2009 Annual Report

MDAH Expands Online Resources

MDAH is in the midst of an exciting project to digitize all paper files on statewide archaeological and historic resources and make them available online. The archaeological records will be available to landowners, archaeologists, and consultants.

The Department of Transportation has digitized the quad maps for the entire state and made the images available to MDAH. We are now transferring all of our data on archaeological surveys and sites to these digitized maps via Geographic Information System, or GIS; once the transfer is complete, the department's data on historic buildings and sites will be added. We will also digitize thousands of paper files on historic and archaeological sites. Eventually, we will make all of this information available via the Internet. This project will revolutionize the planning process for construction and development projects in Mississippi.

A number of MDAH's archival collections are already online, including the records of the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission and popular photograph collections including the Moncrief Collection and the composites of the Mississippi Legislature. This past year MDAH expanded the number of collections available online to seven, including several noteworthy photograph collections—the 1927 Flood Photograph, Cooper Postcard, and Painter Photograph collections. Nineteen series of electronic records from the administration of Governor Ronnie Musgrove are now available, including chief of staff office files, constituent correspondence, speeches, press releases, and veto messages. We also expanded the number of descriptions of resources available online and now estimate that 85% of the Archives and Record Services Division's holdings are represented in online catalogs and inventories.

New Resources at MDAH Library

Significant new materials are now available to researchers at the William F. Winter Building. Of particular note are the Christopher T. Hexter Mississippi Freedom Summer Project Papers, which include photographs and printed materials compiled by a Freedom Summer volunteer in 1964, and the Tracy Sugarman Logbooks, 1964-65, diaries and reflective interviews the graphic artist made as a Freedom Summer volunteer and that were the basis of his book A Stranger at the Gates: a Summer in Mississippi (1966). In the Eudora Welty Collection several additional series have opened, including materials relating to three publications, A Curtain of Green, The Optimist's Daughter, and "The Demonstrators," and more than seven cubic feet of previously unavailable unpublished stories, essays, and other writings that Welty worked on throughout her life.

Also now available are audiovisual collections including more than 2,000 slides from the Mississippi Office of Tourism showing scenes throughout the state from the 1970s to the 1990s and more than two hundred glass lantern slides showing interior and exterior views of historic Natchez homes and buildings that were used during the 1930s to promote the Natchez Pilgrimage. Also of special interest is the collection of more than one thousand images, 1912–1920s, made by amateur photographer Milton McFarland Painter around his home in Friars Point, surrounding Coahoma County, and vacation stops across the western United States, Mexico, and Canada. A Save America's Treasures grant supported extensive preservation and reformatting of portions of the WLBT Newsfilm Collection (1950s–1970s), and a National Film Preservation Foundation Grant funded the conservation of two amateur films about Mississippians in the Philippines ca. 1945.

Research use of the library's publications and collections was brisk throughout the year, with the 14,000th patron visiting the library in November. More than 7,300 people, including almost 2,000 new patrons, used the collections here at the Winter Building, and many more conducted research using online resources and telephone and mail requests. Students and faculty from California State University, Northridge, returned for the seventeenth year to conduct research on the Old Natchez District holdings. Staff also provided significant research support for the Mississippi Humanities Council's Mississippi Timeline Project, the Old Capitol reopening, and Mississippi Bicentennial Commission.

Documents Featured in Exhibit in New York

Two original documents and numerous images from the Ernst Borinski Collection in the Tougaloo College Civil Rights Collection were featured in the exhibit From Swastika to Jim Crow: Jewish Refugee Scholars in Black Colleges at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City. The exhibit opened in May 2009 and will run until January 2010.

Innovative Events and Outreach Programs Promote Mississippi History

Site Map Contact Us