Arts & Humanities Campus News Society & Culture

UGA’s special collections libraries is site of NBC series episode on Paula Deen

Athens, Ga. – Paula Deen, celebrity chef, owner of a Savannah restaurant and the author of 14 cookbooks, will appear on the NBC series “Who Do You Think You Are?” May 18 at 8 p.m. The new University of Georgia Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries gets a star turn in the episode as the scene for much of the filming, which took place in March. Documents at the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library were used in tracing Deen’s heritage, which is the focus of the episode.

Filming took place at several other sites around Georgia, including Savannah.

The show follows celebrities “as they embark on personal journeys of self-discovery to trace their family trees,” according to the show’s website

“During each episode, one of the celebrities is taken on a surprising and deeply emotional quest into his or her family history, resulting in a compelling reality format. Each week, viewers follow some of America’s best-known celebrities into their ancestral pasts as they uncover stories of heroism and tragedy, love and betrayal, secrets and intrigue that lie at the heart of their family history,” said the producers.

“At the same time, ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ celebrates the twists and turns of a great nation and the people who made their way here in search of freedom and opportunity. As each celebrity discovers his or her unknown relatives-most of whom overcame hard times-the show will take viewers back through world history to expose how the lives of everyone’s collective ancestors have shaped our world today,” promotional material said.

The Russell Special Collections Building was dedicated in February and houses the university’s three special collections: the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Award Collection, and the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies. The 115,000-square-foot structure includes a large underground vault to aid in security and climate control as protection for some of the most valuable artifacts of Georgia’s cultural heritage. More information on the special collection libraries is available at

Deen’s cookbooks have sold more than eight million copies, and her bimonthly magazine has a circulation of more than one million. She has won a daytime Emmy award for Outstanding Lifestyle Host for “Paula’s Home Cooking” and has been nominated twice for “Paula’s Best Dishes.”

Her restaurant breakthrough came with The Lady & Sons in Savannah, which she operates with her sons, Jamie and Bobby Deen.

Paula Deen Enterprises includes a full line of cookware and dishes, assorted food products, sauces, spices and bakery goods.

Emmy Award-winning actress Lisa Kudrow is executive producer of “Who Do You Think You Are?”.