The Historical Collections and Archives Room was recently given a small renovation. The walls received a new coat of paint and the exhibit of portraits was re-hung in a more aesthetic and chronological manner. The portraits represent esteemed faculty members and alumni of Augusta University’s legacy institution on the Health Sciences Campus.

The oldest portraits were painted in the mid-19th century while the newest one was painted in 2008. While most of the portraits were painted, a few are photographic portraits. The custom of exhibiting portraits in the library can be traced to the early years of the Medical College of Georgia. In the faculty minutes dated May 14, 1867, the faculty passed a resolution to solicit from former faculty members their portraits which the college had commissioned. The resolution stated the faculty had employed an artist to “paint portraits of each member of that body for the purpose of being placed in the college library room.”

The year the artist, Mr. Wightman, was employed is illegible in the 1867 minutes. However the portraits were most likely painted between 1841, when Dr. Alexander Means joined the faculty, and 1849, when Dr. Paul F. Eve resigned from the faculty. Dr. Means did send his portrait to the college and it is on display today in the Historical Collections and Archives Room. Dr. Eve declined to do so “on the grounds that his own was not paid for by the college.” (Faculty minutes, July 12, 1867.)

The faculty portraits are arranged in chronological order of when the person served on the faculty. The first portrait is of Dr. Milton Antony, founder of the Medical College of Georgia. In the background of his portrait is the original MCG building where he is buried. The portrait of his wife, Nancy Goodwin Antony, was given to the university in 1984 by her descendants and is displayed beside him. Including the Antony portraits, there are twenty faculty portraits which end with Dr. Philip Dow, chair of the Physiology Department, 1960-1971.

The alumni portraits include Dr. Loree Florence, the first female to graduate from MCG, and Dr. Claude Pennington and Dr. Curtis Hames. The Historical Collections and Archives also houses the Pennington and Hames archival collections.

Unfortunately, not all of the artists of the portraits are known. Glascock Reynolds, a native of Augusta, painted some of the portraits from the 20th century, as did former MCG Medical Illustration professor David Mascaro. George Lynch, one of the first graduates of the Medical Illustration program, painted the below portrait of obstetrics and gynecology professor Richard Torpin, MD.

The Historical Collections and Archives Room is open to the public, Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please contact Renée Sharrock at 706-721-3444 or rsharrock@gru.edu for more information.