Discovering Atlanta: Illustrated History of Atlanta

Discovering Atlanta

by Sara Logue, Research and Public Services Archivist, MARBL

Being the newest member of the staff at the Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library (MARBL), and a recent transplant to Atlanta, I'm excited, and somewhat overwhelmed by, the amazing history of this city and the south as a whole. I'm originally from the northeast, and MARBL has been a great resource for me in uncovering southern history. In my brief month here I've begun to learn how interesting the growth of Atlanta has been, and how much it differs from the northern cities to which I'm accustomed. While it is my job to learn as much as I can about the unique collections held at MARBL, I think it's important that I share this information with anyone who could potentially be interested in our holdings.

It can all seem overwhelming, and believe me, I share your wide-eyed look of wonderment. So I think it's best if we discover Atlanta-and Emory-together. This blog will be a space where I'll tell you about the interesting things I'm finding in MARBL's collections, and hopefully we can all learn a little something new. If you see items you like, and want some more information, feel free to leave a comment, or stop into MARBL and view them for yourself. I want this to be a space of open discourse, so please feel free to discuss my findings with me (or tell me I'm completely off-base in my assessment of them.)

Illustrated History of Atlanta,
Edward Young Clarke,
Manuscript Archives and Rare Book Library,
Emory University

So where do we start Discovering Atlanta? At the beginning of course, or as close to the beginning as I'm able to find in our collections. Atlanta is a young city, not just by U.S. standards, but southern standards as well. Its birth came about in the mid-19th century, certainly well after its northern counterparts. And even after its destruction during the Civil War, it has still, in its somewhat brief existence, managed to become the center of the South.

A book I've discovered is Edward Young Clarke's Illustrated History of Atlanta (F293.3 .C59) Published in 1877, the book is interesting not just because of the images within, but also because it's a history of a city written not too long after its inception. A lot of detail was recorded and in certain instances, when discussing founders of the city's shops and businessess, the author mentions how the person is still alive and doing well in Atlanta. I just wanted to include a few of the woodcuts to give you a sense of what you can discover by viewing this book at MARBL. But, of course, to get a real sense of Illustrated History of Atlanta, you have to come in and look at it yourself.

 Atlanta's First Church and Schoolhouse, 1845 from Illustrated History of Atlanta  by Edward Young Clarke

Atlanta's First Fire Company from Illustrated History of Atlanta by Edward Young Clarke

Medical College
 Atlanta Medical College, opened in 1857, from Illustrated History of Atlanta by Edward Young Clarke

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