We will be exploring Mississippi’s rich aviation history in this series. From early flight photographs to the moon landing and beyond, MDAH collections document this exciting part of our past.

"Aviator Fowler Passing over Gulfport, Miss." Cooper Collection. Call Number: PI/1992.0001 (MDAH)

"Aviator Fowler Passing over Gulfport, Miss." Cooper Collection. Call Number: PI/1992.0001 (MDAH)

The “Aviator Fowler” described in the caption of this postcard is Robert G. Fowler who flew via the Gulf Coast while attempting to make the first transcontinental flight in 1912.1 Fowler started the trip in California, but crashed his plane and while it was being repaired another aviator completed the flight. Despite this setback, Fowler continued his journey, arriving in New Orleans on December 31, 1911. He flew to Pass Christian on January 4, 1912 and the next day, flew over Gulfport on his way to Biloxi. Local newspapers covered the flight:

From The Daily Herald, January 5, 1912, page 1. Microfilm #29251 (MDAH).

From The Daily Herald, January 5, 1912, page 1. Microfilm #29251 (MDAH).

Fowler performed a short exhibition in Biloxi before flying on to Pascagoula. The Daily Herald said:

This is the first aviation exhibition ever seen in Biloxi, and aside from its spectacular features, it is highly educational as aviation is undoubtedly the newest conquest of man over the elements and one of the greatest sports in the world, representing not only a scientific triumph but a great deal of courage and hardihood on the part of those who pilot the air-craft.2

Fowler was flying a Wright airplane with a thirty-five horse power engine, open cockpit, and a twenty-four gallon fuel tank! He planned to attempt a transatlantic flight after reaching New York, and for that he said he would need a one hundred gallon fuel tank. He told a reporter that “The weather is very cold to fly now and my fingers are frost bitten from yesterday’s flight.”3

Fowler would become the first person to fly across the United States from west to east when he reached the Atlantic a few weeks after leaving the Mississippi Gulf Coast.4

Sources:

The Daily Herald, 8/28/1911-1/10/1912. MDAH microfilm #29251. This newspaper covered Biloxi and Gulfport.

Forrest Lamar Cooper, “Fowler was first: nine years after Kitty Hawk, the first flier touched down on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast,” Mississippi Magazine 23, no. 5 (May/June 2005), 25-30, 126. On file at MDAH.


1 Forrest Lamar Cooper, from whose collection this postcard was scanned described its provenance in Mississippi Magazine: “Gulfport novelty shop owner E.J. Younghans, ever the entrepreneur, had a photographer ready atop the Gulf and Ship Island Railroad headquarters building. A photo taken by the photographer, perhaps the only one professionally taken, was made into a postcard that became a popular seller for months.” (May/June 2005), 27.

2 “Fowler Faces Head Wind Delays Departure East,” The Daily Herald, January 6, 1912. page 4. MDAH microfilm #29251.

3 “Fowler in Biloxi,” The Daily Herald, January 6, 1912, page 4. MDAH microfilm #29251.

4 Cal Rodgers, the aviator who completed the first transcontinental flight shortly before Fowler, flew from east to west.

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More Maps Online

On June 9, 2011, in Digital Archives, Maps, by Amanda
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"A new and accurate map of East and West Florida," 1763-1765. Call Number: MA/94.0004(a) MDAH Collection

“A new and accurate map of East and West Florida,” 1763-1765. Call Number: MA/94.0004(a) MDAH Collection

Check out these maps that were recently digitized! Click the map link to view the map or click the “catalog record” link to view each map’s catalog record.

A new and accurate map of East and West Florida, 1763-1765. Call number MA/94.0004(a), pictured above. Or view the catalog record.

A New Map of  Mississippi, 1849?. Call number MA/92.0183(a). Or view the catalog record.

Colton’s Mississippi, 1855. Call number MA/92.0176(a). Or view the catalog record.

LinkLa Floride divisee en Floride et Caroline, 1749. Call number MA/94.0005(a). Or view the catalog record.

LinkAlabama, Mississippi, Louisiana & Arkansas Territory, 1828. MA/94.0017(a). Or view the catalog record.

Mississippi, 1827. Call number MA/94.0018(a). Or view the catalog record.

Mississippi, ca. 1828-1830. Call number MA/94.0019(a). Or view the catalog record.

LinkTownship no. 24 range no. 1 west (Tallahatchie County, Miss.), 1834. Call number MA/94.0020(a). Or view the catalog record.

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This two-part series brings you photographs from the Hugh Lawson White Photograph Collection, comprising thirty-eight black and white prints of various scenes of White, and his gubernatorial administrations (1936-1940 and 1952-1956). The collection has been digitized and is available to view online.

 Governor Hugh White (second from left) and four unidentified gentlemen during White’s first administration. Call Number: PI/2002.0002 (MDAH Collection)

Governor Hugh White (second from left) and four unidentified gentlemen during White’s first administration. Call Number: PI/2002.0002, No. 1 (MDAH Collection)

Hugh L. White (1881-1965) was born in McComb and later lived in Columbia in Marion County, after the successful sawmill business started by his father moved to that city. White became president of the company, called J.J. White Lumber Company in 1909. He served three terms as mayor of Columbia, and gained fame for his ability to attract industrial companies to the county. White ran for governor of Mississippi on the success of these programs.

Mrs. Hugh White at ship christening ceremonies at Ingalls Shipyard, Pascagoula. Call Number: PI/2002.0002 (MDAH Collection)

Mrs. Hugh White at ship christening ceremonies at Ingalls Shipyard, Pascagoula. Call Number: PI/2002.0002, No. 26 (MDAH Collection)

White’s first administration (1936-1940) was notable for this type of initiative, named Balancing Agriculture with Industry (BAWI) after the state legislature adopted it in 1936. The program attracted companies such as the Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation to Mississippi through bond issues and tax breaks. He also sought to spur economic development through the expansion of the highway system, homestead exemptions on taxes, and diversification of the crops grown in the state.

After his first term as governor, White served one term in the state legislature from 1944-48. He would run for governor again in 1951.

Governor Hugh L. White and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Call Number: PI/2002.002 (MDAH Collection)

Franklin D. Roosevelt and Governor Hugh L. White. Call Number: PI/2002.002, No. 5 (MDAH Collection)

Sources:

Westley F. Busbee, Jr., Mississippi: A History (Wheeling, Illinois: Harlan Davidson, Inc., 2005), 234-37, 274-279.

David G. Sansing, “Hugh Lawson White: Forty-fifth and Fifty-first Governor of Mississippi: 1936-1940; 1952-1956,” Mississippi History Now (January 2004), http://mshistory.k12.ms.us/articles/265/index.php?s=extra&id=145 (accessed December 16, 2010).

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Editor’s Note: The blog has been neglecting the task of announcing additions to our digital holdings (usually non-digitized items that have recently been scanned). The rest of this month’s blog posts will be dedicated to updating readers about collections that are now available to view online!

Call Number: PI/STR/S42.9 Number 41 (MDAH Collection)

Call Number: PI/STR/S42.9 Number 41 (MDAH Collection)

This collection consists of forty-seven photographs documenting the construction of the sea wall along the Mississippi Gulf Coast from 1925-26. View the photographs through the “Seawall, construction of; Miss. Gulf Coast 1925-26 photograph collection” catalog record (PI/STR/S42.9). Click “Create set of down-linked records” to view the record of each image.

Call Number: PI/STR/S42.9 Number 12 (MDAH Collection)
Call Number: PI/STR/S42.9 Number 12 (MDAH Collection)
Call Number: PI/STR/S42.9 Number 13 (MDAH Collection)

Call Number: PI/STR/S42.9 Number 13 (MDAH Collection)

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More Maps Online

On April 14, 2011, in Digital Archives, Maps, by Amanda
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Editor’s Note: The blog has been neglecting the task of announcing additions to our digital holdings (usually non-digitized items that have recently been scanned). The next few posts will be dedicated to updating readers about collections that are now available to view online!

Map of Vicksburg Cut Off, Madison Parish, Ls., 1876. Call Number: MA/86.0025(b) MDAH Collection

Map of Vicksburg Cut Off, Madison Parish, Ls., 1876. Call Number: MA/86.0025(b) MDAH Collection

Link

View these maps as Zoomify JPEG files by clicking the links below:

Asher & Adams’ Louisiana and Mississippi, 1874. Call Number: MA/92.0147(b). Or view the catalog record.

LinkGray’s new map of Mississippi, 1878. Call Number: MA/92.0152(b). Or view the catalog record.

Map of Vicksburg Cut Off, Madison Parish, Ls., 1876. Call Number: MA/86.0025(b) pictured above. Or view the catalog record.

LinkOfficial map of the city of Biloxi, Miss., 1900. Call Number: MA/2003.0066(b). Or view the catalog record.

Vicksburg city map. Call Number: MA/2003.0198(b). Or view the catalog record.

LinkWeathersby, Simpson County, Mississippi city map. Call Number: MA/2003.0204(b). Or view the catalog record.

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