On Sunday, November 4, 2001, Athens State University celebrated its history with the dedication of a new Archives Room. The room is named in honor of Dr. Elva Bell McLin, Archivist and Professor Emeritus.
At the dedication ceremony, Athens State President Dr. Jerry Bartlett commended Dr. McLin ” for her work to preserve the institution’s heritage for generations to come.” Alabama Department of Archives and History representatives, Linda Overman and Tracey Berezansky, representing Governor Don Siegelman, presented Dr. McLin with certificates of recognition and appreciation for her “significant contributions in organizing, researching, recording, and preserving the history of Athens State University.”
The archive collection began in 1988 when Dr. McLin, recently retired and encouraged by Dr. Mildred Caudle, decided to write a history of the institution. That decision lead to the publication of Athens State College, A Definitive History, 1821-1991, and two other books related to the institution. In 1992 Dr. McLin’s Madame Childs: The Lady and The Legend was published. It tells the story of Jane Hamilton Childs, a lady of Civil War legend and president of Athens Female College, 1858-1869. The third book, Mollie, tells the story of Mary Hannah Johnson, a student at the Athens Collegiate Institute for Females during the Civil War years (1866-68). While gathering data for these books, Dr. McLin assembled an extensive assortment of historical information related to the institution, as well as early Athens. This collection forms the cornerstone of the entire archive collection.
Located on the second floor of the Kares Library, the Archives Room is a symbol of Dr. McLin’s dedication to the University and its history. Beautifully furnished through a generous gift from the Athens State University Foundation, the Archives Room is filled with historical manuscripts, artifacts, photos, University papers, and local historical items.