Tomato Sandwich Day!

On June 27, 2013, in Archives, by Dorian Randall
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In honor of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History’s annual Tomato Sandwich Day, here is a Mississippi tomato crate label. Many thanks to Nan Prince, Assistant Director of Collections for the Museum Division, for sharing this fun artifact.

Mississippi Tomato Crate Label, circa 1911. Accession number: 1985.70.4 (Museum of Mississippi History Collection)

Mississippi Tomato Crate Label, circa 1911. Accession number: 1985.70.4 (Museum of Mississippi History Collection)

Civil War Sesquicentennial: Today in 1862

On September 12, 2012, in Artifacts, by Amanda
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The Mississippi Civil War Sesquicentennial continues and in the coming months we will be highlighting Museum Division collections related to 1862 and the Civil War. Special thanks to Nan Prince, Asst. Director of Collections, for writing this series.

Figure of a Bible carved by Alexander A. Lomax, 12th Mississippi Infantry. Accession Number: 1967.1.1 (Museum Division Collection)

Figure of a Bible carved by Alexander A. Lomax, 12th Mississippi Infantry. Accession Number: 1967.1.1 (Museum Division Collection)

This figure of a Bible was carved by Alexander A. Lomax who served as a private in Company I, 12th Mississippi Infantry. According to his service records, Lomax was taken as a prisoner of war in Frederick, Maryland, on September 12, 1862, and was admitted to the USA General Hospital No. 1 in Frederick. Family tradition states that this Bible was carved while Lomax was in an Army hospital so it was most likely carved in Frederick. Lomax was exchanged from Fort Delaware on November 10, 1862, and later became a chaplain in the 16th Mississippi Infantry. He was paroled at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, on April 9, 1865, and served as a pastor in Clinton, Mississippi, after the war. Lomax’s diary and notebook from his service as chaplain in the 16th Mississippi can be found in the archives collection, click here to view the catalog record.

Artifacts from the Museum Division collection that are not on exhibit are available for viewing by appointment. Please contact Nan Prince, Assistant Director of Collections, by email to schedule an appointment.

Nan Prince, Assistant Director of Collections in the MDAH Museum Division, brings us this post about interesting artifacts in the collection.

Sales tax tokens. Accession Numbers: 1966.13.2, 1966.13.3, 1966.13.8, 1966.13.9 (Museum Division Collection)

Sales tax tokens. Accession Numbers: 1966.13.2, 1966.13.3, 1966.13.8, 1966.13.9 (Museum Division Collection)

In order to ease Mississippi’s $13 million deficit, Governor Martin Connor (1891-1950) proposed and the legislature passed the state’s first sales tax in 1932. Beginning in 1936, merchants used tax tokens to make change for the newly levied sales tax.  The first ones were one-mill and five-mill tokens made of aluminum and brass. However, due to the shortage of metal during World War II, the material used to make the tokens was changed from metal to fiber and then later to plastic.  The state abolished the use of tax tokens in 1952. Pictured above are examples of tax tokens made from 1936 to 1952.

Artifacts from the Museum Division collection that are not on exhibit are available for viewing by appointment. Please contact Nan Prince, Assistant Director of Collections, by email to schedule an appointment.

Sources:

MDAH, “May 1, 1932: State sales tax of 2% goes into effect on retail goods,” Mississippi History Timeline, http://mdah.state.ms.us/timeline/zone/1932/.

V.B. Wheeless, The Sales Tax Token in Mississippi, Mississippi State Tax Commission.

Civil War Sesquicentennial: Today in 1862

On April 6, 2012, in Artifacts, by Amanda
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The Mississippi Civil War Sesquicentennial continues and in the coming months we will be highlighting Museum Division collections related to 1862 and the Civil War. Special thanks to Nan Prince, Asst. Director of Collections, for writing this series.

Civil War battle flag. Accession Number: 1960.202.1 (Museum Division Collection)

Civil War battle flag. Accession Number: 1960.202.1 (Museum Division Collection)

The Battle of Shiloh in southern Tennessee began on April 6, 1862, and became the bloodiest battle of the Civil War up to that point with almost 24,000 casualties. This flag, which has been stored in the candy jar since before it was sent to the Department of Archives and History in the early 1900s, was reputedly carried by the 6th Mississippi Regiment during the battle. A label inside the jar with the flag states that seven color-bearers were killed or wounded while carrying this flag during the battle. The 6th Mississippi sustained horrific casualties during the first day’s fighting at Shiloh. According to General Cleburne’s report in the Official Records, the 6th suffered 300 casualties of the 425 men it carried into the battle, earning the unit the nickname of the “Bloody Sixth.”

Sword of scabbard of Col. John J. Thornton, carried at Shiloh. Accession Number: 1960.131.1ab (Museum Division Collection)

Sword of scabbard of Col. John J. Thornton, carried at Shiloh. Accession Number: 1960.131.1ab (Museum Division Collection)

Colonel John Jones Thornton commanded the 6th Mississippi at the Battle of Shiloh. A Unionist, Thornton was sent by Rankin County to the Secession Convention  in January 1861, and, though it overwhelmingly passed, he refused to sign the Ordinance of Secession. However, once Mississippi seceded, Thornton was an ardent supporter of his state. He reorganized the Rankin Guards into the Rankin Greys and when they joined the 6th Mississippi, he was elected colonel of the regiment and led them into battle at Shiloh. While carrying the sword and scabbard pictured above, Thornton was critically wounded on the first day of the battle. The scabbard has been patched where it was perforated by a bullet. Due to his injuries, Thornton was forced to resign his commission on May 25, 1862.

Now on Display

This flag is currently on display through April 29, 2012, in the exhibit A Walk Through History in the Old Capitol Museum. Hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 9-5 and Sunday 1-5 p.m.

Artifacts from the Museum Division collection that are not on exhibit are available for viewing by appointment. Please contact Nan Prince, Assistant Director of Collections, by email to schedule an appointment.

Sources:

Grady Howell, Jr., “Col. John Jones Thornton, M.D.: A Sparrow Along Upon the Housetop” (1988), from the personal papers of the author.

Robert N. Scott (United States War Dept.), The War of the Rebellion, Series 1: Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, vol. 10, part 1 (Gettysburg, PA: The National Historical Society, 1972), 580-84.

National Park Service, Shiloh National Military Park website, http://www.nps.gov/shil/historyculture/shiloh.htm.

Artifacts: WREC Radio Microphone

On March 6, 2012, in Artifacts, by Amanda
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Nan Prince, Assistant Director of Collections in the MDAH Museum Division, wrote this post about interesting artifacts in the collection.

WREC Radio microphone. Accession Number: 1975.11.2 (Museum Division Collection)

WREC Radio microphone. Accession Number: 1975.11.2 (Museum Division Collection)

On September 22, 1922, KFNG Radio began broadcasting out of the home of S.D. Wooten in Coldwater, Mississipppi. Started by his son, Hoyt B. Wooten, using a handmade 10-watt transmitter, KFNG was the first commercial broadcasting station in Mississippi. In 1925, the Wooten family opened Wooten’s Radio Electric Company in the lobby of the newly constructed Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis, where they sold radio equipment during the week, and broadcast from Coldwater on the weekends. A year later they moved KFNG to the Memphis suburb of Whitehaven, Tennessee, and changed the call letters to WREC after the name of their store. WREC continued to grow and expand and became an important part of mid-south communications through radio and later television.

Artifacts from the Museum Division collection that are not on exhibit are available for viewing by appointment. Please contact Nan Prince, Assistant Director of Collections, by email to schedule an appointment.

Source: Sign-On: The First 50 Years of WREC Radio (Memphis, TN: WREC Radio, September 22, 1972).