New Capitol is 108 this month

On July 28, 2011, in Digital Archives, Photographs, by Amanda
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New Capitol shortly after completion of construction. Call Number: PI/STR/C36.456 (MDAH Collection)

The new state capitol of Mississippi was completed in July 1903, after almost three years of construction on the site of the old state penitentiary (which was built in 1840 by Old Capitol architect William Nichols). It cost $1,093,641 and was funded mainly through $1,000,000 in back taxes paid by the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley and the Gulf and Ship Island Railroads. State officials moved into the new building in September 1903 and legislators met there for the first time in January 1904. Here the New Capitol is shown after construction was completed but before grounds work had begun.

Theodore Link. Call Number: PI/PER/1982.0096 (MDAH Collection)

The New Capitol was designed by architect Theodore C. Link (1850-1923) of St. Louis, pictured at left. Link also oversaw the renovation of the Old Capitol into a state office building in 1916-1917.

Digital Archives related to the New Capitol:

Series 637: Minutes, 1900-1904 (of the State House Commission)
This body was charged with planning and overseeing the construction of the New Capitol.

Series 317: Photographs of New Capitol (State House Commission)
This album shows photographs of the construction of the New Capitol.

Source: John Ray Skates, Mississippi’s Old Capitol: Biography of a Building (Jackson: Mississippi Department of Archives and History, 1990), 125-29.

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Title page of album. State House Commission Series 317: Photographs of New Capitol, item 2 (MDAH Collection)

Title page of album. State House Commission Series 317: Photographs of New Capitol, item 2 (MDAH Collection)

Statehouse Commission Series 317: Photographs of New Capitol is now available to view online! The collection consists of a photograph album that was given to various officials in 1903 to mark the completion of the State Capitol. The photographs show the construction of the building and the completed exterior and interior.

"The completed State House." State House Commission Series 317: Photographs of New Capitol, item 7 (MDAH Collection)

"The completed State House." State House Commission Series 317: Photographs of New Capitol, item 7 (MDAH Collection)

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Farish Street, March 21, 1944. Call Number: PI/1999.0001, No. 201 (MDAH Collection)

Farish Street, March 21, 1944. Call Number: PI/1999.0001, No. 201 (MDAH Collection)

The Daniel, Al Fred, Photograph Collection (PI/1999.0001) has been added to the Digital Archives! The collection is comprised of 586 photographs showing scenes in Jackson and other areas of the state from the late 1800s to the 1970s. These images are a sampling of the unique treasures in this collection.

Girl and tung nuts at Dixie Tung Oil Company, October 7, 1938. Call Number: PI/1999.0001, No. 397 (MDAH Collection)

Girl and tung nuts at Dixie Tung Oil Company, October 7, 1938. Call Number: PI/1999.0001, No. 397 (MDAH Collection)

Judge Paul B. Johnson, Sr. Call Number: PI/1999.0001, No. 479 (MDAH Collection)

Judge Paul B. Johnson, Sr. Call Number: PI/1999.0001, No. 479 (MDAH Collection)

Boy Scouts. Call Number: PI/1999.0001, No. 560 (MDAH Collection)

Boy Scouts. Call Number: PI/1999.0001, No. 560 (MDAH Collection)

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Mississippi Legislature & Constitution of 1890

On November 1, 2010, in Photographs, by Amanda
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Call Number: PI/1994.0017 (MDAH Collection)

This photograph depicts the members of the Mississippi Legislature, meeting in January and February of 1890. The constitutional convention met in August of that year and produced the current Mississippi Constitution (adopted today in 1890) and still in effect. The legislators were photographed outside of the Old Capitol in Jackson (Hinds County).

View this photograph as a Zoomify JPEG here. You can view and search the current Mississippi Constitution on the MS Secretary of State website.

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The Mummy Returns!

On October 1, 2010, in Artifacts, Museums & Historic Sites, by Amanda
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The State Historical Museum’s most famous attraction returns to the Old Capitol for the month of October! The Egyptian “mummy” (pictured above), that so many visitors came to see, was unfortunately discovered to be a fake in 1969. Charlotte Capers, director of MDAH at the time, wrote of the discovery, saying:

The shrunken Egyptian mummy which was the stellar attraction of the Mississippi State Historical Museum for many years was exposed as a fake, when Gentry W. Yeatman, an enterprising University of Mississippi medical student with an interest in archaeology, x-rayed the little lady for a paleo-pathology project and found her heart was full of nails. Further, her shoulders were built of boards, she had a German language newspaper in her foot, and over her liver was a fragment of The Milwaukee Journal for 1898. This discovery was a death blow to a cherished legend, and raised more questions than it answered.

(In the old exhibit photograph above, the X-rays are shown next to the mummy. You can see the boards and nails.)

Today, the origins of the “dummy mummy” are still unknown, though Capers, later on in her report, posited that it was constructed by a German immigrant in Milwaukee. The mummy then made its way to a Mississippi collector who included it with a collection of Native American artifacts acquired by the state around 1923.

The mummy now resides in storage, but from October 1-31 at the Old Capitol Museum in Jackson, you can see the dummy mummy for yourself! Located at 100 South State Street, the museum is open Tuesday-Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 1-5 p.m., free of charge. Parking is behind the Old Capitol, off Amite St. For more information call 601-576-6920 or email the Old Capitol.

Source: Charlotte Capers, “Dummy Mummy,” The Delta Review, November-December 1969.

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