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Wilbur G. Kurtz, Sr. papers

 Collection
Collection number: ahc.MSS130

Scope and Content

This collection contains the personal and professional papers of Wilbur G. Kurtz, Sr. The bulk of the personal papers pertain to the Kurtz and Fuller families and Wilbur's early adult life in Greencastle, Indiana and Chicago, Illinois. The personal papers also contain a series of diaries written by Wilbur and correspondence between Kurtz and Fuller family members.
This collection contains the personal and professional papers of Wilbur G. Kurtz, Sr. The bulk of the personal papers pertain to the Kurtz and Fuller families and Wilbur's early adult life in Greencastle, Indiana and Chicago, Illinois. The personal papers also contain a series of diaries written by Wilbur and correspondence between Kurtz and Fuller family members.
The professional papers and research papers consist primarily of the research materials and notes compiled by Wilbur G. Kurtz, Sr. during his lifelong study and documentation of the Atlanta Campaign during the Civil War. A significant portion of the research material documents the participants and events of Andrews' Raid. Kurtz attempted to contact all the surviving participants involved in the raid and document their detailed memories of the event thru a questionnaire that included sketches. In order to provide some consistency in their responses to his inquiry he sent a standard questionnaire that included sketches as well as questions. The sketches reflected the participant's involvement in the raid. Questionnaires to the Union soldiers included sketches of the jail and details about the design of the General. Those sent to Confederate soldiers included sketches of the Lacy Hotel and railroad platform, and the design details of the Texas.
Also included in the employment subseries are notebooks compiled during his research for the Georgia Historical Marker Program. The notebooks, organized by county, contain a list of the markers with the complete transcriptions for each as well as scattered research notes and sketches. Kurtz documented all aspects of his research and kept a very detailed journal during his employment as historian and technical advisor during the production of Gone With the Wind. The journal details Kurtz's involvement in the production of the film and the daily activities on the set.
Kurtz also utilized maps to illustrate a significant amount of his research pertaining to the Atlanta Campaign. Many of the maps document the information he gathered pertaining to troop movements and fortifications based on published records and first person interviews. Several of the Georgians he interviewed were civilians during the war and he recorded their experiences and the events they witnessed. Some of those individuals included Atlantan Sarah Huff, members of the Barnsley family, and Lucy Mulcahy of Bartow County, Georgia. His research also involved extensive field work retracing the route followed by troops during the Atlanta Campaign. For many of these excursions he recorded the participants and itinerary along with detailed observations pertaining to the physical landscape and conversations with local residents. Many of these detailed accounts are found in the collection.
Scope and Content The professional papers and research papers consist primarily of the research materials and notes compiled by Wilbur G. Kurtz, Sr. during his lifelong study and documentation of the Atlanta Campaign during the Civil War. A significant portion of the research material documents the participants and events of Andrews' Raid. Kurtz attempted to contact all the surviving participants involved in the raid and document their detailed memories of the event thru a questionnaire that included sketches. In order to provide some consistency in their responses to his inquiry he sent a standard questionnaire that included sketches as well as questions. The sketches reflected the participant's involvement in the raid. Questionnaires to the Union soldiers included sketches of the jail and details about the design of the General. Those sent to Confederate soldiers included sketches of the Lacy Hotel and railroad platform, and the design details of the Texas.
Scope and Content Kurtz also utilized maps to illustrate a significant amount of his research pertaining to the Atlanta Campaign. Many of the maps document the information he gathered pertaining to troop movements and fortifications based on published records and first person interviews. Several of the Georgians he interviewed were civilians during the war and he recorded their experiences and the events they witnessed. Some of those individuals included Atlantan Sarah Huff, members of the Barnsley family, and Lucy Mulcahy of Bartow County, Georgia. His research also involved extensive field work retracing the route followed by troops during the Atlanta Campaign. For many of these excursions he recorded the participants and itinerary along with detailed observations pertaining to the physical landscape and conversations with local residents. Many of these detailed accounts are found in the collection.
Scope and Content Also included in the employment subseries are notebooks compiled during his research for the Georgia Historical Marker Program. The notebooks, organized by county, contain a list of the markers with the complete transcriptions for each as well as scattered research notes and sketches. Kurtz documented all aspects of his research and kept a very detailed journal during his employment as historian and technical advisor during the production of Gone With the Wind. The journal details Kurtz's involvement in the production of the film and the daily activities on the set.

Dates

  • 1814-1993, undated

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright law. (Title 17, U.S. Code) Permission for use must be cleared through the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center. Licensing agreement may be required.

Administrative and Biographical History

Wilbur G. Kurtz, Sr. (28 February 1882 - 1 February 1967) was born in Oakland, Illinois, raised in Greencastle, Indiana and attended DePauw University and the Art Institute of Chicago. His parents were George H. Kurtz (1844 October - 1903) and Amanda Helen Baum Kurtz (27 September 1847 - 8 March 1828) and he was the youngest of three children. While living in Chicago, Illinois, Kurtz worked as a draftsman, engraver, and professional illustrator. In 1903, he traveled south to Atlanta, Georgia to interview Captain William H. Fuller (15 April 1836 - 28 December 1905) regarding his involvement in Andrews' Raid. During one of his visits with Captain Fuller he met his future wife, Annie Laurie Fuller (21 October 1884 - 2 October 1946). Kurtz married Annie Laurie on June 14, 1911 at the summer home of the bride's mother. The couple briefly lived in Indiana before permanently relocating to Atlanta, Georgia in 1912, so Wilbur could pursue his research pertaining to the events of the Atlanta Campaign of the American Civil War. After Annie Laurie's death, Kurtz married Annie Rachel Pye (1895-1985) of Woodland, Georgia in 1949. Kurtz and Annie Laurie had five children: Wilbur G. Kurtz, Jr. (1912-1991); Nelle Louise Kurtz Fambrough (1913-2000); Henry Harrison Kurtz (1916-1988); Annie Laurie Kurtz (1921-?); and Eugene Allen Kurtz (1923-2006).
Wilbur G. Kurtz, Sr. (28 February 1882 - 1 February 1967) was born in Oakland, Illinois, raised in Greencastle, Indiana and attended DePauw University and the Art Institute of Chicago. His parents were George H. Kurtz (1844 October - 1903) and Amanda Helen Baum Kurtz (27 September 1847 - 8 March 1828) and he was the youngest of three children. While living in Chicago, Illinois, Kurtz worked as a draftsman, engraver, and professional illustrator. In 1903, he traveled south to Atlanta, Georgia to interview Captain William H. Fuller (15 April 1836 - 28 December 1905) regarding his involvement in Andrews' Raid. During one of his visits with Captain Fuller he met his future wife, Annie Laurie Fuller (21 October 1884 - 2 October 1946). Kurtz married Annie Laurie on June 14, 1911 at the summer home of the bride's mother. The couple briefly lived in Indiana before permanently relocating to Atlanta, Georgia in 1912, so Wilbur could pursue his research pertaining to the events of the Atlanta Campaign of the American Civil War. After Annie Laurie's death, Kurtz married Annie Rachel Pye (1895-1985) of Woodland, Georgia in 1949. Kurtz and Annie Laurie had five children: Wilbur G. Kurtz, Jr. (1912-1991); Nelle Louise Kurtz Fambrough (1913-2000); Henry Harrison Kurtz (1916-1988); Annie Laurie Kurtz (1921-?); and Eugene Allen Kurtz (1923-2006).
After his move to Atlanta, Kurtz's professional career followed a variety of paths but some of the most significant and memorable involved his work with the filming of Gone With the Wind, 1938-1939, and the Georgia Historical Marker program in the 1950s. Selznick International Pictures hired him as historian and technical advisor for Gone With the Wind due to his association with Margaret Mitchell and his knowledge of the Battle of Atlanta. Kurtz and his wife, Annie Laurie, lived in Culver City, California during the production of the film to provide onsite advice during filming, conduct research, and design sets and props. He also served as technical advisor for two other films: Song of the South, 1946, based on a series of stories written by Atlantan Joel Chandler Harris; and The Great Locomotive Chase, 1957, based on Kurtz's primary research topic, Andrews' Raid. In the early 1950s, the Georgia Historical Commission contracted with him to research and write the text for a series of historical markers, primarily in the region where the Atlanta Campaign took place. He also played a key role in the 1934-1936 restoration of the Cyclorama of the Battle of Atlanta as an employee of the art project division of the Works Projects Administration (WPA). Kurtz also created illustrations for the Atlanta Journal and Atlanta Constitution, as well as magazine articles, murals and paintings for commercial buildings, and private commissions primarily for paintings depicting Southern historical events.

Administrative and Biographical History

After his move to Atlanta, Kurtz's professional career followed a variety of paths but someof the most significant and memorable involved his work with the filming of Gone With the Wind, 1938-1939, and the Georgia Historical Marker program in the 1950s. Selznick International Pictures hired him as historian and technical advisor for Gone With the Wind due to his association with Margaret Mitchell and his knowledge of the Battle of Atlanta. Kurtz and his wife, Annie Laurie, lived in Culver City, California during the production of the film to provide onsite advice during filming, conduct research, and design sets and props. He also served as technical advisor for two other films: Song of the South, 1946, based on a series of stories written by Atlantan Joel Chandler Harris; and The Great Locomotive Chase, 1957, based on Kurtz's primary research topic, Andrews' Raid. In the early 1950s, the Georgia Historical Commission contracted with him to research and write the text for a series of historical markers, primarily in the region where the Atlanta Campaign took place. He also played a key role in the 1934-1936 restoration of the Cyclorama of the Battle of Atlanta as an employee of the art project division of the Works Projects Administration (WPA). Kurtz also created illustrations for the Atlanta Journal and Atlanta Constitution, as well as magazine articles, murals and paintings for commercial buildings, and private commissions primarily for paintings depicting Southern historical events.

Extent

94.26 linear ft. (91document cases, 45 oversize boxes and 14 flat files)

System of Arrangement

This collection is organized into two series: I. Personal Papers and II. Professional Papers and Research Papers. Series II. is organized into eleven subseries: 1. Articles, 2. Correspondence, 3. Employment, 4. Exhibitions, 5. Genealogy/Family history, 6. Manuscripts, 7. Maps, 8. Presentations, 9. Professional associations/organizations, 10. Publications, and 11. Research materials. Series and subseries are arranged alphabetically by topic.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Wilbur G. Kurtz Sr., 1968 (1968.116, 1968.136, 1968.151, 1968.45, 1968.68, and 1968.85); Henry Kurtz, 1968 (1968.85); Wilbur G. Kurtz Jr., 1970 (1970.8), 1973 (1973.166 and 1973.210), 1975 (1975.396), 1976 (1976.308), 1977 (1977.364), 1978 (1978.116 and 1978.374), 1979 (1979.53), 1980 (1980.128 and 1980.420), 1981 (1981.260), and 1987 (1987.338); Annie Pye Kurtz, 1973 (1973.123), 1976 (1976.375), 1977 (1977.72), 1980 (1980.27), and 1986 (1986.60); and Emory University, 2007 (2007.181).

Related Archival Materials

Wilbur G. Kurtz, Sr. Visual Materials, VIS 197, Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center.

Bibliography

Wilbur G. Kurtz, Sr. Papers, MSS 130, Kenan Research Center, Atlanta History Center.

Description Control

Collection re-processed in 2010.
Title
Wilbur G. Kurtz, Sr., papers
Status
Completed
Author
Melanie Stephan
Date
January 2011
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center Repository

Contact:
130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305
404-814-4040