Georgia State School Commissioner collection

Georgia State School Commissioner collection

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Hargrett Manuscripts
Creator: Georgia. Dept. of Education.
Title: Georgia State School Commissioner collection
Dates: 1878-1892
Quantity: 0.1 Linear feet (1 portfolio)
Coll. Number: ms2633

Biographical/Historical Note

The Georgia Department of Education (DOE) oversees all aspects of public education in the state. Employing more than 380 people as of 2005, the department ensures that education-related laws are obeyed and that state and federal education funds are properly allocated. The department was created in 1870. The state superintendent of schools heads the DOE and reports directly to the governor. The superintendent also serves as the chief executive officer for the state's Board of Education, which is composed of thirteen members, each representing one of Georgia's federal congressional districts. Kathy Cox, the current superintendent, was elected in 2002 and reelected in 2006. The Department of Education is divided into five offices: Curriculum and Instruction; Finance and Business Operations; Instructional Technology and Media; Policy and External Affairs; and Teacher and Student Support. Georgia Department of Education - New Georgia Encyclopedia (Retrieved July 10, 2009)

Gustavus John Orr was an educator born in Orrville, Anderson County, South Carolina. Orr entered Maryville Seminary in East Tennessee at the age of twenty, transferred to Franklin College of the University of Georgia in 1841, and graduated from Emory College in Oxford, Georgia, with honors in 1844. After the Civil War, Orr worked briefly in an Atlanta business before serving as president of the financially troubled Southern Masonic Female College for three years. He then accepted the mathematics professorship at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta in 1870, where he remained until he was appointed state school commissioner in 1872. Orr's major accomplishment lay in breaking ground for a system of publicly financed schools in Georgia, a state that had the highest illiteracy rate in the nation, as well as a reduced tax base at one-fourth its prewar level, a population that was half emancipated slaves, and a strong antipathy among whites to both taxation and northern interference in southern affairs. Orr became a mediator among rival interests in his own state as well as between northern educators, philanthropists, and legislators and southern politicians and educators. He urged greater northern understanding of, and responsibility for, the unique problems that emancipation and the war had created and encouraged Georgians to recognize that their future depended on schooling for both black and white children. American National Biography online (Retrieved April 28, 2009)

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of twenty-two items relating to the Georgia State Department of Education during the late 1800s. The collection includes letters of teacher recommendations and appointments; letters by G. J. Orr, Georgia State School Commissioner; printed school merits; American Journal of Education advertisements and letters; American Book Company prices; apportionment notices and textbook circulars.


Arranged by record type.

Index Terms

American Book Company. -- History
Circulars (fliers).
Education--Georgia--History--19th century.
Georgia. Dept. of Education. -- History--19th century
Georgia. Dept. of Education. -- Records and correspondence
Letters of recommendation.
Orr, Gustavus J. -- Correspondence
Teachers--Georgia--History--19th century.
Textbooks--Georgia--History--19th century.
Textbooks--Prices--Georgia--History--19th century.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Georgia State School Commissioner collection, 1878-1880, 1889-1892. MS 2633. Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The University of Georgia Libraries.

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

1Records, 1878-1880, 1889-1892