Collections Blog

10/10: Continuing Electronic Records Day

On October 14, 2015, in Electronic Records, by Timothy
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October 10, 2015, was Electronic Records Day. MDAH Electronic Records staff including Chloe Edwards and Alanna Patrick prepared the posts in this series about recent additions to the disk collection at MDAH.

Governor Cliff Finch eating lunch with schoolchildren, 1976. From Finch, Charles C. Cliff Gov. of MS, PI/STA/F56.3 (MDAH).

Governor Cliff Finch eating lunch with schoolchildren in 1976, twenty years before the passage of the Mississippi Adequate Education Act. Charles C. Cliff Gov. of MS, PI/STA/F56.3 (MDAH).

 

Grey Ferris: A Lasting Legacy

Call no.: Disk 0169

Format: DVD

Running Time: 9 minutes, 33 seconds

This video honors two-term Mississippi Senator Grey Flowers Ferris of Vicksburg, posthumous recipient of the Winter-Reed Partnership Award. Ferris, a former chairman of the Senate Education Committee, was instrumental in the creation of the Mississippi Alliance for Gaining New Opportunities through Library Information Access (MAGNOLIA) and the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP). MAGNOLIA is a state-funded consortium that provides free access to online research databases for publicly funded K-12 schools, public libraries, and community college and university libraries in Mississippi. The databases are an invaluable resource for students. The MAEP, created by the Mississippi Adequate Education Act, provides a formula that produces a base amount required to provide each student an adequate education in a Mississippi school, regardless of the school or community’s economic situation.

The DVD came to MDAH as part of the Winter (William F.) and Family Papers, call no. Z/2285.000.

MORE INFORMATION:

To find out more about this disk, search our online catalogue for Disk 0169. To browse the disk collection, navigate to the advanced search page, check the “Electronic Records” box, and type “disk” into the keyword search bar.

All catalogued disks are available to view or listen to in the Media Room; patrons should request disks from media staff using the four digit call number.

References:

“About MAGNOLIA.” Accessed September 23, 2015 at http://magnolia.msstate.edu/about/about.asp

“Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP).” Accessed September 24, 1015 at

http://www.msparentscampaign.org/education-funding/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=34

“In Memoriam: Grey Ferris.” Accessed on September 24, 2015 at http://winterinstitute.org/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2012/08/grey-ferris-memorial.pdf

 

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Ole Miss at the Cotton Bowl, Dallas, January 2, 1962. Call Number: PI/COL/1981.0066(MDAH)

 

Ghosts of Ole Miss

­Call no.: Disk 0171

Format: DVD

Running Time: 56 minutes, 56 seconds

Written and narrated by ESPN.com senior writer and Clarksdale native Wright Thompson, the film explores the 1962 Ole Miss football team and its winning season, set against the backdrop of James Meredith’s admission into the university and the riot that followed. Using interviews with members of the team and former students; newsfilm and game footage; and excerpts of phone conversations between United States Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, United States President John F. Kennedy, and Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett; the film provides insight into a difficult time in the state’s history.

The CD came to MDAH as part of the Winter (William F.) and Family Papers, call no. Z/2285.000.

MORE INFORMATION:

To find out more about this disk, search our online catalogue for Disk 0171. To browse the disk collection, navigate to the advanced search page, check the “Electronic Records” box, and type “disk” into the keyword search bar.

All catalogued disks are available to view or listen to in the Media Room; patrons should request disks from media staff using the four digit call number.

References:

“Ghosts of Mississippi.” Accessed on September 24, 2015 at http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/eticket/story?page=mississippi62

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October 10, 2015, is Electronic Records Day. MDAH Electronic Records staff including Chloe Edwards and Alanna Patrick prepared the posts in this series about recent additions to the disk collection at MDAH.

This WWII broadside encourages Americans on the home front to contribute to the war effort. From the MDAH broadside collection.

This WWII broadside encourages Americans on the home front to contribute to the war effort. From the MDAH broadside collection.

Prisoner of war in Camp Como, Mississippi, 1944

Call no.: Disk 0105

Format: CD

This disk represents both a great addition and a great opportunity for our collections. Donated by Dr. Ernst Pannen of Troisdorf, Germany, the disk contains scans of letters written by his father in law Peter Wilrodt when he was a German prisoner of war being held in Camp Como in Panola County. Camp Como, which began receiving prisoners in the fall of 1943, was originally intended to hold both Italian and German prisoners, the latter from General Erwin Rommel’s famous Afrikakorps. Ultimately, however, racial and ethnic tensions between the two groups led to the camp being designated for German prisoners only. Although the Second World War ended in 1945, POWs remained on American and Mississippi soil until 1946.

The material on this disk consists of scanned letters (including envelopes) and a 28 page Word document containing text and images, all of which are in German.  The Word document appears to contain additional context for the letters; some letters are excerpted and images include photographs of European sites and men at Camp Como, drawings and camp menus. MDAH will seek volunteers to translate the material to English.

MORE INFORMATION:

To find out more about this disk, search our online catalogue for disk 0105. To browse the disk collection, navigate to the advanced search page, check the “Electronic Records” box, and type “disk” into the keyword search bar.

All catalogued disks are available to view or listen to in the Media Room; patrons should request disks from media staff using the four digit call number.

References:

“Camp Como.” Accessed September 24, 2015 at <http://www.fortwiki.com/Camp_Como>.

John Ray Skates, Jr. “German Prisoners of War in Mississippi, 1943-1946.” Accessed September 24, 2015 at <http://mshistorynow.mdah.state.ms.us/articles/233/german-prisoners-of-war-in-mississippi-1943-1946>.

Postcard from the Forrest Lamar Cooper collection showing four Greenville houses of worship. PI/1992.001.

Postcard from the Forrest Lamar Cooper collection showing four Greenville houses of worship. PI/1992.001.

Washington County, Mississippi, Cemeteries

Call no.: Disk 0145

Format: CD

This disk is an excellent genealogical resource for those with ancestors from Washington County. Containing photographs and research notes of several neglected cemeteries in the county, the disk also features headstone transcriptions, copies of selected obituaries from the Delta Democrat Times and a copy of the will of Solitaire plantation owner Ambrose Knox (d. January 14, 1873). Solitaire, Peru Hill planation, and National Register of Historic Places site Linden plantation are all documented on the disk. The Erwin family cemetery and Long Island, owned by the William Alexander Dromgole family, are also included. Two African American church cemeteries, Canaan Hill, located outside Hollandale, and Daniel Chapel A. M. E. in Glen Allen complete the disk.

The disk was donated by Dr. Nancy C. Coleman and is part of her project to document cemeteries in Washington County. Other titles are available.

MORE INFORMATION:

To find out more about this disk, search our online catalogue for Disk 0145. To browse the disk collection, navigate to the advanced search page, check the “Electronic Records” box, and type “disk” into the keyword search bar.

All catalogued disks are available to view or listen to in the Media Room; patrons should request disks from media staff using the four digit call number.

References:

Woods, Woody. Delta Plantations: The Beginning. Accessed on September 24, 2015 at https://books.google.com

“Our History.” Accessed on September 24, 2015 at http://www.washingtoncountyms.us/

“National Register of Historic Places listings in Washington County, Mississippi.” Accessed on September 24, 2015 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Register_of_Historic_Places_listings_in_Washington_County,_Mississippi

 

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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Time and Tide: Bright Spots of the Recovery

On October 2, 2015, in Archives, by Timothy
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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.

Katrina’s destructive path was enormous. So many architectural “jewels” were lost and the homes of so many friends were destroyed that the mammoth task of recovery frequently seemed overwhelming for MDAH staff members and homeowners alike.

One of the true bright spots of the entire recovery effort, however, was the encouraging spirit of so many owners of historic buildings. Most were longtime Gulf Coast residents who loved their communities, their neighborhoods, and their ancestral homes and were determined not to surrender their history to a storm. However the challenges seemed insurmountable. Many homeowners felt that their “backs were to the wall.” Not only were their homes unoccupiable, but many had lost their jobs, and insurance companies were denying their claims. While they desperately wanted to save their historic homes, given the then-current financial uncertainties, they were not in a position to make a final decision. The only certain assistance that was being offered to them at that time was from FEMA— to demolish and remove their damaged buildings, even if the buildings could be repaired. If homeowners missed FEMA’s deadlines for submission of a right-of-entry for debris removal and if their insurance failed to pay, then the costs of clean-up would be on the owners’ shoulders—and that could amount to tens of thousands of dollars. Many people made heart-rending tearful appeals to us for help in securing more time to make a reasoned decision. Fortunately, in many instances, preservationists were able to help them secure that time.

In 2006, Congress appropriated moneys from the Historic Preservation Fund administered by the National Park Service, which permitted the states of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi to establish programs to assist owners of historic buildings damaged by Katrina. The $27.5 million received by MDAH permitted creation of the Mississippi Hurricane Relief Grant Program for Historic Preservation that provided restoration assistance for approximately 300 historic buildings. Ranging from shotgun houses, to craftsman bungalows, to vernacular Creole and Victorian cottages, most of the grant projects were modest owner-occupied houses that constitute the majority of the Gulf Coast’s historic districts. Although not monumental or magnificent in scale, these historic houses speak poignantly to the Gulf Coast’s diverse ethnic and architectural history.

As difficult and trying as the recovery process often was, being able to help families get back into their historic homes and to save a part of their history was most rewarding. Hearing someone say (as they frequently did), “Thanks, we never could have saved our home without this grant assistance,” made all the work worthwhile.

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Time and Tide: The Hurricane Relief Grant Program

On September 29, 2015, in Archives, by Timothy
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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.

Katrina created the nation’s largest natural and cultural disaster, damaging or destroying thousands of historic buildings in south Mississippi. As described in earlier posts, MDAH worked closely with our preservation partners from across the state and nation to assess the damage to hundreds of buildings, prepare building stabilization plans for owners, assist in property clean-up, inform citizens of demolition alternatives, and marshal financial resources to aid preservation.

This coalition (particularly the Mississippi Heritage Trust, Mississippi Main Street Association, National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers, and National Trust for Historic Preservation) also actively sought and secured grant funding to assist owners of National Register–listed buildings restore their properties, rather than demolish them. We secured state grants of $5.5 million from the Community Heritage Preservation Grant Program and federal grants of $27.5 million from the National Park Service’s Historic Preservation Fund. The latter program received strong support from Mississippi’s congressional delegation and represented the first time that Congress had authorized historic preservation funds for use in restoring privately owned historic properties damaged by a catastrophic storm.

 

The Mississippi Hurricane Relief Grant Program for Historic Preservation, which was created with these funds, assisted citizens, local governments, and non-profit organizations to preserve approximately 300 hurricane-damaged historic buildings significant in defining the unique architectural character and heritage of their communities. More than 4,000 construction jobs were generated in the process. While some of the grants assisted in restoring magnificent 19th- and early-20th-century mansions, such as the Schaeffer House in Pass Christian and the Swetman House in Biloxi, most of the grant funds were utilized to rehabilitate small cottages and modest owner-occupied houses listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, such as those in Gulfport’s Turkey Creek Historic District and in Bay St. Louis’s historic districts.

However, the program also assisted in preserving and restoring a number of public and institutional landmarks that are icons of the region’s rich history. The grant funds were often used to match or leverage moneys from FEMA, CDBG, and other private and public funding sources to restore important historic landmarks, such as:

  • Beauvoir in Biloxi
  • Bond-Grant House (Biloxi Main Street Program Headquarters)
  • Old Biloxi Library
  • Historic Carnegie Library in Gulfport
  • Gulfport City Hall
  • Gulf-Ship Island RR Depot in Gulfport
  • Rectitude Masonic Lodge in Gulfport
  • Soria City Masonic Lodge in Gulfport
  • Randolph School in Pass Christian
  • Hancock County Courthouse
  • Bay St. Louis Little Theatre (the historic Scafide Building)
  • 100 Men Association Building in Bay St. Louis
  • Magnolia State Supply Co. Building in Bay St. Louis
  • Waveland Civic Center (the Old Waveland School)
  • Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center, Ocean Springs
  • Walter Anderson Mural at the Ocean Springs Community Center
  • Charnley-Norwood House (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright), Ocean Springs
  • La Pointe-Krebs House (Old Spanish Fort), Pascagoula
  • Forrest County Courthouse
  • Old Hattiesburg High School
  • Bay Springs Rosenwald School, Forrest County
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