How Berry Shapes History c.1941-43 The Berry Alumni Quarterly

Everyone on campus played a part in keeping Berry alive while fighting for liberty and justice both on the home front and in the different theaters of World War II, but with the rise of the axis powers in Europe, Berry College was left looking at a troubling and doubtful future. Along with the international tragedies of the looming second Great War, 1942 marked the year of Martha Berry's death. Miss Berry had stood as the college's principle fundraiser, and subsequent to her death, monetary contributions began to dwindle (Atkins).
Berry struggled with several significant obstacles as the United States entered World War II. Berry's campus seemed to alter overnight with the death of its founder and leader Martha Berry. Students who would have attended college instead enrolled in the armed forces or stayed at home to fill in for a family member who had left to fight. Berry was left with a shortage of students, funds, and workers for its various departments. The staff also had to adjust to rationing and conform to the requests of government developed committees which called for rigorous record keeping and reporting. The faculty also had to change its curriculum to meet war-time standards and had to reshape the campus to train, accommodate, and prepare Air Force cadets for combat overseas. Taxes across the nation were rising, which further reduced Berry's treasury of funds, and pressure to increase salary caused tension between Berry's officers and the rest of the faculty. The school had many repairs to make, paired with appliances and equipment to bring up-to-par. It had been a long time since Berry had any extra monetary funds to renovate or update its buildings and facilities due to the recent financial drain of the Great Depression. On top of everything else, Berry was not an accredited college because the United States government declared the college's regulations and management dated and antiquated. The haven that Martha Berry had dedicated her life to had reached the critical point of its existence and had to pick itself up for a fight, in the face of both collapse within itself and disaster throughout the rest of the world (Dickey 82).

Campus War Effort

Berry College aided in the war effort by rationing supplies and participating in supply drives and blackouts. All in effort of keeping Berry's work program running to maximize self-sufficiency, and training Air Force cadets on campus (Berry Alumni Quarterly). Despite all the changes that Berry was goi
Some of Berry's Men and Women who served c.1941-43 The Berry Alumni Quarterly
ng through during this critical time, the school still managed to maintain the same program and deliver its promise of outfitting its well deserved students with an education for the future (Berry Alumni Quarterly). In a letter to his staff, Berry's President G. Leland Green asked, "How can we make our greatest contribution toward victory?". He went on to say that he hoped his staff would buy war bonds, observe US government issued regulations, maintain confidence, positivity, and "keep the home front solid" (Green "The Task Ahead").

In Spring of 1943, Berry was selected to serve as an Air Force cadet training campus. Green declared, “Berry is proud of its direct assignment in the war effort – and in this work she will maintain the same high standards, the same principles and ideals for her students and for any group that may be trained on this campus...” (qtd in "AAF Training at Berry"). Courses and curriculum also changed on campus to meet the requirements of the Air Force cadets and other possible war-time needs. For example, Dr. Jones, a Biology professor at Berry, taught both cadets and Berry students first aid (Dickey 87). Berry's staff also dedicated themselves to the Navy relief and the Red Cross. Several of the staff members even became Red Cross instructors (Dickey 87). Berry Staff members participated in bond drives to collect money for the war effort and volunteered their time and skills to the Defense Committee which educated others on "fire prevention, air-raid protection, waste prevention, economic transportation, and dissemination of important information" (Dickey 87).
In 1944, the US Army had plans to build a military hospital in Rome, but more specifically, on Berry's land. Berry refused to give up any of their territory, knowing how strongly Martha would fight against losing what she fought hardest to attain in the first place. Later in 1944, the US filed suit against Berry College for 160 acres of property. Berry lost the suit, but was awarded $9,600 for the land. The lawsuit concluded in January 3, 1945 (Dickey 83).

By the spring of 1943, five hundred twenty seven of Berry's men and women were in the active service. 124 were commissioned officers, and 111 were non-commissioned officers. Four of Berry's men had lost their lives and five were missing in action (Dickey 86). By the summer of 1944, over 700 men and women were active in the service and by the end of the war, a total of more than 1,200 of Berry's men and women had served some way in World War 2. Of all the former Berry students
Back Page c.1944 The Southern Highlander
Front Page - Gold and Blue Stars of Berry's War Mother Flag c.1944 The Southern Highlander
who were enlisted in the armed forces, 45% became commissioned officers - setting a record for a non-military institution (Dickey 87). Fifty-eight men lost their lives in the service; their names are memorialized on the bronze plaque in the Berry College Chapel. Several staff members from Berry had become Reserve Officers and many more men and women of Berry had taken on additional voluntary duties which included clerical and committee work, registration for the draft, and rationing (Dickey 86). The efforts made on the home front during World War 2 made an impact from the training bases right down to the battle fields. In June 10, 1943, in a letter to the students of Berry from Berry's President, G. Leland Green, addresses their efforts in fighting for freedom and how they can emulate the late Martha Berry to help fight for equality and justice; These are the days where we need to walk the plank of faith to the very end, as Miss Berry walked it. God helping us, we are trying our best to follow in her footsteps during these war-torn days…Yes, we shall keep faith with you and with Miss Berry, come what may. You are today serving our country in all parts of the globe. Many of you are in the midst of danger and death. All of you, whether in uniform or in civilian occupations, are giving your best for America and all that we hold dear. I want you to know how proud we are of you and I want you to know that we remember you daily in our prayers. If life grows hard and dangerous, if courage and hope fade, I trust you will remember this beautiful, clean, and sacred spot and the faith and courage of the woman who built it. Remember too, that here is one place where people think kindly of you and pray for you. A place where hearts will always care" (Green).

Student Life

Stricter social rules were applied between the male and female students of Berry when the Air Force cadets arrived. The cadets were "forbidden to socialize" with the girls (Dickey 85). This was due to the fact that some individuals did not approve of all the enrolled cadets and saw them as an outside group that could potentially threaten the purity of Berry.

In April 1942, President G. Leland Green reports to US Dept. of Labor's Emory Q. Hawk that “as a result of the draft, voluntary enlistments, and defense and other wartime employment opportunities, students were dropping out of school, the college was changing the curriculum to meet wartime needs, and there was 'a demand for our graduates far exceeding the number of supply'"(qtd. in Dickey 85). The chain-effect of the war was beginning to show up in every part of the students' lives. With many of the country's working age men leaving to fight with the allied forces, Berry's shortage of enrolled men forced them to make some changes to their work policy, specifically with the labor that needed to get done on the Berry farms. This marked the beginning of women working on the farms at Berry. Their manual labor ranged from baling hay to plowing fields, but their hard work kept the farms running. The women helped keep Berry alive during one of the toughest times for both the campus and the rest of America (Dickey 82).

Many letters were sent back to loved ones, professors, and friends on campus. One such letter from a Lt. D.L. Holmes illustrates the connection many of his fellow former Berry students make to their home far up in the hills of Georgia; "Coming back to Berry on a visit is one of my favorite day dreams. At the close of day when I start putting my work away I often wonder what the fellows there are doing, what's on for the night, and all those things. Mr. Hamrick, I guess I've seen the best night clubs in the States - Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco, but I don't get as excited over those as I used to over a dance at the Girls' schools on a Wed. night social. I must close now. I've kept you too long, but as a closing thought I'd like to say that I may forget all the academic knowledge that I gained there, but I will never forget the "Berry knowledge" that I gained. By "Berry knowledge" I mean the kind that comes from living a simple wholesome life, from working beside your fellow student and not being ashamed of your job, from the Chapel there on the hill, from walking thru the most beautiful campus one can find, and then doing your part to keep it that way for the ones to follow. No, Mr. Hamrick, I'll never forget my Berry knowledge" (Holmes).

Student Enrollment Demographics

Spring 1942
Students at the Mount Berry School for Boys c.1943 courtesy of Berry College

Graduating Males
Graduating Females
Total for Berry College
(Dickey 85)

Fall 1942

Male Students
Female Students
Total for Berry College
Total for all Berry Schools
(Dickey 85)

Spring 1943

As of March 15th, Berry College became one of 110 colleges in the US to be involved in the Army Air Corps Training Program. 170 Air Crew cadets were enrolled which brought the total enrollment up to 1,242 (Dickey 85).

Fall 1943

Males in all Berry Schools
Females in all Berry Schools
Total for all Berry Schools
(Dickey 85)

As of January 1, 1943, two thirds of Berry College's male enrollment had dedicated themselves to the armed forces. Within the remaining enrolled male population, 60% were enlisted in the Reserve Corps division (Dickey 85).
Enrollment continued to decline in 1944 and 1945, but began to pick back up again in 1946.

Air Force Training at Berry College
Air Force Cadets at Dining Hall c.1943 courtesy of Berry College

Berry did not choose to turn the campus into an Air Force training center. They were “..selected, inspected, and approved for the program by the Army Air Force” (Dickey 86). There were however, significant benefits to having a military training center on campus. The increase in enrollment with the intake of Air Force cadets compensated for the lack of available potential male students during war time and by doing so, helped keep a struggling Berry College alive. The U.S. government paid Berry's staff for a full twelve months of employment and also had the facilities updated, which included pasteurization equipment and checking the safety of the drinking water for the health of the cadets. Having the government keeping an eye on the health quality of the campus in turn benefited the rest of Berry's students and staff (Dickey 86). The Air Force training took place from March 15th 1943 to June 1944 (Dickey 86).

D-Day Anniversary Marked by Tributes to Allied Soldiers c.2012 IIP Digital
D-Day Anniversary Marked by Tributes to Allied Soldiers c.2012 IIP Digital
Rome War Effort

The surrounding city of Rome went through similar sacrifices and adjustments to fight the war on the home front. Many of Rome's men went on to fight in the war and served among various ranks and in different theaters of the war. To all of the survivors, the wounds of the war still shape their lives today. The personal accounts of war experiences and its lasting effects on U.S. soldiers from the Rome, Georgia area, was documented by Ross McDuffie and can be found on the Rome News Tribune Website.

Quotes from by World War II veterans in the documentary "From the Ashes":

“The thing that the world did not see…that one every island, there was hundreds and hundreds of white crosses. And one of the things that Marine Corps does before we go back to our base, is the dedication of a ce
A Few of Berry's Finest c.1941-43 The Berry Alumni Quarterly
metery. And that’s one of the most emotional experiences you’ll ever have in life. Cause you go through the cemetery and you find the crosses of those brothers of yours. You remember their dreams; we shared our dreams when we were in training, “What I wanted to do in life, what I planned to do in life”, but we saw their crosses. Saw their dreams. Dropped around those crosses like the earth” – Alton Cadenhead USMC Corporal Third Marine Division

“Throughout my life, at every junction of my life, I thought about the sacrifices they made. Never saw their son at a little league game, never saw their daughter at a dance preview, they never saw their child graduate from high school. When I walked down the aisle with my daughter on her wedding day, I cried, but not for her. They never had that honor. I know you say, it’s been 65 years why are you still concerned about them? Well I don’t think the value of those people to us, those of us who are still here, that value will never diminish” – Alton Cadenhead USMC Corporal Third Marine Division

"We [Americans] have been involved in every war since the American revolution. It's part of our life. Some generations miss it and the rest of 'em hit it full force" - Warren Jones Army Air Force Staff Sargent

"Though you are surrounded by death, it does not become a common place. Every time you see three Marines laying there dead, that's three homes represented. And there's gonna have to be some changes made in those homes because someone is gonna be absent. Those are the things that go through your mind. And each night, in your prayers, are your friends that have fallen...you become so close to those people. Just like brothers" - Alton Cadenhead USMC Corporal Third Marine Division

Works Cited

"AAF Training at Berry." The Quarterly (1943): 1.

Atkins, Jonathan M. "New Georgia Encyclopedia: Berry College." New Georgia Encyclopedia: Berry College. Georgia Humanities Council, 15 Apr. 2009. Web. 08 Oct. 2012.

Berry Alumni Quarterly. Volumes 23-25. (1941-43). Print.

Cadenhead, Alton. "From the Ashes." Interview by Ross McDuffie. Rome News Tribune. Studio Central and NPCo Productions, 24 May 2009. Web. Oct. 2012.

D-Day Anniversary Marked by Tributes to Allied Soldiers. 2012. Photograph. IIP Digital, Normandy, France.

Dickey, Ouida, and Doyle Mathis. Berry College: A History. Athens and London: University of Georgia, 2005. Print.

Five Berry Farmhands. 1937. Photograph. Personal, Mule Barn at Berry College. By Fred McCaleb. Web.

Green, G. L. Letter to Berry Students. 10 June 1943. MS. Berry Campus, Mount Berry, Georgia. RP in

Green, G. L. "The Task Ahead." Letter to Berry Staff. N.d. MS. Berry Campus, Mount Berry, Georgia. RP in Dickey, Ouida, and Doyle Mathis. Berry College: A History. Athens and London: University of Georgia, 2005. Print.

Holmes, Durward L., Lt. Letter to Mr. Hamrick. N.d. MS. 98th Fighter Control Sqn., McChord Field, Washington. Rpn Berry Alumni Quarterly. Volumes 23-25. (1941-43). Print.

Jones, Warren. "On The Western Front." Interview by Ross McDuffie. Rome News Tribune. Studio Central and NPCo Productions, 24 May 2009. Web. Oct. 2012.

Southern Highlander. 1938-53. Mount Berry, GA: The Berry Schools, 1954. Print.