This series explores the life of Dunbar Rowland (1864-1937), first director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. He served from 1902 to 1937. This post will be the last of the series.

We close this series with an entry by guest writer William F. Winter, governor of Mississippi 1980-84 and the former president of the MDAH board of trustees, who met Dunbar Rowland.

Dunbar Rowland’s portrait in the Hall of Fame, Senate Gallery, Old Capitol Museum (Museum of Mississippi History Collection)

Dunbar Rowland’s portrait in the Hall of Fame, Senate Gallery, Old Capitol Museum (Museum of Mississippi History Collection)

Among the pleasant memories of my boyhood was a meeting in November 1935 with Dr. Dunbar Rowland, who was then the Director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.  I was visiting my father who was a member of the State Senate.

My father was a long-time friend of Dr. Rowland and thought that I should meet him.  His office was located on the first floor of the New Capitol.  The entire department consisted of only three people.

Dr. Rowland greeted my father and me most graciously and spent a generous amount of time discussing his work in the Department of which he had served as Director since its founding some thirty years before.

As we got up to leave, Dr. Rowland took from a shelf behind his desk a rather large book entitled Andrew Jackson’s Campagin Against the British written by Dr. Rowland’s wife, Eron Rowland.

He handed it to me but not before writing on its title page these words:

“To William F. Winter, with the best

wishes of his friend, Dunbar Rowland”.

I was just twelve years old, and to have Dr. Rowland refer to me as “his friend” impressed me very much.

That book has been a prized possession ever since.  The meeting with Dr. Rowland did much to inspire my life-long interest in history.

–William F. Winter