From the Special Collections & Institutional Archives:

A recently finished finding aid in Reese Library’s Special Collections is MSS 025 (Cumming family correspondence), which contains letters written by Thomas Cumming that date as far back as 1794. The collection spans many years, from 1794 to 1954, although the bulk of the research interest lies in the eighteenth and nineteenth century letters. When I first began to process this collection it was what archivists refer to as ‘minimally processed’, which means there were some general descriptions attached to the materials but otherwise it was not in a fully processed state.

Some history about the collection: it was donated to Augusta College (Augusta University) by Joseph Cumming in 1983. Historical figures represented in the collection are Thomas Cumming, first intendant (mayor) of Augusta; Henry Cumming, developer of the August Canal; and Alfred Cumming, first military governor of the Utah territory. The earliest letters are between Thomas and Anne Cumming and their relatives and children, particularly Joseph who resided in Savannah. Letters after 1830 focus on Henry Hartford and Julia Bryan Cumming and their children.

The first letter in the Cumming family correspondence collection (MSS 025), written by Thomas Cumming on January 25th, 1794.

Of particular interest are letters from their son Alfred, a West Point soldier, who was in the Utah (Mormon) Expedition of 1857. Alfred describes his journey to Salt Lake City, which included meeting Brigham Young and his followers as well as encounter with his uncle, Alfred Cumming, the new territorial governor. Other letters concern Joseph Bryan and his three-year grand tour of Europe and Civil War letters from Alfred Cumming (10th Georgia Infantry Regiment) to Joseph Bryan Cumming (5th Georgia Infantry Regiment) and Julien Cumming (48th Infantry Regiment) during the Peninsula Campaign, Seven Day’s Battles, and later Julien’s stint as a prisoner of war on Johnson’s Island in Ohio.

The Cumming family correspondence (MSS 025) is one of several collections housed in Reese Library’s Special Collections & Institutional Archives that detail the lives of prominent Augusta families. These are invaluable resources which give us a glimpse into the American experience during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. We encourage members of the community to make an appointment to see this collection (and others!) during our office hours, which are available on the official Reese Library Special Collections and Institutional Archives homepage:

-Maranda Christy, Special Collections Assistant

From the Historical Collections & Archives:

Curtis G. Hames, Sr., M.D. (right) behind sign for the Evans County Heart Study

Curtis G. Hames, Sr., M.D. was a native and life-long resident of Claxton, Georgia. He graduated from the Medical College of Georgia in 1944. After an internship at University Hospital and service in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, Dr. Hames returned to Claxton to open his practice of family medicine. In the mid-1950s Dr. Hames began an epidemiological study of the residents in his home county. The National Institute of Health funded the Evans County Heart Study from 1958 to 1995. Dr. Hames used his medical observations in his family practice to conduct research on genetics, cancer, hypertension, strokes, myocardial infractions, pesticide pollution, neurohormones, psychosocial determinants of diseases, and immunology.

Curtis G. Hames, Sr., M.D. portrait

The Evans County Heart Study attracted international attention from the scientific community due to its uniqueness in medical research of patients within their environment and that the research spanned five-generations in families. Dr. Hames’ research data resulted in 560 published papers. After his death in 2005, his family donated the bulk of his research papers to the Greenblatt Library, along with some of the awards he received for his research and humanitarian work. More details about the Curtis G. Hames, Sr. Collection can be reviewed in its finding aid and there is an exhibit featuring Dr. Hames in the Historical Collections and Archives room, AB-2113.

-Renée Sharrock, Curator

About the Heritage Unit: The University Libraries have 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.