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Berry College

Berry College: A History

Ouida Dickey
Doyle Mathis
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Berry College
    Book Description:

    Illustrated with more than a hundred photographs, this is the most detailed and comprehensive history to date of Berry College, located in northwest Georgia. Ranging from Berry's modest beginnings in 1902 as a trade school for rural Appalachian youth to its present-day standing among the Southeast's best liberal arts colleges, the book tells how Martha Berry's founding vision--to educate the head, the heart, and the hands--evolved to meet the challenges of each new generation. The photographs, many of them rarely seen before, capture happenings at Berry over its first century: preparations for the world wars, visits by renowned benefactors, student protests, expansions of campus facilities, and diverse aspects of daily life in and out of the classroom. Parts of Berry's history have achieved legendary status--the story, for example, of how Martha Berry was inspired to start a school after visiting with poor mountain children in her log cabin. Ouida Dickey and Doyle Mathis separate myth from fact as they address Berry's traditions, controversies, and triumphs and relate important developments at Berry to wider events in Georgia and Appalachia. As Berry graduates and career-long members of its faculty and staff, Dickey and Mathis themselves are part of the Berry tradition. Their meticulous research draws on a rich trove of documents to reveal a story that surpasses many of the familiar and beloved tales connected to the school. Berry's enviable standing--as a model for work-study colleges nationwide, as a place intimately tied to the cultural life of its region, as a choice recipient of philanthropy--makes this new book important to historians, scholars of higher education, and thousands of Berry students, faculty, and alumni.

    eISBN: 978-0-8203-3079-2
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. ix-x)

    The history of Berry College has long been considered the story of its founder, Martha Berry. For many of us, it is hard to separate Martha Berry and her remarkable career from the story of the institution that bears her name. I have told alumni audiences that Martha Berry floats through my office and often looks over my shoulder as I carry out the business of the day. People usually laugh, even as they recognize the ways in which an extraordinary figure can make her presence felt more than sixty years after death. A great leader should inspire those who...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. xiii-xviii)

    Although not yet allowed to vote in the United States,women received new opportunities for public life as a consequence of the Progressive spirit that began sweeping the nation in the 1890s. Pioneers such as Jane Addams and Florence Kelley initiated a settlement-house movement to alleviate the suffering of the poor masses in the nation’s cities. A decade later, near the small town of Rome in northwest Georgia, Martha Berry was equally moved by the plight of the poor, and despite her friends’ and family’s admonitions not to become involved, Berry embarked on a quest to provide opportunities for a largely...

  6. CHAPTER ONE Origin of a Vision
    (pp. 1-13)

    The Georgia Constitution of 1777, written just a year after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, called for the building of schools in each county to be supported by the state, and six years later the state legislature authorized the first of these schools, which came to be known as academies. By 1800, almost all of the state’s schools, including the county academies, were private, requiring the payment of tuition. These academies provided a classical education as well as more practical courses and prepared some students for college. For most students, however, attendance at the academies, which offered both...

  7. CHAPTER TWO Sharpening the Focus
    (pp. 14-33)

    In 1904, Martha Berry related her initial contact with the children she would later teach:

    The poor people of the neighboring hills and piney woods had often appealed to my sympathy, but I had never thought seriously of their condition, or really tried to do anything for them, until one Sunday afternoon in the spring, about six years ago. On this particular Sunday afternoon, I was in a little cabin which I had fitted up as my “den,” enjoying, all alone, the freshness and delight of the spring beauty and blossoms by which I was surrounded. I suddenly became aware...

  8. CHAPTER THREE Growing Pains
    (pp. 34-61)

    According to a school catalog, “From the time [Martha Berry] began the little Sunday school in the old pine-pole cabin she had it in her heart to have a school for girls, for she realized how narrow and shut-in their lives are, and how much harder it is for the country girl to get an education than it is for her brothers.”¹ She felt a need to provide opportunities for the sisters and future wives of her boys.

    Soon after the boarding school for boys opened, Berry began efforts to meet with President Theodore Roosevelt. He planned a southern trip...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR Expanding the Charter
    (pp. 62-83)

    In the fall of 1923, Berry planned to begin offering college courses and thereby to enable its graduates to enter other colleges and universities as sophomores or juniors. Berry high-school graduates had performed well at many of the South’s leading colleges and universities, but other students who wished to continue their education beyond high school could not do so because of financial limitations. Consequently, Berry’s principal, Leland Green, indicated, many Berry graduates who desired further education had no option but to attend second-rate colleges or junior colleges. He recommended that Berry begin to offer two years of post-high-school study, with...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE Challenges and Changes
    (pp. 84-110)

    While a committee appointed by the chairman of the board of trustees searched for a replacement for Martha Berry, Acting Director Gordon Keown quietly and efficiently oversaw all the schools’ operations. His first responsibilities were to continue contacts with the friends and benefactors developed by Martha Berry and Inez Henry, her assistant, and to cope with problems of staff shortage in wartime. As the coexecutor of Martha Berry’s will (along with E. H. Hoge), Keown also had to administer her estate, a task that required him to deal diplomatically with members of the Berry family, some of whom were anxiously...

  11. CHAPTER SIX Foundation for the Future
    (pp. 111-132)

    William McChesney Martin Jr., chairman of Berry’s board of trustees and the schools’ acting president, had met John R. Bertrand through Charles N. Shepardson, a member of the Federal Reserve Board. Shepardson had been dean of agriculture at Texas A & M University, and Bertrand had served as Shepardson’s assistant dean. On a business trip to Washington in the fall of 1955, Bertrand called Shepardson and was invited to have lunch in the Federal Reserve Board chairman’s dining room, where he met Martin. Two years earlier, Shepardson had introduced Bertrand to Philip Weltner as a possible candidate for Berry’s presidency, but...

  12. CHAPTER SEVEN Triumphs and Tribulations
    (pp. 133-154)

    Prior to the twentieth century, private and church related institutions of higher learning were among the major initiators of change, with public institutions in time following suit. Such was the case with desegregation. Oberlin Collegiate Institute, begun in 1834 by missionaries, established in 1835 a policy of admitting students without regard to color, and the institute became the “first college to declare its instruction open to all races.”¹

    Berea College in Kentucky, often considered a sister school to Berry because of its work program and other similarities, was founded in 1855 as a one-room district school that “would be to...

  13. CHAPTER EIGHT Polishing the Image
    (pp. 155-175)

    In February 1979, the Berry Schools’ board of trustees selected Dr. Gloria Shatto, the George R. Brown Professor of Economics at Trinity University, in San Antonio, Texas, since 1977 and a Berry trustee since 1975, as president-designate of Berry College and Berry Academy.¹ Prior to her stint at Trinity, Shatto had served four years as associate dean and professor of economics at Georgia Tech’s College of Industrial Management. She held a Ph.D. in economics from Rice University and had taught at the University of Houston as well as in the Houston public schools. Her husband, Robert, was a consulting electrical...

  14. CHAPTER NINE Into the Second Century
    (pp. 176-190)

    On February 21, 1998, Berry’s board of trustees unanimously selected Dr. John Scott Colley, provost and dean of the faculty at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, as Berry’s seventh president. H. G. Pattillo, chair of the board, said that Colley’s “exemplary experience as a faculty member, a researcher, and an administrator make him uniquely qualified to hold this position at this important juncture in Berry’s history. He is a creative leader with strong academic credentials.”¹

    In addition to his administrative duties at Hampden-Sydney, Colley had taught freshman writing courses, surveys of literature, humanities, and Shakespeare. He had taught in the English...

  15. APPENDIX A. Important Dates in the Life of Martha Berry and the Development of Her Schools
    (pp. 191-194)
  16. APPENDIX B. Berry Trustees
    (pp. 195-196)
  17. APPENDIX C. Chief Administrative Officers and Chief Academic Officers
    (pp. 197-198)
  18. APPENDIX D. Berry Alumni Association Presidents
    (pp. 199-200)
  19. APPENDIX E. Alumni Awards
    (pp. 201-202)
  20. Notes
    (pp. 203-224)
  21. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Martha Berry, the Berry Schools, and Berry College
    (pp. 225-232)
  22. Index
    (pp. 233-238)