Caro Lane Collection
Processed by Jeff Wells
Carolynne Chamberlin Lane, known affectionately as "Miss Caro," was born on September 12, 1894, in Milledgeville, Georgia. Her grandfather migrated to Milledgeville from Maine to design and build the original Oglethorpe University; he also did carpentry work on the Governor's Mansion.
Lane attended high school in Milledgeville before going on to earn her B.S. from Georgia State College for Women, now Georgia College & State University, in 1924. In 1925, she earned an M.A. from Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee. During the next few years she was able to take courses at Columbia University, the University of North Carolina, and Louisiana State University.
Lane began her teaching career in the public schools of Georgia in 1913. In 1917, she was appointed by the Georgia Department of Education as Supervisor of Health and Physical Education, a position she held until 1932, when she moved to Statesboro to become the Director of Health and Physical Education for Women at Georgia State Teacher's College, now Georgia Southern University. She also helped establish a health and physical education department at the college.
While at Georgia State Teacher's College, Lane noticed that some students were unable to afford a college education, especially when the Great Depression paralyzed the nation and its economy. Willing to help, Lane opened her home to a few of those students and helped them finish their college education. Before the end of her life, she helped over fifty students through college by allowing them to stay in her home while they attended classes, or paying for their education herself. One such student was J.D. Purvis who became an FBI agent. Purvis has written several books, one of which was dedicated to Lane, a woman he called his "Fairy Godmother."
In 1936, Lane left Statesboro and moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to become an Assistant Professor of Health and Physical Education at Louisiana State University. She remained in this position for eight years before joining the Louisiana State Department of Education. In Louisiana, she was the Acting Supervisor of Health and Physical Education, a position in which she served from 1944-1947. In 1947, she became a consultant in the Louisiana Department of Education in the area of exceptional children. In 1953, she was again promoted by the State Department of Education when she was named the Director of Special Education. In 1953, Lane moved from the Louisiana Department of Education to the Department of Health where she served as a school health consultant. She served in this position until her retirement in 1970.
In Georgia she was a pioneer in the establishment of health and physical education in the public schools. She was also instrumental in the formation of the Georgia Association for Health and Physical Education. She helped form a counterpart for the organization in Louisiana, as well as played a significant role in the formation of the Southern District Association for Health and Physical Education. While in Louisiana she was instrumental in creating the positions of Supervisor of Safety Education and Consultant in Health Education. She was also responsible for the creation of the first program for exceptional children in the state.
Lane was also active in securing more opportunities for women in the fields of athletics and education. She was the organizer and first chairwoman of the Advisory Council on Women's Athletics for the state of Louisiana. She was also a member of the P.E.O.-a philanthropic and educational organization that brought increased opportunities to women in higher education through its philanthropic projects. She served as an officer in the Baton Rouge chapter of the organization and participated in fundraising in the chapter that helped fund scholarships and loans to deserving young women seeking a college education. In 1976, Lane was honored by the City of Baton Rouge with its Golden Deeds Award, an honor given to members of the community who give unselfishly to their fellow citizens. She died in 1993 at the age of 99. In keeping with her affection for education and scientific inquiry, Lane's body was donated to medical science for research.
Provenance and Arrangement
These papers consist of materials produced by and about Caro Lane. They are divided by physical content, i.e., employment paperwork, newspaper clippings, photographs, letters, articles and personal items. J.D. Purvis, a former student of Lane's at Georgia Southern, donated the collection to Georgia College & State University.
Scope and Content
The collection contains newspaper clippings from the 1976 Golden Deeds Award Banquet in Baton Rouge, Louisiana when Lane received the honor; photographs of Lane, J.D. Purvis and family, friends, family members, and her 90th birthday celebration; articles written about Lane at her 90th birthday; articles written in various college magazines about Lane; speeches given in her honor; various awards and citations she received; personal items such as invitations, checks, receipts and notes; the Golden Deeds Award plaque; her Paul Harris Fellow certificate and medal; personal scrapbooks and photo albums; and her personal Bible.
The brunt of this collection centers on the Golden Deeds Award the she won in 1976, although there is a folder containing reports on special education that were produced during her tenure with the Louisiana Department of Education. Much of the newspaper clippings focus on the Golden Deeds Awards with a few focusing on how her life was spent at the time of her 90th birthday. Of special interest in the collection are letters from former GC President Guy Wells, as well as a letter from Robert F. Kennon, a former governor of Louisiana.
Additional Information for the Caro Lane Collection
Box List (pdf)