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Collection Title:  Iris F. Blitch Papers 
Creator:  Blitch, Iris Faircloth, 1912-1993.
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Abstract:  The Iris F. Blitch Papers document her two terms representing Georgia's Eighth District in the United States Congress from 1955 to 1963, and, to a lesser extent her campaigns and personal life. The majority of the collection consists of correspondence, newspaper clippings, legislative bills, research and campaign materials, scrapbooks and photographs. Well-documented throughout the entire collection, particularly in the Legislative and Subject Series, are the issues that were important to Blitch and to the twenty counties that composed the Eighth District, including agriculture and environmental issues. Bills sponsored or supported by Blitch include: Okefenokee Conservation Bill (secured funding for water conservation and fire protection in and around the swamp); Small-Watershed Bill (allowed the building of small watershed projects with government grants and loans to conserve water for farmers, municipalities, industry, recreation and the conservation of fish and wildlife); Water Pollution Bill; forestry development; anti-subversive activities; improved drug laws; livestock sales; and benefits to beekeepers, among others. Additionally, the papers provide insight into the political climate for women in the second half of the 1950s and the early 1960s as well as into social mores regarding their participation. Blitch's personal beliefs and opinions regarding women's roles and responsibilities in government and politics are evident in the speeches and interviews she gave throughout her career. To a lesser extent, and primarily through correspondence found in the Personal Series, is information relating to her immediate and extended family as well as her fragile health, which ultimately forced her retirement in 1963. Correspondents include the following prominent Georgians: D. W. Brooks, Phil Campbell, John Flynt, Jr., E. L. Forrester, Ed Friend, Henderson Lanham, Herman Talmadge, John Pilcher, Prince Preston, and Richard B. Russell, Jr.
Collection Title:  Janet B. Scarborough Merritt Papers 
Creator:  Merritt, Janet B. Scarborough, 1909-2000.
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Abstract:  Janet B. Scarborough Merritt was elected to represent the Sumter County (at the time, the 68th district) in the Georgia State House in 1964. The only woman in the Georgia State House of Representatives when she was elected, and the first to represent Sumter County, Merritt called herself a “full-time” representative. The topic of the role of women in government is thoroughly documented throughout Merritt’s speeches and writings. She served four terms in that position: she was elected again in 1966, in 1968 (after reapportionment combined Sumter with Macon and Schley counties into the new 46th district), and in 1970. In 1972, after a second reapportionment, Merritt was defeated for re-election by her former colleague in the House, Oliver Oxford, in a run-off. Merritt ran against Oxford a second time in the 1974 election, but was again narrowly defeated in a run-off. The collection documents Merritt’s campaigns, her time in the state legislature and her community activities including heavy involvement in the Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.) Of particular note are materials documenting Merritt’s ongoing battle to change Georgia’s state flag. In 1969, Merritt sponsored a bill to change the Georgia flag adopted in 1955, shortly after the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling, back to the 1879 version, which did not include the Confederate battle flag. Included in the collection are speeches, notes, journals, correspondence, clippings, photographs, artifacts, and audiovisual material.