Call Number:  UA 22-31

Name:  “The Histories of SGSNC and GSWC” a finding aid to the papers related to South Georgia State Normal College/Georgia State Womans College History held in the Valdosta State University Archives.

Dates:  1906-1950

Size: 26 boxes 


What today is Valdosta State University began in 1906 with legislation to establish a college in south-central Georgia.  The college opened its doors, as South Georgia State Normal College (SGSNC), in 1913 with a 2-year teacher-training program for women.  The college also housed a popular training school to prepare the teachers-in-training.  Dr. Richard Holmes Powell, the school’s first president, had a very extensive background in education and is credited with choosing the school’s Spanish mission architecture and design.  During SGSNC’s era many traditions were developed, such as May Day festivals, Old English Christmas festivals, and theater performances were popular.  When the United States entered World War One, a great number of students and faculty enthusiastically donated their free time to the Red Cross.

In 1922, SGSNC became a four-year college and was renamed Georgia State Womans College (GSWC).  With the coming of the Great Depression the training school closed and Dr. Powell was sent to work in Athens.  Dr. Jere M. Pound  replaced Dr. Powell in 1933.  Dr. Frank Reade replaced Dr. Pound, who, because of illness, only served at SGSNC for one year.  Because of President Roosevelt’s New Deal programs, GSWC was able to add four new buildings to its campus.  This expansion included a library that Eleanor Roosevelt, a close friend of Dr. Reade, dedicated in 1941.  When the Second World War began, GSWC students rallied to support the war effort. They participated in a wide range of activities such as USO dances and a War Bond scholarship campaign.  After WWII,  Dr. Reade retired and was replaced by Dr. Ralph Thaxton.  Dr. Thaxton was the last president of GSWC, as the women’s college was transformed in 1950 into the co-ed VSC.*       

*Information from this section may be found in Dr. Deborah S. Davis’ book Valdosta State University.

Scope and Content

The Histories of SGSNC and GSWC includes general memorabilia about/from the colleges.  The topics and subject matters are varied.  This collection provides a wide range of artifacts, including, but not limited to:  correspondence, mimeographs, newspaper articles, pamphlets, programs, a deed, brochures, and personal keepsakes.  Most of the artifacts were in good to descent condition, few were in fair condition.  A large amount of the content in this collection is in the original format.  Please note that the original copies of the Training School News may be found in map case in the VSU archives vault. 

A rather extensive amount of 1941-43 War World II book and scrap drives, as is information about the War bond scholarship campaign; included is 54 original copies of letters and pamphlets.  This collection also holds several mimeographs and copies of bills form the Georgia General Assembly.  A letter from Betsy Powell (daughter of Dr. Powell, VSU’s first president) is included, to Dr. Bailey explaining the reasoning behind the university’s Spanish Mission theme.  A few folders hold information about the SGSNC’s training school, including a program for the January 1920 Historical Pageant, one original and many copies of the Training School News.  Another publication related to the school is an original of School and Home, which includes two editorials about SGSNC.  Also, several clippings from the Valdosta Daily Times are included, but many are not dated and the file is not in any particular order.  A short outline of plans for SGSNC written by Dr. Powell is included in the collection (please refer to the Richard H. Powell Collection link below).  Something noteworthy included in this collection is original copies to the 1906 charter for SGSNC along with several amendments and duplicates.  Copies and mimeographs of the land deed for SGSNC are also available.  The “Special Anniversary Number” of The Campus Canopy is also included, dated January 13, 1938; this newspaper marks the college’s 25th anniversary (to the date) of opening.  A program from the 25th anniversary banquet is in a separate folder.  A Southernaire Magazine (Southern Airways, Inc.  Please follow the link provided below) is included and has a picture of the college’s students on the front cover.  One odd artifact is a brochure for the Manhattan Theater Company’s summer theater colony in Maine; it is not sure why this brochure made it to GSWC, or perhaps whom it was intended for.  A large collection of playbills, programs, flyers, and pamphlets from 1921-46 is included, a large amount relates to the SGSNC and GSWC Student Artist Series, which included plays, magicians, singers, and lecturers.  A folder includes uniform requirements, with interesting etiquette tips.  The last folder is personal keepsakes donated by Lenora Strickland (Hudson), the dates range from 1932-47 (mostly 1937-38).       

Subject Headings: 

Victory Book Campaign

Lillian Patterson

Georgia State Womans College

Local Civil Defense

Board of Trustees, Agricultural, Industrial, and Normal College of South GA

Betsy Powell

Dr. Hugh C. Bailey

Lena J. Hawks, GSWC Dean of Instruction

SGSNC Training School

Dr. Richard Holmes Powell

General Assembly of the State of Georgia, 1906

The Campus Canopy special edition

Dr. Frank R. Reade

Miss Annie P. Hopper, dean of women at GSWC

The Alumnae Association

Valdosta Daily Times

School and Home Publishing

SGSNC Training School’s Parent-Teacher Association

Southern Airways, Inc.

Manhattan Theater Company

Student Artist Series

Lenora Strickland (Hudson)

Related Collections and Links:

Richard H. Powell Collection

SGSNC and GSWC Christmas Festivals

Frank R. Reade Collection

Valdosta State Alumnae Association

Southern Airways’ current website  (Internet Archive Wayback Machine, 2013)


Box 1:  SGSNC/GSWC History 

Folder 1:  Information and Correspondence about GSWC Sponsored War Drives (WWII) 1941-43

Folder 2:  Georgia General Assembly

Folder 3:  Spanish Mission Architecture Explained—Betsy Powell

Folder 4:  Enrollment and Absences Report-- 1941

Folder 5:  Training School

Folder 6:  Powell Papers about SGSNC

Folder 7:  An Act to Establish and Organize an Agricultural, Industrial and Normal College in South GA.

Folder 8:  Report to the General Assembly of GA 1917-18

Folder 9:  The Campus Canopy:  Special Anniversary Number—January 13, 1938

Folder 10:  The Review by the GSWC Alumnae Association

Folder 11:  SGSNC Newspaper Clippings

Folder 12:  School and Home February 1913

Folder 13:  Program, 25th Anniversary of GSWC, 1938

Folder 14:  Property Deed

Folder 15:  General History of SGSNC and GSWC

Box 2:  SGNC/GSWC History

Folder 1:  Training School News

Folder 2:  Parent Teacher Association—Training School

Folder 3:  GSWC Pamphlets and Booklets

Folder 4:  Manhattan Theater Company

Folder 5:  Play Bills, Programs, and GSWC Student Artist Series

Folder 6:  Rules and Regulations

Folder 7:  Lenora Strickland (Hudson) 1937-38 Programs 

Processing Date: 10/2006

Author of Finding Aid: Erin Michale Abbott for History 3000, Dr. Dunn