GREAT SPECKLED BIRD.
Great Speckled Bird records 1965-1985

Emory University

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

Atlanta, GA 30322

404-727-6887

rose.library@emory.edu

Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/8zc0b


Descriptive Summary

Creator: Great Speckled Bird.
Title: Great Speckled Bird records 1965-1985
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 967
Extent: 7 linear feet (14 boxes) and 2 bound volumes (BV)
Abstract:Records of the Atlanta, Georgia, based underground newspaper Great Speckled Bird including legal records, administrative records, and printed material from 1965-1985.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

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

Related Materials in Other Repositories

Tom Coffin photographs, Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library

Separated Material

The Rose Library holds books and periodicals formerly owned by The Great Speckled Bird. These items may be located in the Emory University online catalog by searching: Great Speckled Bird, former owner.

Source

Gift of Tom Coffin, Stephanie Coffin, and Steve Wise, 2003.

Custodial History

Naomi Nelson and Randy Gue packed the collection at the home of Stephanie and Tom Coffin and transported the material to the Rose Library.

Citation

[after identification of item(s)], Great Speckled Bird records, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Appraisal Note

Acquired by Naomi Nelson as part of the Rose Library’s holdings in the history of Atlanta, Georgia, journalism, and the counterculture. During processing, archivists removed and securely destroyed approximately half a linear foot of duplicate printed material. Appraisal decisions were made by Interim Head of Manuscript Processing, Sarah Quigley, and Curator of Modern Political and Historical Collections, Randy Gue.

Processing

Arranged and described at the file level by Deborah Gurt, Sarah Quigley, Mary Sego, and Rebecca Sherman during the Georgia Archives Institute, June 2018. There was no discernable original order in the collection, so archivists organized the records according to subject and record type.


Collection Description

Historical Note

The Great Speckled Bird (The Bird), an underground, leftist newspaper in Atlanta, Georgia, was founded on March 8, 1968, by Emory University graduate students Tom and Stephanie Coffin in collaboration with other Atlanta-area college students and regional New Left activists. The paper covered issues such as women’s rights, gay rights, civil rights, labor, and opposition to the Vietnam War. The Bird was originally published as a bi-weekly paper but grew into a weekly publication within six months. By the summer of 1970, The Bird had a circulation of approximately 22,000, making it one of the largest weekly newspapers in Georgia.

Due to the paper’s radical politics, volunteers and staff were subject to harassment and censorship. Numerous local colleges and high schools banned the paper on their campuses and the paper had to be printed in Montgomery, Alabama, because no local Atlanta presses would publish it. Volunteers who sold the publication were regularly harassed by Atlanta police and sometimes arrested for selling obscene material. These issues culminated in several lawsuits between the paper and the City of Atlanta pertaining to whether The Bird was obscene and could be sold on the street or through the mail. In 1972, the paper’s offices were firebombed, though no one was ever apprehended in the case.

By 1976, the paper was struggling to stay afloat due to financial difficulties caused by ongoing legal issues and loss of advertising revenue, changing demographics in Atlanta’s alternative culture, and internal conflicts among staff. The final issue of The Great Speckled Bird was published in October 1976. Former staff attempted to revive the paper in 1984, but that run lasted only 10 months. A final revival in 2006 produced two issues.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the records of The Great Speckled Bird from 1965-1985 and includes administrative records, legal records, and printed material. The bulk of the collection documents the paper’s initial run from 1968-1976. Administrative records comprise only a small portion of the collection and contain financial ledgers, memoranda, proposals, advertising, and subscription information. The majority of the collection consists of legal records relating to cases involving The Bird, as well as labor disputes in the South. The bulk of the legal records document the numerous obscenity lawsuits between The Bird and various municipal governments. Printed material includes a small amount of promotional material created by The Bird, as well as event flyers, programs, newsletters, and clippings documenting activism and the counterculture in Atlanta and the South.

The collection also contains a small amount of Stephanie and Tom Coffin's personal papers. The majority of this material documents a complaint from shareholders, including Stephanie Coffin, against The Southern Company to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the subsequent lawsuit. The shareholders alleged that the company improperly sold shares to fund construction projects and that those projects were planned and initiated without proper oversight.

Arrangement Note

Arranged by creator, then in alphabetical order.


Selected Search Terms

Personal Names

Corporate Names

Topical Terms

Geographic Names


Container List

Great Speckled Bird records
Box Folder Content
BV1 - Accounting ledger, 1969
BV2 - Accounting ledger, 1969-1973
1 1 Advertising, 1975-1976
1 2 Advertising, circa 1984
1 3 Advertising account ledger, A-E, 1971-1973
1 4 Advertising account ledger, F-M, 1971-1973
1 5 Advertising account ledger, N-Z, 1971-1973
1 6 Advertising, weekly ad books, undated [1]
1 7 Advertising, weekly ad books, undated [2]
2 1 Advertising, weekly ad books, 1972
2 2 Article drafts, 1971-1975, 1984
2 3 Article lists, 1974
2 4 Atlanta Cooperative News Project, members, circa 1984
2 5 Atlanta Cooperative News Project v. E. F. McKillop et al., 1972
2 6 Atlanta Federal and City Service Employees Local Union 554 v. Service Employees International Union, Official Report of Proceedings before the Service Employees International Union, 1969 November 20 [1 of 2]
2 7 Atlanta Federal and City Service Employees Local Union 554 v. Service Employees International Union, Official Report of Proceedings before the Service Employees International Union, 1969 November 20 [2 of 2]
2 8 Atlanta Federal and City Service Employees Local Union 554 v. Service Employees International Union, Service Employees International Union briefs, 1970-1971 [1 of 2]
2 9 Atlanta Federal and City Service Employees Local Union 554 v. Service Employees International Union, Service Employees International Union briefs, 1970-1971 [2 of 2]
2 10 Atlanta Federal and City Service Employees Local Union 554 v. Service Employees International Union, Service Employees International Union documents, 1969-1970
3 1 Atlanta Federal and City Service Employees Local Union 554 v. Service Employees International Union, Service Employees International Union filings, 1969-1970
3 2 Atlanta Federal and City Service Employees Local Union 554 v. Service Employees International Union, Transcript of Proceedings, 1970 March 9
3 3 Atlanta Federal and City Service Employees Local Union 554 v. Service Employees International Union, Transcript of Proceedings, 1970 April 14
3 4 Atlanta Progressive Media Foundation, 1984
3 5 City of Atlanta, Department of Police, 1971
3 6 City of Atlanta v. Mike Hines, Billy C. Masters, Jay Perry, and Thomas J. Milican, 1969
3 7 Contact sheet, unidentified man with facial injuries, undated
3 8 Correspondence, censorship of The Bird in prisons 1971 November-1972 May
3 9 Correspondence, empty envelopes
3 10 Correspondence, general, undated
3 11 Correspondence, general, 1971-1975
4 1 Correspondence, general, 1984
4 2 Correspondence, prisoner, undated
4 3 Correspondence, prisoner, 1971 October
4 4 Correspondence, prisoner, 1972 February-June
4 5 Distribution report, undated
4 6 Doris L. Edmonds and Henry W. Edmonds v. Marley W. Cannon et al., 1972
4 7 Editorial Board, worksheet, 1984
4 8 El Grito del Norte, contact sheets, 1971 [images of Cuba]
4 9 Finance Committee, 1984
4 10 Financial statements, undated
4 11 Financial statements, 1972-1984
4 12 Florida People's Coalition, "Democratic Convention Demonstrations," 1972
4 13 Form letter to Georgia congressmen regarding American military intervention in Central America and the Caribbean, undated
4 14 Form letters, Great Speckled Bird, circa 1975
4 15 Fred B. Hodge et al. v. W. L. Dodd et al., circa 1972
4 16 Fundraising, circa 1984
4 17 Fundraising benefits, circa 1973-1974
4 18 Gordon, Doug, "The Great Speckled Bird: A History of Harassment," 1976
4 19 Gene Guerro et al. v. City of Atlanta, 1969-1970 [1 of 2]
5 1 Gene Guerro et al. v. City of Atlanta, 1969-1970 [2 of 2]
5 2 Great Speckled Bird et al. v. Herbert Jenkins et al., 1969-1970 [1 of 2]
5 3 Great Speckled Bird et al. v. Herbert Jenkins et al., 1969-1970 [2 of 2]
5 4 Great Speckled Bird et al. v. Leroy Stynchcome et al., 1968-1969 [1 of 2]
5 5 Great Speckled Bird et al. v. Leroy Stynchcome et al., 1968-1969 [2 of 2]
5 6 Howard Johnson of Florida v. National Council of Distributive Workers of America, 1970
5 7 Instructions for lobbying state legislators, undated
5 8 Job descriptions, undated
6 1 Layout supply list, undated
6 2 Legal Aid Society, 1973-1974
6 3 Legislation, undated
6 4 Lower Savannah River and American Cynamid Company, 1970-1971
6 5 Mailing lists, undated
6 6 Mailing lists, 1972-1984
6 7 Meeting agendas, circa 1984
6 8 Meeting minutes, circa 1976-1984
6 9 Memoranda and proposals, 1984
6 10 National Lawyers Guild, 1973-1975 [1 of 2]
6 11 National Lawyers Guild, 1973-1975 [2 of 2]
6 12 National Lawyers Guild, Labor Law Seminar, 1975 [1 of 2]
6 13 National Lawyers Guild, Labor Law Seminar, 1975 [2 of 2]
7 1 National Organization for Women, form letters to Congressman David Swann regarding access to abortion, undated
7 2 National Welfare Rights Organization, 1972
7 3 Newton, Debbie, spotlight editor, undated [primarily contains article drafts]
7 4 Notes and notebooks, undated [1]
7 5 Notes and notebooks, undated [2]
7 6 Notes and notebooks, undated [3]
7 7 Organizational outline, circa 1984
7 8 Personnel Committee, 1984
7 9 "Philosophical Statement--The Great Speckled Bird," circa 1984
7 10 Printed material, "Circuit Rider," 1979-1980
7 11 Printed material, fliers and programs for events in Georgia, 1971-1981
7 12 Printed material, fliers and programs for events in Georgia, 1982-1983
8 1 Printed material, fliers and programs for events in Georgia, 1983-1985
8 2 Printed material, fliers and programs for events in other states, 1974-1983
8 3 Printed material, The Great Speckled Bird promotional material, 1974-1975
8 4 Printed material, newsletters and publications, Georgia, undated
8 5 Printed material, newsletters and publications, Georgia, 1969
8 6 Printed material, newsletters and publications, Georgia, 1969-1972
8 7 Printed material, newsletters and publications, Georgia, 1972-1974
8 8 Printed material, newsletters and publications, Georgia, 1975-1983
9 1 Printed material, newsletters and publications, Georgia, 1983-1984
9 2 Printed material, newsletters and publications, other states, undated
9 3 Printed material, newsletters and publications, other states, 1967
9 4 Printed material, newsletters and publications, other states, 1968-1974
9 5 Printed material, newsletters and publications, other states, 1974-1984
9 6 "Rules of Governance," undated
9 7 "Selling The Bird," circa 1970
9 8 Scott, Gregory, arrest for distributing obscene materials, 1969
9 9 Southeast Community Cultural Center, undated
9 10 Structure Committee, undated
9 11 "Survival for The Bird," circa 1984
9 12 Telephone message, 1968
9 13 Unidentified bibliography, undated
9 14 Unidentified brief in opposition to motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction, undated
9 15 Unidentified list of questions related to being stopped by police, undated
9 16 Victor Bono et al. v. Marvin Hogan et al., undated
10 1 Wade Laundry and Dry Cleaning Company v. Warehouse, Landry, Janitor, Meat Packers, Food, Factory, and Motel Union, Local 67, NCDWA et al., 1969-1971 [1 of 2]
10 2 Wade Laundry and Dry Cleaning Company v. Warehouse, Landry, Janitor, Meat Packers, Food, Factory, and Motel Union, Local 67, NCDWA et al., 1969-1971 [2 of 2]
10 3 Waldron Hayne Dyches, Jr. v. Andrew J. Ryan, Jr. et al., 1969-1971 [1 of 2]
10 4 Waldron Hayne Dyches, Jr. v. Andrew J. Ryan, Jr. et al., 1969-1971 [2 of 2]
Stephanie and Tom Coffin papers
10 5 Alabama Power Company, Securities and Exchange Commission file number 70-6472, 1980-1981 [1 of 4]
10 6 Alabama Power Company, Securities and Exchange Commission file number 70-6472, 1980-1981 [2 of 4]
11 1 Alabama Power Company, Securities and Exchange Commission file number 70-6472, 1980-1981 [3 of 4]
11 2 Alabama Power Company, Securities and Exchange Commission file number 70-6472, 1980-1981 [4 of 4]
11 3 Coffin, Stephanie, unidentified subject file, 1983-1984
11 4 Correspondence, 1979-1984
11 5 Georgia Power Company, Securities and Exchange Commission file number 70-7348, 1980-1981 [1 of 3]
11 6 Georgia Power Company, Securities and Exchange Commission file number 70-7348, 1980-1981 [2 of 3]
11 7 Georgia Power Company, Securities and Exchange Commission file number 70-7348, 1980-1981 [3 of 3]
11 8 Georgia Power Company, Securities and Exchange Commission file number 70-6543, 1980-1981 [1 of 6]
12 1 Georgia Power Company, Securities and Exchange Commission file number 70-6543, 1980-1981 [2 of 6]
12 2 Georgia Power Company, Securities and Exchange Commission file number 70-6543, 1980-1981 [3 of 6]
12 3 Georgia Power Company, Securities and Exchange Commission file number 70-6543, 1980-1981 [4 of 6]
12 4 Georgia Power Company, Securities and Exchange Commission file number 70-6543, 1980-1981 [5 of 6]
12 5 Georgia Power Company, Securities and Exchange Commission file number 70-6543, 1980-1981 [6 of 6]
12 6 Georgia Power Company, Securities and Exchange Commission documents with no file numbers, circa 1981
12 7 Georgia Power Company, Georgia Public Service Commission docket number 3221-U, 1980-1981
13 1 Georgia Power Company and Georgia Senate Bill 29, undated
13 2 Georgia State University, Department of History faculty meeting minutes, 1984
13 3 Gulf Power Company, Securities and Exchange Commission file number 70-6383, 1980
13 4 Neil Herring et al. v. Securities and Exchange Commission, case number 80-2139, 1980-1981
13 5 Neil Herring et al. v. Securities and Exchange Commission, case number 80-2443, 1981 [1 of 2]
13 6 Neil Herring et al. v. Securities and Exchange Commission, case number 80-2443, 1981 [2 of 2]
13 7 Neil Herring et al. v. Securities and Exchange Commission, case number 80-7989, 1981 [1 of 2]
13 8 Neil Herring et al. v. Securities and Exchange Commission, case number 80-7989, 1981 [2 of 2]
13 9 Madsen, Jan, "To Be Continued," undated
13 10 Presidential Parkway, public hearing, 1983
13 11 Reed College yearbooks, 1965 and 1967
14 1 The Southern Company, 1980-1981
14 2 The Southern Company, Securities and Exchange Commission file number 70-6414, 1980
14 3 The Southern Company, Securities and Exchange Commission file number 70-6426, 1980
14 4 The Southern Company, Securities and Exchange Commission file number 70-6456, 1980
14 5 The Southern Company, Securities and Exchange Commission file number 70-6469, 1980 [1 of 2]
14 6 The Southern Company, Securities and Exchange Commission file number 70-6469, 1980 [2 of 2]
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