Famed chemist Charles H. Herty was born in Milledgeville in 1867; he received an undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia and a doctorate from Johns Hopkins University before undertaking research in Europe. Returning, he accepted a position at the University of Georgia in 1891. The next year, observing that there were no organized sports programs at the university, Herty organized and coached the first football team in 1892. He went on to become the first director of athletics and is considered the father of intercollegiate sports at the University of Georgia.
But Herty’s greatest accomplishments were yet to come. In 1932, he set up a laboratory in Savannah to research use of Georgia pine trees. He developed a revolutionary process for obtain pine resin without killing the tree. More importantly, he pioneered the technology for using pine chips to make Kraft paper - the brown paper used in making cardboard boxes - and to bleach it for use as newsprint and other types of white paper. Herty’s achievements made possible southeast Georgia’s multi-million dollar paper industry, for which he is known as the father of the southern paper and pulp industry. His legacy lives on in the form of the Herty Foundation’s Research and Development Center.
Herty died in Savannah, Georgia on July 27, 1938.