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1. Overview of the Collection
2. Subjects
3. Biographical/Historical Note
4. Scope and Content Note
5. Arrangement
6. Related Material
7. Administrative Information
8. Container List
9. Item List
Photograph Log
Artifact Log
10. Publication Information


1. Overview of the Collection


McCain Library and Archives, The University of Southern Mississippi


Thigpen, S. G., Sr., 1890-1981

Collection Number


Collection Title

Thigpen (S. G., Sr.) Papers


38 cubic feet




1899-1996 and undated

Collection Status

Fully processed


S. G. Thigpen, Sr. of Picayune, Mississippi, was an area entrepreneur, historian, and writer who operated from his hardware store from 1919 to his death in 1981. The collection contains financial records, personal papers, essays, photographs, scrapbooks, sound recordings and newspaper articles of Thigpen's life and the Pearl River County, Mississippi area.

2. Subjects

Pearl River County, Mississippi (United States)

Picayune, Mississippi (United States)

Thigpen Hardware Company


Sound Recordings

Timber Industry – United States


3. Biographical/Historical Note

Samuel Grady Thigpen, Sr. was born August 18, 1890 to Samuel Forrest Thigpen and Julia Arledge Thigpen in Lake Como, Jasper County, Mississippi. His father was a part time newspaper publisher. The oldest of nine children, Thigpen had 3 brothers (Judson Arledge, Silas Forrest, Willie Freydis) and 5 sisters (Lois, Viva V., Hilda Emma, Anna Lee, Julia K.).

In 1912, Thigpen graduated from Mississippi College and became the principal of the high school in Poplarville, Mississippi. In 1916, he became the bookkeeper at the lumber mill owned by L. O. Crosby in Picayune, Mississippi. He was drafted into World War I in 1918 and spent very little time at Camp Shelby in Forrest County, arriving a month before the war ended.

Thigpen married Lorena Tate on April 17, 1917. The two had three children, Monroe Tate born in 1918 and twins Samuel Grady Thigpen, Jr and Analynn Thigpen Holloway born 1924.

In March of 1919, Thigpen opened the Thigpen-Whitfield Hardware Company (later just the Thigpen Hardware Company) in Picayune, Mississippi with business partner B. Whitfield.

Between 1919 and 1960, Thigpen ran the hardware store and expanded into real estate and the tung business. He also became a founder and first president of the First National Bank of Picayune, a radio broadcaster and local historian. The Thigpen Store News, a publication that contained local history and articles written by Thigpen as well as free want ads for the public, ran for over 57 years.

Throughout the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, Thigpen was a large promoter of tung trees in the Pearl River County area. The Thigpen Real Estate Company dealt in land for this purpose and the hardware store sold tung oil paint.

After retiring in 1960, Thigpen devoted his time to collecting his local history articles into books. He published seven books: Ninety and One Years (credited to his mother, Julia Arledge Thigpen, but collected and published by S. G. Thigpen, Sr. in 1965), Next Door to Heaven (1965), Pearl River: Highway to Glory Land (1965), A Boy In Rural Mississippi and Other Stories (1966), How Being Different Paid Off (1969), Work and Play in Grandpa's Day (1969), and Old Days and Old Ways (1975)

Thigpen passed away on December 25, 1981 at the age of 91 at the Lucius Olen Crosby Memorial Hospital in Picayune, Mississippi of respiratory arrest and pneumonia.

4. Scope and Content Note

The collection contains the financial and personal writings of S. G. Thigpen, Sr. and the Thigpen Hardware Store as well as book proofs, photographs, newspapers, scrapbooks, and sound recordings. The materials date from 1899-1996 and document the life and culture of southern Mississippi, primarily Picayune and Pearl River County.

Thigpen's collection is mostly letter and legal sized papers of personal and financial documents. The financial documents have been grouped by type (deeds, bank statements, check stubs, etc.) and organized by date. The personal documents consist of stories, cards, and other manuscripts penned by Thigpen. The manuscripts were grouped according to appearance in Thigpen's books along with the prints of said books unless otherwise noted as being oversized.

The 657 photographs in the collection are of the following sizes: 3.75x4.5, 5x7, 8x10, 4.5x6, 3x4, 8.5x11, 3x3.5, 2.75x4.5, 5.5x4.25, 3.75x6, 5.5x1.75, 4.5x3, 5.75x3.5, 4.5x6.5, 2.5x3.5, 2.5x4.5, 5x3.5, 4x6, 6.75 x 4.5, 6 x 3.5 and 4.5x2.75. Photographs are mostly black and white prints with a number of sepia and negatives.

The newspapers have been photocopied from local papers of Southern Mississippi including the Picayune Item, the Jackson Daily News and others from the 1940s to the 1980s. Also notable are photographed copies of the Thigpen Store News from the 1940s to 1960s.

Four scrapbooks are included in the collection. Three were taken apart due to deterioration of them and the items they included. The layouts were photographed before processing, then newspaper clippings were photocopied, photographs were added to the photograph collection, and various other items were set aside.

Sound recordings of Thigpen's radio program are in the collection, including 22 reel to reel, 148 cassettes, and 1 compact disc that have been digitized from the reel to reel tapes labeled using the original labels.

5. Arrangement

The materials were organized into personal, business, photographs, media and oversized materials. The personal papers were organized by Thigpen's own writings beginning with the books and the stories therein and followed by other writings and stories as they appeared in the collection.

Financial documents such as bank statements and check stubs were arranged according to type in chronological order.

Photographs were arranged in order of appearance in scrapbooks and by subject where possible.

Media such as reel to reel tapes and cassette tapes are arranged by item type, date, then subject when available.

Oversized materials include copies of newspapers, scrapbooks, maps, artifacts and other items found in the collection. Newspapers were arranged by publication and publication date when possible. The scrapbooks were processed, photocopied and kept in original order. Artifacts were boxed and added to the collection. Maps and miscellaneous items are cross-referenced with their original locations and placed into size appropriate boxes and folder or in a map case.

6. Related Material

Related collections at the University of Southern Mississippi include:

Books referenced in this collection by S. G. Thigpen catalogued in the Mississippiana Collection are:

  • Boy in Rural Mississippi and Other Stories (1966)
  • How Being Different Paid Off (1969)
  • Next Door to Heaven (1965)
  • Ninety and One Years (1965)
  • Old Days and Old Ways (1975)
  • Pearl River – Highway to Glory Land (1965)
  • Work and Play in Grandpa's Day (1969)

7. Administrative Information


  • Donated by Tommy Thigpen in 1997.
  • Donated by Ruth Walker in 2000 and 2001.
  • Donated by Analynn Thigpen Holloway in 2000.

Use Restrictions

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

Reproduction of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Provision of photocopies or digital reproductions does not constitute permission to publish, distribute, provide internet access to, or otherwise display images of materials in this collection. Copyright is retained by the lawful copyright holder, and it is the responsibility of the permission seeker to contact and secure permission from the copyright holder. Where copyright permission is not granted, images are only for use in private study subject to the Fair Use exceptions made in U.S. Copyright Law.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Preferred Citation Method

In citing these materials, the following information should be included:

Item, title of collection, McCain Library and Archives, The University of Southern Mississippi.


Processing of this collection was sponsored by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Processing Information

Collection processed and finding aid written by Evan Williamson, February 2013.

8. Container List

Container List.


9. Item List

Photograph Log

Photo Log Available.


Artifact Log







Moore-Handley Hardware Company, Inc. Pocket Protector


Item is 6 inch x 3.25 inch in a 9 inch x 6 inch archival envelope



Photograph Printing Block


Item is 5.5 inch x 4 inch x 1 inch in a legal size archival folder



Metal "seal" stamp


Item is approximately 5 inch x 2 inch x 8.5 inch



10. Publication Information



The University of Southern Mississippi Libraries, Special Collections


Physical Address

The University of Southern Mississippi Libraries
McCain Library & Archives
118 College Drive #5148
Hattiesburg, MS 39406-5148

Email Contact

To email, go to:

Revision date

Last revised: February 25, 2013


Prepared and maintained by
The University of Southern Mississippi Libraries Special Collections
118 College Drive #5148   Hattiesburg, MS 39406-5148