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Capps Archives & Museum Archives - News and Events

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Chinese Heritage Museum included in NPR documentary

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National Public Radio’s “Weekend Edition” recently paid tribute to the Chinese population in the Mississippi Delta, including the Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum housed at the Charles W. Capps, Jr. Archives and Museum at Delta State University.

Listen to the NPR segment and view the story online at http://www.npr.org/2017/03/18/519017287/the-legacy-of-the-mississippi-delta-chinese.

University Archivist, Emily Jones, welcomed NPR during their recent stop in the Delta.

Where Chinese grocery stores once dominated our small towns, today their influence is markedly less notable,” said Jones, in a previous press release. “It is because of their physical absence that documenting, preserving and retelling their stories becomes vital.”  

The museum is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at no charge. Weekend or after-hours tours can be set up by calling Jones or Cindi Lofton at 662-846-4780.

Lebanese in America

Lebanese in America exhibit coming to campus

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In partnership with The Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies at North Carolina State University, Delta State university will host the traveling exhibit “The Lebanese in America: An exhibition exploring 150 years of history” beginning March 21.

An opening reception will take place on March 21 at 5:30 p.m. in Jobe Hall. The exhibit will remain on display until April 16.

The detailed exhibit explores the history and memories of Mississippi’s Lebanese American community. It comprises eight narrative HopUp displays with photographs, graphics and QR Codes linked to supplementary materials and an e-reader. The panels describe the history, conditions and impact of Lebanese immigration nationally, offering a framework in which to consider the substantial Lebanese immigration to the Mississippi Delta and beyond between the 1880s and the end of World War I.

This Delta is shaped daily by the people who invest in it,” said Emily Jones, university archivist. “The communities, celebrations, historic places and even place names tell of the colorful cultures who have immigrated to the Mississippi Delta and left their mark on our landscape. The exhibit prepared by the Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies and the Center for the Study of Southern Culture is a beautiful representation of the Lebanese families who have contributed to the richness of our regional heritage. The more we explore the threads that have woven together to create our current communities, I believe we will grow to appreciate each other more and more.”

Seeded in 2010 and formalized in 2014, the Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies is dedicated to research about Lebanese immigrants in the U.S. and throughout the world, and to preserving and sharing that knowledge with the scholarly community and general public. The center examines the historical and contemporary Lebanese Diaspora in all of its dimensions — social, political, economic and cultural — through such activities as a biennial conference, physical and digital archives and publications.

Project partners for the exhibit include the Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies, the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, Delta State’s QEP program, the Charles W. Capps, Jr. Archives and Museum, Delta State Diversity Committee, and the University Special Programs Committee at Delta State.

All DSU students, faculty and staff are encouraged to attend the exhibit opening. The event is free and open to the public. For those unable to view the exhibit at Delta State, it will be traveling to the Museum of the Mississippi Delta in Greenwood in April.

For more information, contact the Jones at ejones@deltastate.edu or Keith Fulcher at kfulcher@deltastate.edu.

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NPR visits Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum

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National Public Radio recently made at stop at the Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum housed at the Charles W. Capps, Jr. Archives and Museum at Delta State University.

Melissa Block and Alyssa Nordsworny from NPR received a special tour of the Chinese museum. The two were in the Delta working on programming for NPR focused on Gilroy and Sally Chow of Clarksdale, a culinry duo who have received national attention from the likes of The New York Times, Washington Post, The Smithsonian and more.

They’ve been the epitome of culinary fusion in the Delta for some time,” said Emily Jones, university archivist. “So NPR was in town to interview them yet again, and Gilroy, who is my Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum board president, recommended that they stop by to see the museum.” 

Against the backdrop of a rapidly disappearing society and culture, the museum promotes local heritage preservation by actively collecting oral histories, memorabilia, photographs and textile materials related to the history and story of the Mississippi Delta Chinese immigration and settlement.

Where Chinese grocery stores once dominated our small towns, today their influence is markedly less notable,” added Jones. “It is because of their physical absence that documenting, preserving and retelling their stories becomes vital.”  

The museum is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at no charge. Weekend or after-hours tours can be set up by calling Jones or Cindi Lofton at 662-846-4780.

Everything old is new again…

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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.

    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):

  • 026/M390 – Bramuchi collection; one American flag flown over the United States Capitol on 9 June 2010 at the request of the Honorable Bennie G. Thompson to commemorate Joe and Margie Bramuchi’s 60th wedding anniversary on 20 August 2010; on permanent display in the Veteran’s Atrium in Jobe Hall.
  • 029/M392 – George R. Frisbee collection; one scale model of “The Three Soldiers” commemorating the Vietnam War; on permanent display in the Veteran’s Atrium, Jobe Hall.
  • Gwen Gong signs her WWII book.

    Gwen Gong signs her WWII book.

    047/M398 – Gong-Powers WWII MS Chinese Veterans collection; this collection is in digital format; consisting of a final manuscript as well as the digital files of all of the images included in the final book; this gift has been published and is now available for purchase through the University Archives and other retailers. Contact the University Archives for your copy (archives@deltastate.edu).

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.
    1. Joe Bramuchi (OH442)
    2. Cecil Barnett (OH 443)
    3. Nancy Gerard (OH 444)
    4. DiTieshay White (OH 445)
    5. Al Cummins (OH 446)
    6. Davlon Miller (OH 447)
    7. James Bowen, Jr. (OH 448)
    8. James Breland (OH 449)
    9. Kent Wyatt (OH 450)
  • 050 – 2015.053/ Oral Histories of the Cleveland Airport conducted by Eagle Scout candidate Marshall Jones:
    1. Nevin Sledge (OH 455)
    2. Ray Meeks (OH 456)
    3. Andy Jones (OH 457)
    4. 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.

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Bits and Bytes in Bolivar: Discovering Your Local History Resources

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Join Delta State University at the Charles W. Capps, Jr. Archives and Museum on Sept. 14 at noon for “Bits and Bytes in Bolivar: Discovering Your Local History Resources,” a presentation designed to help researchers of local history and genealogy locate physical and digital documents related to Bolivar County.

The event, free and open to the public, is in conjunction with the Bolivar County Historical Society’s monthly meeting.

The 45-minute presentation will feature Krista Sorenson and Catherine Bell, archivists with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and the Bolivar County Historical Society. Areas of focus will include county records, maps and images.

“As archivists, we work really hard to collect and organize historical information,” said Jones. “The flip side of that work is that we want people to be able to use it and find it helpful. The Internet has opened the door wide to allow us to push mounds of primary source information out to a waiting public, however, for a user, that can feel like trying to drink from a fire hydrant. Krista Sorenson and Catherine Bell are coming our way to help us all become more familiar with what history is out there on our county, how to find it, access it and use it in our daily research quests.”

Jones said that when it was decided to bring the Bolivar County Historical Society back online several years ago, one of the group’s main concerns was how information was being shared about the Delta, and how accurate that information was. She urged that users have to be very aware of their information sources and their credibility.

The event will direct users to credible sources with a wealth of information on Bolivar County’s history.

“I hope that those who attend next Monday’s BCHS sponsored program discover answers to questions they’ve always wanted to know,” added Jones. “Perhaps they’ll be inspired to share local history they already know through blogging or making a donation to a repository of their choice. Most of all, we want to demonstrate how historical information is becoming more and more accessible.”

Visit the university’s Archives and Museum to learn about historical records, digital images and genealogical resources available in Bolivar County, online and from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Explore the archives’ website at http://www.deltastate.edu/academics/libraries/university-archives-museum. For more information, contact Jones at 662-846-4781 or ejones@deltastate.edu.