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Journalism Low Residency Graduate Program Archival Research Resources: Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies

What you will find in the Russell Library...

The Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies at the University of Georgia Libraries was established in 1974. The Library’s original mission was to collect and preserve materials that document the life and career of the late Richard B.  Russell, United States Senator from Georgia from 1933 to 1971; however, in the years since its founding, the Library’s mission has expanded tremendously. Serving as a center for research and study of the modern American political system, with particular emphasis on the role of Georgia and the U. S. Congress, the Russell Library focuses on the dynamic relationship of politics, policy, and culture—generated wherever public interest intersects with government. The breadth and depth of the Library’s collections provide an interconnected framework of perspectives and experiences for understanding the increasingly diverse people, events, and ideas shaping Georgia’s modern political landscape.

In the space of nearly four decades, the holdings of the Russell Library have expanded to include more than 300 collections of papers of post-1900 elected officials, political appointees, and individuals and groups representing, persuading, or observing the political and public policy processes in Georgia and the nation.

These collections include the personal papers of numerous federal and state appointees, members of Congress, governors, state legislators, judges, elected officials, political activists and observers, and the records of the state Democratic and Republican parties, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, Leadership Georgia, the ACLU Chapter of Georgia, and the Athens-Clarke County League of Women Voters.  

The Russell Library collects all types and formats of records including: manuscripts, letters, diaries, reports, minutes, speeches, memoranda, printed materials, graphic materials,photographs, artifacts, audiovisual materials, oral histories, and electronic records (born digital files). 

Great Collections to Consider


Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 004 Bill Shipp

William “Bill” Shipp worked as a journalist in Georgia for fifty years. Shipp began his career as managing editor of the University of Georgia’s Red and Black newspaper. In 1956 Shipp began to write for the Atlanta Constitution, covering topics such as the civil rights movement, the space program, and numerous political campaigns and leaders in Georgia. In this interview, Shipp discusses the role of the media in politics, including its effect on public opinion and its influence on elections.

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 147 Bill Shipp

William “Bill” Shipp worked as a journalist  in Georgia for fifty years. In this interview at his home in Acworth, Georgia, Shipp discusses the range of modern Georgia politics, with a particular emphasis on Georgia governors since 1946. Topics include race relations in Atlanta during the Civil Rights Movement, the fall of the county unit system, congressional reapportionment in Georgia, the race between Carl Sanders and Jimmy Carter in 1970, Leroy JohnsonZell Miller and the Georgia lottery, the rise of the Republican Party in Georgia, the Three Governors Controversy, Herman Talmadge's governorship, Jim Gillis's tenure as the director of the highway department, Roy Barnes and the Georgia flag controversy, Newt GingrichMax Cleland, and Shipp's career as a journalist.

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 063 Millard Grimes

Millard Grimes worked as an editor for The Red and Black, and graduated from UGA with a degree in journalism in 1951. He returned to the Columbus Ledgeras associate news editor, and in 1955 the newspaper won a Pulitzer Prize for documenting corruption in Phenix City, Alabama. He then served as publishing chief executive officer at numerous newspapers, including the Opelika-Auburn News and the Rockdale Citizen. In 1991, he entered magazine publishing when he purchased the Georgia Journal and Georgia Trend. Grimes discusses his life as a journalist and editor, recalling his experiences working with various newspapers, the Columbus Ledger's investigation which led to a Pulitzer Prize, and the state of newspapers and reporting in a modern world.

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 076 Aubrey Morris

Aubrey R. Morris was born in 1922 in Roswell, Georgia, and grew up writing for the local newspaper. In this interview, Morris discusses his long journalism career, including his days as a journalism student at the University of Georgia, his work at the Atlanta Journal, and his reporting at WSB Radio. He describes his experience working closely with Atlanta’s mayors and reporting on major events like the 1962 Orly plane crash and the Winecoff Hotel fire. Morris also talks about reporting on events of the civil rights movement, such as an early speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. near the state capitol and the integration of the University of Georgia.

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 104 Reg Murphy

John Reginald "Reg" Murphy attended Mercer University in Macon, and worked for the Macon Telegraph. In 1955 he opened the Atlanta bureau of the Macon Telegraph. He was chosen to be a Neiman Fellow at Harvard in 1959, and in 1961 went to work for the Atlanta Constitution as political editor. He became managing editor of Atlanta magazine in 1965, and returned to the Constitution in 1968, succeeding Ralph McGill as editor. In 1975 Murphy left Georgia for theSan Francisco Examiner, and in 1981 went to the Baltimore Sun. In 1996 he joined the National Geographic Society as president and chief executive. In 1999 his biography of Griffin Bell, Uncommon Sense: The Achievement of Griffin Bell was published. Murphy discusses his kidnapping, his time working as a journalist in Atlanta, and Atlanta's development into the cultural hub of the South.

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 102 Dick Pettys

Richard Pettys attended the University of Georgia, where he worked on the student newspaper the Red and Black. In 1965 he began working for three newspapers in Gwinnett County that would soon become the Gwinnett Daily News. In 1969 he joined the Associated Press, and the next year was named capitol correspondent for Georgia. Considered the “Dean” of the Capitol Press Corps, he covered every governor from Lester Maddox to Sonny Perdue, and 40 legislative sessions. Pettys retired from the Associated Press in 2005 and went to work for Insider Advantage Georgia, an online political and business newsletter. Pettys discusses his entrance into journalism, his experience with many politicians at the capitol, and his life after journalism.

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 115 Bob Cohn

Bob Cohn began his career as a news writer and photojournalist after graduating from the University of Alabama. He has worked on Olympic and event marketing for many years and has served as a chairman of the National Parade and March Oversight Committee for the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday and as Governor Zell Miller's appointee to the Metropolitan Atlanta Olympic Games Authority. Cohn discusses his work as a journalist, his experience working in the field of public relations, and his influence on several Olympic Games.

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 127 Tom Baxter

Tom Baxter was a reporter, editor of the Sunday Perspective section, national editor, and chief political correspondent for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has written about politics in the South since 1987, joining InsiderAdvantage in 2007 to edit a website and newsletter devoted to that subject. He has witnessed many of the groundbreaking political developments of the past four decades in the South, and covered every presidential election since 1988, as well as the first integrated election in South Africa in 1994. Baxter comments on his time covering the South, the state of journalism in the present day, and party politics in Georgia.

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 130 David Morrison

David Morrison is a political journalist that covered Georgia politics for the Atlanta Constitution during the 1970s. He discusses his work in journalism, his experiences with prominent politicians, and the state of party politics in Georgia.


Charlayne Hunter-Gault Papers

In 1961, after a two year legal battle, Charlayne Hunter (later Charlayne Hunter-Gault) and Hamilton Holmes became the first African Americans to be accepted to the University of Georgia. The two students were met with animosity, and some rioting occurred outside Hunter’s dorm. Both Hunter and Holmes were suspended for their own safety, but a court order allowed them to return to campus a few days later. In 1963, Hunter graduated from UGA with a degree in journalism. Her professional career in journalism has included work for The New Yorker and The New York Times, as well as serving as a foreign correspondent for PBS’s MacNeil/Lehrer Report. In 1997, she became National Public Radio’s chief correspondent for Africa and, in 1999, she became Johannesburg bureau chief and correspondent for CNN. These papers primarily document public reaction to the integration of the University of Georgia and Hunter-Gault’s professional activities as national correspondent and anchor for MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. Correspondence to University Dean of Students Dr. Joseph Williams in 1961 reflects both students’ and state residents’ opinions regarding desegregation. Other materials include Dr. John C. Belcher’s research files and transcripts of oral histories he conducted documenting the integration of the university. Also included is correspondence sent to Hunter-Gault regarding her reporting for the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour from 1979 until 1988.

Clifford H. (Baldy) Baldowski Editorial Cartoons

This collection consists of editorial cartoons drawn by Clifford "Baldy" Baldowski during his career at the Augusta Chronicle and the Atlanta Constitution. Subject content relates to international, national, state and local (Augusta and Atlanta-Fulton County) politics and to society in general, and features such topics as individual politicians, world leaders, the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam conflict, and the Cold War. Over 2,500 cartoons are available through the Digital Library of Georgia 

Georgia House of Representatives Communications Office Records

The Georgia House of Representatives Communications Office, previously known as the Georgia House Public Information Office, provides media credentials and workspace for journalists who cover the Georgia House of Representatives. The Director of Media Relations for House Communications, under the direction of the Director of Media Services, supervises the Communications staff to facilitate the coverage by reporters of legislative activity. The staff provides bill texts and reports of pending legislation and disseminates press releases and calendars of business to accredited reporters. In addition, the office maintains taped excerpts from floor debates and online daily activity feeds. The majority of the collection consists of audio recordings (see separate AV finding aid) documenting the regular and special sessions of the Georgia House of Representatives, as well as some Senate proceedings, and photographs maintained by the House photographer. This collection includes biographical sketches of legislators, legislative reports, speeches, research materials, press releases, slide show scripts, audiovisual materials and photographs.

New York Times Research Materials

The New York Times Research Materials documents the political and social climate of Georgia, the South and, to a lesser extent, the nation as a whole from the early 1960s to the 1990s, with particular attention given to former President and Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter.



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