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Emily Bourne Grigsby papers

Collection number: ahc.MSS1201

Scope and Contents

This collection contains documents from Emily Bourne Grigsby's career as an opera singer and model, as well as her time as president of the Atlanta Music Club and her association with the Atlanta Opera Arts Association. Included are opera show programs from her performances with the San Francisco Opera chorus, the Atlanta Pops Orchestra, and Moonlight Opera Company in Atlanta, Georgia. There are also newspaper clippings of Grigsby's modeling career and her involvement in the 1954 "Feast of Sausages" event, as well as personal achievements and membership directories. In addition, this collection contains brochures and magazine pages describing art shows in galleries such as the Agnes Scott College Dalton Gallery and the Georgia Tech Student Center Gallery that displayed Grigsby's work.


  • 1943-2004, undated


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright.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

Biographical / Historical

Emily Bourne Grigsby (1992-2020) was born in Lexington, Kentucky, to Morton Humphrey Bourne (1869-1953), attorney and founder of the University of Kentucky School of Law, and Isabel Rebecca Hunt Bourne (1885-1935). Her father raised her in Owenton, Kentucky, after her mother died when she was 13. In 1942 Emily married Paul Grigsby (1911-2006). The Grigsbys moved to California where Emily became the youngest chorus member for the San Francisco Opera. The Georgia Institute of Technology rejected her college application because she was a woman, so she attended Mills College in California where she pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. After receiving her degree, she worked at a psychology clinic administering tests. In 1945, the Grigsbys moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where she worked as a runway and print model for department stores, including Rich's, for 15 years. In the early 1960s she began painting and her work was shown in galleries throughout the United States and France. Grigsby and her husband became licensed pilots during this time.

In 1974, Grigsby earned her Master of Science in City Planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She then earned her law degree from Woodrow Wilson College of Law in 1982. She was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 1986 and practiced as an arbitrator for the National Association of Securities Directors (NASD) and as a mediator for the Justice Center of Atlanta. During these years, she also studied art at the Atlanta College of Art. She served on the Board of Directors for the Possible Women Foundation and the Partnership Against Domestic Violence. As a philanthropist, Grigsby supported several organizations such as Kennesaw State University, the Shepherd Center, and the Atlanta History Center, where she provided funding for exhibitions, including Any Great Change and Fashion in Good Taste. She was also a past president of the Atlanta Music Club and the Atlanta Women's Club. She published her autobiography, A Hole in My Soul, in 2004.


.834 linear ft. (two document cases, one oversize folder, and one CD)




This collection is arranged alphabetically by titles supplied by staff.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, 2004, with subsequent additions

Related Materials

Emily Bourne Grigsby visual arts materials, VIS 391, Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center

Processing Information

This collection was processed in 2020.

Emily Bourne Grigsby papers
Danielle Osakwe
October 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305