With the Christmas holidays right around the corner, the Suber Archives & Special Collections department in Lewis Library would like to pay a special tribute to the LaFayette collection. The Library and the College are very thankful for the pieces in the LaFayette collection, which aid in illustrating the rich history of both the college and the city of LaGrange with the legacy of LaFayette, an important French aristocrat and American Revolutionary hero.
The central point of downtown LaGrange is the square. From 1828 to 1936, the square was home to the county courthouse. Later, the square became a public park with a fountain. In 1976 a statue of the Marquis de Lafayette was placed on a pedestal in the fountain, and the park was named LaFayette Square. The city of LaGrange itself was actually named at the suggestion of Colonel Julius Caesar Alford (known as the "War Horse of Troup" in Congress), who in 1825 overheard Lafayette remark on the similarity between the west Georgia countryside and LaGrange, his wife's estate in France (located about 30 miles from Paris).
The LaFayette collection itself is made up of materials related to Marquis de LaFayette. Pieces from the collection were given to Dr. Waights G. Henry, Jr., for LaGrange College by Dr. Leland D. Case, of Tucson, Arizona, who was a friend of Count Louis de Lasteyrie and of Count Rene de Chambrun, both descendants of LaFayette. This gift resulted from Dr. Case's friendship with Dr. Georges de Bone, Associate Professor of Modern Languages at LaGrange College.
Included in the LaFayette collection are a variety of old postcards from France and the era of the American Revolution. The post card pictured here is just one example of the LaFayette postcard collection, featuring Washington and LaFayette at Valley Forge. For more information on historical postcards, visit the Chicago Postcard Museum online. The collection also includes an original copy of an article that was published in March 1975 in Columbus, Georgia's Ledger-Enquirer Magazine. The article tells the complete story of the statue of LaFayette and how it came to guard the square in downtown LaGrange, GA. You can find out more information about the LaFayette collection and the other collections housed in Lewis Library by visiting the Suber Archives & Special Collections online guide. Click on the images in this post to view them larger.
Photo and text Courtesy of the Georgia Encyclopedia. Pictured in the photograph is LaGrange, Georgia's town square with statue of LaFayette. The statue itself belongs to LaGrange College, but is on permanent loan to the city of LaGrange. This blog post co-authored by Patricia Barrett and Rachel Evans.