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J. Frank Myers Papers

J. Frank Myers Papers

Descriptive Summary

Title: J. Frank Myers Papers
Creator: Myers, J. Frank, 1920-2005.
Inclusive Dates: 1920-2002
Language(s): English
Extent: 2 box(es) (1.25 linear feet) and 1 moving image
Collection Number: RBRL108JFM
Repository: Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
Abstract: The J. Frank Myers Papers document Myers' involvement in politics, community groups and economic development in Americus and Sumter County, Georgia. The papers consist of correspondence, legal, personal, and founding documents, newspaper clippings, photographs, brochures, area maps, and a menu from The Varsity Restaurant.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

James Frank Myers, Jr. (J. Frank Myers, Jr.) was born June 21, 1920, in Plains, Sumter County, Georgia. Myers served as a U.S. Navy aviator during World War II, graduated from Georgia Southwestern College and attended the University of Georgia, earning an economics degree (1941) and a law degree (1948). Myers also served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

Throughout his adult life, Myers played an active role in state and local Democratic Party politics. He was a member of the Georgia House of Representatives (1949-1950) and a candidate for U.S. Representative in 1950. Later, he served three terms as mayor of Americus, 1961-1962 and 1971-1974. Myers also served as a Georgia delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1964, 1972 and 1976. In the 1950s, as a board member for the group Citizens Against the County Unit Amendment, Myers fought for the abolition of the county unit system, Georgia's answer to the Electoral College, which was used to nominate candidates in the state Democratic primary. He also headed the Americus District of the Committee for Free Elections, a group focusing on statewide election reform. Myers was an integral part of the Sumter County for Thompson Club to re-elect former Governor M. E. Thompson in his unsuccessful 1954 campaign against Marvin Griffin.

In addition to his political affiliations, Myers was instrumental in several community groups and economic development in Americus and Sumter County. During the 1950s, Myers was a founding member of the Americus Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees) and president of the Americus and Sumter County Chamber of Commerce. Through these organizations, Myers worked to bring northern industry to Georgia, pave the Souther Field Airport and help Georgia Southwestern College (now Georgia Southwestern State University) obtain a four-year teacher education degree program. He was also president of the Americus Bar Association, Adjutant of the 3rd District chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and, later, president of the Sumter County Mental Health Association, organized in 1960.

Myers lived in Americus where, until his retirement, he was the publisher of The Sumter Free Press, a weekly newspaper. He died January 3, 2005.

Scope and Content

The J. Frank Myers Papers document Myers' involvement in politics, community groups and economic development in Americus and Sumter County, Georgia. Organized in two series, I. Civic and Political Organizations and II. Personal File, the materials are arranged by subject and are loosely filed alphabetically. The papers consist of correspondence, legal, personal, and founding documents, newspaper clippings, photographs, audiovisual materials, brochures, area maps, and a menu from The Varsity Restaurant. Since Myers played leadership roles in many of the organizations represented as well as in the Americus, Georgia community, much of the material is interrelated.

Organization and Arrangement

The files are organized in four series, I. Civic and Political Organizations, II. Personal File, III. Photographs, and IV. Audiovisual Materials. The series are arranged alphabetically by subject.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

J. Frank Myers Papers, Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Georgia, 30602-1641.

Processing Note

Highly acidic materials were copied onto archival, acid-free paper. Some oversized materials were removed and placed in a separate box, which is located with the collection.

User Restrictions

Library acts as "fair use" reproduction agent.

Copyright Information

Before material from collections at the Richard B. Russell Library may be quoted in print, or otherwise reproduced, in whole or in part, in any publication, permission must be obtained from (1) the owner of the physical property, and (2) the holder of the copyright. It is the particular responsibility of the researcher to obtain both sets of permission. Persons wishing to quote from materials in the Russell Library collection should consult the Director. Reproduction of any item must contain a complete citation to the original.

Finding Aid Publication

Finding aid prepared on: 2008.

Related Materials and Subjects

Subject Terms

Audiovisual materials
Bell, Griffin Boyette, 1918-
Fuller, Millard Dean, 1935-
Griffin, S. Marvin, 1907-1982.
Thompson, M. E. (Melvin Ernest), 1903-1980.

Related Collections in this Repository

Janet B. Scarborough Merritt Papers

S. Ernest Vandiver Papers

Herman E. Talmadge Collection

Richard B. Russell Library Oral History Documentary Collection: Griffin Bell Oral History

Related Collections in Other Repositories

Griffin Bell Papers, Law School, Mercer University, Macon, Georgia

S. Marvin Griffin Papers, Bainbridge College Library, Bainbridge, Georgia

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing


I. Civic and Political Organizations

0.5 box(es)
(.5 linear feet)
This series documents Myers' political activity in the files of the Sumter County for Thompson Club (referenced in the folder listing as "Thompson [for Governor]"), Citizens Against the County Unit Amendment, and the Committee for Free Elections. The Thompson Club records contain correspondence with fellow supporters throughout the state as well as M. E. Thompson. The files of the Citizens Against the County Unit Amendment document the group's work to abolish the county unit system in Georgia by asking voters to strike down the amendment during the 1952 election. The Free Elections file details Myers' work to recruit county chairs for the organization's Americus District and includes a document outlining the group's goals. The Chamber of Commerce files include material related to its mission to attract and promote industry and create employment opportunities within Americus and Sumter County. Files contain correspondence relating to the Chamber's push to expand Souther Field Airport by obtaining land easements and paving the extant airstrip. Other correspondence deals with Georgia Southwestern College's move to create a program to award a Bachelor of Science in Education. Of particular interest are the files of the Public Relations Committee, of which Myers was chair, that document campaigns to "sell" Americus to outside industry and potential residents. Lists of manufacturing facilities and a fact sheet about Americus are included. The Jaycees files contain similar material as well as information about Manufacturer's Day (July 21, 1953), an event staged to invite corporations from across the county, such as John Deere and Ford, as well as state and federal officials, to see what Americus could offer. The Americus and Sumter County Development Corporation file complements the Chamber of Commerce and Jaycees material, as it was a publicly owned corporation with a financial interest in land acquisition and industrial development. Included are correspondence, by-laws and balance sheets. The Oil file contains information on oil development prospects in the southeast. The records of the Americus Bar Association relate to matters of legal importance to the community, such as grievances against attorneys and ethical issues. These files also contain correspondence related to Georgia Southwestern College. The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) material contains correspondence related to land usage by the Americus chapter and financial information. Materials from Myers' campaign for Congress in 1950 are also collected here and contain several speeches delivered at various occasions and campaign stops as well as a mock-up of a comic strip-style campaign advertisement.
11[Americus and Sumter County] Chamber of Commerce – Current, 1955-1956
12[Americus and Sumter County] Chamber of Commerce – Public Relations Committee, 1955-1956
13[Americus and Sumter County] Chamber of Commerce, C-7, 1956-1957
14[Americus and Sumter County] Chamber of Commerce – General Correspondence C-19 (P), 1957-1958
mapcaseApproach plan, Souther Field, Americus, Sumter County [oversize map]
15[Americus and Sumter County] Chamber of Commerce, 1965, 1967-1971
mapcaseOfficial map of the City of Americus [oversize map], 1967 January
16Americus and Sumter County Development Corporation, 1956-1976
mapcaseOfficial major street plan, Americus-Sumter County planning commission, 1959
mapcaseOfficial land use plan, Americus-Sumter County planning commission [oversize map], 1959
17Americus Bar Association (folder 1 of 2), 1952-1956, 1959-1961
18Americus Bar Association (folder 2 of 2), 1953-1961
19[Americus] Jaycees, 1953
110[Americus Jaycees] – Manufacturer's Day, 1953
111Campaign for Congress, 1950
112[Citizens Against the] County Unit Amendment, 1952
113Committee for Free Elections, 1950-1951
114Oil, 1945, 1950, 1952, 1954
mapcaseMap of the High Terrace and Pleistocene Shorelines of Georgia and Florida [oversize map]
115Thompson [for Governor], 1947, 1950, 1954
116Veterans of Foreign Wars – Accounts, 1948-1953

II. Personal File

1 box(es)
(.5 linear feet)
Myers' personal file contains papers from his education and early career beginning with Anthony High School, where he was valedictorian of his class, and includes his diploma, certificates of achievement, a grade report, and a copy of his valedictory speech. Material from Myers' years at the University of Georgia includes his diploma, his graduation program, and several congratulatory letters from friends and family on the occasion of his graduation. Material in the VPB-53 and Navy folder includes Myers' Navy identification papers, documents relating specifically to Myers' flights with the VPB-53 Squadron as well as a 1992 update on members of the squadron. Also included in the Personal File series is a collection of letters from Myers' friend Judge Griffin Bell from 1976 to 1997; a collection of letters from Myers' friend Millard Fuller of Habitat for Humanity; a transcript of an interview with Myers conducted by Bell's son Griffin Bell III in 2002; a folder of clippings and congratulatory letters on the occasions of Myers' 66th and 80th birthdays; personal documents such as Myers' passport, birth certificate, and wedding licenses; additional family documents including his mother's passport and death certificate; a collection of clippings and correspondence concerning family members and friends; papers relating to Myers' later activity with Georgia Southwestern University including his delivery of an address at the university in 2002 (a video of which is included in the collection); the bound script of a play, "The Late Christopher Bean," in which Myers appeared; and a Life magazine containing an article on Myers' friend, Janet Merritt.
117Anthony High School, 1937
118Bell, Griffin, 1976-1997
119Birthday Parties, 1986-2000
120City of Americus, 1945-2002
121Family and Friends, 1943-2003
122Fuller, Millard, 1992-2003
123Georgia Southwestern University, 1978-2002
124Interview Transcript, 2002
125Merritt, Janet, 1969
126Personal Documents, 1920-2001
127Professional Affiliations, 1984-1987
127"The Late Christopher Bean" (Play), undated
128University of Georgia, 1941-1947
129VPB-53 and Navy, 1941-1945, 1992

III. Photographs

48 item(s)
This series consists of photographs documenting Myers service in the U.S. Navy during World War II, his political career, and family life.
21J. Frank Myers, freshman in college, 1937. (b/w, 8"x10")
22J. Frank Myers in Navy uniform, Jacksonville, Florida, September 1942. (b/w, 8"x10")
23J. Frank Myers as Navy cadet in Jacksonville, Florida, July 1942. (b/w, paper copy, 8"x10")
24J. Frank Myers, graduation as Ensign, December 1942. (color, 8.5"x11")
25VPB-53 Squadron officers, Oak Harbor, Washington, 1944. (b/w, digital print, 8.5"x11")
26VPB-53 Squadron officers, San Diego, California, October, 1943. (b/w, 8.5"x11")
27VPB-53 Squadron; pages of 47 individual photographs (identification list included), undated. (8 b/w, 8.5"x11")
28VPB-53 Squadron; pages of 22 individual photographs, undated. (4 color, 8.5"x11")
29Plane taking off from water, Kenoke, Hawaii, undated. (b/w, 8"x10")
210Members of Lumpkin Law School who passed the bar exam, 1947. (b/w, 8"x10")
211J. Frank Myers and W. G. "Buddy" Pearlman at desks in Georgia House chamber, 1949. (b/w, 8"x10")
212Jean Wire (campaign manager) and J. Frank Myers congressional campaign, 1950. (b/w, 8"x10")
213J. Frank Myers and sister Ruth campaigning for Congress in Cordele, Georgia, 1950. (photocopy, b/w, 5"x3.25")
214J. Frank Myers with 3 men, Election for Mayor, 1960. (b/w, 8"x7")
215Board of Directors, Builtwell Homes, Inc., August 22, 1961. (b/w, 8"x10")
216J. Frank Myers being sworn in by Carl Sanders as Solicitor General of Southwestern Judicial Court, November 1965. (b/w, paper copy, 8.5"x11")
217J. Frank Myers being sworn in as Solicitor General by Governor Carl E. Sanders, November 1965. (b/w, 8" x 10")
218Griffin Bell, J. Frank Myers, and Jesse G. Bowles at State Bar of Georgia 2nd annual meeting, June 2-4, 1965. (b/w, 8"x10")
219J. Frank Myers and Griffin Bell, undated. (b/w, 5"x7")
220J. Frank Myers portrait as Mayor of Americus, Georgia, 1971. (b/w, 8"x10")
221Georgia State Board of Health (J. Frank Myers, Secretary), circa 1973. (b/w, 8"x10")
222Oliver Oxford, Ken Carpenter, Joel Marsh, Theo Baldwin, Janet Merritt, J. Frank Myers, Mayors Day, 1974. (color, 8"x10")
223J. Frank Myers shaking the hand of George Edwards at Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting at DKTC(?) in Americus, Georgia, circa 1974. (b/w, 5" x 7")
224Mary, J. Frank, Jean and Frank (III) Myers at Carter inauguration, January 20, 1977. (color, 6"x11")
225Jane and Frank Myers aboard Queen Elizabeth II, 1983. (color, 5"x7")
226Jane Myers, undated. (b/w, 3.5"x5")
227Portrait of Jane and J. Frank Myers, September 1983. (color, 5" x 7")
228J. Frank Myers and Phyllis Deaton beside J. Frank Myers Industrial Park sign, 1992. (color, digital print, 8.5"x11")
229J. Frank Myers with children Mary, Jean, and J. Frank III, July 26, 1992. (color, 5"x7")
230J. Frank Myers, 2002. (color, 4"x6")
231Billy Carter, J. Frank Myers, Jimmy Carter, and Lillian Carter, Old Holiday Inn, Ramada, undated. (color, 8" x 10")
232J. Frank Myers and Governor George Busbee, undated. (color, 8"x10")
233J. Frank Myers and Americus Mayor Russell Thomas, undated. (color, 4"x6")
234Jean Myers and Ricky Arnold at Junior-Senior prom, undated. (color, 2.5"x3.75")
235J. Frank Myers on camel in Jerusalem, undated. (color, 5"x7")
236J. Frank Myers and Betty Jean Thomas in garden, undated. (color, 4"x6")
237J. Frank Myers in the driveway of a home (unidentified) with two dogs leaping up on him, undated. (b/w, 8" x 10")

IV. Audiovisual

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.
UC RBRL108JFM-VHS_0001Griffin Bell Distinguished Lecture Series: J. Frank Myers, 2002 February 13 ( 1 moving_image(s) )