Friends of Lucy Cobb manuscript collection

Friends of Lucy Cobb manuscript collection

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Hargrett Manuscripts
Title: Friends of Lucy Cobb manuscript collection
Dates: 1892-1919
Quantity: 0.9 Linear feet (2 document boxes, 1 oversized folder A)
Coll. Number: ms2733

Biographical/Historical Note

The Lucy Cobb Institute, a secondary school for young women in Athens, was founded in 1859 by Thomas R.R. Cobb, a prominent lawyer and proslavery writer. Between 1880 and 1928 Cobb's niece Mildred Lewis Rutherford, a Lucy Cobb graduate, taught at the school. She served as principal for twenty-two of those years. Rutherford's work in women's clubs, most significantly the United Daughters of the Confederacy, made her one of the best-known women in Georgia of her day. Her national reputation as a historian of the Civil War (1861-65) and the Old South brought the school widespread recognition and respect. Cobb had hoped that his young daughter Lucy would attend the new school, but she died before it opened, and the institute's board of directors named the institute in her honor. Most Lucy Cobb students came from wealthy and well-established families. Nineteenth-century schools for elite young women emphasized subjects that would enhance their gentility, including art, music, and French, and Lucy Cobb was no exception. Yet even from its early days, the school offered a more academically serious curriculum than the stereotypical finishing school. Under the leadership of Rutherford and her sister Mary Ann Lipscomb, the curriculum became even more rigorous. Students, or "Lucies," in the collegiate track studied sciences (including chemistry and physics), higher mathematics (algebra, geometry, trigonometry), logic, rhetoric, languages, history, and literature. After 1918, once the University of Georgia (UGA) began accepting women students, graduates of Lucy Cobb's collegiate program could enroll. Indeed, the school aimed its curriculum to prepare graduates to attend the university. In her extensive 1916 report on women's education in the South, Elizabeth Avery Colton of the Southern Association of College Women listed Lucy Cobb as one of the very best schools for young women in Georgia. Along with academics, Rutherford and other faculty members emphasized the importance of a modest appearance and proper manners and etiquette. Students were prohibited from venturing beyond the school's front yard unchaperoned, entertaining male visitors, attending parties in town, dancing, and wearing makeup or short skirts. The combination of academic rigor with education in gentility, their teachers believed, prepared students for both private and public life. Alumnae became clubwomen, librarians, teachers, authors, and businesswomen; one Lucy Cobb graduate, Caroline Goodwin O'Day, served in the U.S. Congress (1935-43). Despite its success, the institute struggled to maintain high enrollment and keep its bills paid. The school faced acute financial difficulties in the 1920s, mostly because of the agricultural depression that hurt the entire state. After Rutherford's death in 1928, the school struggled on for a few more years, finally closing in 1931. UGA purchased the building, but it fell into disuse. In the 1970s a group of Athens preservationists, many of them children or grandchildren of alumnae, received a federal grant to renovate the exterior of the institute's Seney-Stovall Chapel. This renovation effort was led by historian Phinizy Spalding, the grandson of alumna Nellie Stovall, who was instrumental in the original construction of the chapel. In the early 1880s, while a student at the institute, Stovall appealed to New York philanthropist George I. Seney for building funds, and the chapel, which bears both of their names, was completed in 1885. The entire Lucy Cobb complex was renovated in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with two appropriations by the U.S. Congress of $3.5 million and $1 million, and contributions of another $1 million by public and private donors. The Lucy Cobb Institute's inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places was a major consideration in the appropriation of federal funds. In 1991 the institute became the central administrative home of the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at UGA. Lucy Cobb Institue - New Georgia Encyclopedia (Retrieved August 20, 2009)

Mildred Lewis Rutherford is best known for her Confederate memorial activities and for her books on the South. She wrote twenty-nine widely read books and pamphlets, including The South in History and Literature (1907); What the South May Claim; or, Where the South Leads (1916); King Cotton: The True History of Cotton and the Cotton Gin (1922); and The South Must Have Her Rightful Place in History (1923). For three years (1923-26) she also published Miss Rutherford's Scrap Book, a monthly periodical. In addition to writing, Rutherford lectured widely at Confederate Memorial Day celebrations and at United Confederate Veterans and United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) engagements. Rutherford was born in Athens on July 16, 1851, into a wealthy patrician family with deep roots. Prior to the Civil War (1861-65), her father, Williams Rutherford, and her maternal uncles, Howell Cobb and Thomas R. R. Cobb, were among the state's slave-owning elite. Rutherford attended the Lucy Cobb Institute, a finishing school for girls in Athens, and after graduating in 1868, she taught history and literature in Atlanta. In 1880 she returned to Athens and became the principal of the Lucy Cobb Institute. A tireless advocate of the "Lost Cause" version of southern history, Rutherford served as the president of the Georgia division of the UDC from 1899 to 1902, and as the historian-general of the national organization from 1911 to 1916. Within the Georgia division, Rutherford promoted educational work in Appalachian Georgia and advocated the use of UDC funds for building facilities at the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School. She also served as a vice president of the Stone Mountain monument project. During a time of shifting gender roles, Rutherford harkened back to "Old South" ideals about a woman's proper sphere. Although she defied conventional female behavior both by becoming a public speaker and by remaining unmarried throughout her life, she publicly advocated traditional societal roles for women. She joined the Georgia Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage in 1914 and remained a vocal opponent of woman suffrage and of the Nineteenth Amendment until its ratification in 1920. Rutherford fell ill in 1927. Late on the night of December 25, while she was convalescing, her house caught fire, and many of her personal papers and belongings were burned. She died the following year, on August 15, 1928. Mildred Seydell, her great niece, was named in Rutherford's honor and became a prominent journalist. Mildred Rutherford (1851-1928) - New Georgia Encyclopedia (Retrieved June 9, 2009)

Queen Elizabeth Holden was the great-great niece of Alexander H. Stephens.

The Lightning Bug is "A monthly magazine devoted mainly to the interests of the endowment fund for Lucy Cobb."

Nods and becks is the year-book of the Senior class of Lucy Cobb Institute, Athens, Georgia.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of materials collected by "friends" from former students at the Lucy Cobb Institute in Athens, Georgia. Included is a diary of Edna Pope from 1893, 2 letters, a card, and a photo of Pope; editions of "Nods and Becks" from 1900-1902; a diploma to Queen Elizabeth Holden dated 2 June 1919; six issues of "The Lightning Bug" from November and December 1925 and January-May of 1926 and a bound notebook that supposedly belonged to Montine Shackelford with comings and goings at Lucy Cobb and writings circa 1894. The collection also includes letters from Mildred Rutherford along with letters and writings from other Lucy Cobb Institute students.


Arranged by record type.

Index Terms

Athens (Ga.)--Social life and customs.
High school principals--Georgia--Athens--Correspondence.
Holden, Queen Elizabeth
Lightning bug.
Lucy Cobb Institute (Athens, Ga.). -- Alumni and alumnae
Lucy Cobb Institute (Athens, Ga.). -- Degrees
Lucy Cobb Institute (Athens, Ga.). -- Periodicals
Lucy Cobb Institute (Athens, Ga.). -- Students--Correspondence
Lucy Cobb Institute (Athens, Ga.). -- Students--Photographs
Nods and becks.
Pope, Edna -- Diaries
Pope, Edna -- Photographs
Rutherford, Mildred Lewis, 1852-1928 -- Correspondence
School yearbooks.
Shackelford, Montine
Student newspapers and periodicals--Georgia--Athens.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Friends of Lucy Cobb and Seney-Stovall manuscript collection, 1892-1919. MS 2733. Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The University of Georgia Libraries.

Related Material

Related materials available in the following collections of this repository: Mildred Lewis Rutherford papers, 1883-1930; Mildred Lewis Rutherford scrapbooks, [ca. 1858-1930]; Mildred Lewis Rutherford postcard album, 1851-1928; Lucy Cobb Institute collection, [ca. 1858-1940]; Lucy Cobb Institute (Athens, Ga.) collection, 1859-1926 (bulk 1924-1926); Lucy Cobb Institute photograph, 1896-1897; Lucy Cobb Insitute records, 1855-1931; Lucy Cobb Institue (Athens, Ga.) grade books, 1904-1910; Lucy Cobb Institute trustees extract, 1881.

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

11Edna Pope diary, 1893
1Photo of Edna
1Letters from Mildred Rutherford to Edna (thanks for Christmas present; regarding entry into school)
1Rutherford to post graduates
1Fragments of letter to which are attached 2 envelopes from Rutherford ; a calling card with note on verso from Rutherford
2Montine Shackelford notebook, ca 1894
3Lucy Cobb pamphlets
"Lucy Cobb Junior College & Academy for Young Women 1930-31"; "Student's Handbook of Rules and Regulations 1925-6"
"Preparatory Dept of Lucy Cobb, June 1921"
"9 th Annual Conference, Children of the Confederacy" at Lucy Cobb, June 1921
Williams Rutherford to dau Mildred, 7 October 1896 anticipating her return to NY from trip to Europe
Dot to Mary Ann [Lipscomb] 23 October 1905 [Dot had worked for Mary Ann at Lucy Cobb & moved to Malden Mass.
Laura Rutherford Hutchins to dau Laura Hutchins Paddock 25 December 1927, telling of fire that burned the Villa, Mildred Rutherford's home
4Typed copies of information regarding Mildred Rutherford's illness, the fire and her death from Thunder and Stars
55 letters to Mildred Rutherford, 1915-26
from various people on various subjects
5Membership card to Mildred from Sov Colon. Soc of Americans of Royal Descent
6Incomplete letter from H S Tuggle
regarding Birth of a Nation's run in Boston
from Thomas Nelson Page to Mildred, 28 September 1892, regarding authors Margaret E Sangsler{?}, YMCA Joint Committee to Mildred, 14 November 1906, regarding her service on the nominating committee
Mary Carter Winter, Stone Mountain Confederate Monumental Assn, to Mildred, 30 September 1924, regarding medal for Andrew Adjate Lipscomb
Bessie Mell [Lane] to Lolla, 14 April
Lucius Smith to my dearest sweet child', nd
7Passport/ambassador at large from U. S. Embassy, London to Mildred Rutherford, 25 October 1903
manuscript: may be Mildred Rutherford's about education and the war-p. 7-23 [missing p. 8-10]
on slavery-3 pages, some missing
on Edgar Allen Poe
on a general's opinion of the South-2 pages
on President Davis, Andersonville and other wrongs-5 pages
Lincoln's strong points and weaknesses-6 pages
History review's-9 pages [appears to be for a class]
Georgia Dates-15 pages [important dates in state's history]
education and women-2 pages
typed stories of women and Civil War-raising silkworms; Rebecca S. A. Colbert Bartow Co; Sherman's Raiders at Buffalo Creek, Hancock Co; typical CSA women including Mrs Jack Beck, Murray Co [husband in Co E, 4th Ga], Mrs M A Chandler of Decatur and Mrs Asbury Hedges of Bullock Co [husband in 61st Ga]-p. 3-34 [at end of booklet is a signature of Lee Camp Moore, Agnes Lee Chapter]
11Photo of Lucy Cobb Institute; stereoview of statue of Henry VI
Miss Millie Corrects U. S. History Concepts
Miss Millie Rutherford-eyewitness to history
Tribute to Miss Millie
Mildred L Rutherford: Defender of Confederacy
13Golden Jubilee, Lucy Cobb Institute, 1858-1908
14Lucy Cobb homecoming invitation; Lucy Cobb update no. iv, 1981 1979
21Nods and Becks, 1899
2Nods and Becks, 1900
3Nods and Becks, 1901
4Nods and Becks, 1902
5Nods and Becks, 1911
6Nods and Becks, 1917
OS Folder
1BDiploma- Queen Elizabeth Holden, 1919 June 2
Diploma- Ernestine Ayers Walker, May 1927