Historical Manuscript Collections

Historical Manuscripts largely document the history of Mississippi through such primary source materials as correspondence, business records, diaries, newspaper clippings, photographs, and scrapbooks. Holdings are particularly strong in Mississippi politics, the Civil War, the railroad and lumber industries, and local Hattiesburg organizations. Other strengths include the civil rights movement, military history and Southern cultural history.

Among its collections are: 

  • the papers of Mississippi politicians Theodore G. Bilbo, William M. Colmer, Evelyn Gandy, and Paul B. Johnson;
  • the Ernest A. Walen Civil War Collection, consisting of original letters, official documents, printed material, newspaper clippings, prints, and artifacts;
  • the Railroad Collection, containing over 500 cubic feet of records dating from the 1850s – 1960s of the Association of American Railroads, the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio Railroad Company, and the Mississippi Central Railroad Company;
  • the Hattiesburg Historical Photography Collection, consisting of nearly 500  published and unpublished photographs compiled by Dr. Kenneth G. McCarty Jr. in the course of writing, Hattiesburg: A Pictorial History;
  • a collection of nearly 900 photographs documenting Freedom Summer in Mississippi by artist Herbert Randall, whose works are represented in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Public Library, and the Library of Congress;
  • the 103d Infantry Division (Cactus) World War II Association records, that is administered in conjunction with USM’s Dale Center for the Study of War and Society;
  • the papers of S. G. Thigpen, Sr. a southern Mississippi entrepreneur, banker, local historian, writer and broadcaster who operated a hardware store from 1919 to his death in 1981. 

de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection

Founded in 1966 by Dr. Lena Y. de Grummond, the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection is one of North America's leading research centers in the field of children's literature. Although the Collection has many strengths, the main focus is on American and British children's literature, both historical and contemporary.

The de Grummond Collection holds the original manuscripts and illustrations of more than 1,300 authors and illustrators of children’s literature--including Kate Greenaway, Ezra Jack Keats, H.A. & Margret Rey, Tasha Tudor, Madeleine L’Engle, Richard Peck, and John Green.  The collection also houses 180,000+ published books dating from 1530 to the present. Highlights of published works include fables, fairy tales, folklore, alphabet books, nursery rhymes, textbooks, religious books, moral tales, fantasy, fiction, primers, and children’s magazines.