Contact: Carl Smith
STARKVILLE, Miss.—The Mississippi State Libraries Congressional and Political Research Center is now operating as the Mississippi Political Collections after recently being renamed.
The MPC, a division of the MSU Libraries Archives and Special Collections founded in 1999 under the leadership of former Dean Frances N. Coleman and the late Professor Michael Ballard, is located on the fourth floor of Mitchell Memorial Library. The library’s Archives and Special Collections Division is led by Professor and MSU Libraries Associate Dean David Nolen, and MSU Libraries is under the direction of Dean Lis Pankl.
Led by Director and Assistant Professor Kate Gregory and Senior Library Associate Amanda Carlock, the MPC gathers relevant materials relating to the political history of Mississippi and the U.S. and makes them available for public use and research.
Specifically, the unit provides access to archival materials from national, state and local lawmakers, staffers, judges, activists and scholars. The MPC’s 81 collections include correspondence, photographs, oral histories, memorabilia and other materials, as well as a growing digital collection. Its collections are primarily related to Mississippi politics; however, several examine national and international historical topics, with a heavy emphasis on the Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam War and Watergate.
The two largest collections housed in the MPC are the papers of the late Sen. John C. Stennis and Rep. G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery, both Mississippi natives and MSU graduates whose careers in Congress total more than 70 years.
Stennis remains the longest serving senator in Mississippi history. Remembered as one of the most influential legislators in U.S. Senate history, his papers contain original materials from the World War II era to the end of the Cold War, including his time as chair of the Armed Services Committee during the Vietnam War and the Watergate investigation. They also include his and other Southern legislators’ attempts to block desegregation during the Civil Rights Movement.
Montgomery’s papers cover his 30-year career in the U.S. House of Representatives, particularly his dedicated work improving the lives of American veterans, most notably through a sweeping reauthorization of the G.I. Bill that expanded education benefits for veterans and their families. The materials also contain original correspondence from the Bronze Star-recipient’s service in Western Europe during World War II.
The MPC also is home to the papers of Rep. Mike Espy, who became the first black Secretary of Agriculture in U.S. history during President Bill Clinton’s administration. Other collections of interest include the papers of Rep. David Bowen, who represented the Mississippi Delta from 1973-1983 and wrote the groundbreaking Endangered Species Act, and those of Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn, a 1974 MSU graduate. The papers of state politicians, including former Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck and state Sens. Steve Holland and Carl “Jack” Gordon, are archived along with those of the Mississippi Republican Party and federal Judge William C. Keady. The judge’s decision in the landmark prison reform case Gates v. Collier resulted in the abolishment of the trusty system at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.
Those interested in conducting research with the materials or donating materials are encouraged to contact MPC faculty and staff to make appointments for information and consultation at (662) 325-7663 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.