Unearthing the Advertising Commission Posters

On December 18, 2013, in Archives, Government Records, by Dorian Randall
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Chloe Edwards, of the Government Records Section, brings us this post in an ongoing series about Mississippi Advertising Commission posters. Many thanks to Ms. Edwards for sharing these fun artifacts.

 

A Mississippi Advertising Commission poster. Series 552, MDAH.

A Mississippi Advertising Commission poster. Series 552, MDAH.

Government records staff at MDAH were aware that Series 552 of the Mississippi Advertising Commission Records contained many oversized items. Because the series had been minimally processed, it remained unexamined until the processing backlog had shrunk. It was then that they found this set of posters, in excellent condition despite being over seventy-five years old.

Series 552 also contains a set of feature stories produced by the Advertising Commission on different aspects of the state, including forestry, cotton, show horses, the Natchez pilgrimage, and winter legumes, which ran every other week from July 1938 to September 1939; an industrial promotion kit intended for use by local civic clubs or chambers of commerce promoting bond issues to finance industrial development in their town, which includes a set of posters plus cartoons and a feature story to be run in the local newspaper; and a set of copper printing plates used to produce the Commission’s “Historical Mississippi” brochure, although the brochure cover plate depicts a different design than that depicted on the brochure in this series.

 

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Chloe Edwards, of the Government Records Section, brings us this post in an ongoing series about Mississippi Advertising Commission posters. Many thanks to Ms. Edwards for sharing these fun artifacts.

A Mississippi Advertising Commission poster

A Mississippi Advertising Commission poster wishing all a Happy Thanksgiving. Series 552, MDAH

In 1936, the Mississippi legislature established the Advertising Commission as part of the Balance Agriculture with Industry (BAWI) program, championed by Governor Hugh White. The Commission promoted the BAWI and the state by encouraging Mississippians to pass bond issues to finance construction of industrial facilities. It also promoted Mississippi as an attractive destination for outside investment in industry and tourism. The Commission remained active until 1940, when its enabling legislation was repealed.

The posters strike two notes. The first highlights benefits of the program, including jobs, cash wages, and increased prosperity, and the hard work necessary to make the program successful. The second theme promotes Mississippi to outsiders. Conscious of the state’s reputation as poor and limited, a set of state maps advertises its schools, agricultural riches, history, literature, and recreational opportunities. The posters appear to have been intended for publication as full page newspaper ads.

 

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The BAWI and Conflict

On January 22, 2013, in Archives, Government Records, by Dorian Randall
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Chloe Edwards, of the Government Records Section, brings us this post in an ongoing series about Mississippi Advertising Commission posters. Many thanks to Ms. Edwards for sharing these fun artifacts.

A Mississippi Advertising Commission poster depicting the state's industries. Series 552, MDAH.

A Mississippi Advertising Commission poster depicting the state’s industries. Series 552, MDAH.

The unspoken assumption of the program was that white Mississippians would get new industrial jobs, while the African-American population remained the backbone of the state’s agricultural system. Mississippi’s new industrial workers were not offered legal protection in the form of minimum wages, unions, or worker’s compensation laws. In fact, the cheapness and compliance of the Mississippi workforce was touted as an advantage for companies seeking to escape heavily unionized Northern states. Some companies abused the training programs. Most notably was the Vertex Hosiery Company in Ellisville, where groups of students were rotated through unpaid “training programs” at the plant and then told they could not be hired, while the items they manufactured were sold.

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The Balance Agriculture with Industry Program

On January 15, 2013, in Archives, Government Records, by Dorian Randall
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Chloe Edwards, of the Government Records Section, brings us this post in an ongoing series about Mississippi Advertising Commission posters. Many thanks to Ms. Edwards for sharing these fun artifacts.

A Mississippi Advertising Commission poster championing the program. Series 552, MDAH.

A Mississippi Advertising Commission poster championing the program. Series 552, MDAH.

A Mississippi version of the New Deal, the BAWI program sponsored local industrial initiatives that would be mostly financed and wholly administered by the local authorities. Before it could be passed, BAWI had to overcome a hurdle. The 1890 Constitution forbade state investment in private companies. The authors of the BAWI bill appealed to the constitution’s general welfare clause on the recommendation of Jackson lawyers. They argued that the bill was a “necessity to protect [the] people” in the midst of the Great Depression. The bill passed in a special session in late 1936.

Source:

Connie L. Lester, “Balancing Agriculture with Industry: Capital, Labor and the Public Good in Mississippi’s Homegrown New Deal,” Journal of Mississippi History 70, no. 3 (2008).

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Mississippi Legislature Photographs Online

On September 19, 2012, in Photographs, by Amanda
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"Albert Y. Woodward, Winston Co., House." Call Number: PI/POL/1982.0014, item 93 (MDAH Collection)

"Albert Y. Woodward, Winston Co., House." Call Number: PI/POL/1982.0014, item 93 (MDAH Collection)

This collection (PI/POL/1982.0014) includes 145 images of members of the Mississippi legislature. Pictured above is Albert Y. Woodward who served in the House from 1923 until his death in 1925. He was married to Ellen Sullivan Woodward (1887-1971), a former Mississippi legislator who worked for federal relief agencies in the 1930s under President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The images are linked to their online catalog records. Access them by searching for “PI/POL/1982.0014″ in the online catalog.

Sources:

“Woodward, Albert Y.,” subject file, MDAH.

Martha H. Swain, “Women’s Work Relief in the Great Depression,” Mississippi History Now (February 2004), http://mshistorynow.mdah.state.ms.us/articles/251/womens-work-relief-in-the-great-depression.

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