children until it was bought by Macmillan Inc. in 1988.

The United Nations Organization Handbook discusses how the UNO idea came into being, the 51 countries that are members, and what is written in the charter. The phrase “The United Nations” is on the cover in twenty different languages, each representing countries that are part of the UNO. The handbook in our archives is in excellent condition and is inscribed by student Judy Jackson, grade 7, from Palm Beach, Florida.


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Vikings? No, Scandinavians! Renowned merchants who had trading networks from the Baltic Sea to Constantinople! Simple farming folk who valued good land and built houses with roofs of turf! And oh, sometimes they’d get together in heavily armed groups and sail across the North Sea and up a river to murder some neighbors and take their wealth...that’s when they were “vikings”. Is that so wrong? Yes, yes it is - and in this episode, Ken and Glen discuss contrasts of Viking Myth and Scandinavian Reality.

Listen now at this link!

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Family Day - Past Times, Pastimes

September 8th from 1-4PM

Free to the public thanks to the Ada Mae Ivester Education Center

It’s hands-on fun front and center in September with Past Times, Pastimes – a look at entertainment in Georgia from the 18th to 20th centuries. Hands-on activities, living history interpretation and demonstrations, and audience participation in games, song, and dance will make the past come alive with fun!

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Forum: Dr. Crawford Long

September 10th at 7 PM

$3 General Admission or Free for Members

Dr. Crawford Long of Jefferson, Georgia became the first physician who used ether for surgical anesthesia in 1842. Vicki Starnes, Director of the Crawford Long Museum will share this remarkable story of a “country doctor” who created a cutting-edge procedure right here in Northeast Georgia.

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For more fascinating photos and information on our region's past, follow our social media!




A Labor Day parade in Gainesville, Georgia in 1949. In the background is the Hotel Princeton which was torn down in 1959 and in 1960 the lot became the site of the Woolworth Store. Today the site is occupied by the clothing store Dress Up.

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