The Georgia Historical Society, founded May 24, 1839, is one of the oldest historical societies in the country. Among it founders were L.K. Tefft, the noted autograph collector; William Bacon Stevens, historian, physician and prelate, and Dr. Richard D. Arnold, who as Mayor of Savannah, formally surrendered the City to General Sherman in 1864.
The Presidents of the Society have included John Macpherson Berrien, Attorney General under President Jackson and United States Senator; James M. Wayne, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States; and Henry R. Jackson, jurist, soldier, diplomat and poet.
Hodgson Hall, the home of the Society, is a repository for books, newspapers and manuscripts relating to the history of Georgia. Dedicated in 1876, the building was a gift of Margaret Telfair Hodgson and Mary Telfair as a memorial to William Brown Hodgson, the distinguished scholar of Oriental languages and United States Dragoman and Consul to the Barbary States and Turkey.