The University of Southern Mississippi -- McCain Library and Archives
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1. Overview of the Collection
Repository: McCain Library and Archives, The University of Southern Mississippi
Creator: Whitten, Mary Lillian Peters, 1902-1993
Collection Number: M495
Collection Title: Peters (Mary Lillian) Papers
Size: 29 items
Language: Materials in the collection are in English.
Collection Status: Fully processed
Mary Lillian Peters was a music educator who graduated from Mississippi Normal College (now The University of Southern Mississippi) in 1923. The collection contains mementos of her college days including church bulletins, YWCA “helpful Hints”, music recital programs, and Mississippi Normal College historical items. Items date range from 1921-1925.
3. Biographical/Historical Note
Mary Lillian Peters was born on November 27, 1902 in Mashulaville, Mississippi, to Charles Perry Peters (1869-1914) and Pauline Elizabeth Glenn Peters (1866-1941).
Charles Peters was a cotton farmer and served as deacon of Elim (Mashulaville) Baptist Church for seven years before his death in 1914. Pauline Peters served as Sunday school teacher in the Mashulaville Baptist Church. Mary Lillian Peters was the fourth of five children (the first died in infancy).
Peters began her formal education in the public schools in Macon County, Mississippi at the age of four. At age fifteen, Peters took the teacher’s examination and left home for her first teaching position in Walnut Lake, Mississippi. Peters graduated high school in 1918, and, in September 1920, began her college education at Mississippi Normal College (now The University of Southern Mississippi). Her first year of undergraduate studies was subsidized by a concerned relative, and her later years by Mr. B.B. Jones, Mississippi philanthropist. Peters resided in Hattiesburg Hall, then a girl’s dormitory, and studied education and music. Peters was heavily involved in the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) and received a scholarship to attend Blue Ridge, North Carolina conference in the summer of 1921 and returned again for the YWCA conference in the summer of 1922. Peters graduated from Mississippi Normal College in 1923. She later studied at Mississippi State University and the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.
Peters spent more than 38 years teaching in Mississippi public schools including Walnut Lake in Tunica County, Cooksville-Paulette in Noxubee County, Wilkinson County Agricultural High School in Woodville, Harrison-Stone-Jackson AHS and Junior College in Perkinston, and Rosedale Consolidate School in Bolivar County. Thirty-six and a half years were spent as a music educator. Peters is credited with introducing Band, orchestra, piano and choral work to the public school in Macon, and organizing the first orchestra at Ridgecrest (N.C.) Baptist Assembly and in Chatooga, Georgia.
Peters notable service roles include President of the Woman’s Missionary Union of her Church (1942), President of the Mississippi Piano Teachers (MEA) Group (1960-1961), and twice President of the Lyric Club. Peters was also a member of the Huguenot Society, American Clan Gregor Society, and Magna Charta Dames. Peters was 1974 “Woman of the Year” Macon-Noxubee Co. Chamber of Commerce.
Peters married George Creswell Ogden June 12, 1932. They had two children, Lieutenant Colonel George Creswell Ogden Jr. (b. January 1, 1935) and Charlotte Glenn Ogden Kirby (b. June 15, 1939). Peters married a second time to Walter Wood Whitten (b. September 21, 1887 d. September 2, 1973) on November 24, 1949.
Mary Lillian Peters Whitten died on April 14, 1993.
A scholarship is set up in her honor to students studying music in the College of Arts and Letters at The University of Southern Mississippi.
4. Scope and Content Note
The collection contains mementos of Mary Lillian Peters’ college career at Mississippi Normal College, now The University of Southern Mississippi. Materials include recital programs, church bulletins, YMCA/YWCA “Helpful Hints”, student government constitution and by-laws, cheerleader yells, YWCA membership card, a State Teachers College financial statement, and recital invitation. The materials date primarily from 1921-1925.
Resources are arranged alphabetically by subject, then chronologically within subject. Subjects include Church bulletins, Mississippi Normal College history, Mississippi Normal College Music programs, and other music programs.
6. Related Material
Related collections at the University of Southern Mississippi include:
Copies of “Normal College News” (1921-1924), “Teachers College News” (1924-1925), and 1 copy of the SGA Constitution & By-laws were removed and transferred to University Archives, Record Group 32.
7. Administrative Information
Provenance: Donated by Charlotte Kirby via USM Office of the President in 1996.
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 Information: Collection processed and finding aid written by Elizabeth La Beaud, May 2015.
Mrs. Mary Lillian Peters (Ogden) Whitten Oral History Interview, transcript call number F341.5 .M57x vol. 56 (McCain Library).
Peters, Vaughan, Russell, and Related Families by Eddie Inez Peters Holloman and Mary Lillian Peters Whitten (Grenada, Miss.: E.I.P. Holloman, 1980), McCain Library, call number CS71 .P48 1980.
8. Item List
9. Publication Information
Publisher: 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: http://lib.usm.edu/askalibrarian/
Revision Date: Last revised: May 4, 2015