Augusta Oelschig drawings and other material
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Augusta Oelschig drawings and other material

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Georgia Historical Society
Creator: Oelschig, Augusta, 1918-2000.
Title: Augusta Oelschig drawings and other material
Dates: 1953-1973, undated
Extent: 2.5 cubic feet (1 half box, 44 oversize folders)
Identification: MS 1383

Biographical/Historical Note

Augusta Oelschig was born June 12, 1918, in Savannah, Georgia. She attended Savannah public schools and graduated from the first class of Armstrong Junior College. She also received a B.F.A. from the University of Georgia in 1939 and did graduate study at Auburn Univeristy, Mexico City College, and the New School for Social Research in New York City. Oelschig lived in New York City from 1948 to 1962. Returning to Savannah in the 1960s, she was active in the Savannah Art Association.

Oelschig studied with Emma Wilkins, Lamar Dodd, Henry Lee MacFee, Alexander Brook, Justino Fernandez, the Mexican muralists Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Oroszco in Mexico City, and Dr. Horace Kallen and William Scharf of New York City.

She is known for creating social commentary by exploring aspects of African-American life in the low country. Oelschig painted a variety of strong themes, and much of her art concerns the serious social injustice of Southern race relations. Many of her paintings concern African-American subjects, some in horrific, violent lynching scenes. Others essay the African-American presence in the same genre terms one finds in the works of Charles Shannon.

In 1972, Oelschig received a commission for a mural depicting the history of Savannah for the Home Federal Savings & Loan on Telfair Square in Savannah. The mural, composed of 45 individual paintings worked into an overall design, took three years to complete. In 1999, the mural was purchased- and reinstalled in 2000- at the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce office on the Southeast corner of Bay and Drayton Streets. Due to health issues, she retired from painting in 1976. Oelschig died on July 24, 2000.


Scope and Content Note

The collection contains small preliminary drawings of scenes and details and more complete large-scale drawings of 44 of the 45 images in the mural entitled Historic sites in and near Savannah (excluding Factors' Walk). There are source materials such as clippings, photographs, a watercolor painting, and brochures; and research materials such as notes on mural specifications and paint colors.

The mural's images are comprised of: the Bank of the State of Georgia, Bay Street block of buildings west of Bull Street, Bethesda Gate, Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, center of interest, Central of Georgia Railway arches, Central of Georgia Railway station and shop buildings, Chippewa Square, Christ Church, City Exchange, City Market, City Water Works, Davenport House, Factors' Walk, Federal Eagle, First Baptist Church, First Bryan Baptist Church, Fort Wayne, ginnery, Hermitage Plantation House, hostelry, Independent Presbyterian Church, Jerusalem Lutheran Church, Juliette Gordon Low birthplace, Lafayette balcony at the Owens-Thomas House, Lutheran Church of the Ascension, Massie School, Oglethorpe Cottage, Penfield Chapel, Pirates' House, Planter's Bank (Pink House), plaque commemorating the founding of Univ. of Georgia, plaque of credits to the artist, S.S. Savannah, St. Paul's Greek Orthodox Church, Savannah branch of the U.S. Bank, Savannah Cotton Exchange, Savannah Theatre, Scarborough House, Synagogue of Congregation B'nai B'rith Jacob, Telfair Academy of Arts & Sciences, Tomochichi's Monument, Trinity Methodist Church, U.S. Customs House, and the Wormsloe Gate.


Index Terms

Artists--Georgia--Savannah.
Clippings (information artifacts)
Design drawings.
Mural painting and decoration--Georgia--Savannah.
Oelschig, Augusta, 1918-2000.
Photographs.
Sketches.
Watercolors (paintings)

Administrative Information

Custodial History

Unknown.

Preferred Citation

[item identification], Augusta Oelschig drawings and other material, MS 1383, Georgia Historical Society, Savannah, Georgia.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Terry Lowenthal, 1984 and unknown, 1988.


Restrictions

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the Georgia Historical Society. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Division of Library and Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Georgia Historical Society as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.


Sponsorship

Encoding funded by a 2012 Documenting Democracy grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Container List

 

SERIES 1:: Drawings, circa 1972-1975

This series contains preliminary drawings and cartoons for the mural Historic sites in and near Savannah. Buildings are listed first, alphabetically by name. Other places and objects are listed after buildings. They include Savannah squares, a ship, a monument, gates of famous locations, and plaques included in the mural. Though the drawings are undated, they were likely created between 1972 and 1975.
Buildings

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1Bank of the State of Georgia, undated
2 drawings; As it appeared in a painting by Firim Cerveau, 1837. Erected 1815.

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2Bay Street block of buildings west of Bull Street, undated
2 drawings; From Cerveau painting, 1837.

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3Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist (Roman Catholic), undated
1 drawing; This first church building of St. John's parish, built in 1800, was on Montgomery and State Streets.

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4Central of Georgia Railway arches, undated
22 drawings; Viaduct for the railroad over the Ogeechee Canal built c. 1852. This is the area of attack on Savannah, then occupied by the English, by the combined American and French forces on October 9, 1779, one of the bloodiest engagements of the Revolutionary War. Sgt. William Jasper of the South Carolina forces was killed and Gen, Casimir Pulaski was mortally wounded in this battle. Beyond the arches is the Savannah to Augusta highway, the first road to the interior of Georgia.

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4Print- Central of Georgia Railway Arches, Augusta Oelschig, 1975

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5Central of Georgia Railway station and shop buildings, undated
3 drawings; The station was begun in 1859 but not completed until 1867 because of the interruption of the Civil War. The station now houses the Savannah Visitor's Center.

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1Christ Church (Episcopal), undated
9 drawings; As it appeared in Cerveau painting, 1837. It was rebuilt according to its present design in 1838.

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6City Exchange, undated
3 drawings; Completed in 1802, replaced by City Hall, 1904.

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7City Market, undated
17 drawings; Erected 1870-72 and demolished 1954.

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8City Water Works, undated
1 drawing; Stood in Franklin Square on Montgomery Street. Completed in 1854 and demolished in 1900.

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9Davenport House, undated
1 drawing; Erected in 1820. Home of Isaiah Davenport, master builder.

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10First Baptist Church, undated
4 drawings; Erected in 1833, the congregation was established in 1801.

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11First Bryan Baptist Church, undated
2 drawings; Built in 1873-74, by architect John B. Howard (formerly Hogg), is located on West Bryan Street in Yamacraw, This congregation was established in 1788, the first black church in North America.

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12Fort Wayne, undated
4 drawings; A fort erected in 1809 and named for Gen. Anthony Wayne.

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13Ginnery, undated
4 drawings; Used Eli Whitney's cotton gin, invented by him at Mulberry Grove Plantation near Savannah in 1733. Below it is depicted Whitney's Gin.

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14Hermitage Plantation House, undated
2 drawings; This home of Henry McAlpin was built c. 1819. The well-famed Savannah grey bricks were made here, as well as some of the ironwork. It was located in the Savannah River west of the city, which is now an industrial area.

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15Hostelry, undated
1 drawing; Here stood the inn where George Washington stayed when the President visited Savannah in 1791. For years afterward it was known as the Washington Inn. The Home Federal Savings & Loan now stands on this site.

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10Independent Presbyterian Church, undated
3 drawings; Designed by John Holden Greene of Rhode Island and completed in 1819. President James Monroe and Secretary of War John C. Calhoun were present at its dedication.

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16Jerusalem Lutheran Church, undated
1 drawing; Showing the old Savannah-Augusta Road in Ebenezer. This first Lutheran congregation in the south was established by Salzburgers who arrived in the colony March, 1734. The church was erected in 1769 of bricks made at the site, and is the oldest church building in Georgia.

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17Juliette Gordon Low birthplace, undated
1 drawing; It was completed in 1820. Low, founder of Girl Scouts of America, was born in this house in 1860. It is now owned by the Girl Scouts of America.

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18Lafayette balcony of the Owens-Thomas House, undated
4 drawings; Built in 1819, the Owens-Thomas House was designed by William Jay, an English architect. The Marquis de Lafayette on his visit to Savannah in 1825, spoke to the citizens from this balcony.

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19Lutheran Church of the Ascension, undated
1 drawing; The congregation was established in 1741 in Wright Square. This frame building, erected circa 1796, was the second church on this site. It was replaced in 1843 by the present building.

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20Massie School, undated
1 drawing; The oldest public school building in Georgia. The central part was completed in 1856.

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21Oglethorpe Cottage, undated
1 drawing; From the Cerveau painting, 1837. Typical of the homes of the first settlers, it burned in 1844. The U.S. Customs House is now on this site.

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22Penfield Chapel, undated
2 drawings; A chapel for seamen formerly standing on Bay Street and established in 1828 through a bequest of Josiah Penfield.

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23Pirates' House, undated
1 drawing; Formerly a seamen's tavern, now a popular restaurant.

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24Planter's Bank (Pink House), undated
1 drawing; Built in 1789-90 and originally the home of James Habersham, Jr. It became the Savannah Branch of the U.S. Bank in 1802 and the Planters Bank in 1812, and is now a popular restaurant.

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25Saint Paul's Greek Orthodox Church, undated
2 drawings; Formerly the Lawton Memorial, a concert and lecture hall.

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26Savannah Branch of the U.S. Bank, undated
2 drawings; Erected in 1820 and designed by William Jay.

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27Savannah Cotton Exchange, undated
2 drawings; Erected in 1886-87 by William Gibbons Preston, architect, of Boston.

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28Savannah Theatre, undated
2 drawings; From a drawing by Christopher Murphy. Designed by William Jay, the theatre opened in 1818.

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29Scarborough House, undated
7 drawings; Designed by William Jay as the home of William Scarborough, one of the promoters of the S.S. Savannah; completed in 1819. President James Monroe was a guest in the house while in Savannah for the sailing of the steamship.

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30Synagogue of Congregation B'nai B'rith Jacob, undated
19 drawings; B'nai B'rith Jacob is an offshoot of Congregation Mickve Israel, established by the first Jewish settlers who arrived in Savannah in 1733. The building later became St. Andrew's Independent Episcopal Church and is currently the Savannah College of Art & Design Student Center.

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31Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences, undated
3 drawings; Designed by William Jay for Alexander Telfair and built in 1820. It became an art museum under the will of Mary Telfair.

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15Trinity Methodist Church, undated
1 drawing; Built in 1848 by John B. Hogg, architect.

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32U.S. Customs House, undated
2 drawings; Erected 1848-52, John Morris, architect.
Other

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33Bethesda Gate, undated
3 drawings; Entrance to Bethesda, the orphanage founded in 1740 by George Whitfield.

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34Center of Interest, undated
16 drawings; The image depicts the many services Home Federal offers to fill its customers' varying needs. These two houses (now razed) stood on West Hull Street (adapted from a photograph by Malcolm Bell.)

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35Chippewa Square, undated
3 drawings; From an engraving by A. Harrel, 1858. Laid out in 1815 and named for the Battle of Chippewa in the War of 1812.

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36Federal Eagle, undated
9 drawings; This emblem denotes Home Federal's affiliation with the Federal Home Loan Center.

Box

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15Plaque commemorating the founding of Univ. of Georgia, undated
1 drawing; Brief details from the plaque which stands beside the Oglethorpe guns on Bay Street just east of City Hall and across the street from the founding site in 1785.
6Plaque of credits to the artist, undated
2 drawings; Augusta Oelschig and her assistants Vivian Gugel, Lynn Foskett, Joyce Dance and Bonnie Dawson. The mural was commissioned by the Home Federal Savings and Loan Association.

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37S.S. Savannah, undated
4 drawings; Owned by a Savannah corporations, it was the first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean sailing from Savannah to Liverpool in 1819.

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38Tomochichi's Monument, undated
1 drawing; Memorial to Tomochichi, Mico of the Yamacraw Indians, who befriended the Savannah settlers.

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39Wormsloe Gate, undated
1 drawing; Entrance to Wormsloe Plantation, granted to Noble Jones, 1733.

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40Miscellaneous
Unidentified or unused locations/details
 

SERIES 2:: Research and source material, 1953-1973, undated

This series contains notes, photographs, clippings, a watercolor painting, and miscellaneous materials for the mural Historic Sites in and near Savannah.

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11Hand-painted note cards
2Miscellaneous artifacts
Small drawing of woman covered in unknown material (from City Market drawing) and fabric scrap

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41Magazines, photocopies, brochures, etc.

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42(rolled)Mural specifications
Technical drawings with notes about mural construction
Plans and diagram for mural placement
Notes on perspective
Grid and layout of mural

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13Newspaper articles
Articles and photos/drawings
4Notes

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43Photographs

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44Watercolor