Auburn Libraries’ exhibition of Toomer’s oaks artifacts on display April 12 through A-Day weekend

AUBURN – The Auburn University Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives Department has collected for archival preservation items that were placed at the base of the oak trees at Toomer’s Corner following the news that the trees had been poisoned.

The collection will be on display in the Ralph Brown Draughon Library beginning Tuesday, April 12, through A-Day weekend, April 16-17, during regular library hours. The library opens at 1 p.m. on Sundays and remains open continuously until 6 p.m. on Fridays. Saturday hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“As we expect many out-of-town fans to show up for A-Day activities, we wanted to give them a chance to at least experience the flavor of the reaction that members of the Auburn family had in the days following the news that the oaks had been poisoned,” Greg Schmidt, special collections librarian at Auburn University Libraries, said.

Many items were placed at the base of the oaks in tribute to what the historic trees have come to symbolize. They included personal articles, signs, get-well wishes from small children and moving tributes from current and former students. As efforts began in earnest to do everything possible to save the trees, the items had to be cleared away.

The Auburn University Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives Department made the decision to collect and preserve the items and treat them as artifacts for a special collection as a way to preserve this trying chapter in Auburn’s history. The collection is unique in that most of the items fall well outside the norm for the average archival artifact.

Auburn University Libraries serves the more than 24,000 students and faculty of Auburn with a collection in excess of 3.2 million volumes. The Special Collections and Archives Department collects, preserves and houses rare and unique items relating to the histories of Auburn University, the state of Alabama, the southeastern region, the Civil War, Native Americans and aviation.

The Auburn University Digital Library develops accessible digital collections of materials that support the teaching and research of Auburn faculty and students, and that, in turn, further the mission of Auburn University. These collections are made available to educators and students in the state, nation and the world.

For more information, including updates, about the oaks at Toomer’s Corner, go to

(Contributed by Jayson Hill.)

Jayson Hill, (334) 844-7439 (, or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (