Emory Report
March 31, 2008
Volume 60, Number 25

Wordsmiths wanted
Record your memories of Emory or share your historical research at http://wikiemory.emory.edu.

To learn more about contributing an idea or a chapter for “Where Courageous Inquiry Leads,” contact Sally Wolff-King at swolff@emory.edu.


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March 31, 2008
History of Emory in the works with digital twist

By Kim Urquhart

Pulitzer-prize winning historian C. Vann Woodward ’30C–’63H took only one history course at Emory, and reportedly found it very dull. “It’s very interesting that in spite of that experience he had a life-long devotion to the subject,” says Gary Hauk ’91PhD, vice president and deputy to the president, who is “digging around in the records to find out what that course was” as part of his research for a new book about the history of Emory. A related wikipedia that allows the community to contribute historical entries is now online.

Tentatively titled “Where Courageous Inquiry Leads: Studies in the Emerging Life of Emory University,” the book will present Emory’s history through the lens of the University’s strategic themes.

“There are a lot of stories that have not been told, a lot of facets of Emory’s history that are locked away in the archives,” says Hauk, who published “A Legacy of Heart and Mind: Emory Since 1836” eight years ago. “It seemed like it was time for another telling of the story, but from some different perspectives. The strategic plan seemed to give entry into that.”

Hauk enlisted the help of Assistant Vice President Sally Wolff-King ’79G–’83PhD, who has longstanding ties to Emory. To help guide and shape the volume, they established an advisory board with a representative from each school who will advise the project and assist with author and chapter selections.

The editors are now in talks with university presses, and are seeking authors to contribute original content as well as permission to use already published pieces. Whether the project will result in one volume or a series of books has yet to be finalized.

The first phase of the project will focus on the faces of Emory’s history. “We’re looking at a number of faculty who had great impact on their fields or on Emory while spending most of their careers here, or alumni who passed through the gates of the University and went on to make great contributions,” says Wolff-King.

Because their subjects are all deceased, Hauk and Wolff-King have spent hours in the library’s archives, reading biographies, visiting with relatives and poring through other materials.

The project also has a digital component. Launching this week is “Wiki-Emory,” a collaborative online system where community members can record their Emory memories. From faculty, staff and students to Druid Hills neighbors, “anyone who has a perspective on Emory’s history with solid research to back it up can contribute,” Hauk says, noting that the content will be monitored.

The editors hope that items posted on the wiki will prompt ideas and contributions for the book, which they estimate will take about five years to produce.

“Part of the advantage of the wiki is that it gives us visibility and traction early on, and also some feedback and contributions immediately,” Hauk says.

“We hope the community will contact us with their suggestions for both projects,” says Wolff-King, who can be reached at swolff@emory.edu.