Janet B. Scarborough Merritt Papers, Series VII. Audiovisual MaterialsJanet B. Scarborough Merritt Papers, Series VII. Audiovisual Materials

Janet B. Scarborough Merritt Papers, Series VII. Audiovisual Materials

Descriptive Summary

Title: Janet B. Scarborough Merritt Papers, Series VII. Audiovisual Materials
Creator: Merritt, Janet B. Scarborough, 1909-2000.
Dates: 1950s-1970s
Extent: 11.0 items
Collection Number: RBRL/121/JSM
Repository: Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
Abstract: Janet B. Scarborough Merritt Papers, Series II.Audiovisual Materials includes one radio cart, three audiocassettes, one DVD, and six quarter-inch open reel audio tapes.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

Janet B. Scarborough Merritt was born in Americus, Georgia, on January 4, 1909 to Robert Henry Scarborough and Janet August Burton. At the age of five, Merritt moved with her family to Hawkinsville, Georgia, where she attended elementary and secondary school. Merritt attended several schools in the University of Georgia System and earned a degree in humanities from Valdosta State College. She held a life-time teaching certificate and taught in the public schools of Georgia. A true Renaissance woman, Merritt was a musician and piano teacher, an accredited flower show judge, and a licensed real estate broker and insurance agent. In 1932, she married businessman Samuel Merritt, with whom she had three children: Thomas Burton Merritt, Ella Merritt and Janet “Jane” Merritt Myers.

Merritt was active in a number of organizations and clubs, most notably the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She was Georgia State Regent of that organization from 1960 to 1962. Merritt once said that the most important honor ever bestowed upon her was a scholarship established in her name at Berry College by the Georgia Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. In 1962, Merritt decided to make the jump from women’s clubs to state politics. After an unsuccessful election bid in 1962, Merritt was elected to represent the Sumter County (at the time, the 68th district) in the Georgia State House in 1964. 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 reelection 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 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. She argued that her constituents deserved legislators who were willing to devote their attention and energy to the job year-round; many of her colleagues in the house also had full-time jobs outside of the legislature. While Merritt was careful to point out that she was no “women’s libber,” she shared many of the views of the feminist movement (for example, she supported the Equal Rights Amendment). She said repeatedly that Georgia did not need more women legislators, but more good legislators, whether men or women. On the other hand, she found many ambitious young men opposed her because of her gender. “A woman is in their way and she has to work harder than a man, which I did,” Merritt wrote in her reminiscences. Merritt de-emphasized her gender during her career: on her first day in the legislature, speaker George L. Smith II introduced her as “sweetheart of the House,” and, she said later, she let him know she didn’t like it.

During her tenure Merritt authored or co-authored over one hundred bills. Of particular note was 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. After a rousing speech on the House floor from former Governor Marvin Griffin, who strongly opposed the change, the bill was tabled and later re-introduced in 1971, when it was defeated. Merritt also supported improved retirement plans and higher salaries for civil workers and school teachers, and was a proponent of tourism in Georgia, helping to establish the Andersonville Civil War Prison as a National Historic Site. Merritt also had a strong interest in rural housing issues, and was active in the state planning and community affairs committee. She also served on the Committee on Care and Training of Preschool Children (which she chaired), the Tourism Study Committee, the Appropriations Committee, the University System of Georgia Committee, the Committee to Study the Day Nursing Program in Georgia, and the National Bicentennial Celebration Committee.

Merritt’s term in the state legislature coincided with a tumultuous period in American politics; the civil rights movement was the major issue of the time. While she considered herself a moderate, she was no friend of the segregationists in her district, and she opposed the creation of private, segregated schools. Merritt was one of the few Democrats from southwestern Georgia to vote for Republican Bo Calloway in the 1966 governor’s election, during which the state legislature chose Lester Maddox as Georgia’s next governor. In her reminiscences, Merritt wrote, “I am convinced that I was truly needed in a responsible place during the sixties. I had the courage to stand for progress and what I thought was right.”

Merritt witnessed the rise of one of Georgia’s most successful politicians, Jimmy Carter, with whom she worked while he served in the Georgia State Senate and as governor of Georgia. Merritt’s work with Carter is well documented throughout the collection.

Merritt served on the following committees: Appropriations Committee, member; Family and Children’s Subcommittee, secretary; University System of Georgia Committee, member; Long-Range Sub-committee, chairperson; State Planning and Community Affairs Committee, member; Community Planning, chairperson; Commission on Planned Growth for Georgia, member; First interim Tourism Committee, member.

Merritt died at her residence in Americus on July 23, 2000 at the age of 91.

Scope and Content

Janet B. Scarborough Merritt Papers, Series II.Audiovisual Materials includes one radio cart, three audiocassettes, one DVD, and six quarter-inch open reel audio tapes.

Organization and Arrangement

Janet B. Scarborough Merritt Papers, Series II. Audiovisual Materials is arranged by format.


Administrative Information and Restrictions

Access Restrictions

Though the collection is open for research, reference copies of the audiovisual recordings are available upon request. Research requests will be filled as soon as possible and will be dependent upon the condition of the recordings.

Preferred Citation

Janet B. Scarborough Merritt Papers, Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Georgia, 30602-1641.

Copyright Information

It is the particular responsibility of the researcher to obtain permission to reproduce material for publication. Persons wishing to reproduce materials in the Russell Library collections should consult the Director. Reproduction or quotation of any item must contain a complete citation to the original.

Finding Aid Publication

Finding aid prepared by Russell staff, 2011.


Related Materials

Access Points

Busbee, George, 1927-2004
Callaway, Howard H. (Howard Hollis), 1927-
Carter, Jimmy, 1924-
Daughters of the American Revolution
Fortson, Ben Wynn, 1904-1979.
Griffin, S. Marvin, 1907-1982.
Legislators--Georgia.
Maddox, Lester G., 1915-2003.
Oxford, Oliver.
Political campaigns.
Sanders, Carl Edward, 1925-
Smith, George T. (George Thornwell), 1916-2010.

Related Collections in this Repository

Carl E. Sanders Papers

Augustus Turnbull Collection of Carl Sanders Speech/Press Records

George L. Smith II Papers

Clifford H. (Baldy) Baldowski Editorial Cartoons

Clifford Hodges Brewton Collection of Lester G. Maddox Speech/Press Records

Thomas Gresham Collection of Lester Maddox Speech/Press Records

Georgia House of Representatives Communications Office Records

J. Frank Myers Papers

R. Chappelle Matthews Papers

Howard H. (Bo) Callaway Collection

Rodney Mims Cook Papers

Sidney J. Marcus Papers

William H. Burson Papers

Related Collections in Other Repositories

Georgia Legislature Records, Record Group 37, Georgia Archives

Georgia Legislative Documents Project, Digital Library of Georgia

Southern Women Legislators Collection, Department of Archives and Special Collections, University of Mississippi

Women in the Legislature, Georgia Government Documentation Project, Georgia State University

Owletter, National Order of Women Legislators, Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records


Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

 

VII. Audiovisual Materials

Extent: 11.0 items
Scope and Content: Janet B. Scarborough Merritt Papers, Series II.Audiovisual Materials includes one radio cart, three audiocassettes, one DVD, and six quarter-inch open reel audio tapes.
Boxitem
RR 0070JSM Cart 0001Janet Merrit 30 Tag with "This Has Been a Paid Political Announcement", undated
General note: Sound recording. Radio cart.
Conditions Governing Access note: Resource may be used under the guidelines described by the U.S. Copyright Office in Section 107, Title 17, United States Code (Fair use). Parties interested in production or commercial use of the resources should contact the Russell Library for a fee schedule.
Boxitem
CS 0137JSM CS 0001Side 2, No. 1: Odds & Ends 1st part Geo Gingelle interview (tape runs out); Side 1, Sam's voice, grandchild, etc. & Geo Gingelle interview (tape ends), 1972, 1972
General note: Sound recording.
Conditions Governing Access note: Resource may be used under the guidelines described by the U.S. Copyright Office in Section 107, Title 17, United States Code (Fair use). Parties interested in production or commercial use of the resources should contact the Russell Library for a fee schedule.
CS 0137JSM CS 0002No. 2: Buena Vista interview, undated
General note: Sound recording.
Conditions Governing Access note: Resource may be used under the guidelines described by the U.S. Copyright Office in Section 107, Title 17, United States Code (Fair use). Parties interested in production or commercial use of the resources should contact the Russell Library for a fee schedule.
CS 0137JSM CS 0003Side A, Janet Merritt, undated
General note: Sound recording.
Conditions Governing Access note: Resource may be used under the guidelines described by the U.S. Copyright Office in Section 107, Title 17, United States Code (Fair use). Parties interested in production or commercial use of the resources should contact the Russell Library for a fee schedule.
Boxitem
CD/DVD 0044JSM DVD 0001Subj. Mrs. Janet Merritt; For Jane Merritt Myers; Archived Video Transferred to DVD, 2000s [DVD]
General note: Moving image. – Silent, black and white footage of Americus, GA; features some Civil Rights footage; Janet Merritt is featured briefly (ca. early 1960s)
Conditions Governing Access note: Resource may be used under the guidelines described by the U.S. Copyright Office in Section 107, Title 17, United States Code (Fair use). Parties interested in production or commercial use of the resources should contact the Russell Library for a fee schedule.
Boxitem
RR 0070JSM RR 0001Merritt Campaign Song, undated
General note: Sound recording.
Conditions Governing Access note: Resource may be used under the guidelines described by the U.S. Copyright Office in Section 107, Title 17, United States Code (Fair use). Parties interested in production or commercial use of the resources should contact the Russell Library for a fee schedule.
RR 0070JSM RR 0002Mrs. Sam Merritt, D.A.R., Schedule Tuesday 9-8-59, Recorded by WDEC Americus, Georgia, 1959 September 8
General note: Sound recording.
Conditions Governing Access note: Resource may be used under the guidelines described by the U.S. Copyright Office in Section 107, Title 17, United States Code (Fair use). Parties interested in production or commercial use of the resources should contact the Russell Library for a fee schedule.
RR 0070JSM RR 0003Janet Merritt, undated
General note: Sound recording.
Conditions Governing Access note: Resource may be used under the guidelines described by the U.S. Copyright Office in Section 107, Title 17, United States Code (Fair use). Parties interested in production or commercial use of the resources should contact the Russell Library for a fee schedule.
RR 0070JSM RR 0004Local News 6/17/66, WDEC, 1966 June 17
General note: Sound recording.
Conditions Governing Access note: Resource may be used under the guidelines described by the U.S. Copyright Office in Section 107, Title 17, United States Code (Fair use). Parties interested in production or commercial use of the resources should contact the Russell Library for a fee schedule.
RR 0070JSM RR 0005Janet S. Merritt, undated
General note: Sound recording.
Conditions Governing Access note: Resource may be used under the guidelines described by the U.S. Copyright Office in Section 107, Title 17, United States Code (Fair use). Parties interested in production or commercial use of the resources should contact the Russell Library for a fee schedule.
RR 0070JSM RR 0006Mrs. Merritt, undated
General note: Sound recording.
Conditions Governing Access note: Resource may be used under the guidelines described by the U.S. Copyright Office in Section 107, Title 17, United States Code (Fair use). Parties interested in production or commercial use of the resources should contact the Russell Library for a fee schedule.