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Archives & Special Collections, McCullers Center receive Historic Columbus Preservation Awards - Columbus State University Skip to Main Content

Archives & Special Collections, McCullers Center receive Historic Columbus Preservation Awards

November 1, 2023

side-by-side photos of the Archives & Special Collections interior and the Smith-McCullers Home exterior

At an awards ceremony on Oct. 17, Columbus State University’s Archives & Special Collections and its Carson McCullers Center for Writers & Musicians were among the 13 local projects to receive Preservation Awards from Historic Columbus. The awards honor efforts by the region’s nonprofit, educational and business entities to preserve local history.

Established in 1975, Archives & Special Collections, under the direction of David Owings, is part of the Columbus State University Libraries and located on the ground floor of the Simon Schwob Memorial Library. It has since served as a repository for materials documenting the history of the university, the city of Columbus and the broader Chattahoochee Valley region. Its collections span 5,000-plus cubic feet of material in more than 500 distinct collections, which include personal and family papers, business records, photographs, art, maps, blueprints, and much more. Among its most significant and noteworthy collections and artifacts are the papers of Col. Richard R. Hallock, the J. Kyle Spencer Map Collection, the Ledger-Enquirer's historical photograph archive, and records from the area’s textile industry, including the Bibb Manufacturing Company and Eagle & Phenix Mills.

Interior photo of the Archives & Special Collections
The Archives’ (pictured above) efforts to maintain and preserve its irreplaceable collections were cited by the Historic Columbus Foundation in its awards ceremony. Its Archival Collections Vault ensures the preservation of the Archives’ priceless collections, which includes material dating back to 1563. It maintains the correct archival environment of 60 degrees and 35% relative humidity, thereby meeting professional industry standards to ensure long-term preservation of historic materials. It was also recently outfitted with a custom high-density storage infrastructure, ensuring the Archives has room to continue acquiring new collections for decades to come. 

The McCullers Center is an outreach program of the College of Letters & Sciences and directed by Dr. Nick Norwood. The center is the caretaker of locally affiliated author Carson McCullers’ influence on the literary world. This includes its preservation of the Smith-McCullers home on Stark Avenue where McCullers grew up from 1917 through the 1930s — and frequently returned during her adult life to write. Since its founding in 2003, the McCullers Center has nurtured and educated the next generation of writers and musicians while fostering literary, musical, artistic and intellectual culture both in the U.S. and globally.

Exterior photo of the Smith-McCullers House
Historic Columbus applauded the McCullers Center for its recently completed renovation of Smith-McCullers House (pictured above), which was gifted to the university in 2003 by Dr. Thornton Jordan, a Columbus native who at one time served on the English faculty of then-Columbus College. The complete historic renovation enhances the experience for visitors of the home’s museum wing, as well as its writer-in-residence Marguerite and Lamar Smith Fellowship for Writers. The renovation further preserves McCullers’ literary legacy as much as it preserves the home’s physical footprint.

Now in their 57th year, Historic Columbus' Preservation Awards recognize individuals, businesses and organizations that have completed a major historic rehabilitation, appropriate infill development, or a program or exhibit related to the Columbus-area’s collective history. 

“Historic Columbus is fully aware of the challenges of this work and is compelled to recognize these efforts through our annual Preservation Awards,” said Palmer Colson, development director of Historic Columbus. “Preserving our historic buildings and telling the stories of our people and places give us our sense of place as a community — these are the things that make Columbus unique, authentic and interesting. Preservation is right at the center of all those elements.”

Historic Columbus is committed to revitalizing historic Columbus neighborhoods; educating the public about local and regional history; advocating for the benefits that are derived from historic preservation; and preserving the historical, architectural and cultural character of Columbus and its environs. For more information, visit

Media contacts:
Michael Tullier, APR, Executive Director of Strategic Communication + Marketing, 706.507.8729, 
Palmer Colson, Director of Development, Historic Columbus, 706.322.0756,