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Collection Title: Byrd (Jesse M.) Collection

Collection Number: M330

Dates: 1947, 1951

Volume: 25 items

Provenance: Transferred from the Mississippiana Vertical File on August 15, 1988.

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

Jesse M. Byrd was born in Greene county, Mississippi in 1896. He attended Mississippi Normal College, graduating in 1917. He also attended the University of Mississippi. He served in World War I, and afterwards practiced law, and worked as prosecuting attorney for Greene County. Byrd served as state representative from Greene County from 1937 to 1940, and as state senator from 1941 to c.1947.
Byrd made two unsuccessful bids for the governorship, in 1947 and 1951. Both campaigns were based on support for local option control of alcohol, and on taxes to compel oil companies to refine crude oil drilled in Mississippi inside the state. Byrd planned to use revenue derived from alcohol and oil to fund various improvements in the state, such as higher teacher salaries and improved roads. From 1951 to 1955, he served as the 16th District Chancery Judge.

Scope and Content:

The collection consists of five folders of materials pertaining to the 1947 and 1951 gubernatorial campaigns of Jesse M. Byrd. The contents are as follows:

Folder 1: "Campaign Platforms." This folder contains a copy of Byrd's 1947 platform, and a note indicating that the platform was well received by Dr. William D. McCain, who at the time was Director of the Mississippi DepartmenArchives and History. The folder also contains an undated campaign advertisement.

Folder 2: "Campaign materials." Folder 2 contains two undated fliers announcing political rallies; three copies of a 1951 campaign advertisement; a poem written for the 1951 campaign; a copy of The Restaurant Review of June, 1951, containing a Byrd advertisement; two undated campaign pamphlets, one undated campaign handbill; and three undated campaign posters.

Folder 3: "Speech of Judge Zelma Price." This folder contains a speech by Judge Zelma Price of Greenville, Mississippi, in favor of local option control of alcohol. It was used by Byrd in the 1951 campaign.

Folder 4: "Campaign Poem." Folder 4 contains the original text, and a handwritten copy of a poem written by Mrs. Otis E. Hart, Sr. of Hattiesburg on August 8, 1951.

Folder 5: "Letters from voters." This folder contains four letters expressing consolation to Byrd upon his loss of the 1951 campaign. Two of the letters are dated August 20, 1951, and are from H. Hinton and Mr. and Mrs. Fred J. Marble. A third letter is from Charles G. Hamilton, and is dated August 13. The fourth document is dated August 24, and is from E.B. Taylor.

This collection would be of special interest to researchers interested in Mississippi politics.

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