Orly Air Crash of 1962
Artists Helen Clark Seydel and Louise Taylor Turner perished on the flight, as did twenty-six-year-old W. David Cogland, a commercial artist who taught art therapy to mental health patients at the Central State Hospital in Milledgeville and who was among the youngest on the flight. Also traveling were the president of the Atlanta Art Association, Del Paige, and association members Anne Merritt, Lydia Black, and Ruth McMillan (who organized the trip). Atlanta businessman Roby Robinson and his wife, Louise, perished.
Expressions of grief and sympathy flowed into Atlanta from around the world. Within days of the crash, memorial gifts benefiting the Atlanta Art Association were established; $15 million was raised for the establishment of a memorial cultural center, which was to include a new home for the visual and performing arts in the city.
Founded in 1905, the Atlanta Art Association had acquired the Peachtree Street home of Mrs. Joseph Madison High in 1926 and other property, including the adjacent home of Edgar P. McBurney. New galleries were constructed on the site in 1955. In 1959 the association acquired the eighteenth-century Thornton House in Union Point, which was moved to their Atlanta property and restored as a house museum. The Atlanta Arts Association Women's Committee had established a successful tearoom, gift shop, and gallery in the former McBurney coach house.
Ann Uhry Abrams, Explosion at Orly: The Disaster That Transformed Atlanta (Atlanta: Avion Press, 2002).
The Day Atlanta Stood Still, writ. and dir. Chris Moser (Atlanta: Georgia Public Television, 2001), video.
Donald R. Rooney, Atlanta History Center
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