Everything old is new again…
By Emily Jones, university archivist
The new year brings hopes of fulfilling resolutions, mercifully forgiving yourself for having broken every one of them within the first 48 hours, and a reality check that a year has positively flown by! Each one of us has the same number of hours in a day — how we use them is completely up to us. If I could have a few minutes of your time, I hope to encourage you to embrace the moments this year by reflecting a bit on some things that have been given to the archives over the past year and what we have learned from them. We call them donations in this world, except they don’t have anything to do with money but everything to do with connecting our past to our present, often in deeply meaningful ways.
Let’s stop procrastinating and address the clutter of things around us that may be hexing our feng shui. Can’t you just think clearer when drawers are neatly organized and everything is in its place? The Archives thrives when history walks through the door, finds its place among the shelves and connects with a researcher or ties a story together for a student. The orderliness of it is an absolute thrill. The Archives benefited from several organizations and individuals becoming tidier over the past year:
- 010/M102 – Jack Gunn collection accretion; manuscript materials related to the Hold, Brown & Wafford families.
- 011/M37 – Pete Walker photograph collection accretion; photographs, proof sheets and negatives taken by Pete Walker; subjects include schools, roads, agriculture, river scenes, rural life, etc. with dates of subject material extending from circa 1970’s – 1990’s. Detailed information on each image is not always available; some identifying information is on most images.
- 019/M382 – Fong Pang collection; two Webb High School Wildcats football letterman’s jackets
Drew High School jackets donated to the museum by brothers Fun and Fon Pang.
- 021/M385 – Wilson-Fisher collection; approximately 36 reels of 8mm film (home movies) taken by Joe Wilson; rare footage of Delta State, Cleveland and Lake Bolivar as well as family vacations and holiday celebrations; each canister is labeled but does not always mean that that is the only footage on that film; the dates range from 1960’s – 1970’s.
- 022/M386 – Adelson-Strong collection; memorabilia related to Maurice Benard Adelson given by his daughter, Linda Strong; one certificate of promotion to Merigold, MS high school, 27 May 1921; one Merigold Consolidated High School diploma, 4 June 1925; one pair of track shoes worn while in high school; one photograph of Pauline Fink Adelson at the train depot in Merigold, MS.
- 025/M389 – Richard Wong collection; one tapestry of General Chiang Kai-shek; on permanent display in the MS Delta Chinese Heritage Museum.
- 028/M391 – Fun Pang collection; one Order of the Arrow sash and one badge sash given to Fun Pang who is considered the first Chinese American in Mississippi to have received this special award through the Boy Scouts; two Eagle badges, one earned while at Camp Tallaha (June – July 1948); set of Boy Scout badges; one Webb School Letterman’s jacket; one black and white photograph of the Webb High School football team, 1945 Delta A Champions.
- 037/M158 – Cleveland Woman’s Club accretion; 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14 Cleveland Woman’s Club scrapbooks
- 038/M393 – Dunn Family collection; manuscript and artifact memorabilia related to the J.W. Dunn family grocery store which had been in Pace, MS before the family moved to Memphis, TN. Some items do relate to the family’s activities and store business conducted in Memphis. Other items in this collection also include a small portion of objects that had belonged to the previous owner of the grocery store, Mr. K.C. Lou.
- 039/M394 – Tonymon collection; this collection consists of much of the supplies and materials needed to run a fully operational pharmacy; Oscar Tonymon was a pharmacist as a profession; from his obituary: Funeral services for Oscar Tonymon, 82, of Dallas, TX will be at 12:00 p.m., Saturday, June 28, 2014 at Boone Funeral Home, Greenville. He died Monday, June 23, 2014 at Charlton Methodist in Dallas, TX. Burial will be in Greenville Chinese Cemetery under the direction of Boone Funeral Home, Greenville. Mr. Tonymon was born on August 3, 1931 in Marvell, AR, one of six siblings and the youngest son of the late Robert and Helen Tonymon. He graduated from Marvell High School and then the University of Arkansas School of Pharmacy in 1958, graduating Magna Cum Laude. For many years he owned and operated Tonymon’s Fairfield Pharmacy in Shreveport, LA. In a career move, Oscar became a pharmacist with the Department of Veteran Affairs and moved to Dallas, TX where he was lead pharmacist in the Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacy. Oscar married Marolyn Pang in 1959 and they were married almost 50 years before she preceded in him death in 2008. He will be buried next to her in Greenville. He is survived by a brother, Daniel Tonymon and sister, Frances Pang. A host of nieces and nephews, Jimmy, Raymond, David and Emerald Jean Dunn of Memphis; Darlene Ming Jang, Hawkins Ming, Dorothy Ming Wood, and Betty Ming Lacasellal of CA and Hawaii; Kenneth and Phyllis Tonymon of AR and TX; Rocky and Rusty Pang of TN and AR; Toni Dame of PA, and Curtis and Steve Fong of OR.
- 041/M85 – Clark Family collection; campaign buttons, coin and name badges from Dr. Charles Clark’s years of professional career.
Through the power of Facebook, we no longer have to commit important dates to memory. However, what happens when an anniversary of an event that isn’t listed on Facebook or any calendar rolls around and we forget it until the day is half gone? How awful do we feel about letting something that was so important almost slip by? Share the responsibility of remembering important dates by making a donation to the Archives. Gifts made to the Archives this past year that will help us all remember important dates (because they’ll have finding aids on the web site and be on permanent display):
Perhaps the new year ignites the desire to be more community oriented, volunteer time and expertise, or perhaps develop a deeper appreciation for the arts, culture, music, etc. The Archives is made richer in cultural resources by the donations we receive. Sometimes we have to create the purpose for farming out the information from our community. One of our favorite ways to encourage history sharing is through oral history projects. One oral history project was made possible through an extremely generous gift from the American Legion Post #1776, and another project was the result of one young man’s desire to document a piece of Cleveland history because he saw it disappearing. Is there a way you can use your talents to give back to your community? Is there a piece of history inspiring you to dig deeper and learn more? May I encourage you to act on your talents and inspirations? You might never know how you could improve the world around you through them.
- 001 – 2015.009: Veteran Oral History Project sponsored by the American Legion Post #1776. The oral histories have been collected and deposited in the oral history collections within the DSU Archives.
- Joe Bramuchi (OH442)
- Cecil Barnett (OH 443)
- Nancy Gerard (OH 444)
- DiTieshay White (OH 445)
- Al Cummins (OH 446)
- Davlon Miller (OH 447)
- James Bowen, Jr. (OH 448)
- James Breland (OH 449)
- Kent Wyatt (OH 450)
- 050 – 2015.053/ Oral Histories of the Cleveland Airport conducted by Eagle Scout candidate Marshall Jones:
- Nevin Sledge (OH 455)
- Ray Meeks (OH 456)
- Andy Jones (OH 457)
- Kell Lyons (OH 458)
Perhaps one of the most significant collections received by the Archives this year was that of Professor Emeritus Dorothy Shawhan. Someone who gave daily for dozens of years to students, colleagues, neighbors and her family, Shawhan’s collection is an enduring statement of her volunteerism, strong faith in the goodness of her community, and well-deserved pride in her family, along with a healthy admiration of Elvis.
- 044/M396 – Dorothy Sample-Shawhan collection; established to honor and remember long-time professor of English at Delta State University, this collection consists primarily of Ms. Shawhan’s personal library, manuscript and photograph materials related to her friends and family, scrapbooks, news clippings on topics of interest to Ms. Shawhan, unpublished manuscript pieces as well as portions of manuscripts which eventually were published, U.S. presidential campaign buttons, memorabilia related to her time as a student and as an alumni of MS University for Women; 2,000 copies of her book, Lizzie.
De-clutter, donate, volunteer, organize, remember and just get going on those resolutions to make a difference, offer a helping hand, wrest yourself from the weight of worry over what to do with great-grandmother’s portrait. Dig deeper into the culture and history that is the Mississippi Delta because though our treasures be old, they are new to every eye that sees, ear that hears, and heart that beats a little bit faster because of them.