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George C. Griffin papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS334

  • Staff Only

Abstract

This collection contains George Griffin's personal and business records, correspondence, files on Georgia Tech sports, scrapbooks, and certificates and awards dating mainly from the period following George Griffin's retirement in 1964. The papers reflect Griffin's continued deep involvement during his retirement in a variety of Tech-related activities, including Georgia Tech sports, his fraternity (Pi Kappa Phi), the Alumni Association, and the Class of 1922. Series 5, Writings, contains materials for his book, Griffin: You Are a Great Disappointment to Me. A military datebook (Series 2, Subseries 3), a class schedule (Series 3), and his football and track letter certificates (Series 7) date from his student and wartime days. Many of the business records (Series 3) and some of the track and cross country files (Series 4, Subseries 1) come from the period before Griffin's retirement.

Dates

  • 1913-1986 (bulk 1963-1985)
  • Majority of material found within 1963 - 1985

Creator

General Physical Description note

(17 document cases, 6 oversize boxes)

Restrictions: Access

Most of this collection is unrestricted, with the exception of the Navy ROTC grade books in Series 3 (restricted in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974) and the health records in Box 8, Folder 3 (restricted in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996). In addition, access to the audiovisual materials in Series 8 is pending as of October 2008.

Restrictions: Use

Permission to publish materials from this collection must be obtained from the Head of Archives and Special Collections.

Extent

11.4 Linear Feet

Scope and Contents

This collection contains personal and business records, correspondence, files on Georgia Tech sports, scrapbooks, and certificates and awards dating mainly from the period following George Griffin's retirement in 1964. The papers reflect Griffin's continued deep involvement during his retirement in a variety of Tech-related activities, including Georgia Tech sports, his fraternity (Pi Kappa Phi), the Alumni Association, and the Class of 1922. Series 5, Writings, contains materials for his book, Griffin--You Are a Great Disappointment to Me. A military datebook (Series 2, Subseries 3), a class schedule (Series 3), and his football and track letter certificates (Series 7) date from his student and wartime days. Many of the business records (Series 3) and some of the track and cross country files (Series 4, Subseries 1) come from the period before Griffin's retirement.

SERIES 1 contains personal and biographical information on Griffin's family tree and family history, documents relating to his naval career, and materials on his brother, Jessee Pierce Griffin. SERIES 2, Subseries 1 contains correspondence with Tech alumni, particularly members of the Class of 1922 and athletic alumni. Griffin's efforts to honor Tech sports star Doug Wycoff and Tech war hero Robert B. McGuire, Jr., are documented in this series. Some correspondence on other topics of interest to Griffin, including politics, the Civil War, and naval battles, is also present. Other personal correspondence with friends, as well as numerous greeting cards and sympathy notes (presumably written after the death of Griffin's wife in 1985), are also included in the subseries. SERIES 2, Subseries 2 consists of papers related to Griffin's work with his fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi, particularly his work to raise money and his efforts toward a building campaign for a new fraternity house. The new house was built and dedicated in 1977. SERIES 2, Subseries 3 contains other personal papers, including address and date books, alphabetical desk files containing correspondence and other records, financial records, newspaper clippings, and materials on Class of 1922 reunions. A military date book dating from Griffin's years in the Navy at the end of World War 1 and a memorial book from 1985 are among the highlights of this subseries. The newspaper clippings and other papers reflect his interests in Tech and its alumni, Tech sports, naval battles, and the Civil War, among other topics.

SERIES 3, Business records, contains annual reports from Griffin's years as Dean of Students as well as materials relating to his time as head of a placement office for alumni over 40. A file on the December 1955 Sugar Bowl protest contains some detailed documentation of the incident. Grade books from his period as the commanding officer of Tech's Navy ROTC are restricted. SERIES 4 documents Griffin's work as a track, cross country, and football coach (see also SERIES 6) at Georgia Tech as well as his activities relating to the Georgia Tech Athletic Hall of Fame. It also includes files on his activities with alumni golfing and golfing tournaments. Griffin's speeches and writings, including early edits and correspondence relating to his book, Griffin--You Are a Great Disappointment to Me, are included in SERIES 5. Some interesting correspondence with and anecdotes from Tech alumni, including Arthur Murray, is included in this series.

SERIES 6 consists of two scrapbooks. The pages of the first have been photocopied and placed in individual folders; the second documents the 1943-1944 Tech football season. A variety of certificates and awards from Georgia Tech and other organizations, including the Naval Reserve, are found in SERIES 7. SERIES 8 contains four audiotapes and two 16mm films.

Biography of George C. Griffin

George Clayton Griffin, the son of Mary Brotherton Griffin and Clayton C. Griffin, was born 09 October 1896 in Savannah, GA. After moving with his family to Atlanta in 1908, he attended Peacock Fleet School and Boys High School. Griffin entered Georgia Tech's sub-freshmen class in 1914. A very involved student, Griffin was affiliated with many organizations and clubs including Pi Kappa Phi and ANAK. He was also a member of the football, cross country, and track teams.

Because of the continuance of World War I, Griffin joined the US Navy in 1918 before finishing his degree. He was selected for officer training and went to school in Charleston, SC, where he then remained as an instructor. After the end of the war, Griffin was part of the Navy’s good-will tour to South America via the USS Denver. Griffin returned to Tech briefly in 1919, but found it necessary to leave school for work due to family financial problems.

When William Alexander replaced football coach John Heisman in 1920, Alexander asked Griffin to come to Tech as an assistant coach and math instructor. Griffin did so and returned to classes, receiving his bachelor's degree in civil engineering in 1922. In December 1923, Griffin married Eugenia (Genie) Johnston (1898-1985). Johnston was the sister of a friend and an Agnes Scott student. The couple had two children—Clayton Houston Griffin (1925-2006) and Randolph Page Griffin (born 1929). Both sons graduated from Tech.

In 1926, Griffin left Tech to work at the Georgia State College for Men (now Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College). There he coached and was head of the mathematics department. From 1927-1930, Griffin was at Chattanooga's McCallie Preparatory School.

William Alexander asked Griffin back to Tech in 1930. Griffin returned as the assistant dean of students. While in this position, Griffin started the Tech Placement Center; at the time, Princeton University was the only other school with such a service.

Griffin had remained in the Naval Reserves and in June 1940, he was recalled to active duty. He served as the commanding officer of Tech's Navy ROTC unit until 1944. Between 1944 and November 1945, Griffin served as the commanding officer of the 11th & 12th Beach Battalion at the Naval Amphibious Training Base in Fort Pierce, Florida. He then served as the executive officer of the Navy Regulating Station at Pearl Harbor. After returning to Tech in late 1945, Griffin served as the commander of the reserve unit at Tech until his retirement. Griffin reached the rank of Captain in the Navy Reserves.

Griffin became Dean of Students in 1946 after the retirement of Dean Floyd Field. In addition to his duties as Dean of Students, over the years Griffin also served as trainer or coach for the track, cross country, and football teams. He also traveled the country organizing Georgia Tech alumni clubs. Griffin also found time to attend graduate classes at Tech and completed his master's degree in industrial management in 1957.

Griffin established and managed an emergency loan fund to assist students with financial difficulties; now known as the Griffin Hip Pocket Fund, the Office of the Dean of Students maintains this assistance today. Griffin was instrumental in founding the Georgia Tech Alumni Association Athletic Hall of Fame and the Georgia State Athletic Hall of Fame.

Griffin was required to retire in 1964 due to the state policy of compulsory retirement at age 67. However, after his retirement the Board of Regents named him Dean of Students Emeritus. Griffin continued serving Tech by opening a placement office for alumni over the age of 40. He also continued on the speech-circuit and maintained his role as an advocate for Tech. Griffin died in Atlanta on 21 April 1990 and is buried at Arlington Memorial Park in Sandy Springs. From his first days as a sub-freshman in 1914 until his death, Griffin spent 70 years involved with Georgia Tech. His dedication to the school and its students earned him the nickname of "Mr. Georgia Tech."

Arrangement

Arranged into eight series, some of which have subseries:

Missing Title

  1. SERIES 1: Biographical and personal
  2. SERIES 2: Personal office files
  3. SERIES 3: Business records
  4. SERIES 4: Georgia Tech sports
  5. SERIES 5: Writings
  6. SERIES 6: Scrapbooks
  7. SERIES 7: Certificates, awards, and memorabilia
  8. SERIES 8: Audiovisual materials

Other Finding Aids

A print copy of this finding aid is available in the Georgia Tech Archives reading room.

Custodial History

The Judy Harlan scrapbook that was accessioned with the Griffin Papers (accession number 1990.0803) appears to have been created originally by Harlan himself. It is therefore being processed separately. The materials in 1990.0803 and 1992.1007 were donated through the Alumni Association after Griffin's death.

Provenance

Accession numbers 1990.0803, 1992.1007, 2002.062. The materials in 2002.062 were transferred from the vertical files. The materials in 1990.0803 and 1992.1007 were donated through the Alumni Association after Griffin's death.

Related Materials

George C. Griffin's large collection of photographs (accession 1987.0303) have been processed as the George C. Griffin Photograph Collection (VAC002). Much of this collection has been digitized and made available online.

Separated Material

Photographs from these accessions have been separated and will be added to the George C. Griffin Photograph Collection (VAC002). Artifacts are housed separately, in the artifacts collection. In addition, a scrapbook containing photographs and newspaper clippings on the Tech football career (ca. 1918-1921) of Judy Harlan has been removed and will be processed separately.

Bibliography

Griffin, George C. (George Clayton), 1896-1990. Griffin--You Are a Great Disappointment to Me. Atlanta, Georgia: The Georgia Tech National Alumni Association, Inc., 1971.

General Physical Description note

(17 document cases, 6 oversize boxes)

Processing Information

Christine de Catanzaro, Matthew Frizzell, and Mallory Velten processed these papers in October 2008.
Title
Inventory of the George C. Griffin Papers, 1913-1986 (bulk 1963-1985)
Subtitle
MS334
Status
Completed
Author
Christine de Catanzaro, Matthew Frizzell, Mallory Velten
Date
Copyright October 2008.
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, Library, Georgia Institute of Technology Repository

Contact:
Library
Georgia Institute of Technology
266 4th Street, NW
Atlanta 30332-0900 USA
404-894-4586