Skip to main content

George C. Griffin Photograph Collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: VAC002

  • Staff Only


The photographs in this collection, collected by George C. Griffin, relate to all aspects of Georgia Tech and its history, including students, faculty, administrators, alumni, sports, traditions, and buildings. This collection is particularly strong in athletic and alumni photographs from the first half of the 20th century. Nearly 600 of these images are available for online viewing.


  • ca. 1885-1987 (bulk dates 1891-1972)
  • Majority of material found within 1891 - 1972


General Physical Description note

approximately 957 images (including oversized)

Restrictions: Access


Restrictions: Use

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


6.25 Linear Feet

Scope and Contents

The George C. Griffin Photograph Collection VAC002 contains 877 unique images collected by George Griffin. The photographs in this collection relate to all aspects of Georgia Tech and its history, including students, faculty, administrators, alumni, sports, traditions, and buildings. The photographs range in date from ca. 1885-1987 and offer an unique perspective on the people and places from Georgia Tech's past. Nearly 600 of these images are available for online viewing.

The digital portion of this collection was developed in the 1990s and the photographs were scanned at a very low resolution. The digital collection includes item numbers whose images are missing or unscanned. The missing photographs are now presumed to be numerical processing errors for which no image exists. There is no evidence that items ever existed for these numbers. Missing photographs are noted by a graphic that reads "This photograph is missing from the Griffin Collection and is not available." A few of the original photographs were not scanned, although the information is listed in the digital collection. These unscanned photographs are noted by a graphic that reads "The digital image for this photograph is currently unavailable."

The physical collection includes black and white photographs, color photographs, negatives, prints, and some original artwork. Most of the materials are identified, however there are many undated items.

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."


Arranged into seven series, with sub-series:

Missing Title

  1. SERIES 1: Athletics
  2. SERIES 2: Campus and Environs
  3. SERIES 3: Military
  4. SERIES 4: People
  5. SERIES 5: Traditions and Special Events
  6. SERIES 6: Personal Materials
  7. SERIES 7: Miscellaneous

Series 1, Athletics, contains a sub-series for coaches and other athletic personnel. There are also sub-series for specific sports, some broken down further into group and individual images. Images of student athletes, teams photos, and photos of games or meets can be found in this series. There is also a sub-series of Miscellaneous Athletics that includes images of groups at the Georgia Athletics Hall of Fame and trophies won by Ed Hamm.

Series 2, Campus and Environs, contains images of Georgia Tech buildings.

Series 3, Military, has sub-series for military images related to Georgia Tech, such as ROTC and Naval Reserve Officers School. The general military sub-series include photos of missile tests.

Series 4, People, includes sub-series for alumni, faculty/staff/administration, students, people with unknown Georgia Tech affiliations, and unidentified people. The alumni sub-series is broken down further in individual and group photographs. The student sub-series is further divided into groups, individuals, classes, and organizations. The individual and group sections only contain photographs of people while they were actually students. Any photographs taken after they were students are listed under alumni. The classes section contains photographs of classes while at Georgia Tech and reunions.

Series 5, Traditions and Special Events, includes images of the cake race, homecoming, Honors Day, and mascots.

Series 6, Personal Materials, contains photographs of George Griffin and his life. The sub-series include personal photographs, unidentifed personal-type photographs, and Griffin's military career. The personal photographs include an image of Griffin's home and photos of him at various events not necessarily related to Georgia Tech. The military career sub-series contains images related to Griffin in WWI, WWII, and past his military retirement.

Series 7, Miscellaneous, contains various images that do not fit in any of the other categories.

Location note


Other Finding Aids

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


Visual materials from Accession #1987.0303, #1990.0803, #2004.103, and #2006.058.

Other Formats Available

Digital Collection available at

Related Materials

One set of photographs, related to John T. Barret (Class of 1929) has been processed as a separate collection, VAC340.

Separated Material

This collection includes visual materials removed from the George C. Griffin Papers MS334.

General Physical Description note

approximately 957 images (including oversized)


Some of the links to the photographs in this collection (see the Container List below) may not be working. If they are not, you may access the photographs by visiting the Griffin Photograph Collection online exhibit at

Processing Information

The original 593 photographs were digitized in the 1990s. Previously unprocessed Griffin visual materials were processed and added to the collection by Mandi D. Johnson. Mandi D. Johnson processed these 284 images and produced the finding aid in March 2008. Addenda from George C. Griffin Papers MS334 processed by Mandi D. Johnson in February 2009.

Inventory of the George C. Griffin Photograph Collection, ca. 1885-1987 (bulk dates 1891-1972)
Mandi D. Johnson
Copyright March 2008.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

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

Georgia Institute of Technology
266 4th Street, NW
Atlanta 30332-0900 USA