State News

April 20, 2013

UGA obtains vintage film of baseball in Georgia

ATLANTA (AP) — Researchers have uncovered a nearly 100-year-old home movie of a baseball game in south Georgia, a piece of film they say might represent the earliest moving images of the sport in the state.

The 26-second film clip captures employees of the Pebble Hill Plantation near Thomasville playing ball.

The footage appears to have been shot around 1919, based on photographs of Pebble Hill teams and other films on the reel, University of Georgia archives experts say.

The 28-millimeter film shows a batter in one scene, and infield and outfield players in another. At one point, the camera pans to the first base line, where a small group of children watch as spectators. The Pebble Hill athletes are playing a team from Chinquapin Plantation, also near Thomasville, researchers said.

“We haven’t seen anything else like it,” said Margaret Compton, moving image archivist at UGA.

The film was donated to the University of Georgia Libraries’ Walter J. Brown Media Archives.

“It is believed to be the only existing moving image of a baseball game between teams made up of African-American employees on Southern hunting plantations,” Compton said in a statement announcing the film’s discovery.

Lynn Novick, directing/producing partner of Ken Burns at Florentine Films, which produced Burns’ acclaimed 1994 documentary, “Baseball,” said she wishes they’d known about it when their movie was made.

“It is an extraordinary piece of footage, and I wish we had known about it 20 years ago, when we were making ‘Baseball,”’ Novick said in a statement. “In all the research we did seeking early film of the game, we never came across footage from the 1910s or 1920s of African-Americans playing organized ball.”

It’s not known for certain who filmed the game, but researchers believe it was shot by Howard Melville Hanna Sr. of Cleveland, Ohio. Hanna had purchased the property in 1896 as a winter home.

Researchers know that Hanna got a Pathiscope camera as a Christmas present in 1915, Compton said. The belief is that he used it to film the baseball game, though it’s possible someone else was operating the camera, she said.

Compton said she hopes the film will prompt others to review their old home movies and consider that they might have historical value. Compton said she and her staff often get calls from the public when old pictures and films are found.

“Anything that documents early Georgia, as early as we can get it, is marvelous,” Compton said.

The university is also interested in obtaining early UGA campus and Athens footage. The earliest campus footage in UGA’s collection is from 1931 and it isn’t very long, she said. The earliest Athens footage is also from the 1930s, but isn’t in great condition. The next-earliest footage of Athens is from 1947, she said.

“We just never know what’s going to turn up,” she said. “It really is like archaeology.”

 

1
Text Only
State News
  • One charged in death of Dalton woman, another sought

    A Dalton woman found dead in Calhoun earlier this month is believed to have died of a drug overdose after two Calhoun residents abandoned her in a car behind the VFW on East Line Street, Lt. Tony Pyle with the Calhoun Police Department said Wednesday afternoon.

    June 18, 2014

  • Guard shot at FedEx center to undergo 14th surgery

    A security guard critically wounded when a gunman went on a rampage at a FedEx facility is scheduled to undergo his 14th operation Tuesday.

    May 27, 2014

  • Arson ruled out as cause of chemical plant fire

    Police say investigators have been able to rule out arson or foul play as the cause of a massive fire at a chemical plant outside Atlanta that spewed black smoke and flames visible for miles.

    May 27, 2014

  • Teen tied to shopping cart drowns in lake

    Georgia Department of Natural Resources officials say a teen has died after being tied to a shopping cart and pushed into Lake Allatoona.

    May 25, 2014

  • Underground tattoo artists frustrate officials

    The work of tattoo artists whose living rooms double as body art studios might come cheap, but experts say the unsterile -- and illegal -- work environments could leave clients in pain long after the initial sting of the needle subsides.

    May 25, 2014

  • No runoff lets Republicans focus on Rep. Barrow

    While Georgia Republicans have to wait until July to settle runoff races for the U.S. Senate and three open House seats, one of the biggest GOP victories in the primary elections last week went to Augusta businessman Rick W. Allen.

    May 25, 2014

  • Audit probes juvenile justice turnover rate

    A state audit cites low pay, long hours and management concerns as reasons for a relatively high turnover rate at the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice.

    May 25, 2014

  • Atlanta schools ex-tech director to be sentenced

    After his relationship with the superintendent of Atlanta’s school system soured, a former technology director for the district set up a kickback scheme to pad his pockets before he left his job, according to court documents.

    May 24, 2014

  • Georgia veteran, 92, honored at surprise ceremony

    Family and friends surprised a 92-year-old World War II veteran from Georgia on Memorial Day by honoring him and presenting him with the World War II Victory Medal.

    May 24, 2014

  • Police: Massive chemical plant fire extinguished

    Authorities say a massive fire at a chemical plant outside Atlanta that spewed black smoke and flames visible for miles has been extinguished.

    May 24, 2014