Nelle Womack Hines Collection
Compiled by Penny Howard, 1999
Nelle Womack Hines was born June 9, 1875, in Oxford, Georgia, daughter of Emmett Womack, a lawyer, and Eleanor Wright. When she was six years old her family moved to Covington, Georgia where she received her primary, high school and partial college education at the Masonic Female College. The Womacks found the best music tutors available for their daughter. She studied music under Kate Moore for one year at the Lucy Cobb Institute in Athens. After her sojourn in Athens, she traveled to Washington (Female) Seminary in Atlanta where she studied under Alfredo Barili for three years. (Barili was born in Florence, Italy and later established the Barili School of Music.) After studying under Barili, her father moved the family to Washington D.C. where he held a government position. In Washington, Hines studied piano under John Porter Lawrence who had graduated from the Leipsig Conservatory in Germany, and was reputed to be the best tutor in Washington in the late nineteenth century.
On Nov. 23, 1898, Nelle Womack married Edward Roberts Hines (E. R. Hines) (1873-1944) whom she had met in Washington when he was a student at the University of Virginia where he received his Bachelor of Law degree. That same year, the couple moved to Milledgeville where E. R. Hines had grown up. (He completed his elementary education at Georgia Military College then received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1896 from old Emory College at Oxford.) He began his law degree and later became a judge. They had two sons, Emmett (1899-1975) and Madison (1902-1961). Persuaded by her mother, Eleanor Wright Womack (1845-1906), Nelle Womack Hines began studying music at Georgia Normal and Industrial College and graduated in 1906 with a four-year diploma in piano.
Since her early childhood, music and writing were her passions. Her first book published was a book of poems, Waifs from Wild Meadows, in 1898. According to Hines, Frank L. Stanton, Georgia's Poet Laureate in 1925, suggested the name for the book. ("Such Goings On" 282) Throughout her life she wrote and published poetry, music, songs, plays, and short stories. Home Keeping Hearts, a book of poetry, was published in 1929. Two of her most well-known publications were A Treasure Album of Milledgeville and Baldwin County, Georgia, a series of stories on the history of Milledgeville and Baldwin County, and "Georgia Land," a song published in 1923 and adopted by the Georgia Congress of Parent-Teachers as the state song in 1925.
Other literary publications were feature stories published in various area newspapers: the Macon Telegraph, the Atlanta Journal and the Union Recorder.
While teaching for forty-one years at GNIC/GSCW (1906-1941, 45-46), she held the position of assistant professor of music. In 1934 her duties expanded to publicity and radio chairman. She presented radio programs for the college, many times featuring plays she had written. In 1946 she became the chairman of research work in Georgia history for the student body.
According to her book, "Such Goings On", Hines presented programs, and wrote and directed plays over both WMAZ, Macon, and WSB, Atlanta. "Thirteen radio plays were given over WMAZ, Macon, 1942, the series dramatizing the lives of well-known Georgia men and women, historic homes, spots and events. Written and directed by Nelle Womack Hines." ("Such Goings On", 266)
Hines' love for writing was combined with her love of music. She wrote musical comedies such as "Their Family Name," and "Only Pebble on the Beach" which were presented by the Milledgeville Dramatic Club.
As well as teaching music at GSCW and summer school at Mercer University, Hines led community singing, and also was the official song leader for the National and State Federation of Women's Clubs, Georgia Congress of Parents and Teachers, and the State Music Federation and the State Press Association. In addition to involvement in teaching and community singing, she belonged to several organizations:
- Member for life of the Georgia Congress of Parents and Teachers
- Alpha Psi Omega (dramatic honor society)
- Pi Gamma Mu (science honor society)
- The first woman ever named to honorary membership in the Georgia Press Association
- Helped establish and member of the Milledgeville Garden Club
- President of Baldwin County Federation of Clubs
- President of the Tenth District Federation of Women's Clubs (from early twenties held the office for twenty years)
- President of Woman's Club of Milledgeville
- Member of the Macon and Atlanta Writer's Club
- Member of the American League of Pen Women.
On Nov. 21, 1963, Nelle Womack Hines died at age 88 and was buried at Memory Hill Cemetery, Milledgeville, next to her husband, Edward Roberts Hines.