From the Special Collections & Institutional Archives:

At Reese Library’s Special Collections & Institutional Archives, the majority of our collections are focused on paper-based materials, but we occasionally end up taking in objects, also called “ephemera” in the world of archives, when they come to us as part of a paper-based collection.

One of the most intriguing finds in such a collection was a seemingly plain wooden box that came to us as part of the Dillard and Vawter family papers (MSS 293). The donor of the collection had inherited some family materials from an elderly aunt. Though he now lives in Wisconsin, the donor’s family lived in the Augusta area during the 19th century. When the box got to us, it was filled with letters, photographs, and handwritten notes, and had been used as a place to store keepsakes by the donor’s aunt.



However, according to family lore, the box had originally been made by one of the Dillard family’s slaves, for a young Tolliver Dillard, for him to keep crickets in for fishing. Tolliver Dillard was born in the Augusta area in November of 1824, and he later went on to graduate from the Medical College of Georgia in March of 1858. The inside lid of the box includes the following inscription:

“Tolliver Dillard, May the first 1832. All the land that I now owne is sat down here. 602 acres of oak and hikry land—638 of pine land. The whole amount of land 1240. Pine land in tracts as follows—one half of a four hundred acre tract granted to Walkins all the southwest side of the long branch.  200 acres more or less one tract of 179 acres one tract of 139 one tract of 120 acres. A True Return of my land. — Tolliver Dillard”

If Tolliver Dillard was indeed born in November of 1824, he would have been only 8 years old when he inscribed his cricket box with this record of the land he “owned.” An 8 year old boy’s focus on the land he owned in 1832 reveals what a different world the owner of this box must have lived in. Both the inscription on the box, and the story about the box’s origins passed down through the family is what makes this object particularly intriguing—this context imbues a simple wooden box with much more meaning than it would otherwise have. After all, objects are interesting to us not because they exist, but because of what they say about the people who created and used them.

-Kara Flynn, Special Collections Librarian


From Historical Collections and Archives (HCA):

Greenblatt Library’s Historical Collections and Archives has many artifacts related to the health sciences. Some of the items belong to personal collections, such as the medical instruments in the Claude Lee Pennington Collection, while the majority of the artifacts were given to the Greenblatt Library over the course of many years from various people or departments on the Health Sciences Campus. These artifacts have been cataloged together as a record group – RG20: Medical Artifacts.

Geoffrey King, MD, served on the Medical College of Georgia faculty for over 30 years beginning in 1959. Dr. King began his career as an assistant professor of cardiology but within a few years he founded the biomedical engineering department at MCG. In 1990 the library received from Dr. King a few electrocardiograph (EKG) machines that had been used by MCG in previous years. An electrocardiograph displays and records a graphic representation of the heart’s electrical activity. These machines were necessities in the early days of open heart surgeries which began in the late 1950s at MCG. One model on display in the HCA room, the Sanborn Company’s Twin Viso Recorder (model 60-1300), is visible in the below photo.


This photo shows a cardiac catheterization procedure which was performed to diagnosis congenital heart disease. The physician on the far right of the photo is seated in front of the Sanborn Twin Viso Recorder and monitoring the data it recorded during the procedure. The photo was used in MCG publications, including the annual course catalog. (See page 97 of the 1958-1959 MCG Catalog.)

Come see the Sanborn Twin Viso Recorder and other medical artifacts on display in the Historical Collections and Archives Room (AB-225).

– Renée A. Sharrock, Curator

About the Heritage Unit: The University Libraries has a department devoted to the preservation and archival keeping of the campus’ unique histories. The Historical Collections & Archives (HCA) is located on the 2nd floor of the Greenblatt Library on the Health Sciences campus. Special Collections & Institutional Archives is located on the 3rd floor of the Reese Library on the Summerville campus.