Library celebrates donation of Bridgforth family collections

Contact: Brad Moreland

The Bridgforth family has contributed material documenting the lives and activities of numerous family members to Special Collections at MSU Libraries. Pictured left to right are Keith Horne, Stewart Bridgforth Jr., Carolyn Bridgforth, Allie Benson and Barry Bridgforth. (Photo by Isa Stratton)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State University Libraries have announced a donation of multiple collections from a Pickens family to its Special Collections department.

The Bridgforth family, led by Stewart Bridgforth Jr., contributed material documenting the lives and activities of numerous family members, including World War II veteran Stewart “Bebe” Bridgforth; physician Dr. A. B. Holder; and Sarah B. Holder Stewart. The materials, which date from the 19th and 20th centuries, are from “as nearby as campus and as far away as Europe and South America,” according to Jennifer McGillan, coordinator for the MSU Libraries’ manuscripts division.

“These collections, while only being in the library for a short time, already have been of interest to multiple members of the history department. Most notably, the Dr. A.B. Holder collection will be the subject of a presentation at a national conference in the field of history of medicine,” McGillan said.

The Stewart “Bebe” Bridgforth Collection, donated by his son Stewart Bridgforth Jr. and his wife Carolyn Bridgforth, include Bebe Bridgforth’s letters to his wife and parents during World War II, photographs, war-time publications, maps and other wartime memorabilia. The letters, which date from approximately 1942 to 1945, encompass Bridgforth’s military experience from Mississippi and other domestic locations to the fields of Belgium, France and Germany.

The Dr. A. B. Holder Collection, donated by his great great grandson Stewart Bridgforth Jr., includes a casebook, numerous photographs, diaries, Native American clothing and published materials. The diaries reflect his early life in Pickens; the casebook covers his early career as a physician; and the photographs, published works and Native American materials date from and illustrate his work as a physician on the Crow reservation in Montana in the late 19th century.

The Sarah B. Holder Stewart collection, also donated by Stewart Bridgforth Jr., includes World War I correspondence, photographs, 1900’s postcards from Mississippi and Arkansas, and certificates and event programs. These items document the marriage and life of Sarah Holder Stewart and her second husband, Dr. Nolan Stewart, an Army physician who conducted clandestine activities, and whose posts included a base hospital in Arkansas. The collection also includes letters from Sarah Stewart’s son from her first marriage, A.B. Holder Jr., who served in the Army during World War I.

Stewart Bridgforth, Jr. spoke on behalf of his mother, Carolyn Bridgforth, and his siblings, sisters Keith Horne and Allie Benson and brother Barry Bridgforth, at a recent program honoring the donation. He expressed the family’s pleasure at placing their materials with Mississippi State for the use of generations to come.

Dean of Libraries Frances Coleman said, “We are very pleased that the Bridgforth family placed their collections with the MSU Libraries where they will further develop and enhance our rich collections.”

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Monday, April 24, 2017 - 12:29 pm