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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.

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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This post is part of an ongoing series, “Time and Tide: Ten Years after Katrina.” Special thanks to Ken P’Pool, Historic Preservation Division, for writing this post.

One of the largest and most important projects undertaken by MDAH through the Hurricane Relief Grant Program for Historic Preservation was the restoration of the Charnley-Norwood House (also known as Bon Silene) in Ocean Springs.  Designed by two of America’s most important architects, Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright, it is one of the most significant and influential houses in American architectural history.

Seeking needed rest after completing his Chicago Auditorium Building in 1890, architect Louis Sullivan, “father of the skyscraper,” discovered and fell in love with Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Captivated by the Coast’s natural beauty, he designed adjacent gulf-side retreats for himself and his friend James Charnley, a wealthy Chicago lumber merchant. Constructed of local yellow pine, both houses were early design collaborations of Sullivan and his young draftsman Frank Lloyd Wright.

The Charnleys, satisfied with their Gulf retreat, soon commissioned Sullivan to design their Chicago home (Charnley-Persky House), which owes much of its modern design to Sullivan and Wright’s innovations in Ocean Springs. In 1896 Charnley sold his Gulf retreat to another Chicago lumberman, Fredrick Norwood. The Norwoods named the estate Bon Silene for the beautiful and fragrant French roses that dominated their extensive gardens.

What makes the Charnley-Norwood House (CNH) significant architecturally is its place at the forefront of Modern Architecture. Compared to its contemporaries, it exhibits a degree of functionality and austerity not witnessed before in residential architecture. In an era filled with eclectic houses, neoclassical mansions, and vernacular cottages, CNH offered a clear purpose, aesthetic, and functional layout that is not subsumed under a classicist or Victorian façade. Here, the verticality, complex floor plans and florid details of Victorian architecture are supplanted by horizontality, continuous spatial flow, simple natural materials, and expanses of glass that erase the barriers between inside and out — all building forms that would become hallmarks of modern architecture. The design of CNH embodies the nexus of ideas that would powerfully reshape not only American but international residential architecture in the 20th century. The house is quite likely the first Modernist house ever.

In 2005 Hurricane Katrina destroyed Sullivan’s house and badly damaged the Charnley-Norwood House.  A 30-foot tidal surge moved CNH off its foundations, collapsing the east wing walls and roof.  MDAH staff and volunteers salvaged thousands of pieces of debris strewn across the site, carefully identifying and storing them for reuse in the restoration. The property’s elderly owners died soon after Katrina; their daughter intended to have the house demolished. The National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Frank Lloyd Wright Conservancy, and the Mississippi Heritage Trust aided MDAH in a valiant effort to halt the demolition.

After emergency stabilization in 2009, MDAH staff and John G. Waite Associates Architects of Albany, New York, prepared a historic structure report and landscape history, while architectural conservator George Fore conducted detailed analysis of the historic finishes. These reports thoroughly document the house’s original design and construction. Although CNH was known as a Sullivan/Wright design prior to Katrina, this in-depth research revealed the house’s pivotal role in the evolution of Sullivan and Wright’s work. Moreover, despite many changes of ownership and damage by Katrina, the house was remarkably intact. In 2011 the property was acquired by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, and MDAH initiated restoration. Work was completed in 2014 to the highest standard of conservation practices, restoring the house to its c.1900 appearance, as documented by physical evidence and early photos.

Because of the heroic preservation struggle and painstaking restoration, this early residential design by Sullivan and Wright—perhaps the premiere physical testimony to their design ideas that transformed American residential architecture—can still be experienced and studied by architects, students, and historians. It survives as an invaluable asset to America’s architectural heritage and example of the power of preservation partnerships.

Contact Rhonda Price at the Department of Marine Resources (228-523-4150) for tour information.

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