Sources of Biographical Information About Mississippians

This list focuses upon sources which are unique for their coverage of the geographical area of Mississippi and either contain biographical information, or may be helpful in locating biographical information on Mississippians. Most sources in this list are available in Special Collections located in McCain Library and Archives. However, there are several which are located in Cook Library. Each listing contains a library call number in brackets, such as [MISS J87 .M782].

Items prefaced with "Miss", "Spcol", and "Gen" are available for use in the Cleanth Brooks Reading Room of the McCain Library. Items prefaced with "Cook" are located in Cook Library. This is only a selected list. Additional materials may be found in oral histories, the vertical file, and in holdings of the University Archives and Historical Manuscripts department. If information is sought on a contemporary individual who specialized in a particular field or profession, the numerous biographical dictionaries and who's whos published on these subjects should also be consulted.


Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Mississippi. 2 volumes. Chicago: Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1891. Includes biographical information for many Mississippians living prior to 1890. [GEN F 341 .B6 1978 Vol. 1 & 2] An index is shelved separately [GEN F 341 .B61 Index] and an abstract was prepared by Norman E. Gillis in 1961 [GEN F 341 .B61 Suppl]

 Biographical and Genealogy Master Index. 2nd edition. Detroit: Gale Research, 1980. 8 volumes plus supplements. Index to more than 3,200,000 biographical sketches in over 350 current and retrospective biographical dictionaries. [COOK Z 5305 .U5 B56] Also available online at:

Book of Three States; Notable Men of Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee. Memphis: Commercial Appeal Publishing Co., 1914. Includes biographical sketches of more than 250 notable men from the three state area prior to 1914. Portraits are included for the majority of entries. [Miss F396 .B72]

Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations From the State of Mississippi. 427 rolls of 16mm microfilm. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1959. Microfilm copies of each soldiers' compiled service records which may include information such as the individual's muster roll, rosters, payroll, appointment books, hospital and prison registers, inspection reports and at times, various other records. [Miss Micro E 568 .U5x]. Use with the Index to Compiled Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations From the State of Mississippi. 45 rolls of 16mm microfilm. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1956. [Miss Micro E568 .U5x].

Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the War of 1812 in Organizations from the Territory of Mississippi. Number M678, 22 rolls of 16mm microfilm. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1967. [Miss Micro E359.5 .M7 C65x] (See index by Dunbar Rowland below)

Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the Mexican War in Organizations from the State of Mississippi. Number M863, 9 rolls of 16mm microfilm. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1971. [Miss Micro E409.5 .M7 C65x] (See index by Dunbar Rowland below)

 Kelly, Thomas E. Who's Who in Mississippi. Jackson, MS: Tucker Printing House, 1914. More than a hundred biographical sketches (most with photographs) of notable Mississippians in 1914. Indexed. [Miss F340 W46 1914]

McCain, William D. The Story of Jackson; A History of the Capital of Mississippi, 1821-1951. 2 volumes, Jackson, MS: J.F. Hyer Publishing Company, 1953. Volume 2 contains more than 500 biographical sketches for men and women who were "Builders of the Capital of Mississippi." A great many of these are for people who were prominent [Miss F349 .J13 M325x]

Mississippi Oral History Program of the University of Southern Mississippi. The Mississippi Oral History Program of the University of Southern Mississippi records memories and views of events, personalities, and activities in the history of Mississippi by interviewing people with knowledge of these events. [Miss F341.5 M57x Vol.]

 Rand, Clayton. Men of Spine in Mississippi. Gulfport, MS: The Dixie Press, 1940. [Miss F340 R32] Rand includes only selected influential men in the history of the state.

Rowland, Dunbar. Biographical Guide to the Mississippi Hall of Fame. Jackson, MS: Mississippi Department of Archives and History, 1935. [Miss F340 R86]

Rowland, Dunbar. Encyclopedia of Mississippi History. Madison, WI: Selwyn A. Brant, 1907. 4 volumes. Volumes 1 and 2 are arranged alphabetically and entries include short biographical sketches of Mississippi-related individuals. Volume 3 is entirely devoted to biographical sketches of contemporary individuals as of 1907. Index of Volume 4 includes sketches of Mississippians for whom special portraits had been executed in steel (contents duplicate some of volume 3). This work was also published under the title Mississippi. [Miss F339 .R88]

Rowland, Dunbar. History of Mississippi; The Heart of the South. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1925. 4 volumes. Volumes 1 and 2 are a narrative history while volumes 3 and 4 contain biographical sketches. [Miss F341 .R86]

Rowland, Dunbar. Roll of Mississippi Soldiers in the War of 1812 and the War with Mexico, 1846-1848. Arranged by unit, this volume also includes an alphabetical index [GEN E359.5 .M7 R68x]. Additional information for these individuals may be available in the microfilm sets named above.

Smith, Frank Ellis. Mississippians All. New Orleans: Pelican Press, 1968. A brief sketch of eight Mississippians who have made an important contribution to their country. [Miss F340 .S6]

Southerner; A Biographical Encyclopedia of Southern People. New Orleans: Southern Editors Assn., 1944, 1945. Coverage includes most of the southern states. Published in 1944 and 1945. [Cook REF 208 .S6]

 Speakes, Vera Jacobs. Mississippi Portraiture. National Society Colonial Dames of America in Mississippi and Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, 1987. Three governors' portraits are included in this book. [Miss F340 .M6442x 1987]

Taylor, Walter Nesbit and Ethridge, George H. Mississippi, A History. Hopkinsville, KY: The Historical Record Assn., 1940. 4 volumes. Volume 1 and part of volume 2 contain a narrative history of the state, while volumes 2-4 contain biographical sketches. An index is at the back of volume 4. [Miss F341 .T39x]

Who's Who in Louisiana and Mississippi. New Orleans: Times-Picayune, 1918. Several hundred biographical sketches arranged alphabetically. [Miss F368 .W62]

Other sources include the "Vertical File" and the "Newspaper Index" (Hattiesburg American and Jackson Clarion Ledger, 1963-1979), both available in the Cleanth Brooks Reading Room. Also of help may be the many town and county histories in both the Mississippiana and Genealogy Collections and specific family histories in the Genealogy Collection.

Also available in the Genealogy Collection is a "Surname Card File" which contains citations for sources of information on families and individuals from Mississippi and other states, and a "Surname Vertical File" which contains non-catalogued materials such as copies of Bible records, military records and various other records from Mississippi and other states.


 Inaugural Addresses of the Governors of Mississippi, 1817-1890. University, Mississippi: Bureau of Governmental Research, 1981. [Miss F341 M57 I63x 1817-1890]

Inaugural Addresses of the Governors of Mississippi, 1890-1980. University, Mississippi: Bureau of Governmental Research, 1981. [Miss F341 M57 I63x 1890-1980]

Mississippi Official and Statistical Register. Mississippi Secretary of State, 1904-present. Originally published by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (1904- 1924-28) it has been published by the Secretary of State since the 1920's as an expanded form of their biannual report. Sometimes called the "Blue Book" it has appeared at both two and four year intervals at various times. During the period 1904-1924 they included biographical information for past Governors as well as current governors, legislators, judges, and other state government officials. The 1917 issue includes lists of all Mississippi legislators (1817-1917). For the period 1928-1945 little biographical information appears in the volumes. Since the 1945-49 issue, biographical data for legislators and upper-level government officials has been included. [Miss J87 .M74a]

Mississippi Year Book, edited by Munio Nichols, Gulfport, MS: The Tri-State Builder, 1931. Includes biographical sketches of many of the men and women who were "proven Builders of the state and its institutions, as well as their home communities." Indexed. [Miss 976.2 M678]

Mississippi Yearbook. Published by the Mississippi Development Board, 1927, 1928, 1930. Does not include biographical information, but does include lists of numerous types of professional people (such as lawyers, physicians, church leaders, etc.) as well as various types of businesses and the location of their offices. Each category is arranged by county and city. [Miss 976.2 M678]

 Official Mississippi, 1936-40. Biloxi, MS: Southern Research Bureau and the Biloxi News, 1936. A biographical directory of elected state and local leaders for the period. [Miss JK4656 .O35]

Sumners, Cecil L. The Governors of Mississippi. Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing Co., 1980. Biographical sketches of Mississippi leaders from the French settlement in 1699 to 1980. [Miss F340 .S9]

Women of the Mississippi Legislature. Jackson, MS: Mississippi Library Commission, 1980. Biographical information for the 43 women who have served in the MississippiLegislature, 1922-1980. The information is limited, but other sources are usually cited. [Miss JK1010 .M57 W65x]

Judges and the Legal Profession

Bench and Bar of Mississippi. Jackson, MS: Horace Evans, 1938. A pictorial and biographical directory of prominent members of the Mississippi Bar during the 1930's. Indexed by county. [Miss KF354 .M7 B46x]

Everett, Frank E., Jr. Federal Judges in Mississippi, 1818-1968. Includes photographs of portraits and biographical sketches of federal judges for Mississippi from 1818 to 1968. [Miss KF354 .M7 E94x 1968]

Lynch, James D. The Bench and Bar of Mississippi. New York: E.J. Hale and Son, 1881. Includes biographical information for distinguished lawyers and judges of Mississippi prior to 1881. Indexed. [Miss F340 L98]

 Rowland, Dunbar. Courts, Judges, and Lawyers of Mississippi, 1798-1935. Jackson: Hederman Brothers, 1935. Contains brief biographies of judges and some prominent lawyers in the state for the period.

Skates, John Ray, Jr. A History of the Mississippi Supreme Court, 1817-1948. Jackson, MS: Mississippi Bar Foundation, 1973. Contains biographical sketches of Mississippi Supreme Court Judges for the period. [Miss KFM7112 .S53x]


Boyd, Jesse Laney. A Popular History of the Baptists in Mississippi. Jackson, MS: Baptist Press, 1930. Contains biographical sketches of the denominational leadership for the period 1780-1930. Since the book lacks a table of contents and is arranged by chapters and numbered paragraphs, the index is the preferred point of access. [Miss BX6248 .M7 B6]

 Cain, J.B. Methodism in the Mississippi Conference, 1846-1870. Jackson, MS: Hawkins Foundation, Mississippi Conference Historical Society, 1939. Continuation of John G. Jones' Methodism in Mississippi. Indexed and includes short sketches about people involved in the church during the period. [Miss BX8248 .M7 J63]

Encyclopedia of Southern Baptists. Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1958. 2 vols. Entries arranged alphabetically and include some individuals from Mississippi who were of importance in the church. [Miss BX6211 .E5]

Gerow, Richard Oliver, comp. Catholicity in Mississippi. Natchez, MS: Hopehaven Press, 1939. A history of the Catholic Church in Mississippi through the 1930's. Includes biographical sketches of bishops and other clergy of the Diocese. Indexed. [Miss BX1415 .M7 G4]

Holder, Ray. The Mississippi Methodists 1799-1983: A Moral People "Born of Conviction." Maverick Prints, 1984. Includes index. [Miss BX8248 M7 H65 1984]

Jones, John G. A Complete History of Methodism as Connected with the Mississippi Conference ... 1799-1845. Baton Rouge: Claitor's Book Store, 1966 reprint of Southern Methodist Publishing House, Nashville, 1887. Indexed and includes personal information about people involved in the church in Mississippi up to 1845. [Miss BX8248 .M7 J6 1966]

Jones, W.B. Methodism in the Mississippi Conference, 1870-1894. Jackson, MS: Hawkins Foundation, Mississippi Conference Historical Society, 1951. Continues the series begun by John G. Jones and J.B. Cain. [Miss BX8248 .M7 J64]

Lindsey, J. Allen. Methodism in the Mississippi Conference, 1894-1919. Jackson, MS: Hawkins Foundation, Mississippi Conference Historical Society, 1951. Continues the series begun of Jones, Cain, and Jones. Indexed. [Miss BX8248 .M7 L56]

McLemore, Richard Aubrey. A History of Mississippi Baptists, 1780-1970. n.p.: Mississippi Convention Board, 1971. Not as much personal information as Boyd's 1930 history, but it provides 40 more years of information. [Miss BX6248 .M7 M25]

Miller, Rush Glenn. A Guide to the Contents of the Mississippi United Methodist Advocate, 1947-1974. Jackson, MS: Mississippi United Methodist Advocate, 1975. Subject index to this weekly newspaper for the period 1947-1974. Includes listings for memorials, obituaries, and biographical sketches. [Miss BX8201 .M5]

Other Specialized Sources

Abbott, Dorothy, ed. Mississippi Writers: Reflections of Childhood and Youth. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1985. A three volume set, a volume on fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Biographical information is found at the end of each volume. [Miss PS558 .M7 M55 1985]

Bain, Robert, Joseph M. Flora, and Louis D. Rubin, Jr., eds. Southern Writers: A Biographical Dictionary. Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1979. Brief informative alphabetical sketches of the lives of authors associated with the American South. [Miss PS261 S59]

Colee, Nema Weathersby. Mississippi Music and Musicians. Magnolia, MS: Prescott's Printing, 1948. Contains biographical information of Mississippi personalities in music, including educators and other professionals, composers, authors, and officers of the Mississippi Federation of Music Clubs. [Miss ML200.7 .M7 C65x 1948]

 Holtzclaw, Robert Fulton. Black Magnolias: A Brief History of the Afro-Mississippiana, 1865-1980. Shaker Heights, OH: Keeble Press, 1984. Concentrates on the personalities and leaders of the Black experience during this period. [Miss E185.93 .M6 H57 1984]

Lloyd, James B., editor. Lives of Mississippi Authors, 1817-1967. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1981. Biographical sketches for approximately 1500 authors who lived and published between 1817-1967. Criteria for inclusion is "anyone born in Mississippi or who spent a significant portion of their life there, and who wrote or published a work of at least thirty pages in length." [Miss PS266 .M7 L5]

Poirier, William H. Mississippi Artists. Hattiesburg, MS: University of Southern Mississippi, Bureau of Educational Research, 1977. Contains biographical information for approximately 100 Mississippi artists. [Miss N6530 .M7 P64]

Prenshaw, Peggy Whitman, ed. Women Writers of the Contemporary South. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1984. Three Mississippi writers are included in this book of contemporary essays on southern women writers. [Miss PS261 .W65 1984]

Sewell, George A. and Dwight, Margaret L. Mississippi Black History Makers. Revised and enlarged edition. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1984. Contains biographies for 166 Black history makers, which are organized in ten thematic sections. [Miss E185.93 .M6 S48 1984]

Thompson, Cleopatra D. The History of the Mississippi Teachers Association. Jackson, MS: Mississippi Teacher Association, 1973. Chapters 6 and 7 contain information about the administrations of the association's presidents and brief biographical sketches of well-known personalities. [Miss L13 .M73x T56]

White, Geneva Brown Blalock and Bishop, Eva Hunter. Mississippi's Black Women: A Pictorial Story of Their Contributions to the State and Nation. n.p.: Mississippi State Federation of Colored Women's Clubs, 1976. Contains brief biographical sketches and illustrations of notable black women of Mississippi. No index, quick reference difficult. [Miss E185.86 .M55x]