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2014-2015 Activities

PRESIDENTS Annual Report

As your LAHS president I want to say how truly honored I am to serve in this role and to support and promote the organization in its ongoing mission to collect, preserve, and disseminate the history of Darien, McIntosh County, the lower Altamaha River region and coastal Georgia in general. Since 1979, the LAHS has been an energetic organization with vibrant, enthusiastic and committed people dedicated to the furtherance of these goals. Todayís Society is certainly no exception. We have an outstanding Board of Directors, and officers who always go the "extra mile" to ensure that the Society remains in the forefront of being an important educational and cultural institution for our community.

The past twelve months have been both active and productive in a variety of ways. LAHS has formed strong educational partnerships with the Ashantilly Center, the Friends of Sapelo and the Fort King George Historic Site. These alliances have proven to be highly beneficial to all four groups and it has shown up well in the greater McIntosh County community.

Our historical Archives, the repository of so many valuable and useful genealogical and historical documents, information, records and memorabilia, continues to grow and expand, and our Board of Directors has worked hard to give the Archives greater visibility in the community as a place for members and non-members alike to utilize in their family and community research. I would like to thank Martha Carney for ensuring that a volunteer is available to staff the Archives each week, as well as her wonderful efforts to professionally catalog books, photos and other materials for easy access, reference and availability. Your LAHS Board made the decision last fall to forego the proposed removal of our Archives to the city Trailhead Center for a number of reasons, and that decision has proven to be the right one.

The outreach initiatives of the LAHS have continued to expand in the past year with excellent results. The technical expertise of LAHS member Jim Bruce has enabled our website to be extremely useful as an educational and informational tool. In particular, Jim ensures that our monthly programs and speakers are featured on our website homepage and has added links by which members can now renew their annual memberships and pay dues via credit card on the website; also, the LAHS gift shop is now available directly through our website by which patrons can purchase books, afghans and other items on the website through a secure payment system implemented by Jim. Carole Williams has worked diligently to make our quarterly newsletter the outstanding publication that it is with information on upcoming programmatic initiatives, Society information and news, and the inclusion of interesting historical vignettes about our area for the enjoyment of readers.

An important educational outreach initiative of the Society is the provision of the annual $1,000 Buddy Sullivan Scholarship to a deserving local student who is entering college. Our

2014-15 recipient was Katie Hay who graduated last year with honors from McIntosh County Academy and is excelling to a very high degree in her studies at Brown University, one of the outstanding Ivy League academic institutions.

Our programs continue to feature outstanding speakers and interesting topics. I would like to especially thank Howard Klippel who for more than 15 years tirelessly worked to secure a wonderful array of speakers for the monthly meetings of LAHS. Howard earned a well-deserved rest last summer when he turned over the duties of program committee chairman to the Board at large until a permanent replacement can be acquired. Any volunteers? I am just a phone call or email away! Howard remains on our Board and provides valuable insights and support regarding programs, and assisting with provision of travel expenses and lodging for out-of-town speakers.

We have had some of the most interesting lecture programs in the last year that I think we have ever had. In August 2014, I was pleased to provide a lecture on the significance of automotive pioneer Howard E. Coffin in the history of Sapelo Island, McIntosh County and the Golden Isles from 1912 to 1934; in September Brandon Ritchison of the University of Georgia gave an excellent program on the ongoing archaeological research at Sapelo Island, particularly regarding Kenan Field and the Shell Ring; our October speaker was a collaborative effort with the Ashantilly Center in which we had Stephen Whigham of Eastman provide a most interesting talk about southeast Georgia novelist, the late Brainard Cheney who, in the 1940s and 1950s, wrote of the timber rafting days on the Altamaha River; in November, the Society reprised its popular "show-and-tell" program in which members displayed family artifacts and antiques and told interesting stories about their ancestors; January saw LAHS member Lloyd Flanders provide an interesting program about the "Books of Sapelo" including an array of long out-of-print books and pamphlets about the island contained in her extensive personal collection; Bill Collins of LAHS spoke in February and drew a packed house of visitors as he gave an extremely interesting program about elected and appointed Black Political Officials in McIntosh County; the March speaker was Dr. Michael Woodward, an LAHS member, whose lecture on "The Religious Beliefs of Abraham Lincoln" was one of the most illuminating programs we have had at LAHS in many years with insights into President Lincoln, and those around him, that are little known and most interesting; Nettye Handy Evans gave a dynamic program in April about the famed Tuskegee Airmen, a topic that was enthusiastically received by all who attended her lecture; in May we had Stephanie Knox, director of the Cannonís Point Preserve, give the Society an informative update on the educational and outreach initiatives, both culturally and ecologically, at Cannonís Point at St. Simons Island; and in June, LAHS member and well-known author Pamela Mueller spoke to LAHS about her forthcoming historical novel about female spies in the Civil War, a thoroughly captivating program about a little-known aspect of the Civil War.

All in all, the collective diversity and uniqueness of the lectures series in 2014-15 may have been the greatest in the history of our organization when considering such unusual subjects as Lincoln and religion, the Tuskegee airmen, black political leaders, and Civil War female spies. A most eclectic mix!

Buddy Sullivan
LAHS President