Photographs

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.

Photograph of the Capers Building in 1971.  Information and Education Division, Series 1349, Box 5562. (MDAH)

Photograph of the Capers Building in 1971. Information and Education Division, Series 1349, Box 5562. (MDAH)

Currently the home of MDAH’s Historic Preservation Division, the Charlotte Capers Archives and History Building was the department’s first purpose-built home. MDAH was long overdue for a building of its own after nearly forty years in the State Capitol basement (1903-1940) and a further twenty-three years in the north wing of the War Memorial Building. The department’s quarters at the War Memorial were cramped (its search room was a scant twenty-four square feet), which slowed collecting efforts. Perhaps more seriously, there was no way to control the temperature or humidity in records storage areas, resulting in inevitable damage to the records. Thus, in 1963, with the restoration of the Old Capitol and installation of the State Historical Museum within it complete, MDAH Director Charlotte Capers and Dr. R.A. McLemore (then president of the Department’s Board of Trustees) began campaigning for the funds to build a new home for the archives.

Sources:

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

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Looking Southwest Wharf Line Future Barge Unloading Position and Steel Storage Area At Center, 8/28/68. Call number: PI/SF/IND/1986.0017 (MDAH)

Looking Southwest Wharf Line Future Barge Unloading Position and Steel Storage Area At Center, 8/28/68. Call number: PI/SF/IND/1986.0017 (MDAH)

The Ingalls Shipyard West Bank Expansion photograph collection (PI/SF/IND/1986.0017) shows construction at the shipyard from 1968 to 1970.

Click here to view the images.

More information is available in the catalog records. To view, search “PI SF IND 1986 0017″ in the online catalog.

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“Agriculture. Catfish.” View of workers in catfish pond. 2000. Call Number: Series 6, image 989 (MDAH)

Series VI of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Collection (PI/2010.0002) consists of 3,117 black and white negatives, black and white slides, color negatives, and color slides of Mississippi Farm Bureau activities. The images date from the early 1950s through the 1980s. The images document farms, farming, and Mississippi community and cultural activities across the state in addition to the work of Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation at both the local and state levels. Truck crops, livestock industry, holiday parties, and buildings, including the Mississippi Farmer’s market in Jackson are all represented.

 
Group of people sitting in church pews. Call number: Z/2312.000, Series 3 (MDAH)

Group of people sitting in church pews. Call number: Z/2312.000, Series 3 (MDAH)

The Thomas Foner Freedom Summer Papers (Z/2312.000) were recently digitized. A New York native, Foner volunteered in Mississippi during the summer of 1964. He worked on voter registration in Canton and as a project leader in Philadelphia. His collection includes correspondence, a report on voter registration work in Canton, photographs, and newsclippings.

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Jim Pitts, state government records archivist (and retired U.S. Army officer), brings us this post on a little-known aspect of William D. McCain, the second director of MDAH.

William D. McCain. Call Number: PI/ED/M33.8/folder 44, item 9, McCain (William D.) Photograph Collection (MDAH)

William D. McCain. Call Number: PI/ED/M33.8/folder 44, item 9, McCain (William D.) Photograph Collection (MDAH)

The movie Monuments Men opens today. Interestingly, Mississippi had its own monuments man, Captain William D. McCain, who was the director of the Department of Archives and History before and after World War II. The exploits of the Allied officers and soldiers assigned to the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives Commissions in the European and Mediterranean Theaters of Operations have been largely unknown outside of the history, arts, archives, and library communities. With the release of this movie, based on Robert Edsel’s books Rescuing DaVinci, Monuments Men, and Saving Italy, their role in preserving Western heritage from the devastation of World War II and massive looting by Nazi leaders can come to full light.

McCain was called to active duty in March 1943 as first lieutenant and served in an antiaircraft artillery unit. In December 1943, he deployed overseas to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations where he was assigned as a historian with Headquarters, Fifth (U.S.) Army. He remained in that assignment until September 1944. He helped write the history of the Fifth Army during its operations in North Africa, Sicily, and southern Italy. McCain was the author of From the Volturno to the Winter Line (6 October to 15 November 1943), one of a series of fourteen studies of World War II military operations. In February 1944, he was promoted to captain.

In September 1944, McCain was reassigned to the Fifteenth Army Group’s Allied Commission, which oversaw all civil military operations in the Italian peninsula. He joined the Subcommission for Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA) as the regional records officer and archivist of the Lombardia area (northern Italy). McCain’s tasks were “ … to plan to take care of the archival deposits in northern Italy, to plan for the restoration of archival service in northern Italy, and to plan for the protection and return to Rome of the records of the ministries which had been removed northward as the Allied armies advanced … .” During the winter of 1944–1945, McCain worked with Italian state archivists to collect information on the archival depositories in northern Italy and make plans for their recovery, protection, and return.

During the spring and summer of 1945, as Allied armies surged north up the Italian peninsula, McCain worked to locate and inspect archival depositories and restore archival services in northern Italy. He also took it upon himself to supervise the restoration of various libraries in his area of operations. His work culminated in late August 1945, with a “great meeting in Milano” that settled all remaining matters of restoration and return of the archives. From September through November, the Italian state archives were transferred back to Rome in eleven thirty-five-truck convoys.

McCain departed Italy for the United States in September 1945. After completing his reports and performing other administrative duties, he was discharged from active service in December 1945 and returned to Jackson to resume his duties as state archivist. McCain continued his military service after World War II as an officer with the Mississippi National Guard in antiaircraft artillery units, including a twenty-month mobilization during the Korean War.

Addendum:

McCain was an assistant archivist at the nascent United States National Archives before becoming director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. His contacts with archivists at the national level, including Solon J. Buck, Archivist of the United States, resulted in his assignment as the archivist for the Mediterranean Theater of Operations Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives Commission.

Sources:

William D. McCain, “Some Reminiscences of the United States Archivist in Italy, 1944–1945,” Journal of Mississippi History, vol. 34, no. 1 (1972), pages 1–28.  The two quotations are taken from pages 6–7 and 26.

William D. McCain papers, Z/0065.000 and Z/0065.001, Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

McCain (William D.) Photograph Collection, PI/ED/M33.8/folder 44, MDAH.

For additional information on the Monuments Men:

The Monuments Men web site: http://www.monumentsmen.com/

The Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art:  http://www.monumentsmenfoundation.org/

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