On January 25, 1973 world-renowned pianist, Lili Kraus, performed in the University of Mississippi's Fulton Chapel before students, faculty, and the community. An international prodigy, Kraus was born in Budapest in 1903. Her musical tutelage began at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music where she received its highest degree and at age seventeen she entered the Budapest Conservatory. She studied with numerous well-known classical musicians during her formative years and soon became a specialist in the works of Mozart and Beethoven. Garnering early critical acclaim after her recordings with violinist Szymon Goldberg, Kraus became a much sought after performer. She began touring Europe, Japan, Australia and South Africa in the 1930s.
What elements of our culture in Mississippi do we all share? Are there jokes, tall tales, songs, and sayings unique to our state that bind us together? What holiday customs or superstitions did our grandparents hold, and where did they come from? These questions and much more are asked by folklorists, who examine elements of culture shared by various groups of people.
The Department of Archives & Special Collections bicentennial exhibit video series began this week. January's video features an engaging discussion of aspects of Mississippi folklore based on some of the department's collections by Blues Curator, Greg Johnson.
This week's blog post is dedicated to the announcement of the opening of the Department of Archives & Special Collections' year-long exhibit, "Mississippi: 200 Years of Statehood." The display showcases archival documents, photographs, sound recordings, ephemera, historic maps, and many other rare items from Mississippi's 200 year history as a state. The University's Communications Department recently released a short article about the exhibit providing more detail. Stay tuned for the soon-to-be-released first installment of the bicentennial exhibit video project, as well as lecture series dates.
John Davis Williams retired as Chancellor of the University of Mississippi in 1968 after serving in that position twenty-one years. His tenure was longer than any other chancellor in the history of the institution to date. Williams arrived on the Oxford campus at a time when the University was undergoing rapid change in response to an influx of World War II veterans. He served during the turbulent years of the Joseph McCarthy era and in 1968 left behind an integrated University after more than a century of segregation.
Historians agree that early migration patterns into the Mississippi Territory began during what is known as the "Great Migration" period (1798-1819). The invention of the cotton gin, rise in slave labor, and promise of economic stability drew many immigrants to the area. However, the War of 1812 and an economic panic in 1819 slowed the process down. Conditions began to improve even before the 1819 panic ended and those seeking better economic prospects poured into the region in even greater numbers. According to historian Charles Lowery, one contemporary traveler in 1816 counted over 4,000 immigrants venturing into the Mississippi Territory during only a nine day period.
The 1947 football season was pivotal for the Ole Miss program. That fall marked the beginning of Johnny Vaught's legendary 24 year career as head football coach. Vaught led the team in his first year to a 9-2 record and would go on to guide his players to 23 winning records before his retirement in 1970. The 1947 season also saw Charlie Conerly considered for the Heisman Trophy. Although he placed fourth in the standings, Conerly was the University's first player to be considered for the prestigious award and would later play for the New York Giants.
Adopted on November 1st, the Mississippi Constitution of 1890 resulted from a special constitutional convention which began that summer. Fourteen years after Reconstruction ended, many white Mississippians wished to remove African Americans from political life, and the special convention resulted in a constitution which formalized this policy. Isaiah T. Montgomery, then recent founder of the all black community of Mound Bayou, was the only black delegate at the convention and one of the few voices expressing hope in a more just form of government. The 1890 Constitution’s requirements of poll taxes and literacy tests effectively crushed Montgomery’s hopes. In addition, the Constitution was not sent to the people for ratification after being drafted.
Dated “Oct 24th 1860,” this two-page handwritten manuscript contains a debate speech by University of Mississippi student Evan J.