Collections Blog

Andrew Marschalk’s Uniform Coat

On August 13, 2014, in Artifacts, by Amanda
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Nan Prince, assistant director of collections, brings us this post about interesting artifacts in the Museum Division collection.

Andrew Marschalk's uniform coat. Accession number: 1992.14.1 (Museum Division collection, MDAH)

Andrew Marschalk’s uniform coat. Accession number: 1992.14.1 (Museum Division collection, MDAH)

This Mississippi Territorial Militia uniform coat was worn by Andrew Marschalk, who was a newspaper publisher in Natchez. Marschalk was a major in the Mississippi Territorial Militia from 1809 to 1811 and became a colonel in 1811. The uniform was handed down through his family and donated to the Department of Archives and History in 1992, by his great-great-great-grandson.

Reverse of Andrew Marschalk's uniform coat. Accession number: 1992.14.1 (Museum Division collection, MDAH)

Reverse of Andrew Marschalk’s uniform coat. Accession number: 1992.14.1 (Museum Division collection, MDAH)

In preparation for its display in the new Museum of Mississippi History, this jacket was recently conserved.

Andrew Marschalk, Hall of Fame portrait. Accession number: 1978.10.1 (Museum Division collection, MDAH)

Andrew Marschalk, Hall of Fame portrait. Accession number: 1978.10.1 (Museum Division collection, MDAH)

Marschalk is a member of the Mississippi Hall of Fame and his portrait, pictured above, is currently on display in the Old Capitol Museum.

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The Atlanta Campaign: 150 Years Ago

On July 28, 2014, in Artifacts, by Amanda
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The Mississippi Civil War Sesquicentennial continues and in the coming months we will be highlighting Museum Division collections related to 1864 and the Civil War. Special thanks to Nan Prince, assistant director of collections, for writing this series.

Captain T. Otis Baker's sword. Accession number: 1960.256.10a (MDAH Museum Division collection)

Captain T. Otis Baker’s sword. Accession number: 1960.256.10a (MDAH Museum Division collection)

The Atlanta Campaign was a series of battles fought from May through September 1864. Union forces under the control of General William T. Sherman faced the Confederate Army of Tennessee under General Joseph Johnston, who was replaced mid-campaign by General John Bell Hood. With the capture of Atlanta in early September, Sherman cut off a vital supply line for the Confederacy and was able to begin his “March to the Sea.”

Captain T. Otis Baker's officer's shirt. Accession number: 1962.38.10 (MDAH Museum Division collection)

Captain T. Otis Baker’s officer’s shirt. Accession number: 1962.38.10 (MDAH Museum Division collection)

Captain T. Otis Baker of the Tenth Mississippi Infantry was wounded on July 28, 1864, during the Atlanta Campaign and sent to a hospital at Thomastown, Georgia. According to his service records, Baker was on a Register of Prisoners of War when he was paroled on May 1, 1865, in accordance with the terms of surrender negotiated between Generals Johnston and Sherman. Baker was wearing this sword and scabbard when he was wounded. Also pictured is Baker’s officer’s dress shirt. In contrast to the homespun, butternut uniform coat that he wore, Baker’s shirt was rather fancy, as was typical of well-dressed Confederate officers.

Source:

http://www.nps.gov/hps/abpp/battles/ga017.htm

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Battle of Harrisburg: 150 Years Ago

On July 14, 2014, in Artifacts, by Amanda
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The Mississippi Civil War Sesquicentennial continues and in the coming months we will be highlighting Museum Division collections related to 1864 and the Civil War. Special thanks to Nan Prince, assistant director of collections, for writing this series.

Major Robert C. McCay. Accession number:  1962.210.1 (MDAH Museum Division collection)

Major Robert C. McCay. Accession number: 1962.210.1 (MDAH Museum Division collection)

The last major battle fought in Mississippi during the Civil War was the Battle of Harrisburg, also known as the Battle of Tupelo, on July 14–15.  Still concerned about protecting his vital supply line in Tennessee, U.S. Major General William T. Sherman sent Major General A.J. Smith with fourteen thousand men down from LaGrange, Tennessee, to keep Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest in Mississippi. Eight thousand Confederate troops under the command of Lt. Gen. Stephen D. Lee and Forrest engaged Smith’s forces near Tupelo on the morning of July 14. Smith’s troops repulsed several uncoordinated attacks made by Lee and Forrest.

However the heat and lack of supplies took its toll on the Federal troops, and Smith began retreating toward Memphis on July 15, camping near Old Town Creek in the late afternoon. Confederate forces launched a surprise attack, but the Federal troops were able to form a defense and force a Confederate retreat to the town of Harrisburg. Confederates suffered a loss of 1,300 casualties, including Forrest, who was out of commission for several weeks, while Federal losses numbered 648.

Major Robert C. McCay's sash. Accession number: 1962.210.2 (MDAH Museum Division collection)

Major Robert C. McCay’s sash. Accession number: 1962.210.2 (MDAH Museum Division collection)

Pictured above is Major Robert C. McCay commander of the Thirty-Eighth Mississippi (mounted) Infantry, which fought in the Battle of Harrisburg. The Thirty-Eighth suffered heavy casualties during the battle, and Major McCay was killed. He was wearing the sash pictured above when he died.

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The Archives and History Building: The Winter Building

On July 9, 2014, in Archives, by Dorian Randall
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Chloe Edwards, of the Government Records Section, brings us this post in an ongoing series chronicling the construction of the Charlotte Capers Archives and History Building. Many thanks to Ms. Edwards for her research.

William F. Winter Archives and History Building Dedication in 2003.

William F. Winter Archives and History Building Dedication in 2003.

The Department of Archives and History called the Capers Building home from 1971 to 2003, when the archives and library functions of the department moved to the newly-constructed William F. Winter Archives and History Building. In contrast to the Capers Building, the Winter Building cost approximately $23.5 million and has more than triple the floor space of the Capers Building. The Winter Building, at five stories and 140,575 square feet, offers state-of-the-art archival facilities for Mississippi’s historical documents and artifacts. The library, located on the first floor, houses books, ledgers, and several computer search stations to assist patrons in historical research. The library also houses two reading rooms, which accommodate up to 160 researchers and a media room with a collection of microfiche and microfilm files ranging from marriage licenses to newspaper articles. The first floor also has an orientation room where presentations and meetings are held. The second floor serves as the central hub of Archives and Records Division processing and cataloguing, while the third floor houses the administrative offices. Two additional floors serve as stack and basement space.

The Winter Building also serves as an exhibit space with the first floor hosting the Winter Holidays exhibition of Possum Ridge model trains, period toys, and Christmas trees. The lobby is used as a temporary space for exhibits such as “Stand Up!:” Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964, which is currently on display.

As the department looks to the future, it is undertaking the construction of the 2 Mississippi Museums in honor of the state’s bicentennial in 2017. The Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum will be located north of the Winter Building.

References:

Mississippi Department of Archives and History in-house workshop on giving building tours, June 10, 1971 audio transcript (http://mdah.state.ms.us/arrec/digital_archives/vault/projects/OHtranscripts/AU710_104014.pdf)

Series 1258: Charlotte Capers Building Files, 1928-1992. Box 4899.

Subject file: Archives and History Building, 1966-1970

Subject file: Archives and History Building, 1971 (dedication year)

A Building Survey for a New Archives Building, for the Board of Trustees, Department of Archives and History, prepared by William D. Morrison, Jr., 1966

Tauches, Karen. “The Fate of History: The Old Archives Building is Under Review.” Burnaway, published July 22, 2011. Accessed April 3, 2014 at http://burnaway.org/the-fate-of-history-the-old-archives-building-is-under-review/

CR&HM. Accessed April 3, 2014 at http://www.dalepartners.com/civic-corporate/wfm-archives-and-history/

WFM Archives and History. Accessed April 3, 2014 at http://www.dalepartners.com/civic-corporate/crhm/

Money conversions performed at http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl

 

Railroad Crossing Signal Photograph

On July 2, 2014, in Photographs, by Amanda
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'Stop Death Stop' railroad crossing in Grenada, from  unprocessed collection of Sidney T. Roebuck,, Highway Commissioner of the Central District (MDAH)

‘Stop Death Stop’ railroad crossing in Grenada, from unprocessed collection of Sidney T. Roebuck,, Highway Commissioner of the Central District (MDAH)

MDAH archivist Ashley Koostra unearthed this intriguing photograph in the unprocessed collection of Sidney T. Roebuck, Highway Commissioner of the Central District. It shows a railroad crossing signal built at an Illinois Central crossing near Grenada around 1940. W.A. Billups designed the signal, “embodying an appeal to the sense of hearing through piercing sirens and an appeal to the sense of sight through the illumination of neon signs depicting the word ‘Death,’ ‘Stop,’ and the skull and crossbones.” The arrows indicated the direction of the train.

See the signal in action in a simulation posted to YouTube, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGhFHKtDhns.

Sources:

Winona Times, October 4, 1940

Illinois Central Magazine (April 1941), page 22