Fri., February 17, 2012 11:41am (EST)

UGA Opens Special History Library
By John Lorinc
Updated: 2 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
UGA opened the Richard B. Russell Special Collections Library in Athens. (photo courtesy SolGrundy)
UGA opened the Richard B. Russell Special Collections Library in Athens. (photo courtesy SolGrundy)
It took less then three years to construct a building that holds centuries of history. The Richard B. Russell Special Collections Libraries at the University of Georgia opened Friday in Athens. This is a building history fans will want to investigate.

The structure cost $46 million dollars. A third of the money came from private sources.

The library houses thousands of books, documents, items and more from Georgia’s past.

Collection highlights include the diary of a Confederate soldier, the Confederate Constitution, rare maps and a baseball signed by the entire 1927 New York Yankees team. The library also has the confederate constitution, thousands of civil war documents, diaries from early state residents and much more.

UGA librarian doctor Toby Graham says the historical items inside are priceless. Graham says, “I came across the diary of a Confederate soldier. He tells the story of being captured and put in a Northern prison and then related the story of his escape by wading down a stream and even includes, kind of illustrations, of himself making his escape."

Graham also says the building’s namesake spent 50-years serving Georgians as Governor from 1931 to 1933, then U.S. Senator for nearly four decades. Graham says, "I think Senator Russell would love this building, and would love the library. He was someone who cared deeply about history. And I think that he would have had a grand time in the exhibition halls in the libraries, enjoying some of these original and founding documents on Georgia history."