De Renne
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De Renne

Three Generations of a Georgia Family

Title Details

Pages: 784

Illustrations: 250 b&w illus.

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 12/30/1999

ISBN: 9-780-8203-2089-2

List Price: $62.95

Subsidies and Partnerships

Published with the generous support of Wormsloe Foundation Publications

De Renne

Three Generations of a Georgia Family

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  • Description
  • Reviews

Much of what is known today of Georgia history was preserved through the diligent efforts of a single family. From Wormsloe, their ancestral plantation near Savannah, the De Rennes built an extraordinary collection of books and manuscripts on the history of the state and the Confederacy, much of which is now housed at the University of Georgia and the Museum of the Confederacy. This book focuses on their efforts in the years 1827 through 1970, conveying the passion and purpose with which they pursued their avocation.

William Harris Bragg has mined a vast array of archival sources to present this engaging narrative of the De Renne family. He tells how wealthy bibliophile and philanthropist G. W. J. De Renne and his wife, Mary, set the precedent for the family’s accumulation of historic material, how their son established the Wymberley Jones De Renne Georgia Library that bears his name, and how his children in turn expanded upon that tradition. The De Rennes also printed limited editions of primary historical materials beginning with the series known as the Wormsloe Quartos.

Bragg’s account of three generations of the De Renne family vividly records their achievements as it reconstructs their life at Wormsloe and follows them in their travels around the world. It provides glimpses into the dynamics and behavior of one of Georgia’s oldest and most prominent families and the evolution of the southern aristocracy. The book draws on newly available material to expand significantly on Ellis Merton Coulter’s 1955 work, Wormsloe, and provides the most complete account to date of the De Rennes.

Beyond the story of the De Renne family, Bragg also reveals much about the history of collecting and of the antiquarian book trade, as well as of the evolution of Georgia historical documentation. Appendix material includes genealogical tables and lists of collections and publications, making De Renne: Three Generations of a Georgia Family an invaluable source for all scholars and aficionados of southern history.

This is a careful, intelligent, and often compelling narrative of the lives of the De Renne family. The author’s research in the incredibly rich primary sources is stunning in its range and depth. I recommend this book for its subject matter, careful scholarship, and fine writing.

—James L. Roark, Emory University

This mammoth work is full of wonderful material. The research that has gone into it is extraordinary. Students and friends of Georgia history, of the histories of libraries, printing, and collecting, of American and southern intellectual history, and of the history of the family will find much of interest.

—David Moltke-Hansen, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

About the Author/Editor

WILLIAM HARRIS BRAGG is an independent scholar who lives in Gray, Georgia. He is the past recipient of the Georgia Historical Society’s E. Merton Coulter Award for Excellence in the Writing of Georgia History.