James Edward Oglethorpe Critical Context - Essay

Joyce Knight Blackburn

Critical Context

Blackburn conducted research for James Edward Oglethorpe at the Fort Frederica National Monument on St. Simons Island, Georgia, and at the Georgia Historical Society in Savannah, both significant sites in Oglethorpe’s life. Among the resources used were Manuscripts of the Earl of Egmont (19201923), which provided contemporary accounts by the president of Colonial Georgia’s board of trustees and parliamentary records; the most notable adult biography of Oglethorpe, Amos A. Et-tinger’s James Edward Oglethorpe, Imperial Idealist (1936); and interviews with Dr. Thinizy Spalding, the University of Georgia specialist on Colonial Georgian history and another biographer of Oglethorpe. The information presented in Blackburn’s book is well researched and accurate. The author writes in a style that is appropriate for young adults without compromising the book’s content.

Yet, while the biography contains a considerable amount of information about Colonial Georgia, specific details are difficult to locate because there is no table of contents or index to make the book a useful research tool for young people. While James Edward Oglethorpe is not required reading, it is found in most public-school libraries in Georgia. It would be an extremely useful book to supplement textbooks about Georgia’s history and in courses covering the Colonial period of American history or social conditions in eighteenth century England.