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No individual has done more to collect and preserve the documentary history of Birmingham, Alabama than Marvin Yeomans Whiting.
Born in Fort Valley, Georgia in 1934, Whiting became the third generation of his family to attend Emory University, and completed a B.A. degree there in 1956, majoring in literature. He attended the Divinity School at Yale University for one year, and then returned to Emory to earn a B.D. from the Candler School of Theology. Whiting married in 1960, served as minister at two small Methodist churches in rural southwest Georgia until 1962, and as an instructor and Assistant to the Headmaster at the Lovett School in Atlanta until 1964. Returning once again to Emory, Whiting completed the M.A. degree with a specialization in American colonial history. He then moved to New York to pursue a Ph.D. in the joint doctoral program at Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary, completing his dissertation in 1970. Whiting taught at Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, Florida before returning to Emory one final time in 1974. He complete the M.A. degree in librarianship with a specialization in archival management, and joined the staff of the Birmingham Public Library the next year.
During his 20 years as archivist in Birmingham, Whiting also held positions as adjunct professor of history at Birmingham-Southern College and at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and as adjunct professor of library and information studies at the University of Alabama. He is the author of a number of books and articles. (James L. Baggett)