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Capps Archives & Museum Archives - Page 4 of 4 - News and Events

Virginia Thompson collection highlighted by Mississippi Digital Library

By | Archives and Museum, General, Uncategorized | No Comments

Documenting letters from American war heroes with ties to Delta State is just one of the many things University Archivist Emily Jones has been up to lately.

Jones and graduate assistant Jessica Tubbs spent over 300 hours uploading the entire collection of letters sent to campus during World War II from former student-soldiers.

The compilation is titled the Virginia Thompson collection because most of the letters were addressed to Thompson, who served as the secretary to Delta State President William Kethley.

The assortment was recently featured on the website of the Mississippi Digital Library, www.msdiglib.org, and in its email newsletter. The site is dedicated to the state’s rich abundance of cultural and historical resources held by institutions and repositories.

“We have finally finished digitizing and have uploaded the entire Virginia Thompson collection,” said Jones. “Jessica created the metadata to make this collection searchable online.”

Throughout the process, Tubbs found numerous side stories that remind readers these letters are just moments in the lives of former student-soldiers. An example of Tubbs’ archiving is available at: http://deltastatearchives.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/one-man-one-name-one-book/

For the past three years on Veterans Day, volunteers have lent their voices to these letters at a public reading at the Capps Archives & Museum building on campus. Only a mere handful of letters from the enormous collection are read.

Jones said selecting which letters to read is akin to choosing a favorite friend to invite to lunch.

“It’s a hard decision. I’m just thrilled that the entire collection of letters are available for family members, alumni and all of our other friends to review at their leisure,” said Jones. “As we look to celebrate 90 years at Delta State, remembering and celebrating the gift of freedom secured by those who fought and served in the war effort will be made that much easier now that this collection is online.”

Jones added that she hopes the increased public access to the Virginia Thompson collection will encourage others in the Mississippi Delta to deposit their materials with the Delta State University Archives.

For more information, visit www.deltastate.edu/academics/libraries/university-archives-museum.

World War II: Mission VICTORY – Fighting the Air War

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The exhibit features selections primarily from the privately held collection of George R. Frisbee. Additional pieces are on loan from Clint Johnson. Mission VICTORY – The War in the Air chronicles America’s involvement in World War II from Pearl Harbor to the last days of war and its lasting affects on the world. Mr. Frisbee has painstakingly recreated a B-17G-70-BO named the “Milk Wagon.” This plane flew with the 708th Bomb Squadron, 447th Bomb Group at Rattlesden Air Base in England and was ready for its first mission on 21 June 1944 to Berlin. Pieces such as this with historic detail provide the basis for the exhibit. Among the photographs of nose art, soldier’s letters and historic documentation on the United State’s war efforts are four fully dressed mannequins wearing original and period specific flight crew suits and uniforms. From the helmets and gloves to the boots, these mannequins provide the opportunity for visitors to see what our soldiers were equipped with to face battles. Also on display is a tribute to Frisbee’s father, who served as a mechanic in World War II. The exhibit will be on display until 24 January 2014. For group or individual tours, please contact the University Archives at 662.846.4781. George Frisbee is available to give guided tours of the exhibit as well.

Veterans Day program scheduled

By | Archives and Museum, President | No Comments

Volunteers, veterans and President William N. LaForge will read a selection of letters written during World War II in honor of Veterans Day on Monday.

The program will begin at noon in the Capps Archives & Museum building on the campus of Delta State. The public is invited to attend.

Those partaking in the public Veterans Day celebration at 11 a.m. at the Bolivar County Courthouse in Cleveland are welcomed at Capps Archives following the annual tribute.

“Most of the letters to be read come from the Virginia Thompson papers,” said Emily Jones, university archivist. “Ms. Virginia, as she was affectionately called by many, served as the secretary to President William Kethley. She would receive letters written to her and to Dr. Kethley and made sure each student soldier received a reply with a copy of the MS Delta newspaper.”
 
This event also marks the opening of the archive’s brand new exhibit, “World War II: Mission VICTORY – Fighting the Air War.” Co-curated by collector, George Frisbee, the exhibit features signature pieces from his private collection of Army Air Force memorabilia from World War II.

One of the three components of the United States Army, the AAF administered all parts of military aviation, which had formerly been distributed among the Army Air Corps.

“By the end of World War II, the AAF would become virtually independent of the Army and would become totally autonomous by September of 1947 when it would be renamed the United States Air Force,” added Jones.

This exhibit focuses on preparing for and conducting air combat missions. Featured memorabilia includes: full soldier gear, medals of distinctions, letters from prisoners of war, navigation equipment, original aircraft nose art, training manuals and cadet yearbooks. Posters and maps outline specific flight patterns and significant events in various World War II campaigns.

“The exhibit is arranged so that visitors can walk the path that so many young men and women took to become soldiers,” said Jones. “From cadet training in Greenville, Clarksdale, Grenada and Greenwood, to live action in the air over Europe, pieces of history share personal stories.”
 
The program will begin at noon in the Capps Archives & Museum building. The public is invited to attend. For more information, visit www.deltastate.edu/academics/libraries/university-archives-museum.