Georgia Magazine - March 2021 - 28
CELESTINE SIBLEY BOOK COLLECTION, BENTLEY RARE BOOK MUSEUM
KENNESAW STATE UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF MUSEUMS, ARCHIVES / PERMISSION OF THE
AND RARE BOOKS
cars, " he says. " I said that was no big deal; we had plenty of staff
cars. He said something like: 'Yeah, but Celestine Sibley was in
it, and we've only got one of her. They're going to fire me!' Of
course, they didn't, and Celestine was fine. "
A host of honors
By the end of her AJC career, Sibley's byline had appeared
on more than 10,000 articles. Her almost six decades of dedication to her craft earned her the Ralph McGill Award for Lifetime
Achievement in Journalism, named for the man who, coincidentally, hired Sibley at The Atlanta Constitution.
She accepted honorary degrees from Spring Hill College
First editions, many of them signed, of some of Celestine Sibley's
in Mobile, Ala., and Emory University in Atlanta, and she was
books are in the collection of the Bentley Rare Book Museum at
awarded the National Society of Newspaper Columnists Lifetime
Kennesaw State University.
Achievement Award. In 2000, the Georgia House of Representatives named the Capitol press gallery
that were important, " Howle says.
in her honor.
" She was a pioneer for women in the
Sibley's last column appeared
newsroom. ... She had a byline and
on July 25, 1999. Exactly three weeks
the respect of politicians, including
later, she passed away, surrounded
the mayor and governor. "
by family on Dog Island, Fla. In an
obituary in The New York Times, for'Part of their family'
mer AJC editor Bill Kovach described
Howle also saw firsthand how
Sibley as " the last voice of the whitereaders revered Sibley and devoured
glove, tea-and-apple-blossom set. "
her columns and books.
Her ability to capture the soul
" People handwrote her letters
of the South in her prose earned her
and sent her things like pottery or
a place in the Georgia Writers Hall
cross-stitch they'd made, " Howle says.
of Fame alongside such notables as
" She was very popular and got invited
Sidney Lanier, Carson McCullers,
to everything. People always wanted
James Dickey and Pat Conroy. In 2010,
famous people during
her to speak at their luncheons
she was inducted into the Georgia
her career, including
because she [had] such a wealth of
Women's Hall of Fame. A short video
about her life was created for that
Trocheck witnessed similar
honor, and it still can be viewed on
outpourings from admiring fans.
her tribute page at bit.ly/sibleyhof.
" After I left the paper, I got to do
" We focus on the women who were
Born: May 23, 1914, Holley, Fla.
some book signings with her, " she recalls.
breaking out and doing things other
Died: Aug. 15, 1999, Dog Island, Fla.
" I remember one in Decatur where
women weren't at the time, " says Tina
Journalist, editor and columnist at
people were lined up around the block
Calhoun, who produced the video for
The Atlanta Constitution, 1941-99
for Celestine. They brought her things to
Georgia Public Broadcasting. " WorkAmong her literary works:
sign; one person was lugging a huge
ing as Celestine did in that day was not
" The Malignant Heart " (1957)
potted plant, and someone else had a
typical. Like many of these women,
" Peachtree Street, U.S.A. " (1963)
" Dear Store " (1967)
cake they'd baked for her. She was so
she [worked without] things I take for
" A Place Called Sweet Apple " (1967)
generous to them, and they considered
granted; she worked without computers
" Mothers Are Always Special " (1970)
her part of their family. "
and internet! "
" Small Blessings " (1977)
Sibley was equally revered by her
As part of the video, Calhoun
" Jincey " (1978)
newspaper colleagues, Benton says. He
interviewed Sibley's daughter Susan
" Children, My Children " (1981)
remembers an incident when another
Bazemore, who recalls that, when asked
" Christmas in Georgia " (1985)
photographer was driving with Sibley
about what she'd like on her tombstone,
" Turned Funny " (1988)
to an assignment, but en route they
her mother quipped, " She lived; she died;
" Ah, Sweet Mystery " (1991)
had a minor car accident. When the
she had a real good time. "
" Touch of the Shepherd: Reflections on
photographer got back to the office,
" I think, " Bazemore says, " that says
the Life of Vernon S. Broyles Jr. " (1994)
Benton noticed he was visibly upset.
it all. "
" A Plague of Kinfolks " (1995)
Source: Georgia Writers Hall of Fame
" I asked him what was wrong, and
H.M. Cauley is an Atlanta-based
he said he'd wrecked one of our staff
Georgia Magazine - March 2021
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - March 2021
Georgia Magazine - March 2021 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - March 2021 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - March 2021 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - March 2021 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - March 2021 - 4
Georgia Magazine - March 2021 - 5
Georgia Magazine - March 2021 - 6
Georgia Magazine - March 2021 - 7
Georgia Magazine - March 2021 - 8
Georgia Magazine - March 2021 - 9
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Georgia Magazine - March 2021 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - March 2021 - Cover4