The Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library is a place of discovery. All are welcome to visit and explore our unique holdings, whether as a researcher or an observer. The breadth and depth of our collections are vast, and it is nearly impossible to investigate every nook and cranny. We invite you this year, through our blog, to tour some of those places you didn’t know existed, and get acquainted with collections you might not have previously explored. Check back in with us weekly over the course of 2013 as we offer you a delightful look into some of the favorite, but perhaps lesser-known, corners of our collections. These pieces are visually interesting, come attached with fascinating stories, and are often 3D objects you might not have realized are part of what makes up The Extraordinary World of MARBL.
Hanley’s Bell Street Funeral Home opened in 1929 under the management and ownership of Jesse Howard Hanley and served Atlanta, Georgia’s African-American community through the 1990s. Located at 21 Bell Street, in the historic Sweet Auburn neighborhood, Hanley’s was known for its commitment to serving all members of the community regardless of their financial means. In addition to its funeral services, Hanley’s ran an ambulance company and organized donations of food and money to local churches and charities. The smelling salts pictured above bear the Hanley’s logo, which is featured on other promotional materials such as paper fans. Smelling salts, primarily composed of ammonia, have been used for centuries to revive unconscious individuals and were one of many comforts provided by Hanley’s for their bereaved patrons. MARBL staff have recently finished processing the Hanley’s Bell Street Funeral Home records and are now open for research.