Letters to the Mayor: Fans, Cranks, Voters, and Nazis

The mayor of any city is supposed to represent the entire population. They are the figurehead of the city, the symbol of the population united. Many of the people who vote for a mayor will see something of themselves in the candidate. Invariably, however, some will not.

Mayor Ivan Allen Jr. was no different than any other mayor in this regard. Some citizens of Atlanta were overjoyed at his election, others indifferent, some outright hostile. Regardless of opinion, some denizens of Atlanta felt the need to voice their feelings directly to the top. During his time in office, Mayor Allen received a large number of letters, telegrams, and postcards from citizens of all stripes. These letters range from irate to laudatory, from vulgar to articulate. While some were direct responses to political events (such as the construction of the Atlanta Wall), others were more general. This exhibit shows the range of quality of these letters and thereby offers a unique window into some of the people who made up Atlanta at the time. Click on the pages to explore the differing opinions of Atlanta’s population under the leadership of Mayor Ivan Allen Jr.

All exhibit text by: Mario Bianchini


Ronald Bayor, Mario Bianchini, Chris Long, Todd Michney