Archives and Museum


Delta State partners with statewide archive project

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The Delta State University Archives Department proudly announces the 2015 Cultural Heritage Digitization Award, a partnership project with the Mississippi Digital Library.

The award is designed to assist institutions with digitization to create accessible collections that represent Mississippi history, have high scholarly value or are at risk in fragile physical condition.

Other participating institutions include: Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Mississippi State University, University of Mississippi and the University of Southern Mississippi.

“The award is one-of-a-kind in the state,” said Emily Jones, Delta State archivist.  “I don’t know of another award that will bring some of the state’s most advanced set of skills in digitization and preservation right to your doorstep for an entire week of training, guidance and support — all for free.”

The partnering organizations will provide digitization and training services to an institution with a significant scholarly resource that is lacking the technical, physical, or human resources needed to complete digitization and/or host the resulting digital collection.

The chosen collection will be digitized and published electronically as part of the Mississippi Digital Library Collections.

The award is open to all institutions within the state whose proposed collection fits the eligibility requirements. Applicants are not limited to an academic library — public libraries, museums, historical societies, research centers, or any other cultural heritage institutions are welcome to apply.

“Anyone who meets the criteria can apply,” added Jones. “My contribution will be to spend a day or more with the winning institution to evaluate their collection, create a digitization plan and help them get started or complete digitizing the target collection.

“This is the first time we have offered an incentive like this to join the MS Digital Library. What we are hoping is that we will be able to attract more collections to the MDL, more contributing organizations and really get Mississippi history online and available worldwide.

“The MDL has been around for several years but it has really been growing these past three years. We want to see that growth continue.”

The award includes: 80 cumulative hours of on-site, archival quality digitization services to be completed over a one week period by the digitization team; a digital collection in the MDL and a digital exhibit featured on the MDL website; a copy of all master and access digital files; and digitization training to aid in future projects.

“It’s an amazing deal. It’s work on the front end for anyone applying but the end result is a streamlined collection, digitized and ready for anyone to view it,” said Jones.  “This project will also put some small organizations on the map — the digital map that is.”

 Learn more about the project at

The Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum, housed at Delta State, recently received a $7,000 grant from the New England Foundation for the Arts.

Chinese Heritage Museum receives grant

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The Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum (MDCHM) is the recipient of a $7,000 grant from the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA).

Emily Jones, Delta State archivist and ex-officio with MDCHM, was instrumental in securing the grant.

“This award will support New York’s H. T. Chen Dance Company’s performance of ‘South of Gold Mountain’ that will be held at Delta State University in February of 2015 and will coincide with the celebration of Chinese New Year,” said Jones.

Susan Chow, MDCHM treasurer, was present when Jones was notified of the award.

“Thanks to Emily, NEFA recognized the importance of this project,” said Chow. “It’s such an honor to have NEFA support the efforts of MDCHM. This dance presentation is based on historical stories from Chinese in the American South and will offer a great cultural experience.”

For more information about Delta State archives and the Chinese museum, visit

The family of late Article III U.S. District Judge W. Allen Pepper Jr. recently donated a collection of the judge's professional and personal memorabilia to be stored at the Charles W. Capps, Jr. Archives & Museum on Delta State’s campus.

Judge’s collection added to archives

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A number of campus and community members gathered April 25 to celebrate the portrait unveiling of the late Article III U.S. District Judge W. Allen Pepper Jr. at Kent Wyatt Hall on the campus of Delta State University.

Pepper, who resided in Cleveland and was loved by many in the community, passed away suddenly on Jan. 24, 2012.

Pepper’s wife, Virginia “Ginger” Brown, and son, William Allen Pepper III, retired U.S. Senator from Mississippi Trent Lott and federal judges were in attendance for the special ceremony.

Also announced at the event was the Pepper family donation of the judge’s professional and personal memorabilia to be stored at the Charles W. Capps, Jr. Archives & Museum on Delta State’s campus.

Highlighted items include: birth certificate and baptismal record; manuscript and photographs from Belzoni Elementary through high school years; photographs of family and friends in Belzoni; military records; the University of Mississippi fraternity involvement, baccalaureate and graduation records and photographs; photographs of wedding to Virginia Brown; newspaper clippings announcing law practice; court case decisions; appointment as a federal judge; his mother’s Bible and the Bible from which he taught Sunday School at First United Methodist Church in Cleveland; ski patches from the various ski trips the Pepper family made; posters and notes on the ski competitions Pepper participated in; correspondence between Pepper and fellow lawyers and judges in the district; article manuscript submissions for various publications; framed invitations to U.S. presidential inaugurations (Bush, Clinton and Bush); candid photographs of Pepper with various friends such as Lott and other ranking government officials; commemorative gavels, coffee mugs, plaques and other notable artifacts from Pepper’s philanthropic activities; and full newspapers and clippings related to major accomplishments in Pepper’s career.

Emily Jones, university archivist, was honored to help the Pepper family organize the plethora of items.

“In particular, the Pepper collection represents one of our community’s treasured members,” said Jones. “Within the boxes and folders, mementos and photographs are the stories of lives touches by W. Allen Pepper, Jr. The University Archives and Museum is honored that the Pepper family has donated this collection in our safe keeping.”

The University Archives is home to the following notable political collections: Charles W. Capps Jr.; Walter Sillers Sr. and Jr.; Benjamin Grubb Humphreys; Florence Warfield Sillers; Lucy Somerville Howorth; Representative Hainon Miller; and Charles Clark.

“I know the significance of a collection such as this being added to the archives at Delta State,” said Jones. “We have several collections in house related to politicians and lawyers — but to have a collection of papers from a judge of this caliber is something we are definitely honored to add.”

Pepper, who worked at the U.S. Courthouse in Greenville, was appointed to the position of U.S. District Judge in 1999 by then President Bill Clinton. His portrait will permanently hang at the Greenville courthouse.

While Pepper did not complete his education at Delta State, he was a long time supporter and friend of the university. He was a graduate of The University of Mississippi, where he was a member of the Sigma Nu Fraternity and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1963.

He received his Juris Doctor degree from The University of Mississippi School of Law in 1968 and maintained a solo law practice for 30 years prior to his appointment to the bench.

He also served two years as an officer with the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army.

Along with being an exceptional attorney and judge, Pepper was a dear friend to many in the community and tried to live as an exemplary leader. He served as president of the Lions Club, Crosstie Arts Council and the Bolivar County Ole Miss Alumni Association. Additionally, he was the vice president of the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce and worked with local Cub Scouts as a scout master, Habitat for Humanity, and a number of other community organizations.

Pepper had long ties with the First United Methodist Church, where he taught Sunday School for 12 years and served as chairman of the Administrative Board, Finance Committee and Pastor Parish Relations Committee.

For more information on the Pepper collection, or Delta State’s Archives & Museum, visit


Slagell volunteers time at Archives to help digitize a portion of the University Photo Collection.

Capps Archives’ youngest volunteer

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The Delta State University Digital Collection featured in the Mississippi Digital Library contains a selection of items from the Capps Archives. A collection was recently added that features historical photographs of the Delta Belles, a group of dancing majorettes that began in 1957, and the band.

The Delta Belle project has been conducted by Christopher Slagell, the Archives’ youngest volunteer, as part of a Boy Scout service project. Slagell volunteered his Monday and Wednesday afternoons for two months to digitize this portion of the University Photograph Collection to be included in the Mississippi Digital Library.

Slagell is in 9th grade at Cleveland High School and is the son of Jeff Slagell, dean of Library Services at Delta State. After completing this project, Slagell will be eligible for the rank of Eagle Scout.

The materials that are presented online are used for educational purposes and can be accessed at For more information on the Capps Archives and Museum, please call 662-846-4780 or email


Author William Heath will discuss his book April 15 at the Charles W. Capps, Jr. Archives & Museum in honor of National Library Week.

Award winning author to visit Delta State University

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The Roberts-LaForge Library and the Division of Social Sciences and History at Delta State University are sponsoring “Book Talk with William Heath: The Children Bob Moses Led,” in celebration of National Library Week.

The event will be held April 15 from 7-8:30 p.m. in the Lucy Somerville Howorth Room, located at the Charles W. Capps, Jr. Archives & Museum on campus.

“The Roberts-LaForge Library is delighted to have William Heath join us for National Library Week,” said Nacole Adams, assistant professor of library services. “His book, ‘The Children Bob Moses Led,’ is a fascinating story that needed to be told — and Bill does an excellent job doing so.”

Heath will discuss and read lines from his award winning book and will also hold a book signing following his discussion.

Great reviews about “The Children Bob Moses Led” have been made by several sources. According to the publisher Small Press,“The blend of fact and fiction is so brilliantly written, the reader is completely absorbed into the unfolding drama. In a masterfully told manner, William Heath brings alive a disturbing piece of our history.”

Publishers Weekly news magazine stated, “The large cast of characters gives voice to the complexity of the era’s issues, and Heath’s clear chronicle of this poignant moment in our nation’s recent past is often compelling.”

For more information about the event, contact Adams at or 662-846-4455.