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John T. Barret Photograph Collection

John T. Barret Photograph Collection

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Descriptive Summary

Title: John T. Barret Photograph Collection
Identification: VAC340
Date: 1922-1924 (bulk 1924)
Size: 11.0 photographs
Language: This collection is written in English.
Creator: Barret, John T., 1903-1979
Repository: Archives & Records Management, Library, Georgia Institute of Technology
Abstract:This collection contains images of room #3 in the dormitory known as Shack #1, 1922-1923 and the cake race of 1924.

Biographical/Historical Note

John Thomas Barret (09 October 1903-20 December 1979), of Fort Smith, Arkansas, entered Georgia Tech in the fall of 1922. Originally slated to be a member of the class of 1926, Barret dropped out of school for a while. After returning to Tech, he graduated in 1929 with a degree in civil engineering.

While a student at Tech, Barret was on the honor roll and won the freshman oratorical medal. Barret also was a member of the track and cross country teams. In 1924, as a sophomore, Barret ran in and won the Cross Country Run, better known as the Cake Race.

The 1924 Cake Race had approximately 600 men competing for 132 cakes baked and decorated by faculty wives and sponsors. Barret won this race, setting a new time record of 18 minutes, 44 seconds. He was well ahead of the other runners--approximately 50 yards in front of his nearest competitor. As the winner Barret got his pick of cakes, although it was suggested to him to choose the cake made by the race sponsor Miss Mary Lamar Knight. Barret also received a gold medal and a varsity "T."

In 1939, Barret married Salome Meister. Barret served in the Army during World War II and reached the rank of lieutenant colonel. He is buried, alongside his wife, in the Fort Smith (Arkansas) National Cemetery.

Scope and Content Note

The John T. Barret Photograph Collection contains three images of Barret's freshman dorm room and eight images of the 1924 Cake Race. All but three of the photographs are copy photos, and all are black and white. On the back of each of the eight copy photographs there are detailed notes written by Barret. The notes include information not only about the images, but also about Barret's state of mind, his roommates, and friends, including Walt Mitchell, Randolph Allen, Mary Lamar Knight, and Martha Morrow.

The collection has been digitized in its entirety, and is stored online in SMARTech, Georgia Tech's institutional repository. The digital version of the collection may be found at

Index Terms

Barret, John T., 1903-1979
Georgia Institute of Technology. Buildings.
Georgia Institute of Technology. Running races.
Georgia Institute of Technology. Students.
Georgia Institute of Technology. Traditions.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Please cite John T. Barret Photograph Collection (VAC340), Archives, Library and Information Center, Georgia Institute of Technology.


This collection was originally part of Accession #1990.0803.

Processing Information

Mandi D. Johnson processed these photographs in March 2008.

Revisions to Finding Aid

April 2010:
  • Finding aid imported into Archivists' Toolkit.

  • Restrictions

    Restrictions: Access


    Restrictions: Use

    Permission to publish materials from this collection must be obtained from the Head of Archives and Special Collections.

    Separated Material

    This collection was removed from the George C. Griffin Photograph Collection VAC002.

    Other Finding Aids

    A print copy of this finding aid is available in the Georgia Tech Archives reading room.

    Container List

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    Image List: VAC340, 1922-1924
    VAC340-01: Interior view of Shack #1, Room #3 with bunk beds, dresser, and trunk. Room #3 residents (not pictured): Randolph (Randy) Allen, John Barret, and Walt Mitchell. Notation on the back of photo includes information about Randy Allen, 1922-1923 View online.
    VAC340-02: Interior view of Shack #1, Room #3, with wardrobe, wash basin, stove, and chairs. Notation on back of photograph includes information about Walt Mitchell, 1922-1923 View online.
    VAC340-03: Interior view of Shack #1, Room #3, with table, books, and drafting boards, 1922-1923 View online.
    VAC340-04: Barret in cake race, near the finish, on Grant Field, 08 March 1924 View online.
    VAC340-05: Barret in cake race, near the finish, on Grant Field, 08 March 1924 View online.
    VAC340-06: Barret in cake race, approaching the finish line on Grant Field, 08 March 1924 View online.
    VAC340-07: Barret with Mary Lamar Knight, sponsor of race, with his cake prize, 08 March 1924 View online.
    VAC340-08: Barret after cake race, in street clothes and with his cake, 08 March 1924 View online.
    VAC340-09: Start of cake race, on Grant Field, 08 March 1924 View online.
    VAC340-10: Barret in cake race, near the finish, on Grant Field, 08 March 1924 View online.
    VAC340-11: Display of cakes made by faculty wives and sponsors, 08 March 1924 View online.