As part of our 2020 End-of-Year Fundraiser, we offered the opportunity to “adopt” artifacts in an effort to raise money to help maintain the wellness of our collections. The artifacts in this exhibit are all from the DeKalb History Center collections, and the names of those who participated in the fundraiser are listed with the artifacts they chose to adopt.

DeKalb History Center / Adopt-an-Artifact Online Exhibit

Shoes Through the Ages

Case adopted by Cathy Mullins

This mini exhibit highlights selected shoes and related items from our collection. The viewer “walks” through the chronological ages – infant, child, adult – from the top to the bottom of the case.
This case and its contents are currently on display in our main office and can be viewed by appointment.

A Soft Glimpse Into 20th Century Headwear

Case adopted by Tricia Wynegar

Also a popular fabric for clothing in the modern era, this mini exhibit showcases velvet and its use in twentieth century headwear. We explore the two fabrics – velour and velveteen – that mimic velvet. See if you can determine what material is found in each piece.
This case and its contents are currently on display in our Archives Reading Room and can be viewed by appointment.

48 Star Flag

This flag was flown from the U.S.S. George Washington in 1919. The ship sailed to Brest, France, carrying President Woodrow Wilson, Mrs. Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and others, including the donor, John M. Oxford of the U.S. Navy. It is said that Mr. Oxford requested the flag from President Wilson. The flag was donated in the 1960s.

Adopted by Russell Clayton

Coca-Cola Bottle

This limited-edition Coca-Cola bottle was created in 1998 in commemoration of the 175th Anniversary of the City of Decatur. The label says, “Celebrating 175 Years, A Hometown for the Future” / “City of Decatur Georgia USA, Dodransbicentennial.” It was donated in 2004.

Adopted by Angela Singletary

Scottdale Mills Flag

The last flag to fly at Scottdale Mills before it closed down in 1982. This flag was donated in 1986.

Adopted by Jim and Mary K. Jarboe

Royal Typewriter

This Royal Typewriter was purchased by the City of Decatur for Mrs. Mortie H. Christian, who was the City Clerk for 41 years. It was donated in 1997.

Adopted by Betsy Goss

World War I Helmet

Metal helmet worn by Albert Edward Staley, 95th Evacuation Hospital. There is a green symbol painted on it with a “91” written inside. This was donated in 1990.

Adopted by Martha Pacini

Fan, Little Girl and Dog

This rigid advertising fan from 1957 was made for the Mann Funeral Home located in Conyers and Lithonia, Georgia. The image, titled “Childhood Faith,” is of a little girl praying with a small dog next to her. The fan was donated in 1984.

Adopted by Jo Giraudo

Mathis Bottle Caps

Bottle caps were used to ensure fresh milk. Each cap contained information such as the dairy’s name, whether it was certified, and the grade of the milk. Sometimes the bottling date or day was also included.

Adopted by Mary Elizabeth and William Ellard

Fan, Native American with Landscape

Illustrated with a Native American man in the forefront overlooking a forested landscape and a small airplane, this advertising fan was made for the Mann Funeral Home in the 1950s. The caption on the back reads, “Mann Funeral Home, Ambulance Service, Conyers, Lithonia.”

Adopted by Stephanie Cherry-Farmer

Hat Box

Davison’s was once a very popular department store chain, which started in 1891. By 1985, Davison’s stores were officially named Macy’s. The box was donated in 2010.

Adopted by Betty Blondeau

MARTA Commemorative Shovel

This tiny shovel reads, “MARTA Decatur Intermodal Bus Facility Groundbreaking, October 23, 1995.” This item was donated in 2018.

Adopted by Angela Turk

Mayonnaise Mixer

A metal topped ceramic mixer said to be used for mayonnaise, according to the donor. However, the handle turns a single paddle inside the bowl – not a classic egg beater. The bottom of the bowl is embossed with “L2.” Date is unknown, but it was donated in 1987.

Adopted by Jan Winfield

Mathis Dairy Pin

Thousands of school children visited Mathis Dairy every year. After a tour, they traveled to the lake in a covered wagon where they enjoyed a bottle of chocolate milk. At the end, each child was given a souvenir button. This pin is dated to the 1950s, and was donated in 2002.

Adopted by Allen and Elizabeth Moye

Police Badge

A commemorative DeKalb County police badge which celebrated the 100th anniversary of the DeKalb County Police Department. The badge says, “100 Years of Service, 1915-2015, DeKalb County, 2169.”

Adopted by Michael Lehman

Pullman Towel

A Pullman was a luxury overnight passenger train car that operated on most U.S. railroads for middle to upper class passengers. They were created by the Pullman Company, founded by George Pullman, and ran from about 1867 to 1968. The West Point Route was the stretch of railroad from Atlanta, Georgia to Selma, Alabama. George Pullman was known for his practice of hiring Black men as porters for his trains, and these men would eventually help to fuel the Great Migration and launch the civil rights movement. This towel was once used on a Pullman traveling on the West Point Route. Donated in 1984.

Adopted by Steve and Cathy Vogel

Kid Leather Shoes

White kid leather shoes worn by Clara Purple on her wedding day. She married William J. Sayward in Woodstock, Vermont in 1903. The couple would later move to Decatur, Georgia, where Mrs. Sayward would become one of the first members of the Board of Directors of the Decatur Library and Mr. Sayward one of the leading architects in Atlanta and Georgia. He was the architect for the Agnes Scott Library, the Pythagoras Lodge Building, and the Hotel Candler, among others. The shoes were donated in 1980.

Adopted by Nicole Carmolingo

Top Hat

This black grosgrain top hat was purchased sometime in the 1940s at the Dobbs & Co. in Atlanta. Thought to be a forgotten fashion trend, the top hat became popular again after the 1935 film, “Top Hat” made its debut with one of the main characters sporting a Victorian-era silk top hat. It was donated in 2009.

Adopted by Suzahn Huffman-Donaldson

Bert Adams Scout Camp Neckerchief

Since opening in 1960, the Bert Adams Scout camp has continued to be a frequent and favorite location for camping, activities, and training. The camp originally was founded in Vinings, Georgia, in 1928. This neckerchief was donated in 2002.

Adopted by Anne and Don Teddlie

Boy Scout Plate

One of only 17,500 produced, this Norman Rockwell commemorative plate depicts Rockwell dressed as the scoutmaster. In this outdoor scene, Rockwell demonstrates plein air painting for several scouts. The back of the plate bears the gold inscription: “Norman Rockwell ‘Beyond the Easel.’ Boy Scouts of America Calendar – 1969.” From the series “Scouting through the eyes of Norman Rockwell.” This plate was donated in 2002.

Adopted by Greggory Studdard

Dominoes Set

A set of 22 wooden dominoes which are painted or stained black. They have white dots on the playing side and are embossed with an image of a battleship on the reverse. The set came in a bag that included a piece of paper with handwritten game instructions. The dominoes were donated in 1983.

Adopted by Laura Beth Ingle

Girl Scouts Pin

This pin was meant to be worn on the sash of a Girl Scout. Containing a white daisy in the center, the pin reads, “Juliette Lowe Birthplace” in green cursive writing. The pin was donated in 2002.

Adopted by Janie and Alan Yorker

Katy Doll

Katy served as an early mascot for the Decatur Federal Savings and Loan Association. This Katy Doll is estimated to be from the 1940s, and was donated to us in 1993.

Adopted by Louise Sussin


These clay marbles of varying sizes were excavated from the old well that was situated on the Historic DeKalb Courthouse’s lawn. They are estimated to date to about 1906 and were donated in 1980.

Adopted by Sheila Rotter

Toy Figure Molds

These molds were used to make tin toy soldiers and figures. One of the molds depicts soldiers in World War I uniforms while another mold depicts Dick Tracy cops and robbers-type figures. A third mold is of a drum major and a horn player while the last one depicts a man on horseback and a man standing with a flag. All the molds have two halves with registration pins that match up to corresponding holes. Each has a stem on the outside where the handle attaches. The molds were donated in 2005.

Adopted by Mark and Kathy Burnette