VSU Announces Digitization of Historical ‘Pine Branch’ Publication
Wednesday, November 7th, 2018
Valdosta State University is now home to a fully digitized collection of “The Pine Branch,” a student literary magazine published between September or October of 1917 and May of 1934.
Filled with stories, poetry, editorials, and news written by students of South Georgia Normal College and Georgia State Womans College, each issue of “The Pine Branch” gives readers an intimate glimpse into the racial, ethnic, and gender attitudes of South Georgia during the Progressive Era, women’s suffrage, World War I, and Great Depression. The collection provides first-hand accounts of daily life and attitudes typical of a Southern women’s institution of higher education in the early 20th century and serves as an important research tool for historians and educators.
“We now have online access to the earliest student voices at our school,” shared Deborah Davis, director of VSU Archives and Special Collections. “Their creative works and the news reflect their time and are a good primary source for history, literature, and women’s studies students, teachers, and researchers.”
Digitizing “The Pine Branch” took about a year to complete and began with VSU receiving a $4,920 Competitive Digitization Grant from the Digital Library of Georgia, a GALILEO initiative based at the University of Georgia Libraries that seeks to share Georgia’s history and culture online.
VSU Archives and Special Collections completed the metadata for each of 15 issues of “The Pine Branch.”
The Digital Library of Georgia scanned and completed optical character recognition and quality control services for 12 issues. VSU Archives and Special Collections scanned three.
Davis said that the project was facilitated by Dallas Suttles, VSU Archives and Special Collections computer technician, and Meghan Crews, graduate assistant, with some assistance from VSU students.
"I can attest that my students who have worked in VSU Archives and Special Collections with ‘The Pine Branch’ find the material especially engaging because the articles are products of college students like themselves,” said Melanie Byrd, professor in VSU’s Department of History. “While students may not always identify with history in terms of national trends, big events, and abstract ideologies and worldviews, they do connect with the experiences of other college students. Publications like ‘The Pine Branch’ bring the history of previous eras to life for students in a relatable, humanized manner. Reading the publication also illustrates directly and vividly how attitudes have changed over time."