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Buddy Colley photographs, circa 1930-1960

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322



Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/thhp5

Collection Stored Off-Site

All or portions of this collection are housed off-site. Materials can still be requested but researchers should expect a delay of up to two business days for retrieval.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Colley, Buddy.
Title: Buddy Colley photographs, circa 1930-1960
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 1459
Extent: 2.25 linear feet (2 boxes)
Abstract:Photographs of Atlanta Journal photographer Buddy Colley documenting Birmingham, Alabama, Atlanta, Georgia, and military personnel and activities in the Pacific Theater during World War II.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Collection stored off-site. Researchers must contact the Rose Library in advance to access this collection.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Related Materials in Other Repositories

Additional photographs taken by Buddy Colley are part of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Photograph Collection, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia.


Purchased from Kenneth Mallory Books, 2018.

Custodial History

Purchased from a dealer; provenance and custodial history unknown.


[after identification of item(s)], Buddy Colley photographs, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Appraisal Note

Acquired by Curator of Modern Political and Historical Collections, Randy Gue, as part of the Rose Library's holdings in Southern history. All material that formed the original purchase has been retained.


Arranged and described at the file level by Elizabeth Russey Roke, December 2018. The collection arrived at the Rose Library in no discernible order. Elizabeth Russey Roke organized the photographs roughly into topical categories during accessioning. During arrangement, photographs were placed in acid free archival folders and boxes.

This finding aid may include language that is offensive or harmful. Please refer to the Rose Library's harmful language statement for more information about why such language may appear and ongoing efforts to remediate racist, ableist, sexist, homophobic, euphemistic and other oppressive language. If you are concerned about language used in this finding aid, please contact us at rose.library@emory.edu.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

Drayton Bernard Colley (1910-1982), known as "Buddy," was a photographer and professional musician from Atlanta, Georgia. He was born in Alabama and showed an early interest in music, performing as a house musician in local vaudeville theaters and as a percussionist in the Birmingham Civic Symphony. In 1938 he began work as a photographer with the Birmingham News. Colley served in the Navy in World War II as a chief photographer's mate and photographed aerial reconnaissance for the Iwo Jima and Okinawa invasions. During his military service, he was trained at the Eastman Kodak School of Photography, Rochester Institute of Technology, 20th Century Fox School of Motion Picture Photography, and the Navy School of Photography. Following the war, Colley joined the staffs of the Atlanta Journal and the Atlanta Constitution in 1946 as a staff photographer. He became the manager of the Color Separation Department in 1954. Colley continued to perform in Atlanta as a percussionist, most notably with the pop concerts at the Fox and the Theater Under the Stars.

Colley married Florence Joan Mikula (1918-2011), a percussionist from Chicago, Illinois, in 1950. They had two children, Denise Colley Tagilia and Mary Shauna Colley Lunsford (1955-2017). He died at his home in Avondale Estates, Georgia, in April 1982 and is buried at the North Atlanta Memorial Park and Chapel Mausoleum in Doraville, Georgia.

Scope and Content Note

This collection is composed almost entirely of photographs collected or taken by Buddy Colley from circa 1930-1960. The majority of the photographs were taken before Colley began working at the Atlanta Journal and the Atlanta Constitution. Photographs primarily document World War II, local Birmingham buildings and events, vaudeville performers and performances, and sports teams. The majority of the photographs were taken during World War II and depict military personnel and activities in Guam and other locations in the Pacific Theater. A small number of color images depict Atlanta, Georgia, in the 1950s and 1960s, including the skyline of Atlanta, downtown buildings, and the Georgia Governor's Mansion. The collection also includes a small amount of printed material including a reprint of an undated article about Buddy Colley from the Atlanta Journal and an advertisement for an Atlanta motel.

Arrangement Note

Arranged by record type, then in alphabetical order.

Selected Search Terms

Uniform Title

Topical Terms

Geographic Names

Form/Genre Terms


Container List

Box Folder Content
2 1 Atlanta, Georgia, undated
1 1 Birmingham, Alabama, undated
2 2 Dance, undated
2 3 Graham, Billy press conference, undated
1 2 Music and vaudeville, undated
2 4 Sports, undated [1 of 2]
1 3 Sports, undated [2 of 2]
2 5 Unidentified individuals, undated [1 of 2]
1 4 Unidentified individuals, undated [2 of 2]
2 6 World War II, 1942-1945
1 5 World War II, Guam, 1942-1945
1 6 World War II, Pacific theater, 1942-1945 [1 of 3]
1 7 World War II, Pacific theater, 1942-1945 [2 of 3]
1 8 World War II, Pacific theater, 1942-1945 [3 of 3]
Printed material
2 7 "Engraver Plays all Percussions, Builds Hi-Fi Set," Atlanta Journal reprint, undated
2 8 "Heart of Atlanta Resort Motel," advertisement, undated