Collections held by the Manuscripts division of the Special Collections Department primarily document Mississippi from the early 19th century to the present. Types of records include photographs, personal diaries, individual and family correspondence, business ledgers, daybooks, deeds, broadsides, architectural drawings, audio-visual recordings, artifacts, and other records. Collection strengths include African American History, Agricultural and Rural Life, Civil Rights, Civil War, and Journalism.
The Consortium for the History of Agricultural and Rural Life in Mississippi (CHARM) is a collaborative effort of the University Archives and the Manuscripts Department. Materials in the digital collection include MAFES reports and records, photographs, personal diaries, business ledgers, daybooks, deeds, correspondence, exhibition catalogs from fairs, and more.
From 1954-1961, WLBT-TV in Jackson, Mississippi sponsored a program which was the creative product of Howard Langfitt (1919-1997), Farm Services Director. "RFD Televisit", an agricultural news and educational program, aired from 12:25-1:00 P.M. Monday through Friday. 366 families are represented in the collection by 342 television scripts, and some 16,600 negative images.
The Cully A. Cobb Antique Tool Museum contains over 350 antique woodworking tools, farm implements, and household equipment. Items date to the 17th century, including axes, saws, planes, hammers, drills, chisels, adzes, mauls, and plow stocks. The digitization of these objects is an ongoing effort as part of the CHARM initiative.
The History of Medicine Digital Collection consists of letters, diaries, and other manuscript materials related to 19th and early 20th century American medicine. These letters and documents offer insight into 19th century medicine, illness, injuries, and views on death, along with more general observations on daily life.
The T. H. Smith Postal History Collection was assembled by Thomas H. Smith (1928-2012), an architect and dedicated amateur postal historian from Jackson, MS. The collection is primarily composed of postcards, letters, and other materials that document the history of the postal service in Mississippi from statehood through the late 20th century.
The Ames and Hogan Family Papers, held by the Manuscripts Division of Mississippi State University Libraries, document the history of the Ames and Hogan families of Ditto's Landing, AL and Starkville, MS, from 1816-1910. The papers consist of a wide variety of materials, including correspondence, legal documents, speeches and essays, and receipts for both cotton and enslaved persons.
These documents are an excerpt from a collection donated by Rev. Kenneth Dean, former member of the Mississippi Council on Human Relations and prominent Civil Rights activist in Mississippi. The documents were created by Civil Rights activists living in Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) safe-houses in Jackson, Mississippi from approximately 1964-1968. Handwritten, and created using markers on craft and butcher paper, the documents are as much art as literature. The texts reflect ongoing Civil Rights struggles, as well as anger and frustration regarding American involvement in the Vietnam War.
Dr. Todd A. Herring, a graduate of Mississippi State University, began collecting historical material while still in elementary school. Starting in 2009, Dr. Herring began donating parts of his collection to the Manuscripts Department of Special Collections at Mississippi State for the purpose of supporting undergraduate and graduate teaching and learning. The collection is both complex and wide-ranging, and features a broad variety of documents and artifacts. Areas of strength include Early American and European manuscripts, early American newspapers, and plantation culture in Mississippi and Louisiana, including family letters, legal documents, and records of enslaved persons.