The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

November 4, 2009

Historical collection donated to Calhoun Community College

Calhoun Community College’s Center for the Study of Southern Political Culture is the recipient of a significant donation of books and artifacts for its archive. The donation was made by Betty Waters and her family in memory of her late husband Spencer Waters of Moulton.

The Waters were business owners in the Moulton and Lawrence County area, and Mr. Waters was also a local historian and genealogist who preserved items of historical importance related to North Alabama. The Spencer and Betty Waters Collection includes approximately 300 books and documents primarily focusing on Alabama and Southern history.

Many of the volumes are rare items sought by collectors, and estimated to be worth nearly $5,000.

One of the rarest is “Judge Peters Minute Book,” a personal memoir from the 1860s. Peters had been a Unionist during the Civil War and later served as an associate justice on the Alabama Supreme Court.

The book includes Peters’ comments on important cases heard by the court during Reconstruction. In addition to politics, Peters was a renowned botanist during the 19th century.

The Center for the Study of Southern Political Culture opened at Calhoun’s Huntsville Research Park Campus in 1997.

The center holds authentic political literature and related items from national, state and local campaigns and political activities such as the Civil Rights movement.

The center’s archive is available to students, scholars, candidates, journalists and other interested members of the community.

Dr. Waymon E. Burke, a history and political science instructor at Calhoun, started the collection and serves as curator.

“As a historian, I am impressed that the Waters family preserved so much material important to our state and community and we are grateful that the family has entrusted Calhoun Community College to preserve these treasures for future generations,” Burke said.

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