The collection documents the activities of Sam Wilhite (1919-1998), who served as executive assistant to Mississippi Governor Hugh White in his second term (1952-1956) and was deeply involved in Democratic political work on the state, regional, and national levels during the late 1940s and 1950s. Among the candidates for whom he campaigned were Adlai Stevenson, John C. Stennis, and Hugh White. Wilhite also worked with the chambers of commerce in Florence, Alabama, and in West Point and Aberdeen, Mississippi. The collection dates from 1871 to 1976 with the main body of the files dating from 1940 to 1975. Included are correspondence, speeches, press releases, political broadsides, an architectural drawing, clippings, a scrapbook, photographs, and publications.
Sam Yancy Wilhite was born on April 20, 1919 to Sam and Mae Wilhite at West point, Mississippi and grandson of Sam Yates and Ollie Brown Wilhite. He graduated from West Point High School in 1937 and from Mississippi State College in 1941 with a Bachelor of Science degree. While attending Mississippi State College he was editor of The Reflector and Class President. From 1941 to 1947 he served as enlisted sailor and later commissioned officer in the United States Navy assigned to duty aboard the USS Concord (CL-10). In 1948 Sam Wilhite was appointed Secretary, Clay County Chamber of Commerce West Point, Mississippi. He remained in that office until he became Secretary, Mississippi Public Service Commission in 1950. He campaigned for Hugh White for governor of Mississippi during 1951 and was executive assistant to Governor Hugh White between 1952 and 1955. In 1952 Sam Wilhite campaigned in Mississippi for Adlai Stevenson for president. He was a candidate for Mississippi Public Service Commissioner during 1955. From 1955 to 1963, he was Director, Aberdeen Mississippi Chamber of Commerce. Sam Wilhite campaigned in Florida and Mississippi for Adlai Stevenson for president between 1956 and 1957. After his work with the Adlai Stevenson campaign, from 1957 to 1959, Sam Wilhite was a Southern regional representative for the Democratic National Committee. Following his service as Director, Aberdeen Mississippi Chamber of Commerce, Sam Wilhite was Executive director, Florence-Lauderdale Industrial Expansion Committee, Florence, Alabama between 1963 and 1969. In 1969 Sam Wilhite became general manager of Mark Farms and P. L. Blake Real Estate Company, Greenwood, Mississippi and in 1975 became member of the board of directors of the Columbus and Greenville Railroad. Sam Wilhite died August 6, 1998.