Hall of Fame: Annie Coleman Peyton

On September 15, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Amanda
0

Nominations are currently being sought for the 2011 class of the Mississippi Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame honors women and men who made noteworthy contributions to the state. Consideration for the Hall of Fame takes place only once every five years and any Mississippian—native or adopted—deceased at least five years may be nominated. The deadline for nominations is October 1, and elections will be held at a special meeting of the MDAH board of trustees in December. Click here for complete nomination guidelines.

This series recognizes members of the Hall of Fame, whose portraits hang in the Old Capitol Museum. Special thanks to Anna Todd, University of Southern Mississippi student and MDAH summer intern, for researching this post.

Annie Coleman Peyton, Hall of Fame portrait. Accession Number: 1978.91 (Museum Division Collection)

Annie Coleman Peyton, Hall of Fame portrait. Accession Number: 1978.91 (Museum Division Collection)

Annie Coleman Peyton (1852-1898) was a driving force in the establishment of the Mississippi Industrial Institute and College (now Mississippi University for Women), the first land-grant college for women in the country. She was born in Madison County and educated at Whitworth College in Brookhaven, where she taught for two years before marrying E. G. Peyton in 1872.

Beginning in 1879, she petitioned the state legislature to establish a state-funded school for girls at Whitworth College. However, the school would not be chartered until 1884. Columbus was selected as the location because the city offered to house the new school in the former Columbus Female Institute and promised $50,000 for improvements to the facility. Peyton, who was recently widowed, became professor of history at the school and taught there until her death in 1898. Her portrait was presented to the Mississippi Hall of Fame in 1912 by the Mississippi Federation of Women’s Clubs.

 

Hall of Fame: Laurence Clifton Jones

On September 6, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Amanda
0

Nominations are currently being sought for the 2011 class of the Mississippi Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame honors women and men who made noteworthy contributions to the state. Consideration for the Hall of Fame takes place only once every five years and any Mississippian—native or adopted—deceased at least five years may be nominated. The deadline for nominations is October 1, and elections will be held at a special meeting of the MDAH board of trustees in December. Click here for complete nomination guidelines.

This series recognizes members of the Hall of Fame, whose portraits hang in the Old Capitol Museum. Special thanks to Anna Todd, University of Southern Mississippi student and MDAH summer intern, for researching this post.

Laurence Clifton Jones, Hall of Fame portrait. Accession Number: 1981.50 (Museum Division Collection)

Laurence Clifton Jones, Hall of Fame portrait. Accession Number: 1981.50 (Museum Division Collection)

Laurence C. Jones (1881-1975) was born in St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1882. After graduating from the University of Iowa in 1908, he accepted a teaching position at Utica Institute in Utica, Mississippi, hoping to improve the educational opportunities for disadvantaged black children in the area. Inspired by the achievements of educators such as Booker T. Washington, Jones founded the Piney Woods School in Rankin County in 1909.

Beginning with only three students, he built Piney Woods into one of the most prestigious boarding schools in the nation. Today, the school enrolls more than two hundred fifty students from twenty-four states and three countries. During the sixty-five years he directed the institution, Jones was its most visible representative and a tireless fundraiser. The unprecedented national publicity following Jones’s 1954 appearance on the popular television show “This Is Your Life” resulted in the creation of a large endowment for the school.

Jones’ accomplishments beyond Piney Woods School include work with the State Board of Education on issues pertinent to the instruction of black students. Jones earned doctorates from several colleges and a Masters in Arts from Tuskegee Institute. The author of several books, Jones was also active in the Mississippi Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs and the state Y.M.C.A. In 1970, he received the highest honor of the Boy Scouts of America, the Silver Buffalo Award. He died in 1975 and was inducted into the Mississippi Hall of Fame in 1981.

 

Peter Whitman Rowland

On March 25, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Amanda
0

This series explores the life of Dunbar Rowland (1864-1937), first director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. He served from 1902 to 1937. Rowland’s siblings are the subject of this post.

Portrait of Dr. Peter W. Rowland hangs in the Rowland Medical Library, Verner S. Holmes Learning Resource Center, University of Mississippi Medical Center. Courtesy of the Rowland Medical Library.

Dr. Peter W. Rowland. Portrait hangs in the Rowland Medical Library, Verner S. Holmes Learning Resource Center, University of Mississippi Medical Center. Courtesy of the Rowland Medical Library.

Dunbar Rowland’s older brother Peter Whitman Rowland (1861-1943) followed in the footsteps of their father and entered the medical profession.1 He graduated from Memphis Hospital Medical College in 1882 and practiced in Coffeeville for fifteen years before moving to Oxford, where he was a professor at the newly created school of medicine at the University of Mississippi. Dr. Rowland was also one of the founding members of the university’s pharmacology department. He was president of the Mississippi Medical Association in 1894 and was appointed to the state board of health in 1900 by Governor Andrew Longino.

Peter married Eugenia Susan Herron in 1885 and had four children. His son, Peter Whitman Rowland, Jr., also became a physician, graduating from the University of Virginia Department of Medicine in 1919.2

Just as Dunbar Rowland left an enduring legacy at the state archives, Peter founded what would become the Rowland Medical Library at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMC). Rowland toured the state asking for donations of materials and money. The library was named in his honor in 1939 and is today located on the campus of UMC in Jackson.3

Other Siblings

Of Dunbar Rowland’s other three brothers, Creed Walker Rowland (1852-1922) became an accountant and lived in Coffeeville, where he married Corinne Herron (sister of Peter’s wife Eugenia) in 1885 and had two children. Robert Walter Rowland (1855-1923) also became a physician and practiced in Oakland, Livingston, and Flora. He married Sarah Robinson in 1879 and had six children.4

The eldest brother was William Brewer Rowland, Jr., (1850-1881). On the 1870 census William’s occupation was listed as “Clerk in Store.” William died on October 13, 1881 in Senatobia. Newspaper notices published in the weeks preceding his death mention that he was ill with “malarial fever” and “congestion.” They also say that he was attended by his “three faithful brothers,” two of whom were physicians (of the four brothers, it was most likely that Dunbar was absent since he was only 17 at the time).5 Current research has revealed no further information on William or the circumstances of his death. Oddly, Mary Rowland, the mother of Dunbar Rowland and his siblings, was not buried next to her husband, but next to William Jr., who died prematurely at about thirty-one.6


1 Biographical information from “Rowland, Peter Whitman,” Subject File, MDAH.

2 “Deaths.” Journal of the American Medical Association 121, no. 10 (March 6, 1943): 780. http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/121/10/780.full.pdf (accessed December 16, 2010).

3 “Deaths.” Journal of the American Medical Association 123, no. 10 (November 6, 1943): 651. http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/123/10/651.full.pdf (accessed December 16, 2010).

4 Dunbar Rowland, ed., “Contemporary Biography,” vol. III of Mississippi: Comprising Sketches of Counties, Towns, Events, Institutions, and Persons, Arranged in Cyclopedic Form (1907; repr., Spartanburg, South Carolina: The Reprint Company, Publishers, 1976), 707-8, 730.

5 “Personal,” Tate County Observer, October 7, 1881, page 3 and “Local News,” Tate County Observer, October 14, 1881, page 5. MDAH roll number 20119.

6 Grave information from C. H. Spearman, arr., Yalobusha County, Mississippi Cemetery Records, vol. II “Eastern Yalobusha County” (Coffeeville, MS: The Yalobusha County Historical Society, 1980), 32, 53 (MDAH).

 

Dunbar Rowland: Education and Early Career

On March 1, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Amanda
3

This series explores the life of Dunbar Rowland (1864-1937), first director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. He served from 1902 to 1937.

"A View of A. & M. College Grounds, Starkville, Miss." Call Number: PI/1992.0001 (MDAH Collection)

"A View of A. & M. College Grounds, Starkville, Miss." Call Number: PI/1992.0001 (MDAH Collection)1

Dunbar Rowland attended private school in Memphis, Tennessee, and preparatory school at Oakland Academy in Mississippi.  In 1882, he enrolled at the recently established Mississippi Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Mississippi State University) and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1886. That summer, Rowland studied law at the office of Judge R. H. Golladay in Coffeeville.2

Rowland entered law school at the University of Mississippi in September 1886, graduating with the L.L. B. (Bachelor of Laws, predecessor to the J. D.) degree in 1888. He then opened law offices in Memphis and worked there for four years before moving his practice to Coffeeville, Mississippi, in 1893.

During his law career, Rowland established a reputation as an amateur historian. He regularly published articles in newspapers and in the Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, a multi-volume work published from 1898 to 1914 (the Centenary series of Publications, published from 1915 to 1925, was edited by Rowland). A biographical note in the third volume (1900) says:

As a student Mr. Rowland gave as much time to the cultivation of polemics, literature, history, and composition as his other duties would allow, thus laying the foundation for the literary and historical work that has since occupied the time he could spare from his professional duties. He is especially interested in the social, industrial and political problems that are peculiar to the South, and has done much to popularize the study of Mississippi history by his numerous interesting historical and biographical contributions which have appeared from time to time in the Memphis Commercial Appeal and in the Atlanta Constitution.”3

Rowland’s historical writings romanticized the Old South. The use of the word “peculiar” is particularly interesting above. It is a word loaded with meaning due to its use to describe slavery as the “peculiar institution.”  We can only guess what Franklin L. Riley, the editor of Publications, thought at the time, but perhaps “social, industrial and political problems that are peculiar to the South” was a euphemism for the continuing legacy of slavery, Civil War and Reconstruction, and the emerging Jim Crow culture.

Rowland certainly romanticized the Old South. For example, in his article “Plantation Life in Mississippi before the War” in Publications, Vol. III (1900), he waxed eloquently about plantation men, saying:

The writer has a heartfelt conviction that the chivalrous, courtly, courageous Southern gentleman of the ante-bellum period was the grandest embodiment of the most superb manhood that ever graced a forum or died upon a battlefield.4

On the plantation wives, Rowland continues:

Of all the characters that history has preserved for the love of succeeding generations the Southern mother should be enshrined in fame’s proudest niche.5

This philosophy would have implications later for Rowland when he applied for the directorship of MDAH in 1902. So, by 1900 to 1901, Rowland was still in Coffeeville practicing law, but he was also cultivating a reputation as a historian and interacting with the men who mattered in the political and historical landscape of Mississippi.


1 The Chemistry Building (1883, right) and Administration/Chapel Building (1880, center), existed during Rowland’s time there. See “The University’s Historic Buildings,” University Libraries, Mississippi State University. http://library.msstate.edu/exhibits/university_buildings/index.asp (accessed January 12, 2011).
2 Biographical information from “Rowland, Dunbar Biographical Sketches” and “Rowland, Dunbar Death,” Subject Files (MDAH).

3 Franklin L. Riley, ed., Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, vol. III, (Oxford, Mississippi: Mississippi Historical Society, 1900), 85.

4 Dunbar Rowland, “Plantation Life in Mississippi before the War,” in Publications, vol. III, 87.

5 Ibid., 97.

 

Laurence Jones & The Piney Woods School

On January 21, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Amanda
0

In this post, Blog Editor Amanda Lyons and Alanna Patrick, director of Paper Archives, take a look at the history of the Piney Woods School.

MDAH Collection. Laurence Clifton Jones (November 21, 1884-July 13, 1975). Call Number: PI/ED/J65.7.

In 1955, Lawrence Clifton Jones, founder of The Piney Woods School, was honored with a special state celebration in Mississippi during which Governor Hugh White declared him “Mississippi’s First Citizen.” Jones continued to serve as president of Piney Woods until his retirement in 1974. In 1981, he became the first African American to be admitted to the Mississippi Hall of Fame.

The Piney Woods School, Rankin County, was founded in 1909 by Laurence Clifton Jones with the purpose of providing the rural African American community with academic, moral, and practical training in agricultural and industrial trades. Jones began teaching informally under a cedar tree in the fall of 1909. Within three months, he had twenty-nine students. By the start of school in the autumn of 1910, Piney Woods had five teachers and a student body of one hundred that included adults as well as children.

MDAH Collection. “Graduation day at the Community School” (ca. 1931). Call Number: Z/2111.000/S, Box 12, folder 33, #7B. A young Laurence Jones is in the upper-left.

At first, the faculty taught adults and children together; there was no organized class system. By 1918, the school was divided into grades, including an elementary school. From 1923 through the early 1950s, the elementary students were taught at the Rosenwald Elementary School on the Piney Woods campus. The elementary school was discontinued in the early 1980s, revived with a pre-kindergarten program and discontinued again in 1995.

MDAH Collection. “Girls Dormitory 1931” Dulaney Hall. Call Number: Z/2111.000/S, Box 12, folder 33, #32.

Piney Woods grew during the early twentieth century through a combination of self-sufficiency, private contributions, and effective public relations. The students and faculty built the first buildings at Piney Woods, quarrying limestone and making bricks. The family of George W. Dulaney of Iowa contributed funds for the construction of a girls’ dormitory. The building, completed in 1921, was named Dulaney Hall in honor of the family.

MDAH Collection. “Pine Straw Baskets and Rag Rugs” (ca. 1931). Call Number: Z/2111.000/S, Box 12, folder 33, #10A.

Under Jones, who stressed the dignity of labor, Piney Woods focused on academic subjects that could be applied practically to agriculture and the mastery of two or three trades. Girls as well as boys were taught practical skills. Grace Morris Allen Jones (wife of Laurence C. Jones) taught English and handicrafts, such as sewing and weaving, at the school. Jones also organized activities for women in the community, including a Mother’s Club, which taught the women of the area housekeeping methods, sewing, childcare, and nutritional practices.

Sources:

Day, Beth. The Little Professor of Piney Woods: The Story of Professor Laurence Jones. New York: Julian Messner, Inc., 1955.

Harrison, Alferdteen B. Piney Woods School: An Oral History. Jackson, Miss.: University Press of Mississippi, 1982.

Piney Woods School. “History of the Piney Woods School,” 2007. Online <http://www.pineywoods.org/about/history.asp>. (accessed June 21, 2010).

Purcell, Leslie Harper. Miracle in Mississippi: Laurence C. Jones of Piney Woods. New York: Comet Press Books, 1956.