Letter to the Editor

This was a letter written by Shanning Newell.

There’s no better time than Homecoming week to enrich yourself with a sense of pride in your university, both past and present. What better way is there to celebrate USM’s rich history and get in the spirit of Homecoming than by visiting Special Collections at the McCain Library and Archives?

Have you ever wondered how many members your USM organization had in the ‘60s? Want to know which events your sorority was participating in during the ‘70s or what one of your professors looked liked when he was a freshman at USM? With a complete collection of USM yearbooks dating back to the founding of Mississippi Normal College to an entire section of materials associated specifically with USM History, Special Collections has the answers.

The McCain Library and Archives is no ordinary library. You can discover rare bits of history you won’t find in any other library across the nation. It is a treasure chest filled with unique artifacts and written materials gathered over the years by USM Special Collections.

Housing thousands of original documents related to almost any subject matter you desired to get your hands on, Special Collections offers a myriad of primary resources to help you write a solid research paper or pique your interest in the original ideas of the past.

USM Special Collections has several archival categories within it, including Mississippians: published materials associated with Mississippi history, culture and government; Historical Manuscripts and Photographs: items that document the history of the South with an emphasis on Mississippi; and de Grummond Children’s Books: original manuscripts of some the most famous children’s books like “Little Red Riding Hood” circa 1880, “Cinderella” circa 1829 and “Curious George.”

Special Collections is not only for graduate students or for someone of a certain major. It’s not only for a student looking for materials for a research project to get a grade. Special Collections will help you discover pieces of history that cannot be found on the Internet or anywhere else.

You may think you can find anything on the Internet, but Special Collections offers something a Google search bar cannot: the worn and tethered feel of an original Civil War letter sent from a soldier to his wife waiting at home, the leathery smell of an 16th century song book chanted by monks through hundreds of years of religious ceremonies, a sensation of pride from seeing an original photograph of smiling Head Coach Reed Green in 1938 standing on Pride Field, the same field you watch the Golden Eagles play on today.

Although USM Special Collections has an online digital database, the website offers only a glimpse of the materials available there. Whether you need a primary source for a research assignment, or inspiration for a piece of art you are working on, or if you just want to get in the spirit of Homecoming week by seeing what USM and the Hattiesburg community was like 50 years ago, with millions of images, documents and artifacts, Special Collections has something for you.