John P. Rousakis papers
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John P. Rousakis papers

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Georgia Historical Society
Creator: Rousakis, John P., 1929-2000.
Title: John P. Rousakis papers
Dates: 1962-2001
Extent: 7.1 cubic feet (14 boxes, 1 oversize box, 1 oversize folder)
Identification: MS 1678

Biographical/Historical Note

John Paul Rousakis (1929-2000), the son of Greek immigrants Paul and Antigone Alexopolos Rousakis, was born in Savannah on January 14, 1929. After graduating from Savannah High School in 1947, John Rousakis attended the University of Kentucky on a basketball scholarship. When an ankle injury ended his basketball career, Rousakis transferred to the University of Georgia. He graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1952. Rousakis served in the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps during the Korean War.

In 1953, Rousakis married Irene Fotopoukus. The couple had three daughters and one son. Returning to Savannah in 1956, Rousakis opened an insurance agency, Rousakis Insurance, and became active in local civic and political organizations. After serving on the Chatham County Commission from 1965-1970, he was elected to his first term as Savannah mayor in 1970. His ticket included Bowles Ford, the first African American elected in Savannah since reconstruction. Rousakis went on to serve an unprecedented five terms as mayor from 1970 to 1991. In two elections he ran unopposed.

Some of his administration's accomplishments included: building Savannah's tourist industry, expanding Savannah's historic area and landmark preservation program, revival and development of the River Street and City Market areas, rehabilitation of slum housing and revitalization of lower income neighborhoods, annexation of the Southside, developing youth education and employment programs, and bringing the 1996 Olympics to Georgia.

Rousakis was very active in local and national organizations. He was a member of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association. He was a past president of the National League of Cities, Georgia Municipal Association, and St. Paul's Greek Orthodox Church (Savannah), where he was a lifelong member. He was also active with the Jaycees, Union Mission and American Cancer Society.

Following the death of his wife in 1985, Rousakis married Elizabeth Lattimore Sparks in 1987. John Rousakis died in Savannah on December 11, 2000.


Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of the papers of John P. Rousakis, arranged into four series: mayoral; personal; newspaper clippings; and photographs. The mayoral series is further arranged into the following three subseries: correspondence; subject files; speeches; and campaigns. A proper name index follows the photograph inventory; it lists people who are identified in the photographs, and therefore is not a complete listing of every person found in the collection.

The boxes containing photographs are noted as "VM" (visual materials) in the collection inventory.


Index Terms

Administrative records.
Carter, Jimmy, 1924-
Clippings (information artifacts)
Democratic Party (U.S.)
Georgia Municipal Association.
Georgia--Politics and government--1951-
Greek Americans--Georgia--Savannah.
Letters (correspondence)
National League of Cities.
Olympic Games (26th : 1996 : Atlanta, Ga.)
Photographs.
Politicians--Georgia--Chatham County.
Public relations and politics.
Rousakis, Elizabeth Lattimore Sparks.
Rousakis, John P., 1929-2000.
Saint Patrick's Day--Georgia--Savannah.
Savannah (Ga.). City Council.
Savannah (Ga.). Mayor.
Speeches (documents)
Urban renewal--Georgia--Savannah.

Administrative Information

Custodial History

Material was acquired from wife of creator.

Preferred Citation

[item identification], John P. Rousakis papers, MS 1678, Georgia Historical Society, Savannah, Georgia.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Elizabeth Rousakis, 2001.


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.


Separated Material

Artifacts were separated and cataloged with the Georgia Historical Society Artifacts Collection. View digital images of artifacts at the end of this collection inventory or search the Digital Image Catalog for further information.


Sponsorship

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

Container List

 

SERIES 1:: Mayoral papers, 1970-1996

This series consists of four subseries: 1.1, correspondence;1.2, subject files; 1.3, speeches; and 1.4, campaigns.



SUBSERIES 1.1:: Correspondence, 1970-1991

This subseries contains incoming and carbon copies of outgoing letters to and from Rousakis. Topics include the disposition of Hunter Air Base property, property taxes, housing rehabilitation programs, the Riverfront development, annexation of unincorporated areas, and other topics related to the city and Rousakis' personal and political interest. The subseries is arranged chronologically.

Box

Fldr

11-101970-1980

Box

Fldr

211-151981-1985
16-181986-1988

Box

Fldr

319-211989-1991



SUBSERIES 1.2:: Subject files, 1972-1990

This subseries contains Rousakis' reference files on topics ranging from state and national democratic political issues and candidates, including Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale, to Greek festivals and two tours of Greece, 1985 and 1988 to 1989. Also included are files regarding the Rousakis' trip to Japan to learn about that country's hosting of the Olympics in preparation for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. This subseries is arranged chronologically.

Box

Fldr

322Greece and Papandreou, 1972-1973
23Savannah Symphony fund raisers, 1975-1991
24"El Paso Savannah" Tanker christening, 1978
25Federal grant funds to cities, 1979
26Savannahian of the Year Award, 1979
27Greek controversy and Democrats for Nixon, 1979-1991
28Jimmy Carter/Walter Mondale Steering Committee, 1980
29Order of Alpha, Sons of Pericles reception, 1982
30Savannah High School 35th year reunion, 1982
31Endorsement of Walter Mitchell, Jr. as Sheriff of Chatham County, 1984
32 Georgia Gazette, "Making of the Mayor" series, 1984-1985

Box

Fldr

433Cancer Patients Employment Rights Act (HR 1294), 1985
34Greek Festival meeting, 1985
35Inside Savannah column, 1985
36Theodore Saloutas memorial Fund, 1985
37Tour of Greece, 1985
38AXIOS "Man of the Year," co-chairman, 1987-1990
39Housing Rehabilitation (HUD/city no interest loans), 1988
40Tour of Greece, 1988-1989
Olympics, Japan trip
Shimizu, 1990
Tokyo, 1990



SUBSERIES 1.3:: Speeches, 1977-1993

This subseries contains speeches arranged chronologically and topically. The topical speech files include addresses before the Bethesda Home for Boys, Savannah Jaycees, and at various graduations. All speech files contain typed speeches, drafts of speeches, notes for speeches, and reference material for speeches, including speeches given by mayors of other cities.

Box

4General
1973, 1977-1979

Box

Fldr

547-521980-1985
53-571986-1990

Box

Fldr

658-591991, undated
60Appreciation Dinner, 1993
61Bethesda Home for Boys, 1993
62Graduation speeches, 1980-1990
63Jokes, undated
64Leo Center speech honoring Rousakis, 1997
65Prayers, undated
66Roasts, 1977-1992
67Savannah Jaycees, 1992-1993
68-69State of the City, 1973-1991
not including 1972, 1974-1975, 1978



SUBSERIES 1.4:: Campaigns, 1991-1996

This subseries contains donor lists, financial records, publicity, media files, opponents' literature, and speeches. The files are arranged chronologically by campaign and alphabetically by topic.
Only the campaigns of 1991, 1993, and 1995 are documented in this collection.
1991

Box

Fldr

770General
71Administrative expenses
72City reference material
73Congratulatory messages
74Crime
75Debates
76Finance
77Lists of names
78Opponents
79Official proceedings of City Council, background
80Publicity

Oversize_box

1Scrapbook
81Speeches
1993

Box

Fldr

882-83Appreciation Fund, finances, lists
1995
Correspondence
Crime
Finance
Issue research
Mailing lists
Marketing
Media
Opponents' publicity
Publicity

Box

Fldr

996Speeches
97Supports
98Susan Weiner
99Volunteers
100-101finance, 1996,
 

SERIES 2:: Personal papers, 1980-2000

This series contains information regarding Mayor Rousakis' personal life and that of his family, notably the death of his first wife, Irene, his engagement and marriage to Elizabeth Lattimore Sparks, the marriage of his daughter, Thea, his involvement in civic and religious activities, and biographical information about him. This series is arranged chronologically.

Box

Fldr

10102Driving under the influence charge, February 1980
Correspondence
1980-1987, 1993, undated
Death of Irene Rousakis, November, 1985
105New Years party, 1986
106Rousakis genealogy, 1986
107Thea Rousakis Blanton wedding, February 2, 1987
108-9Engagement to Elizabeth Lattimore Sparks, June 1987
110Hesse Elementary School cards, 1987
111Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, 1988
112Olympics, 1996
113Civic leadership in Savannah, interview, 1998
114Ellis Island Medal of Honor, 2000
115-116Biographical directories' information, undated
 

SERIES 3:: Newspaper clippings, 1962-2001

This series contains clippings regarding Rousakis' mayoral and personal activities. Of particular note is a folder of clippings from the Georgia Gazette, "The making of the Mayor," series which ran from November 1984 to January 1985. This series is arranged chronologically.

Box

Fldr

11117-1181962, 1973-1984
119 Georgia Gazette, "The Making of the Mayor", November 1984-January 1985
120-1271985-2001, undated
 

SERIES 4:: Photographs, 1968-1996

This series contains photographs documenting Rousakis' time as Mayor of the City of Savannah. The collection includes images of city celebrations and parades, groundbreakings, awarding keys to the city, receptions, and conferences. Very few photographs in this collection are of a personal nature. This collection is arranged chronologically with undated material placed at the end. Each folder is also arranged chronologically with undated material last. There is one oversized photograph.
Online Inventory Contains Digitized Items

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Fldr

111968, 1970, 8 items View online.
Includes swearing in as mayor.

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Fldr

12-31971, 28 items View online.
Includes Georgia Day activities and a reception for General Eugene M. Lynch.

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Fldr

141972, 17 items

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Fldr

151973, 34 items
Includes St. Patrick's Day parade and Bishop's ordination.

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Fldr

16-71974 February-September, undated, 44 items View online.
includes Georgia Day activities and Georgia Municipal Association luncheon, Jerry Lewis Telethon, and City Council inauguration.

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11975

1975, 25 items. View online.
Includes March of Dimes Telerama, White House ceremonies commemorating Savannah as 500 th Sister City, opening night at Grayson Stadium, ribbon-cutting at Largo Shopping Plaza, groundbreaking for Westside Health Facility.

Photo of White House ceremony

vm_box

Fldr

191976, 31 items
Includes local option sales tax presentation, October 9th celebrations

vm_box

Fldr

110-111977, 56 items
Includes St. Patrick's Day parade and River Street/Rousakis Plaza dedication, Symphony dinner and River Street.

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Fldr

112-131978, 71 items View online.
Includes Jimmy Carter, St. Patrick's Day parade, and groundbreaking for EM Laboratories, Pulaski Memorial ceremonies and Candler Hospital groundbreaking.

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Fldr

114-151979 February-May, 79 items
includes St. Patrick's Day parade and City Council inauguration, trip to Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, and China.

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Fldr

1161980, 28 items
Includes St. Patrick's Day parade, "USCM" parade in Washington state, and cooking at Dr. Beren's house.

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Fldr

21-21981, 51 items
Includes National League of Cities, Night In Old Savannah, and St. Patrick's Day parade, visiting Ft. Stewart and Democratic National Convention.

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21982

1982, 55 items
Includes St. Patrick's Day parade, Captain Sam christening, and Irish Tourist Board reception, Hyatt party and inauguration.

Victory party, 67 items

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Fldr

26-71983, 50 items View online.
Includes Georgia Day, St. Patrick's Day parade, Jerry Lewis Telethon, and Democratic Mayors' Urban Hearings, International Union of Local Authorities photo album, photos were taken out of album and photocopies made of any identifying information written in album.

vm_box

Fldr

28-91984, 53 items
Includes reception for Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge and Sir Patrick Gilbert, St. Patrick's Day parade and Aldo Cella, visiting Daufauskie Island's oldest resident (Mrs. Lilly), and reception on Captain Sam boat, Housing Authority ceremony.

vm_box

Fldr

2101985, 44 items
Includes Symphony dinner, St. Patrick's Day parade, Resource Recovery groundbreaking ceremony, and trip to Greece.

vm_box

Fldr

211-141986, 105 items View online.
Includes U.S. Conference of Mayors, Savannah Gas Company ceremony, St. Patrick's Day parade, and campaign party, parking garage dedication and reception for Shimizu Port Administration Bureau (?), miscellaneous unidentified, groundbreaking for Paulson Park.

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Fldr

215Inauguration, 1986., 34 items

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31987

1987, 35 items. View images: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5.
Includes St. Patrick's Day parade and announcement of St. Louis Cardinals buying Savannah baseball team, reception at City Hall for new gold dome and Nursing Home Week, miscellaneous unidentified.

Opening of Paulson Park (softball complex), April, 53 items

Bridge dedication, November 3rd, new Talmadge Bridge groundbreaking ceremony, 37 items

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Fldr

361988, 47 items View online.
Includes receiving Mayor of Hiratsuka, Japan, St. Patrick's Day greening of the fountain and parade, and Democratic Convention.

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Fldr

371989, 49
Includes tuba ensemble, St. Patrick's Day parade, visiting Ft. Stewart, and Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House.

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Fldr

381990, 14 items
Includes Kennedy Park dedication and Atlanta Allies reception.

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Fldr

391991-92, 18 items
Includes St. Patrick's Day parade.

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Fldr

310Campaign, 1996., 37 items

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3Undated

Johnny Mercer Theatre dedication, (circa 1972)., 17 items

Jimmy Carter, 4 items

Shriners, 4 items

Air Force reception, 7 items

Miscellaneous, 46 items

Family photographs, 3 items

vm_box

Fldr

318Printing plates, 7 items
 
Artifacts
A-1678-001 Campaign button for John Rousakis View online.
A-1678-002 Ribbon for the dedication of the Rousakis Riverfront Plaza View online.
A-1678-003 John Rousakis’ American Legion cap View online.
A-1678-004 Embroidered fabric badge for the 1996 Olympic Games View online.
A-1678-005 Ribbon badges with pins for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Yachting event in Savannah View online.
A-1678-006 Name tag for John Rousakis View online.
A-1678-007 Medal awarded to the Atlanta Organizing Committee for the 1996 Olympics from Delta Airlines View online.
A-1678-008 Pins for the bidding of Athens as host city of the 1996 Olympic Games View online.
A-1678-009 Pins for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia View online.
A-1678-010 Badges from the 1996 Olympic Torch Relay through Savannah, Georgia View online.
A-1678-011 Pin for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games with an image of a racing yacht and the logo for Savannah Electric View online.
A-1678-012 Pin for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games with an image of a sailboat and the logo for Savannah Electric View online.
A-1678-013 Pins for the 1996 Olympic Games with a green sailboat with three hearts View online.
A-1678-014 Pin for the 1996 Olympic Games with the symbols of the country of Chile and the Coca-Cola logo View online.
A-1678-015 Pin for the 1996 Olympic Games with the symbols of the country of Cameroon and the Coca-Cola logo View online.
A-1678-016 Pin for the Greek Olympic team in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games View online.
A-1678-017 Pin for the British bid for the 1996 games to be held in Manchester View online.
A-1678-018 Pin for the bidding of Atlanta as the host city of the 1996 Olympic Games View online.
A-1678-019 Pins for the bidding of the host city of the 1996 Olympic Games View online.
A-1678-020 John and Elizabeth Rousakis’ name badges from the session to bid for the 1996 Olympic Games, held in Tokyo in 1990 View online.