Winter Blog Roundup

On February 28, 2012, in Artifacts, Digital Archives, Maps, Photographs, by Amanda
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Blank 1940 United States Census form (Source: National Archives and Records Administration website)*

Genealogy Notes

Resources for getting a head start on your 1940 census research are available via the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library “Local History Announcements” blog. The 1940 census will be released on April 2, 2012 (the federal census remains closed for 72 years for privacy reasons).

Read some interesting facts about the 1940 census at NARAtions, the blog of the U.S. National Archives.

For researchers tracing families in North Carolina: the North Carolina State Archives recently digitized their WPA Cemetery Surveys. Read about it in this blog post and view the cemetery records here.

Martin Luther King Day

The Arts

The work of Mississippi artist Theora Hamblett is the subject of this blog post from the Mississippi Library Commission.

The Mississippi Museum of Art discusses its upcoming exhibition, Curious George Saves the Day: The Art of Margret and H. A. Rey, in this blog post.

Fans of the television series Downton Abbey will appreciate this exploration of that period’s popular music by the Library of Congress “In the Muse” blog.

Can a Stradivari violin be duplicated? Apparently so, using CT scans and advanced manufacturing equipment. Researchers used an instrument from the Library of Congress collection to make the replica.

Of Interest

This blog post describes an interesting function of the Library of Congress: selecting twenty-five films that merit permanent preservation for their “cultural, aesthetic, and historical value.” See this year’s list at http://blogs.loc.gov/loc/2011/12/the-registry-and-beyond/.

The United States Copyright Office is now blogging at http://blogs.loc.gov/copyrightdigitization. They discuss issues surrounding the digitization of nearly seventy million pre-1978 copyright records.

The Library of Congress just digitized the 30,000th map for its online collection. Read more at http://blogs.loc.gov/loc/2011/05/the-view-from-30000-maps/.

The National Archives wants you! …To help transcribe and tag documents in order to make them more accessible to the public. Check out the “Citizen Archivist” initiative at the NARAtions blog.


*Image from National Archives and Records Administration, “1940 Federal Population Census, Part 1: General Information, 1940 Census Forms,” http://www.archives.gov/research/census/1940/general-info.html#form (accessed February 17, 2012).

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African Americans at table in Clarksdale, 1939, by Marion Post Wolcott. Call Number: PI/1986.0026, item 132 (MDAH Collection)

African Americans at table in Clarksdale, 1939, by Marion Post Wolcott. Call Number: PI/1986.0026, item 132 (MDAH Collection)

The Farm Security Administration collection (PI/1986.0026) is unique in that it documents the everyday life of Mississippians, both black and white, during the Depression era. The photographs capture a microcosm of daily activities, including people at work and leisure. The Library of Congress holds the original negatives, but MDAH has copies of images pertaining to Mississippi.

Patti Carr Black assembled many of these photographs for her book, Documentary Portrait of Mississippi: The Thirties. She wrote, “These images, along with Eudora Welty’s One Time, One Place, help define for us the meaning of the Depression in Mississippi. They also may help others understand an observation that Walker Evans [an FSA photographer] made shortly before his death: ‘I can understand why Southerners are haunted by their own landscape and in love with it.’”1

Scene in Natchez, Mississippi, by Ben Shahn. Call Number: PI/1986.0026, item 77 (MDAH Collection)

Scene in Natchez, Mississippi, by Ben Shahn. Call Number: PI/1986.0026, item 77 (MDAH Collection)

This description from the Library of Congress gives a brief history of the collection:

The photographs of the Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information Photograph Collection form an extensive pictorial record of American life between 1935 and 1944…The project initially documented cash loans made to individual farmers by the Resettlement Administration and the construction of planned suburban communities. The second stage focused on the lives of sharecroppers in the South and migratory agricultural workers in the midwestern and western states. As the scope of the project expanded, the photographers turned to recording both rural and urban conditions throughout the United States as well as mobilization efforts for World War II.2

"Jitterbugging in a juke joint on a Saturday afternoon," by Marion Post Wolcott. Call Number: PI/1986.0026, item 159 (MDAH Collection)

"Jitterbugging in a juke joint on a Saturday afternoon," by Marion Post Wolcott. Call Number: PI/1986.0026, item 159 (MDAH Collection)3

View more of the FSA photographs at the “American Memory” page on the Library of Congress website.


1 Patti Carr Black, Documentary Portrait of Mississippi: The Thirties (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1982), 7.

2 Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, “Background and Scope of Collection,” http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/fsa/background.html (accessed February 2, 2012).

3 Photograph caption from Black, Documentary Portrait of Mississippi, 83.

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Luther Harper. Call Number: PI/1988.0009 (MDAH Collection)

Luther Harper. Call Number: PI/1988.0009 (MDAH Collection)

Mississippi native Luther Harper, pictured above, was a veteran of World War I. Harper was born in 1893 and grew up in the Brushy Creek community in Copiah County. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1918 and was honorably discharged in 1919.  This circa 1915 photograph depicts Harper in his U.S. Army uniform.

Harper and his family moved to Jackson in 1942, where he died in 1985. This hand-tinted photograph was donated to MDAH by Harper’s step-granddaughter in 1988. Sources like this one document the contributions of African Americans to America’s war effort.

Luther Harper's World War I Statement of Service Card. Call Number: Series 1731, Army #778 (MDAH Collection)

Luther Harper's World War I Statement of Service Card. Call Number: Series 1731, Army #778 (MDAH Collection)

Pictured above is Harper’s statement of service card from Series 1731: Mississippi World War I Statement of Service Cards, 1917-1919, which is now available online, along with related indicies.

Sources:

PI/1988.0009 control folder, Image and Sound Section files, Archives and Records Services Division, MDAH.

Mississippi History Newsletter 31, no. 3 (March 1989).

Hargrove Collection Now Online

On November 29, 2011, in Digital Archives, Photographs, by Amanda
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Six unidentified African American Jackson Police Department officers, 196-. Call Number: PI/2010.0005, item 83 (MDAH Collection)

Six unidentified African American Jackson Police Department officers, 196-. Call Number: PI/2010.0005, item 83 (MDAH Collection)

The Ralph Hargrove Photograph Collection (PI/2010.0005) consists of one-hundred-thirty-six black-and-white photographs of Jackson, Mississippi, from 1927 until 1984. Most of the images were taken during Hargrove’s forty-year career with the Jackson Police Department. Subjects include city government buildings, police department activities, and state and national politicians. The collection features images of the rifle found at the crime scene after the murder of Mississippi civil rights leader Medgar Evers, Jackson’s first African American policemen, U.S. Senator John C. Stennis, Mississippi lieutenant governor Charles Sullivan, Alabama governor George Wallace, and a Jackson city vehicle known as “Thompson’s Tank.”

Anyone with information on the identity of the JPD officers pictured above is encouraged to contact the MDAH Image and Sound section at 601-576-6850.

Page from the Crowe (Milburn J.) Photograph Album. Call Number: PI/2005.0015, No. 34 (MDAH Collection)

Page from the Crowe (Milburn J.) Photograph Album. Call Number: PI/2005.0015, No. 34 (MDAH Collection)

The Milburn J. Crowe Photograph Album is an interesting treasure from the MDAH collection. It documents the people of the Davis Bend and Mound Bayou African American communities. The Davis Bend community was founded by freed slaves who lived there from 1867 to 1886, when several factors forced the closure of the town. Mound Bayou was then formed as a self-governing African American town in 1887 by Isaiah Montgomery and Benjamin Green, who had been members of the Davis Bend colony. Read more about them in the Collection Description for the photograph album.