Dr. Georgia K. Benjamin (born 1896) was an educational researcher, community advocate, and promoter of democracy throughout the world. Just prior to World War II, she established a home near College Park with her husband, then dean of the college of education at the University of Maryland. During the years she spent in Maryland (1939-1951), Georgia was active in local civic groups, but she also traveled to foreign countries and promoted international human rights. The small collection consists of unpublished writings, lectures, a transcript of a lecture, pamphlets, reports, and one autograph letter.
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0.25 Linear Feet
The Georgia K. Benjamin Papers covers the period 1941 until about 1953, including material created or collected from her time in Maryland (1939-1951) and Tennessee (1952-1958). The small collection consists of drafts of speeches and papers, printed pamphlets, notes on scrap paper, and one letter (dated January 28, 1948) addressed to Georgia. Two paper ballots printed for the Maryland senatorial race of 1952 featuring Democratic candidate George P. Mahoney have been re-used for notes about the Bricker amendment (Senate Joint Resolution 130). A transcription of a speech by Marie Watson in November 1945 describes the outreach of the Maryland League for Planned Parenthood to African-American women of the Eastern Shore. A draft book review of political scientist Louise M. Young’s Understanding Politics (1950) has an annotation indicating that the review was tape-recorded on April 16, 1952, to be later broadcast on WSIX radio in Nashville. Also included is a recommendation that Dr. Harry J. Patterson, once President of the University of Maryland, be honored with an Evening Star award.
Georgia K. Benjamin was born Georgiana Kessi in 1896 in Peru, Indiana. She completed a Masters degree on “The Irish Question: as reflected in the works of representative English writers” at the University of Oregon in 1920. That year she married Harold Raymond Wayne Benjamin, a superintendent of schools. In 1925 the couple moved to Palo Alto, California, where Georgia completed a Ph.D. at Stanford University entitled “Science in Modern Romance,” submitted to the Department of English in 1928. While Harold climbed the academic ladder to become a dean and the director of the College of Education at the University of Colorado by 1937, Georgia established herself as a researcher of global educational systems, making comparative studies of adult education.
From 1939 and 1951, the Benjamins resided in Hyattsville, Maryland, during Harold’s tenure as Dean of the College of Education at the University of Maryland. Georgia became associated with local civic groups, such as the Prince George’s League for Planned Parenthood and the United Nations Association of Maryland. Before and after World War II, they traveled widely and studied educational programs in South America, Afghanistan, and Japan. Public health, particularly women’s health, was a major concern during her years in Maryland.
Georgia moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1951, when Harold became chairman of the Division of Social Foundations of Education at the George Peabody College for Teachers. Remaining an active proponent of world peace and international human rights, she published “Community Goes to School in Guatemala” in March 1952. She advocated for greater involvement of women in local and national politics, and delivered lectures at various colleges on subjects such as “American Women as Community Leaders.”
Georgia and Harold had three children, Harold H., Georgiana O., and William F.
Georgia K. Benjamin, "Community Goes to School in Guatemala," Educational Outlook 26 (March 1952), 91-101.
The papers were accessioned by the University of Maryland libraries in 1969. The details of the donation are unknown.
The Georgia K. Benjamin Papers were originally processed in 1973, when the items were placed in acid-free folders in an acid-free box. Metal paper clips were removed. The collection was reprocessed by Eric Stoykovich in 2016. A new arrangement was introduced to better reflect relationships between the items, the folders were relabeled, and the description in the finding aid was enlarged.