|| The Path to Scholarly
|| Transitioning from Sotheby’s
Nine years prior to its acquisition, the
Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection was
placed in the care of Sotheby's in New York at the request
of Mrs. Coretta Scott King. Sotheby’s curators were
given access to the family home in Atlanta where materials
were stored, at which time they inventoried, boxed and shipped
the items to New York in preparation for auction.
The sale of the collection was announced on June 26, 2006.
Three days later, Karen Jefferson, Head of Archives &
Special Collections, and Loretta Parham, CEO & Library
Director of the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta
University Center, traveled to New York City to view the
collection as it was displayed in the Sotheby galleries.
There, they met with Sotheby’s officials, toured the
vault and storage areas and viewed other items from the
collection that were not on display and began initial plans
for transitioning the collection to the Woodruff Library
Archives. Dr. William Potter, University Librarian
and Associate Provost at the University of Georgia (UGA),
and Dr. Cheryl Vogt, Director of UGA’s Richard B.
Russell Library, assisted in these efforts.
Brenda Banks, retired deputy director of Georgia Archives
and History, was hired as as the Chief Archivist for the
Morehouse King Collection. In that position, she oversaw
the transition effort and collaborated with Woodruff Library
archival staff to develop and implement a plan to inventory
and properly prepare the collection for preservation, storage
and scholarly access.
In addition, the Library implemented an already existing
plan to shore up aspects of the Archives & Special Collections
Department’s physical infrastructure. In anticipation
of the receipt of the Morehouse King Collection, Library
administration moved forward the start dates for several
capital improvement projects and expanded the scope of others
to include upgrades to the archives. The completed projects
provide enhanced security and environmental conditions that
ensure the most effective preservation and storage of the