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Bill T. Hardman, Sr. Papers

Bill T. Hardman, Sr. Papers

Descriptive Summary

Title: Bill T. Hardman, Sr. Papers
Creator: Hardman, Bill, 1926-
Inclusive Dates: 1960-2009
Bulk Dates: 1961-1970
Language(s): English
Extent: 3 box(es) (1.75 linear feet and 1 audiovisual item)
Collection Number: RBRL382
Repository: Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
Abstract: Bill T. Hardman, Sr. (1926-2013) served as Georgia's first tourism director (1959-1970). His papers document his work to promote Georgia tourism throughout the United States and abroad and include news clippings, photographs, scrapbooks and printed material.

Collection Description

Historical Note

Billy Thompson Hardman was born June 5, 1926, in Colbert, Madison County, Georgia, to William and Inez Hardman. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Merchant Marines and later attended Piedmont College and Mercer University. Hardman and his wife, Dorothy, had two children, William and Mary.

In 1959, Georgia Governor Ernest Vandiver appointed Hardman as Georgia's first tourism director in the Georgia Department of Industry and Trade (now the Georgia Department of Economic Development). During his tenure, serving, he oversaw the development of the state's first eight welcome centers; launched the "See Georgia First" campaign to encourage vacationers on the way to Florida to stop first in Georgia; organized the nation's first Governor's Conference on Tourism (1961); worked with the State Highway Department to improve the condition of Georgia's major roadways; and promoted Georgia at international and national travel conferences and trade fairs. He also served as the inaugural president of the Southern Travel Directors' Council (now Travel South USA), as chair of the Travel Industry Association of America (now U.S. Travel Association), and as a long-standing member of its board.

In 1970, Hardman founded Hardman Productions to present travel and RV trade shows and related events. In the early 1970s, Hardman lobbied successfully to convince the Georgia General Assembly to appropriate $30 million to build the Georgia World Congress Center and place it in Atlanta. In 1983, Hardman helped create the Southeast Tourism Society, which now covers a twelve-state region, as well as the STS Marketing College, which trains professionals in the area of travel and tourism marketing. He served as STS's president and CEO.

Hardman's wife, Dorothy, died in 2000. He later married Helen Fincher in 2006. Hardman died October 18, 2013, in Gainesville, Georgia.

Source: "Billy Hardman." Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 20 October 2013. Web. 14 December 2015.

Scope and Content

The Bill T. Hardman, Sr. Papers document Hardman's tenure as Georgia's first tourism director and his work to promote Georgia tourism in the United States and abroad. The material includes information on his efforts to establish welcome centers throughout Georgia and to elevate Georgia's overall profile as a tourist destination. The papers includes news clippings, photographs, scrapbooks and printed material. Of note are photographs of Governors Ernest Vandiver, Car Sanders and Lester Maddox participating in tourism-related events with Hardman.

Organization and Arrangement

The papers are arranged by type of material and chronologically.

Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Reference copies of the audiovisual recording 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

Bill T. Hardman, Sr. Papers, Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Georgia, 30602-1641.

Conditions Governing Use

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 permissions. 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 by Mat Darby, 2015.

Related Materials and Subjects

Subject Terms

Hardman, Bill, 1926-
Maddox, Lester G., 1915-2003.
Sanders, Carl Edward, 1925-
Tourism -- Georgia.
Vandiver, S. Ernest (Samuel Ernest), 1918-2005.

Related Collections in this Repository

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 146 Bill Hardman

George J. Berry Papers

Carl E. Sanders Papers

Louise Blemant Suggs Papers

S. Ernest Vandiver, Jr. Papers

Related Collections in Other Repositories

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

1Scrapbook, 1961-1965
21[News clippings from scrapbook], 1961-1970
22[Speech, planning material, and personal ephemera], 1961-1970
23The Georgia Vacationer, 1961
24[Governor's Conference on Tourism], 1963
25[Georgia Tourism Promotional Material], 1966, 1970
26Georgia Welcome Center Research Report, 1968
27[Letter regarding Coca-Cola at the Georgia Welcome Center in Ringgold], 1969
282009 Roast of Bill Hardman, 2009
29Bill Hardman and others, 1960s-2000s
210Tourism Promotion, 1960s-1980s
211Welcome Centers, 1960-1969
212Tourism Groups, 1961-1969
213Georgia Tourism Exhibits, 1962-1970
214Georgia Day, Seattle World's Fair, 1962
215Filming of Susan Hayward in Georgia, 1963
216Georgia Pavilion at the New York World's Fair, 1964
217Georgia's Presidential Inauguration Parade Float, 1965 January 20
218National Association of Travel Organizations, 1966
219Oklahoma Governor's Conference on Tourism, 1967
220Georgia Travel Commission, 1968
221Georgia Floats, 1968-1969
222Bill T. Hardman Day, 1970
223Discover America Travel Organization, circa 1970
224Travel South USA, circa 1975
4Georgia Welcome Station, Route 301, Sylvania, Georgia [oversize artist's rendering], circa 1960
5Georgia Welcome Station, Route 301, Sylvania, Georgia [oversize photograph], circa 1960
3Governor's Conference badge, 1963
6[Illustration and clipping of Georgia's float in the Presidential Inaugural Parade], 1965 January 25
3Eastern Airlines presentation album: Mr. & Mrs. Bill T. Hardman, Pre-Inaugural Flights, Atlanta/Mexico City, 1971 June
6[Hospitality Hall of Fame], 2002
UC RBRL/382/DVD0001A Roast for Bill Hardman, A Living Legend: Biography & Tribute Videos, 2009 May 23 ( 1 moving_image(s) )