Collections Blog

This post highlights the yearbook collection at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in an ongoing blog series celebrating National Library Week, which was April 10-16.

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. All types of libraries—school, public, academic, and special—participate.

YB/378.762/M678/MSU/1922

YB/378.762/M678/MSU/1922

This 1922 yearbook from the Mississippi Agricultural and Mechanical College, now Mississippi State University, features one of the most prominent and longest tenured United States senators.  John C. Stennis was born in Kemper County on August 3, 1901. Stennis graduated from Mississippi Agricultural and Mechanical College in 1923.

 

YB/378.762/M678/MSU/1922

YB/378.762/M678/MSU/1922

The yearbook also features athletic teams at the college such as “The Squad” from the 1921 season football team.

Seventy-six issues of the Reveille are available to patrons at MDAH: 1898, 1906-1908, 1910-1917, 1920, 1922, 1925, 1927-1929, 1933-1935, 1937-1943, 1947-1951, 1953, 1954, 1956, 1957, 1958-1987, 1990, 1995-2000, 2004. MSU University Libraries has mounted each issue (1898-2008) online at: http://lib.msstate.edu/specialcollections/collections/archives/studentpubs/#reveille

 

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act, we are highlighting one of the most pivotal music-related National Register sites in the state, Dockery Farms. Listed as a National Register District for its contributions to social and agricultural history, Dockery Farms is located in the Mississippi Delta outside of Ruleville in Sunflower County. It was here that Charley Patton lived, worked, and met his musical mentor Henry Sloan, who is attributed by Robert Palmer in his 1981 Deep Blues with teaching Patton what we now know as traditional country blues arrangements.

Dockery

Many other blues legends lived on or frequented Dockery including “Willie Brown, Son House, Robert Johnson, Roebuck ‘Pops’ Staples, and Howlin’ Wolf.”(Lester, 2006, Sec.8, p.10) You can read the National Register nomination https://www.apps.mdah.ms.gov/nom/dist/194.pdf written in 2006 by William Lester, executive director of the Dockery Farms Foundation.

While places of birth, death, and internment are generally considered ineligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, many of the state’s significant music sites are recognized as contributing elements to the overall historical significance of districts added to the National Register.

Learn more about Mississippi’s National Register of Historic Places and , including music related sites by  visiting MDAH’s Historic Resources Inventory Database http://www.apps.mdah.ms.gov/Public/search.aspx.

MDAH staff bring us this blog post in honor of Eudora Welty’s birthday, April 13, and to recognize National Library Week, April 10-16. 

Many libraries collect yearbooks, and the MDAH library holds hundreds of volumes from schools across the state. In recognition of National Library Week, this series features yearbooks from the MDAH library. The yearbook format showcases sports teams, obsolete fashions and hair styles in photographs and illustrations—some are humorous. Many yearbooks have written pieces such as jokes, stories, class histories, and even a “last will and testament of a senior class.” Students were categorized: prettiest girl, most popular girl, most stylish girl, all-around girl. Notable people can be often found in the pages.

YB/373.762/J12/1922

1922 issue of The Quadruplane, yearbook of Central High School. Call number: YB/373.762/J12/1922

 

This yearbook from 1922 features one of Jackson’s most famous residents. Eudora Welty was born in 1909 in Jackson, Mississippi. The daughter of Christian Webb Welty and Chestina Andrews Welty, Welty became perhaps the most distinguished graduate of the Jackson Public School system. She graduated from Jackson’s Central High School in 1925.

 

YB/373.762/J12/1922

1922 issue of The Quadruplane, yearbook of Central High School. Call number: YB/373.762/J12/1922

Issues of The Quadruplane are available to patrons at the MDAH library: 1910-1917, 1919-1928. Further issues entitled  Cotton Boll are available: 1929-1931, 1934-1977

For further information regarding Eudora Welty please visit the Eudora Welty House and Garden website.

A Literary Desk

On April 5, 2016, in Artifacts, Museums & Historic Sites, by Timothy
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Jarrett Zeman, MDAH Museum Division cataloger, brings us this post in an ongoing series about his work on the IMLS project to catalog, photograph, and create digital object records for MDAH’s Museum Division artifacts. 

At first glance, Eudora Welty’s bedroom looks just as you’d expect—a large mahogany bed against one wall, a dresser and bookshelves against another, and an electric typewriter atop a small side table.  However, in the east corner, another piece of furniture looks displaced in time: a large desk with the year “1804” hand carved inside a yellow oval.

Plantation Desk

The piece is a reproduction of a nineteenth-century plantation desk that once stood in this room. Welty purchased the original desk at a New Orleans antique market, and used it to store documents.  Plantation desks earned their name thanks to popularity among Southern plantation owners, though they also saw frequent use among attorneys, postmasters, and railroad clerks.

Plantation desks were designed in two sections: a lower piece, resembling a table with two pull-out drawers; and an upper piece, resembling a cabinet, with hinged double doors and a series of cubby holes.

Welty included the desk in a scene from The Optimist’s Daughter, an example of real life finding its way into her fiction.  Laurel Hand, the title character, enters her deceased father’s study and discovers an unusual desk:

It had been made of the cherry trees on the McKelva place a long time ago; on the lid, the numerals 1817 had been set into a not quite perfect oval of different wood, something smooth and yellow as a scrap of satin…

On its pediment stood a lead-mold eagle spreading its wings and clasping the globe; it was about the same breadth as her mother’s spread-out hand.  Laurel touched the doors where they met, and they swung open together.  Within, the cabinet looked like a little wall out of a country post office, which nobody had in years disturbed by calling for their mail.

Welty won the Pulitzer Prize for The Optimist’s Daughter in 1973.

 

Shaun Stalzer, Government Records archivist, brings us this post about his work with the State Auditor’s Papers.

1939 State Capitol Landscape Plan, Series 1429, Record Group 60

1939 State Capitol Landscape Plan, Series 1429, Record Group 60

Spanning the years from 1810 to 1945, the records of the auditor of public accounts are a complex collection of receipts and warrants for state agencies and everyday Mississippians alike. By law, the auditor’s purpose was to “examine, state, settle, and audit all accounts against the state.” The auditor’s reach thus extended to all aspects of society, from land sales/deeds to receipts of the judicial, legislative, and executive branches. Interesting parts of the collection include: militia payment vouchers from the Civil War, monthly reports from state-owned plantations such as Parchman Farm, receipts for slaves executed by the state in the 1850s, and receipts for repairs made to the state capitol over the years. The collection also contains a variety of materials associated with the work of the WPA during the 1930s, including a 1939 hand-drawn beautification plan for the New Capitol. The beautification plan outlines the grounds of the New Capitol with specific locations for trees and shrubberies.

This collection is still being processed and is available to researchers only by written request.

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