Biography of John T. Barret

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.


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.

Finding Aid

A detailed inventory of the John T. Barret Collection can be found at

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