Former state senator (1970-74) and Dothan mayor (1987-89) Larry Register was one of the first donors to and friends of the Wiregrass Archives.
He passed away on Monday, November 29, 1921.
Shortly after the Wiregrass Archives opened in 2002, Mr. Register donated 15 cubic feet of family papers that covered many of his interests such as the fabled I-10 connector, his senate campaign and legislation he sponsored, his term on the Alabama Highway Authority, his term as mayor during which President Ronald Reagan visited Dothan, and 156 volumes of local history from his personal library.
In addition, the family papers contain his aunt’s literary excursions and his information about his father’s career with the Central of Georgia Railway.
Register’s aunt, Helen Cook Lamb (1899-1991) worked as a secretary to Judge Warren Jones of the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. She also wrote many short stories about her perception of life in the early 20th century South. Her papers consist of financial and legal records, correspondence, records regarding her work, and photographs. More importantly, they also contain multiple drafts of her short stories that provide literary researchers a window into her creative process.
Judges of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1966. (Wiregrass Archives)
Using the pen name Hilda C. Lake, Ms. Lamb had little success publishing her work until Register worked with Troy University staff member Chris Bryant to self-publish The Deep South: Home of the Y’alls in 2004 that contains 35 of her stories.
Register’s father, A. J., worked on the Central of Georgia Railway but was a close friend of Dothan tycoon Wallace Malone. The two traveled extensively together, leading Register to write a memoir entitled “Pop and the Amazon” about one of their trips. A.J. Register’s other papers consist of Central of Georgia employee magazines, 1917-1963, and a smattering of similar publications.
The Right Way Magazine, October 1917. (Wiregrass Archives)
Larry Register commissioned the feasibility study that led to the opening of the Wiregrass Museum of Art, and it was his visit to Chemainus, British Columbia, and its city mural project that created the Festival of Murals in Dothan in December 1992. Dothan now sports over 30 murals on downtown buildings and is recognized as a “Mural City.” The Register family also installed a number of bronze sculptures along Dothan’s Art Walk between the Museum of Art and the Dothan Opera House.
We at the Wiregrass Archives have been one of many beneficiaries of Mr. Register’s civic minded largesse, and we are happy that part of his legacy exists in our collections.
You can find out more about the Register Family Papers by pointing your browser toward https://www.troy.edu/about-us/dothan-campus/wiregrass-archives/inventories/009.html. His obituary may be found here.
“Salute to the Peanut Industry” mural, 1993. (Murals of the Wiregrass Facebook page)