Monday, January 5, 2015

Old Alabama Stuff (3): Official & Statistical Register 1907

From 1903 until 1912 Thomas M. Owen, Director of the Alabama Department of Archives and History, compiled editions of this work. None were issued in 1905 and 1909. This 1907 edition can be found online at the Internet Archive.

Thomas McAdory Owen [1866-1920] was the founder and first director of the state archives. Alabama was the first state to create a publicly funded, independent archive which it did by law in February 1901. Owen was also responsible for the massive four-volume History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography published just after his death and completed by his wife Marie Bankhead Owen.  She was immediately appointed to succeed him at the archives and served 35 years in the post. As one of the members of the prominent Bankhead family, she was also Tallulah Bankhead's aunt.

Below are the title page of that 1907 Register and the table of contents. After the lyrics of the state song composed by Julia S. Tutwiler [also below] and "adopted by the public schools of the state", the introduction covers such items as the origin of the state name, the seal, and the state flag.  

Then the meat of the matter begins, with expected chapters on state government, judiciary and legislature, population, geography, agriculture and so forth. Also given are other snapshots of the time including "Benevolent Institutions"--primarily hospitals, orphanages and such--and newspapers and magazines published in the state.

One chapter is devoted to the election statistics for 1904 and 1906 and information on political parties. Pay special attention to pages 286 and 287; there you will find the platform of the Socialist Party of Alabama.

Near the end are a few pages devoted to a "Brief Classified Bibliography of Alabama"; the first page is below. In 1898 Owen had published A Bibliography of Alabama, a massive work listing more than 5000 items related to the state. This brief version is distilled from the longer work, which remains one of my all-time favorite Alabama books. Go forth and read it!

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