Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen, Jr.’s Administrative Records Now Available at Atlanta History Center

Researchers Can Now Access Recently Discovered Mayoral Records

ATLANTA, GA – The Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center has acquired the recently discovered administrative records of the office of former Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen, Jr. On loan from the City of Atlanta, the Ivan Allen, Jr. mayoral records enhance the Kenan Research Center’s already substantial holdings of City of Atlanta records. This mayoral records series includes memos and letters from Allen, his administrative assistants, and his political advisor, Helen Bullard, that provide a more in-depth understanding of the two terms Allen served as mayor in the 1960s. These documents as well as reports, budgets, minutes of meetings, and news releases provide details about the activities of the Mayor’s office, city departments, and the Atlanta Board of Alderman during a notable time in Atlanta’s history.

Paul Crater, Atlanta History Center Vice President of Research Services, welcomes the series by stating, “The Allen years were a pivotal time of immense growth and change in Atlanta, and now finally his mayoral papers have emerged to help us tell that story.” The bulk of the mayoral records pertain to the events that took place in Mayor Ivan Allen, Jr.’s second term; however, documents included from Allen’s first term cover important moments, such as the 1962 plane crash at the Parisian Orly Airport that killed over 100 Atlantans, the Peyton Road barricade, and Allen’s testimony in front of a Senate Committee in defense of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Other events discussed in the series include the 1966 Fire Department strike, the inaugural seasons of the Atlanta Braves and the Atlanta Falcons, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s funeral. As a whole, the series illustrates how the Allen administration dealt with issues, such as housing, equal opportunity, community relations, public safety, urban renewal, and public transportation.  

Ronald Bayor, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor in the History, Technology, and Society Department at the Georgia Tech Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, noted the value of the recently located documents by stating, “Those interested in Atlanta’s race relations, development, politics, and the functioning of the city’s departments during the Mayor’s two terms will find much in this collection. The letters from private citizens, the NAACP, Atlanta Urban League, SNCC, Church leaders, department heads, and politicians, and the Mayor’s responses, particularly adds immeasurably to what we already know about Atlanta’s history.”

The records are available to the general public at the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center. Additionally, researchers can access the catalog listings of the items included in the series online at AtlantaHistoryCenter.com/Research.

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The Atlanta History Center is an all-inclusive destination featuring the Atlanta History Museum; two historic houses, 1928 Swan House and 1860 Smith Family Farm; the Centennial Olympic Games Museum; Kenan Research Center; Grand Overlook event space; Chick-Fil-A at the Coca-Cola Café, a museum shop, and the Goizueta Gardens, featuring 22 acres of gardens, walkways, paths and trails. In addition, the History Center operates the Margaret Mitchell House located in Midtown Atlanta.

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