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Oktibbeha County businessman Charles H. Templeton Sr. is being memorialized at Mississippi State with a permanent music museum in his honor at the university’s main library.

Templeton, a keen businessman and avid music lover who died in 2000, was a 1949 MSU accounting graduate who played both oboe and piccolo during his student days in the Famous Maroon Band.

At a campus ceremony last month, his wife Mary Ann Templeton was formally thanked for funding the renovation of an existing room in Mitchell Memorial Library to permanently house the massive collection. Expected to open in March, the Charles Templeton Music Museum will be located on the fourth floor.

“For more than 40 years, Mr. Templeton collected sheet music, instruments and other music memorabilia,” said dean of libraries Frances Coleman. “His donation of this extraordinary collection of musical machines and period sheet music was given to MSU in 1986 and at that time was valued at approximately $500,000.

“This is a tremendous act of love for his alma mater and Mitchell Memorial Library is honored to receive this collection,” Coleman added.

Speaking on behalf of the university, Mississippi State President Charles Lee expressed “Mississippi State’s deepest and most sincere appreciation to Mary Ann Templeton for her generosity in making the Charles Templeton Music Museum a major addition to MSU’s central repository of learning.”

Dating from approximately 1897 through the 1940s, the 22,000 pieces of Templeton’s sheet music have been, since 2001, in the process of being digitized so they may be accessible instantly for online researchers around the world.

Together with some 200 musical instruments, the collection represents what Templeton called “the business of music”—the popularization of music that ranges from ragtime and blues to Irving Berlin ballads and a generation of tunes documenting World War I. In its previous and temporary location in a campus residence off Blackjack Road, the collection became a popular stop for campus visitors, including writers for Southern Living magazine and other popular publications that helped to further publicize it in their pages.

“With its new location in the Mitchell Memorial Library, the Charles Templeton Music Museum again will be enjoyed by the public,” Coleman said.

For more information on the Templeton Collection and Templeton Museum, contact Stephen Cunetto at (662) 325-8542 or

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