Pivotal stories from the grounds of the University of Georgia have been illustrated since 1886 on the pages of UGA’s Pandora yearbooks. As of January 2021, the publications between the years 1965-1974 have been made available for free online access.
This online accessibility was a result of various efforts by a partnership between Hargrett Rare Book & Manuscript Library, University Archives and the Digital Library of Georgia.
These yearbooks document the years ensuing desegregation and the first social movements for UGA’s Black students, women’s and LGBTQ liberation and campus free speech.
“A number of students depicted in the Pandora at this time were striving to create a more inclusive and conscientious campus, as evidenced by their writings, photos, artwork and images of protests,” said Steve Armour, university archivist at the Hargrett Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
In addition to these online publications documenting a critical period, Armour hopes they provide information for those interested in genealogy research.
“There is a really big alumni community who graduated during [1965-1974] who are often in contact with us — interested in learning about their own time or the times that their family members were here and also doing genealogy research,” Armour said.
This project to digitalize these decisive years is an extension of previous virtual collections, including the first 50 years of publications. With grants to aid them, the partnership hopes to fill in any blanks in their virtual bookshelf.
“We really want to digitize the rest of our Pandoras so that [the digital library] includes volumes in the ‘40s and ‘50s, the rest of the ‘60s and ‘70s on up through as close to the present as we can get,” Armour said.
With increased access to a time of national political and social change, alumni and anchor of the documentary “60th Anniversary of Desegregation at UGA,” Kelsey Coffey, is optimistic for these online publications.
“Hopefully, as current students, as alumni, faculty and friends of the university, we can take this information that we've seen in the past, learn from it, and make the University of Georgia a better place for generations to come,” Coffey said.
After working closely with Charlayne Hunter-Gault, one of the two African American students who desegregated UGA in 1961, Coffey noted the importance these publications might hold for influential alumni like Hunter-Gault.
“I would hope to think that it would make them proud of their work and their bravery, and the time that they’ve invested into the university post-graduation,” Coffey said.