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Oakland Cemetery records

Collection number: ahc.MSS618

Scope and Content

This collection contains burial permits, interment book records, removal lists, and "record of lot owners" books which provide details of persons buried and lot ownership at Oakland Cemetery. Also a part of the collection are sexton and superintendent records of payroll, expense ledgers, annual reports, and correspondence which document the day to day operations of the cemetery. Of special interest are WPA project records that reflect a consolidation of early cemetery records as well as the creation of new interment records, including Jewish burial records and a new atlas.


  • 1848-2018, undated


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. All requests to publish, quote, or reproduce must be submitted through the Kenan Research Center.

Administrative/Biographical History

Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia, was founded in 1850 by the Atlanta City Council when it purchased six acres in the 14th district formerly of DeKalb County (later part of Fulton County), from land owner, Alfred W. Wooding. Additional acreage was added over subsequent years largely to accommodate the approximately 6,900 Civil War soldiers who died in local hospitals. First named Atlanta Graveyard or City Cemetery, Oakland Cemetery's name was adopted in 1872, by which time the cemetery was 48 acres. Bordered by Memorial Drive, Boulevard SE, Oakland Avenue, and the CSX rail line, the grounds of Oakland were designed in the rural garden cemetery style of the 19th century. Similar to future public parks, the grounds were landscaped with flowers, shrubs and shade trees, walkways, and were frequently visited for carriage rides and picnics. In 1870 the city's first greenhouse was established at Oakland. The cemetery also includes mausoleums and sculptures, built in many styles of architecture.

Administrative/Biographical History

Oakland Cemetery is owned and maintained by the City of Atlanta Department of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs and managed by a sexton. Oakland's layout reflects former social divisions with sections designated for whites, African Americans, people of Jewish faith, and paupers or people unable to pay for a private lot. Of the approximately 70,000 graves, many include Atlanta's well known citizens, political leaders, city developers, entrepreneurs, and celebrities; however, approximately 30,000 graves are unmarked. Beginning in 1937 the Works Progress Administration (WPA) organized and created comprehensive cemetery records for Oakland. They produced interment books, abstracts, microfilm, photocopies, and atlases to document lot ownership and interment data. With the assistance of the Temple, the WPA created the first compilation of designated Jewish interments in Oakland. By the 1970s, Oakland had deteriorated through neglect. Historic Oakland Cemetery Inc. (renamed Historic Oakland Foundation in 1994), a nonprofit friends organization, was created in 1976 to work with the City of Atlanta to restore, preserve, and enhance the cemetery. The foundation raises funds for restoration and beautification projects, and manages tours and events. Oakland was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.


45.67 linear ft. (24 document cases, 18 oversize boxes, and two flat files)



System of Arrangement

This collection is arranged in four series: I. Burial Permits; II. Interment Records; III. Administrative Records; and IV. Oversized Records. Series I is arranged chronologically. Series II, III, and IV are arranged alphabetically.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Due to the size of the 1908 Atlas of Oakland Cemetery (OS FF 12), 24 hours notice must to given to arrange for pulling and viewing.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, 1976, with subsequent additions

Description Control

This collection was reprocessed in 2018.

Oakland Cemetery records
Jennie Oldfield
October 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305