President’s Award, Dr. Catherine Oglesby
Nominated and text written by Colleague Deborah S. Davis, Director, Professor, Valdosta State University Archives and Special Collections
On behalf of the Society of Georgia Archivists Board, it is my great honor to recognize Dr. Catherine Oglesby, recipient of the 2019 President’s Award as we celebrate fifty years of combining social connection with our social responsibility to preserve the past and the present for the future.
The SGA President’s Award recognizes individuals or organizations from outside the archival profession who make significant contributions to it. These supporters — be they legislators or administrators or researchers or others — are absolutely vital to the archives field and individual archivists. Advocates from other communities, with different perspectives, illuminate our relevance to the wider world and encourage us to question our status quo.
Dr. Oglesby is a recently retired professor of history at Valdosta State University. Through her teaching there she created a lot of synergy between history and the Valdosta State University Archives and Special Collections. In the early 2000’s Oglesby came up with an idea to do extra credit assignments for her entry level history students. The Volunteer Extra Credit program continued unceasingly since 2004 with other history professors participating as well. Over the years processing 200 boxes of presidential papers, created extensive databases for indexes of our local paper, our college newspaper, and 42 years of news scrapbooks. Over 600 students have participated in the volunteer program.
Dr. Oglesby has also been instrumental in bringing valuable collections to the archives. She worked to acquire and process the extensive Leona Strickland Hudson collection, She researched the collection and wrote the biography and an extensive timeline of the family from 1870 to 2008. In order to process the collection, Catherine approached the executor of the estate and we received a $25,000 grant to pay for the work. She also donated other important collections for the archives: the Catherine Oglesby Civil Rights Collection– and the Southern Patriot Newspaper: Valdosta State has been actively collecting in African American history and Civil Rights history and Catherine’s gifts got them started.
It’s rare that a friend of the archives comes along who has shaped teaching and collecting as much as Dr. Oglesby. We are very much richer for her passion for working with archives. According to the description of the award, you are looking for people who are “absolutely vital to the archives field and individual archivists.” Dr. Catherine Oglesby has been a stellar example of that for the Valdosta State University Archives and Special Collections.