MDAH Digital Archives include
Not all electronic archival materials are featured on this site; there are many more items accessible through the online catalog. Some are limited to use in the archives due to copyright or other restrictions. In such cases, the catalog record will direct researchers to the archives' media reading room for access.
Select a digital collection below or choose Government Archives to access electronic government series.
The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission was the state's official counter civil rights agency from 1956–1973. The files in this online collection comprise the scanned originals with court-approved redactions requested by individuals named in the records along with additional information submitted by individuals named in the records who chose to file a rebuttal. The collection also includes the court-specified personal name index and links between rebuttal records and Commission records in which rebuttal submitters are mentioned. The files may be searched by personal name, folder title and number, or rebuttal respondent.
The Mississippi River Flood of 1927 displaced 700,000 people and killed 246. Water covered 170 counties across seven states, from Illinois to Louisiana. The 124 images in this collection document the inundation of the Mississippi Delta region from the perspective of Illinois Central Railroad flood committee members sent to survey railway damage. In addition to submerged rail lines and depots, they captured images of refugees camped along the levees and tracks, homes and businesses under water, and stranded livestock.
The Administration Papers are loose documents pertaining to the administration of the Mississippi Territory (1798-1817) by the four territorial governors (Winthrop Sargent, William C. C. Claiborne, Robert Williams, and David Holmes). The series includes papers of settlers, soldiers, and diplomats, as well as territorial, United States, and Indian officials. It includes first-hand accounts of frontier privations, political factions and intrigues (e.g. Aaron Burr's arrest near Washington, Mississippi, for allegedly plotting against the United States), fluid relations and borders with adjacent territories belonging to European and Indian nations (including the territorial militia's support of General Andrew Jackson during the War of 1812), and the day-to-day oversight of territorial government.
Hannah and Mary Townsend submitted the Anti-Slavery Alphabet to the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society for its December 1846 fair to raise funds and inspire a new generation of abolitionists. The alphabet consists of sixteen pages of illustrated text and sold well enough to be reprinted for successive fairs. The MDAH alphabet is a first edition with hand-colored letters.
In 1888 the state of Mississippi began providing pensions to former Confederate soldiers and sailors, as well as their widows and wartime servants residing in the state. The applications and, in some cases, supporting documentation contain a wealth of information about the military service, wartime experiences, and post-war quality of life of the applicants.
Mississippi’s four constitutions – the original Constitution of 1817, the post-Choctaw and Chickasaw Cessions Constitution of 1832, the Reconstruction era Constitution of 1868, and the enduring Constitution of 1890 – are presented together.
The Forrest Lamar Cooper Postcard Collection of approximately 4600 color and black-and-white postcards offers a unique glimpse of Mississippi at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Images of small towns, mineral springs, agricultural and forestry activities, and railroads were preserved on the cards, though many of the sites and structures have disappeared in the intervening years.
John Calvin Coovert was an award-winning photographer best known for his images of cotton culture and the Mississippi River in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The eight black-and-white photographs in the Coovert (J. C.) Photograph Collection include scenes of flood waters, flood refugees, levee construction, cotton pickers at work, the Delta Guards, and the Greenville Fire Department.
In the 1920s Corinth, Mississippi, was a community thriving at a juncture of agriculture and industry, as well as rail lines. Walter F. McCord owned the largest photography business, McCord's Studio, and documented the Alcorn County seat: a residential street paving project, fire fighting and farm equipment, and local businesses and homes. The twenty photographs in the Corinth, Miss., Collection, were acquired from his daughter, Zelma Katherine McCord, in 1983.
In July 2005, Mound Bayou, Mississippi, historian Milburn Crowe donated to MDAH an album of ninety photographs of town fathers (and cousins) Isaiah Thornton Montgomery and Benjamin Titus Green, their family, and friends who included abolitionist Frederick Douglass and Bolivar County Circuit Clerk Joseph Emory Ousley. The Montgomerys and Greens were prosperous, well educated former slaves of Joseph Emory Davis (Confederacy President Jefferson's older brother). The founding of Mound Bayou in 1887 was the culmination of their lifelong efforts to develop a self-sustaining African American community. Though faded with age, the photographs reveal the affluence and dignity of these nineteenth-century pioneers.
The Daniel Photograph Collection comprises nearly six hundred images dating from the late 1800s, most made of subjects in Jackson, Mississippi. Of special interest are panoramic photographs of early floods in downtown Jackson and photographs of the Mississippi Farmers Market, the Farish Street business district, the Old Capitol, and the Mississippi State Capitol. Other photographs feature businesses, churches, colleges, hospitals, public buildings, schools, politicians, and street scenes, as well as the tung oil industry in south Mississippi and Boy Scouts at campgrounds around the state.
Elisaeus von Seutter was a German immigrant who opened a photographic studio in Jackson, Mississippi, in the mid nineteenth century. The E. von Seutter Photograph Collection consists of 83 stereocards and photographs made between 1869 and 1909. The stereocards feature images of Jackson including the Old Capitol, churches, and scenes along the Pearl River. The photographs include portraits and images of the von Seutter family, home, and garden.
Educable children records have proven invaluable to researchers trying to locate elusive Mississippians, as some families missed by the state or federal census may be found in these records. The materials presented here include lists of educable (school age) children submitted by Mississippi counties to the state's Secretary of State and Department of Education. The lists vary in content by year and may include such information as name, age, gender, race, election district or ward, name of parent or guardian, address, and reason for withdrawal from school.
The collection consists of correspondence, a voter registration plan, photographs, and newsclippings from Thomas Foner's work as a volunteer with the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project in 1964. The collection documents his work with the project and contains substantial information about the conditions faced by volunteers during the summer.
Luther Myles Hamilton, Sr., (1869-1944) owned and operated a portrait studio out of a tent equipped with a portable darkroom in Crystal Springs, Mississippi, and his son, Luther Myles Hamilton, Jr., (1912-1994) collected the studio's and family's photographs, intending to publish a photographic history of Crystal Springs. The Luther Hamilton Photograph collection consists of 982 images of work and community activities in the American South during the early twentieth century. Formal portraits taken in the studio include town leaders Augustus Lotterhos, "The Father of Crystal Springs," and Bryant Wesley Matthis, "The Cabbage King," as well as pets and people of various ages and races. One of the earliest prints documents a Flag Day Parade in Crystal Springs in 1901. Some of the later snapshots include images of Franklin D. Roosevelt speaking in Tupelo, Mississippi, in 1934, and scenes from the son's studies at Mississippi State College in the late 1930s and 1940s.
Ralph Hargrove began work as official photographer for the Jackson, Mississippi, Police Department in 1942. His collection documents police activities from 1927 until 1984, and his crime-scene photographs were crucial evidence in the 1994 conviction of Byron de la Beckwith for the murder of Medgar Evers. Other subjects include Jackson's first African American policemen, U.S. Senator John C. Stennis, Mississippi Lieutenant Governor Charles Sullivan, Alabama Governor George Wallace, and a Jackson city vehicle known as "Thompson's Tank."
The state of Mississippi’s health improvement efforts and activities in the 1930s are depicted in this album. Subjects include tuberculosis care and prevention, midwifery, dental hygiene, sanitation, child health, malaria prevention, and public health nursing.
More than 2,400 rare and beautiful maps dating from the 1500s to the present day are included in the Historical Map Collection at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. In celebration of National Library Week, April 11-17, 2010, we are featuring 22 digitized copies of maps in the collection. Included are maps of Mississippi’s early exploration, colonial expansion, territorial period, early statehood, and the Civil War, as well as colorful geological maps and plats of cities and towns.
Hurricane Camille slammed into the Mississippi Gulf Coast around midnight on August 17, 1969. As it moved from Cuba to Virginia the storm system caused an estimated 259 deaths and $1.4 billion in damage. Until Katrina hit in 2005, Mississippians remembered Camille as the most catastrophic hurricane in the state's history. MDAH has marked the fortieth anniversary of the storm with the creation of the Hurricane Camille Photograph Collection, seventy-three digitized photographs of the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, including images of damaged houses, churches, and commercial properties, as well as personnel from Keesler Air Force base in Biloxi contributing to the clean-up and recovery efforts.
Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on the Mississippi Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005. Having grown up in Moss Point, a coastal town in the path of the storm, MDAH Graphic Records Curator Jeff Rogers found himself in demand as a guide for disaster recovery and assessment teams and national and regional archivists. The Hurricane Katrina Photographs document his first-hand observations of the destruction and recovery of several Mississippi communities.
Jefferson Davis (1808-1889) was the only president of the Confederate States of America. He spent most of his life in Mississippi and lived his final eleven years in Harrison County on the Gulf Coast. The complete Jefferson Davis will and probate file is available here in forty-eight scans of the original documents. The files may also be searched by category or personal name.
The Lochinvar photograph album contains 46 albumen print photographs, ca. 1880-1891, that document Lochinvar, the Pontotoc County, Mississippi, plantation home of Robert Gordon, founder of Aberdeen, Mississippi, and his son, Col. James Gordon, Civil War soldier, politician, and sportsman. The anonymous photographer captured images of the house and grounds, family members and friends, ex-slaves and their quarters, and hunting expeditions.
The McCardle photograph collection contains sixty-six images of nineteenth-century political, military, and religious figures, including Confederates Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, John C. Pemberton, and L. Q. C. Lamar, as well as Union general Alfred Pleasonton and Union admiral David Dixon Porter, and the first Episcopal bishop of Mississippi, William Mercer Green.
The Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Collection provides a unique overview of Mississippi farm practices and land use from the late nineteenth through the early twenty-first centuries, as well as the institutional history of MFBF from its inception during the Great Depression. Images from the collection show the effects of natural disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods on agriculture; health and safety issues such as the polio vaccine and lifesaving and fire prevention techniques; visiting politicians, including several United States presidents; and the evolving roles of women in society.
Produced by the State House Commission, the album contains photographs of the construction of the Mississippi State Capitol building, commonly referred to as the "New Capitol," taken between 1900 and 1903. It includes exterior views as well as photos of completed interior chambers, corridors, and staircases. Also of note are images of architects Theodore Link and Karl E. Link and a list of contents of the building's corner stone.
The Mississippi State Penitentiary, also known as Parchman Farm or simply Parchman, was established in Sunflower County in 1901 and became the main hub for Mississippi's penal system. The two Mississippi State Penitentiary (Parchman) photograph collections, designated PI/1996.006 and PI/PEN/P37.4, showcase prison buildings, personnel, and convicts from around 1914 to the 1940s. The images include prisoners farming, constructing prison facilities, sewing, doing laundry, sharing a meal, playing baseball, and standing in line at the Parchman Post Office.
Winfred Moncrief, an award-winning newspaper photographer from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, donated his collection of photographs to MDAH in 1994. The collection of nearly 900 black-and-white photographs made between 1952 and 1968 features significant people—civil rights activists Charles Evers and Aaron Henry, Mississippi governors Ross Barnett and Paul B. Johnson Jr., and Alabama governor George Wallace, among others—and events—such as the 1953 Vicksburg tornado, nuclear testing in Lamar County, Mississippi, voter registration, a Ku Klux Klan rally, and the murder of civil rights activist Vernon Dahmer. The images in this online collection are scans from Mr. Moncrief's original negatives. The collection may be browsed by thumbnails or searched by subject.
Audio recordings and transcripts of three MDAH interviews with Samuel Holloway Bowers, Jr., recorded October 1983–November 1984. Also included is a handwritten manuscript in which Bowers clarifies and supplements answers given in the third interview. Bowers died November 6, 2006 in the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, where he was serving a life sentence received in 1998 for his role in the 1966 murder of Mississippi civil rights activist Vernon Dahmer.
Milton McFarland Painter Sr. taught himself photography from about 1912 to the 1920s, using a Kodak camera to take pictures of family, neighbors, shriners, politicians, celebrities, boats, and flood and tornado damage around his home in Friars Point, Mississippi, regions surrounding Coahoma County, and vacation stops across the western United States, Mexico, and Canada. Painter was especially interested in the Mississippi River, its levees and lakes, and steamboats that made frequent stops in Friars Point. The collection includes images of Chisms, Hebdons, and other neighbors in Friars Point; Governor Earl Brewer; and actors Charlie Chaplin, Ford Sterling, and Sarah Bernhardt. "Paint" also experimented with timers and mirrors to produce several self-portraits.
The black-and-white and color photographs in the Shankle, Hugh W., Collection showcase beauty contestants, artists, local celebrities, inaugurations, and historical buildings in Jackson and other cities of Mississippi in the 1950s and '60s. They also document Ole Miss football, including the January 2, 1962, Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas.
Amateur photographers and brothers Robert Livingston Stewart and William Percy Stewart documented their family and neighbors in Natchez, Mississippi, around 1890-1905. The collection includes several family portraits at their parents' residence, Myrtle Bank, as well as images of other significant houses in the region, vacations at Cooper's Wells and Atlantic City resorts, and dedication ceremonies, winter storms, floods, steamboats and river scenes.
These records contain details of the ownership of land and personal property by Mississippians and the assessment of taxes thereon. The rolls, submitted by county tax assessors to the state’s Auditor of Public Accounts, vary in content and condition and may contain information on county residents missed by decennial federal censuses.
Vicksburg National Military Park was established in 1899 to preserve the site of the siege and defense of the city and to commemorate the campaign that culminated in the Confederate Army's surrender on July 4, 1863. The photographs in this collection, most taken between 1899 and 1923 and formerly housed in the files of early park commissioner William T. Rigby, depict the layout and creation of the park and the design and construction of its monuments and memorials.
Campbell William Witbeck (1916-1972), professionally known as C. W. Witbeck, is most often recognized for his extensive collection of railroad photographs. Witbeck came to Jackson, Mississippi in 1938 to work for the Works Progress Administration (WPA). He opened the Witbeck Photo Service in Brookhaven, Mississippi in 1948, and in 1955 relocated his studio to Hammond, Louisiana. The 333 black-and-white photographs dating from 1911 through 1955 show views of places and people in Brookhaven, Gulfport, Jackson and Vicksburg, Mississippi. The collection also contains views of Monticello, Meadville and Crystal Springs, Mississippi. The earliest print, from 1911, is of McGrath's Baseball Team in Brookhaven, Mississippi. There are multiple photographs of Governor Hugh White's 1951 inauguration, daily activities at the United States Naval Training School in Gulfport, Senator Pat Harrison's 1941 funeral, and African-American Little Leaguers in Brookhaven.
Congress passed a law in 1919 that authorized the Secretaries of War and the Navy to prepare and provide each state with statement of service cards for all service members from that state mustered during World War I. The cards of service members from Mississippi were transferred to MDAH by the state’s Veterans Affairs Board in 1997 and are available here along with indices listing name, race, rank and other details.
Named after a Chickasaw Indian Chief, Tishomingo State Park sits just off the Natchez Trace Parkway in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Tishomingo County, Mississippi. The park was developed with Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) labor from 1935 to the early 1940s. Clifford Green Worsham, senior engineering foreman for 1939-40 projects, collected this album of photographs documenting the innovative methods CCC workers employed to construct a dam, swimming pool, baseball field, parking lot, and swinging bridge within a limited budget, as well as camp visitors and workers relaxing at the lodge and exploring the park.