News Release: Woodruff Exhibition Opens at Emory’s Library
Update: Extended until June 30, 2011
Oct. 12, 2010
Curator to share stories of Coca-Cola leader, philanthropist Oct. 21
A new exhibition at Emory Libraries sheds light on Robert W. Woodruff not just as the visionary behind The Coca-Cola Company, but as an important leader and philanthropist in Atlanta and at Emory.
“The Future Belongs to the Discontented: The Life & Legacy of Robert W. Woodruff,” presented by The Coca-Cola Company, opens Oct. 14, 2010 and runs through March 25, 2011 in the Schatten Gallery on Level 3 of the Robert W. Woodruff Library on the Emory University campus. “On Assignment: Photographs of Robert W. Woodruff” is a boutique exhibition, running concurrently in the Corridor Gallery, that demonstrates photographer Jay B. Leviton’s ability to reveal aspects of Woodruff’s multifaceted character. It is part of the Atlanta Celebrates Photography Festival.
“Mr. Woodruff was an essential part of Emory’s development into a world-class institution, but he was also instrumental in the making of modern Atlanta – turning Coca-Cola into a global business, establishing a home base for eradicating disease, financially supporting the arts scene,” says Rick Luce, vice provost and director of the Emory Libraries. “His name may be attached to many Atlanta landmarks, but the real Woodruff was a private man who tried to avoid the spotlight whenever he could. That’s part of what makes this exhibit so fascinating — because it humanizes him in a way that’s never been done before.”
Curator Randy Gue, a project archivist with the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL) who spent two and half years processing Woodruff’s papers, will discuss the exhibition and the iconic images of Woodruff during a Curator Talk at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010 in the Schatten and Corridor galleries. The talk is free and open to the public.
Among the many interesting items in the exhibition:
- A professional photo of Woodruff in work clothes, taken in 1909. Woodruff entered Emory College in 1908 but was an indifferent student and was dismissed after one quarter. He felt working was more important than education, so he got a job shoveling sand for 60 cents a day. Most people wore their Sunday best if they had a professional photo taken, but Woodruff was so proud to be a working man, he dressed in his work clothes with his hat set at a jaunty angle, Gue says.
- Woodruff’s home movies spanning the 1920s-1960s, which will be shown on monitors in the Schatten Gallery. The films show Woodruff in Atlanta and around his South Georgia plantation, hunting and enjoying the company of his family, friends and associates. In addition, some of the movies contain rare footage of downtown Atlanta in the 1920s, including shots of the Terminal train station, Peachtree Street and the Rhodes-Haverty Building. “There are very few motion pictures of Atlanta from this time period, so it is a real treat to see the city as Woodruff saw it,” Gue says.
The exhibition will be organized into five sections:
- The Multimillionaire Nobody Knows, covering Woodruff’s childhood and early working years, up to the point he joined The Coca-Cola Company in 1923.
- “Within an Arm’s Reach of Desire,” which examines Woodruff’s vision to lead The Coca-Cola Company from the soda-fountain market into the bottling and grocery/home markets; his ideas led to the six-packs and eight-packs seen in stores today. He also led the push for exporting into the global market.
- Woodruff’s influence on Atlanta and Emory. In addition to being a community leader and philanthropist, Woodruff made a gift of $105 million (the equivalent of nearly $316 million today) to Emory in 1979 through his parents’ assets, a gift known as the Emily and Ernest Woodruff Fund. It was the largest single gift given to an educational institution in U.S. history.
- Ichauway Plantation, Woodruff’s South Georgia home where he spent time with friends hunting and relaxing. It’s also where he set up the first field station to fight malaria, which was rampant in the area, after seeing one of his employees suffering from the disease.
- Nell Hodgson Woodruff, his wife, for whom Emory’s school of nursing was named.
The exhibition is free and open to the public during regular library hours, generally 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday (check the visitor hours page at http://web.library.emory.edu/about/library-hours/visitor-hours for exceptions). Emory’s Robert W. Woodruff Library is located at 540 Asbury Cir., Atlanta, GA 30322. For more information, call 404.727.6887, e-mail email@example.com or visit http://marbl.library.emory.edu/news-events.
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The Emory University Libraries (http://web.library.emory.edu/) in Atlanta and Oxford, Ga., are an intellectual commons for Emory University, Atlanta and the world. The nine libraries’ holdings include more than 3.4 million print and electronic volumes, 56,000-plus electronic journals, and internationally renowned special collections.
Emory University (http://www.emory.edu) is known for its demanding academics, outstanding undergraduate experience, highly ranked professional schools and state-of-the-art research facilities. Perennially ranked as one of the country’s top 20 national universities by U.S. News & World Report, Emory encompasses nine academic divisions as well as the Carlos Museum, The Carter Center, the Yerkes National Primate Research Center and Emory Healthcare, Georgia’s largest and most comprehensive health care system.