Wednesday, March 28, 2012

SMITH & WRIGHT MERCANTILE LEDGER, 1841-1845

Sample of  page from Smith & Wright Ledger

SMITH & WRIGHT MERCANTILE LEDGER, 1841-1845 
THE BILLUPS-GARTH ARCHIVES IN THE LOCAL HISTORY ROOM 
AT THE COLUMBUS-LOWNDES PUBLIC LIBRARY 
314 N. Seventh Street, Columbus, MS 39701 
COLLECTION SUMMARY

Title: Smith & Wright Mercantile Store Ledger

Collection Number: 2008-117 (Change to MS-_______ )
Inclusive Dates: 1841-1845
Creator(s): Unknown
Cubic Feet: .1 cu. ft. 
Extent: 1 item, 6 folders

HISTORICAL NOTE
          The Smith & Wright Mercantile Ledger was used in a store located in Plymouth, Mississippi. This former town was located at the mouth of Tibee Creek and the Tombigbee River, a few miles northwest of Columbus, Mississippi. 

Photograph of Plymouth historical marker
          It is believed that DeSoto camped at the Plymouth area. Another belief is that Bienville worked out of Plymouth against the Choctaw nation, and General Andrew Jackson based his operations against the Creek Indians at Plymouth. 
          This site was an Indian trading post and where John Pitchlyn lived. Pitchlyn was given as a child to the Choctaw Indians when his father died, while on his way to Natchez from South Carolina. As a result, Pitchlyn had much influence with the Indians. 
          “The first settlement of any permanence at what is now known as Plymouth Bluff was established by John Pitchlynn in 1810…. He first appears in records of 1786 when he was appointed U.S. Interpreter for the Choctaw Nation. He served …until Indian removal (1831-33) becoming one of the most influential figures in the Tombigbee River Valley during the late 1700s and early 1800s (Sherman, 2007, p.34). [Section written by Rufus Ward, Jr.] Pitchlynn came with his father in about 1774. He probably moved to the Choctaw Agency, near Macon to become agent”. (Sherman, 2007, p. 35)
          “Pitchlynn’s move to Plymouth Bluff resulted from Spain’s closing the lower Tombigbee River to the shipment of the U.S. military supplies in 1809. The U.S. developed a new supply route that came down the Natchez Trace to the Chickasaw villages, thence overland to the mouth of Tibee Creek and then down the Tombigbee to the trading house at St. Stephens. In 1810, Pitchlynn established his residence and farm at the mouth of Tibee Creek (Sherman, 2007, p. 35).”
          "During the 1830s, the little town of Plymouth grew up at the northern end of Plymouth Bluff at what had been the site of the home of John Pitchlynn.... “Pitchlynn had moved away from his old home on the Bluff during the late 1820s, leaving his residence and farm to his daughter and son-on-law, Rhoda Pitchlynn Howell and Calvin H. Howell. Probably in late 1832, anticipating the boom in settlement that would follow the 1830 Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, Calvin Howell surveyed land around his home into streets and blocks and began to sell lots in a town that he called “Plymouth,” for which Plymouth Bluff was later named.”
           “The earliest known official reference to “Plymouth” was in April 1833, when it was designated a voting precinct for Lowndes County (p. 44). In May 1833, Howell described the town as “improving, as fast as could be reasonably expected. There are a considerable number of log and frame buildings…. The Steam Boats, have visited us several times this winter. We have one store, and one grocery [a saloon], in town, and a young man by the name of Carver, is teaching school.”
     The west bank of the Tombigbee River was opened to settlement due to the Indian Land Cession [Treaty of Doak’s Stand 1820 and Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek 1830]. Plymouth became important in cotton storage and as a shipping center, since there was a shallow fording place nearby. The town of Plymouth was incorporated in 1836 and later became extinct, largely because of unhealthy conditions of the low-lying land (Brieger, 1980, p. 317).
          “Recent research has revealed that the fort [in Plymouth, Mississippi] actually was constructed by John Pitchlynn in conjunction with the Creek Indian War (1813-1814) a phase of the war of 1812 with England. The fortification site originated with the cedar log home that Pitchlynn constructed when he settled at Plymouth Bluff in 1810." (Sherman, 2007, p. 39) [Chapter written by Jack D. Elliott, Jr.]
          Captain George Smith who was with the Tennessee cavalry militia came with former Choctaw agent, Col. John McKee, to Plymouth, to form Choctaw warriors to fight Creek. This became known as Fort Smith. The Fort was dismantled around 1860 and used for other buildings. Plymouth Bluff is recognized as the only place in MS that had a significant role in the Creek Indian War and the concurrent War of 1812 between the U.S. and England. 
         Plymouth Bluff is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is included in the National Park Service’s Revolutionary War/War of 1812 Historic Preservation Study (Sherman, 2007, p. 41). A sketch of the fort is in: By the Flow of the Inland River, from a description provided in a letter from H.S. Halbert to W.A. Love in 1915.” (Sherman, 2007, pp. 39-41) The Bibliography includes: Elliott, Jack D., Jr. 2000. The Plymouth fort and the Creek war: a mystery solved. Journal of Mississippi History 62:328-370.
SCOPE AND CONTENT
          The collection consists of 457 + pages that were copied from the Smith & Wright Mercantile Ledger, with inclusive dates of 1841-1845. The Ledger was used in a mercantile store in Plymouth, Mississippi. This former town was located at the mouth of Tibee Creek and the Tombigbee River, a few miles northwest of Columbus, MS. 
SYSTEM OF ARRANGEMENT
Sample page from the S & W Ledger
          This collection is arranged in ascending alphabetical order, by names and proper nouns, along with associated page numbers.
CONDITIONS GOVERNING ACCESS
          None
SOURCE OF ACQUISITION
          William E. Prout
ACCRUALS
          No further accruals are expected.
ACCESS AND RESTRICTIONS
          Open to research
PROCESSING HISTORY
          The first person to examine this collection was Mona K. Vance on                                     .  Donna S. Ballard created the accession record, finding aid, and re-packaged the collection on __________________.
SUBJECTS
          Lowndes County (Miss.)-History
RELATED ARCHIVAL MATERIALS
Brieger, James F. "Plymouth." Hometown Mississippi. 2nd ed. Mississippi, 1980. 317. Print.
Elliott, Jack D., Jr. 2000. The Plymouth fort and the Creek war: a mystery solved. Journal of Mississippi History 62:328-370
Elliott, Jack D., and Mary Ann Wells. Cotton Gin Port: A Frontier Settlement on the Upper Tombigbee. Jackson, MS: Quail Ridge for the Mississippi Historical Society, 2003. Print.
Lipscomb, W.L., and Georgia P. Young. A History of Columbus, Mississippi, During the 19th Century. Birmingham, AL: Press of Dispatch Printing, 1909. Print.
Neville, Bert. Directory of River Packets in the Mobile-Alabama-Warrior-Tombigbee Trades 1818-1932. Selma: Coffee Printing, 1962. Print.
Prout, W.E. A Historical Documentation of Plymouth, Mississippi. Columbus MS: Mississippi State College for Women, 1973. Print.
Rodabough, John, and Helen M. Crawford. Steamboats on the Upper Tombigbee. Hamilton, MS: Tombigbee, 1985. Print.
Sherman, Harry L., and Plymouth Bluff Center and Museum. "A Very Remarkable Bluff": Bernard Romans, 1771. Columbus, MS: Mississippi University for Women, 2007. Print.
Ward, Rufus. Appendix 4. A Directory of the Steamboats on the Upper Tombigbee. "The Tombigbee River Steamboats: Rollodores, Dead Heads, and Side-wheelers. Charlestion, SC: History, 2010. 147-96. Print.






Wednesday, March 21, 2012

CALDWELL HIGH SCHOOL - ID OF PHOTOS

PROCESSING & IDENTIFICATION OF CALDWELL HIGH SCHOOL SLIDES

The Caldwell High School slides were previously placed into archival sleeves, numbered, scanned and saved to a JPEG file format. Some of the slide images were printed onto archival photo paper with three photos per sheet. The photos measured 4 x 6 inches, and were individually cut and placed into archival sleeves. Subsequent slide images were printed on pre-cut archival paper for placement into sleeves. While waiting for the arrival of another order of archival sleeves to complete the project, attention was turned to the yearbooks, for help in identifying some of the individuals in the photos.

SEARCH & COPY CALDWELL YEARBOOK PAGES WITH JR ROTC REFERENCES

Place slip of paper with page info face-down
and next to pages to be copied on 22 x 17 inch paper.
All of the Caldwell High School yearbooks in the archives were searched for pages with JR ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) entries. Earlier research had indicated the span of years and the subject matter of the slides. When such an ROTC-related entry was found, the yearbook, date and page numbers were written on a narrow slip of paper and inserted to mark the place. Once all of the yearbooks had been searched, they were taken to a nearby copier for further work.


Item will be copied with info beside
 the photo and without black edges.
Fold legal-size paper in half, lengthwise,
and place along edges of  item to be copied.


Example of copy with yearbook
date and page info beside  photo.
Copies of the yearbook pages were made onto 22 x 17 inch paper, which captured images from two pages at one time. The yearbooks were opened to the previously-marked pages and placed face down. The slip of paper with the yearbook date and page numbers was also placed face down next to the yearbook on the copier. In addition, two sheets of legal-size copy paper was folded in half, lengthwise, for the purpose of placing it beside the edges of the yearbook to eliminate a waste of black toner when copying.

Once copies had been made of all of the marked pages, they were placed in the box with the slides and photographs for later comparison for help in identification of the slide photos. Incorporating the slip of paper used to mark the yearbook pages with the copy, was time-efficient in eliminating extra work of having to go back and identify the copies, page numbers and then writing the information a second time.

CONTINUED PREPARATION FOR IDENTIFYING SLIDE PHOTOS


The original Excel file produced while scanning the numbered slides was opened. Notes had been written about each slide as it was scanned, including dates stamped, written information included, and observances about each of the photos. This file was in numerical order by slide numbers. A copy was made of the file and used to open another workbook, where the file was sorted by date stamped on the slides. The slides will probably undergo some slight re-ordering according to these dates. Furthermore, arranging by date helped to clarify the placement of a few slides without dates. Identifying the photographs by date will be more useful when comparing them to the yearbooks by date. This is where the copies of the JR ROTC pages by yearbook dates will be beneficial, especially for naming individuals.

When all of the photos from the slides are in archival sleeves, the photos will be grouped by similarities and dates. These will be contrasted against the description in the Excel file, as well as the copies from the yearbooks, with the dates adding even more specific parameters.

In addition, some copies of the photographs will also be placed upon the blog for the Local History Department, in hopes that some readers will offer further information and identification.


STUDENT REFLECTIONS


One of the aspects that this post brings to mind is the principle of original order in archival management. This is found in the textbook, Developing and Maintaining Practical Archives, second edition, by Gregory S. Hunter, on pages113-115. Where possible, original order of arrangement is preferred. The slides were originally in a carousel tray and were removed and placed in the same order into slide sleeves. It is obvious that some are out of place, after completion of the scanning and registering of the date stamps on the slides. The use of dates is the best way of bringing the slides together by subject areas, since little is known about the identification of the photos.

One practice that has become clear, is that of saving one's original description of items, such as an Excel file or Word document. This should be done separately from subsequent files sorted in other ways, such as alphabetical or by date. During the processes of editing and sorting, mistakes could be made and data could be moved into an incorrect position, thus hindering the effectiveness of a finding aid with mistakes. If the original description is kept separate, it would be easy to refer back to it for clarification of accuracy.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

CALDWELL HIGH SCHOOL - COLLECTION SUMMARY

Caldwell High School becomes Columbus High School - East, and the
Stephen D. Lee High School becomes Columbus High School - West.
The  mascots of the Bobcats and the Generals change to the  Falcons.
COLLECTION SUMMARY
                    
Title: Caldwell High School Slides
Collection Number: MS 451
Inclusive Dates: 1975 - 1981 1973 - 1984
Creator(s): Unknown
Cubic Feet: .1 cu. ft.
Extent: 1 item, 1 folder

HISTORICAL NOTE

Caldwell High School originated
during the 1970 -1971 school year in Columbus, Mississippi, as a result of desegregation. Previous history of the schools in Columbus indicated that blacks and whites had separate and distinct schools prior to the 1970 changes. At the same time, the Stephen D. Lee High School, established in 1918, continued to remain a high school in Columbus (Morgan, 1992, July 3, Columbus Dispatch).

The former Robert Stewart Caldwell Junior High School had opened in 1963 as an all-white junior high school for Columbus, located at 820 North Browder. The junior high school became an integrated high school during the 1970 -1971 school years, and was then named the Robert S. Caldwell Senior High School, also known as Caldwell High School (Morgan, 1996, August 18, Columbus Dispatch, pp. 1A, 5A).

The former Stephen D. Lee High School began in 1918 on Seventh Street and Third Avenue North (at the present Columbus-Lowndes Public Library site, in the city of Columbus MS), and a new Stephen D. Lee High School was built on 1815 Military Road in 1953. (The old Stephen D. Lee building housed grades 7-8, until it burned in 1959.) The Stephen D. Lee High School was an all-white high school for Columbus MS until 1970, and remained the Stephen D. Lee High School after desegregation (Lee Yearbook, 1992 pp. 4, 12).

The last year of Caldwell High School was in 1992.
The two schools gradually took measures to become more unified, leading to new mascots and school colors. For example, the Caldwell High School mascot, the Bobcat, was painted over in 1992. The General, (which looked like the former controversial Ole Miss Rebel mascot) was the Stephen D. Lee High School mascot, with school colors of maroon and white. The decision was made for both campuses of Columbus High School to be changed to the Falcons as a mascot, with the school colors becoming purple and gold (Morgan, 1992, July 3 Columbus Dispatch).
The last year of the Stephen D. Lee
High School was in 1992.




In the 1992-1993 school years, the two high schools ceased to be named Caldwell High School and Stephen D. Lee High School, and both became known as Columbus High School. The Caldwell location was called the East Campus and the Lee location was called the West Campus of Columbus High   School. Each campus of Columbus High School retained a senior high school status (Lee Yearbook, 1992, p.2).

On July 1, 1996, the Caldwell - East Campus of Columbus High School, and the Stephen D. Lee - West Campus combined into one newly-constructed building, known as Columbus High School, housing grades 9 -12. The new Columbus High School was located at 215 Hemlock Street (CHS Yearbook 1997, p. 1). “The official dedication ceremony to present the new school building to the city of Columbus was held on Sunday, September 29, 1996.” (CHS Yearbook, 1997, p. 6)

The new and unified campus of Columbus High School 
 was dedicated on September 29, 1996. 




SCOPE AND CONTENT

The collection consists of 137 slides of Caldwell High School activities, with inclusive dates of 1973-1984. Various activities are pictured, such as: the JR ROTC students in basketball, a space museum field trip, the Drill Team, Flag Corps, and Color Guard.







The collection also includes 137 photographs produced from the original slides. A list of the slides in ascending chronological order is found in the container list at the end of this accession record. Each slide number is recorded with a date, which was stamped on the slide, and a description of the slide photograph.

SYSTEM OF ARRANGEMENT

This collection is arranged in ascending chronological order, starting with slide 1 and ending with slide 137, including dates stamped on the slides, and a description of each slide.

CONDITIONS GOVERNING ACCESS
The last constructed building
 of Stephen D. Lee High School
 was in 1953.

None

SOURCE OF ACQUISITION

N/A

ACCRUALS

No further accruals are expected.

ACCESS AND RESTRICTIONS

Open to research

PROCESSING HISTORY

The first person to examine this collection was Mona K. Vance on                                     .  Donna S. Ballard created the accession record, finding aid, and re-packaged the collection.

SUBJECTS

Lowndes County (Miss.)-History

RELATED ARCHIVAL MATERIALS

N/A

NOTES
____________________________________________
Student Journal Reflections:

After the scanning of all 137 slides into a JPEG format and saving on a computer, I took the time to go back and update the historical summary. The original inclusive dates were revised from 1975 - 1981 through 1973 - 1984. The additional dates were evident after examining all of the slides for a date stamp. The dates assigned in the beginning were an estimate before the project was begun. The dates do not necessarily depict the actual day the photo was taken, but rather when the slides were developed, which is likely close to the actual occurrence of the events pictured.

In addition, the history of Caldwell High School and Lee High School was more apparent, after further study of the yearbooks and a related vertical file which had some newspaper clippings. I was able to verify the answers to some questions that I had that were confusing. I could not always depend on the facts in the newspaper articles to be totally correct, but there was more reliability in the yearbooks. This indicates the importance of yearbooks in local history archives.

Another issue of determining which groups of people were in the slides, was answered after all of the slides were examined. I am sure that all of the photos are from the JR ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) at Caldwell High School, from the years of  1973 - 1984.

The format of this posting is the same as the one used to write the collection summary. Red print indicates an item that possibly needs to be added or changed, before completing the project. The collection summary can be compared to the inventory or register of a collection. This is discussed in Chapter 6 (Description), in the textbook, Developing and Maintaining Practical Archives, by Gregory S. Hunter (2003, pp. 132-156).

The Hunter textbook indicates that inventories are more detailed and in addition to "content"; inventories bring out the "context" of a collection. Seven sections of a typical inventory are listed: Preface, Introduction, Biographical Sketch or Agency History, Scope and Content Note, Series Description, Container Listing, and Index or Item Listing.

In comparison, the format used in the Local History Department of the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library is as follows: Historical Note, Scope and Content, System of Arrangement, Conditions Governing Access, Source of Acquisition, Accruals, Access and Restrictions, Processing History, Subjects, Related Archival Materials, and Notes.










Wednesday, March 7, 2012

ARCHIVES POLICY MANUAL - OUTLINE


ARCHIVES POLICY MANUAL OUTLINE

I.         ASSUMPTIONS

A.    Processing Scheme should be determined at the most practical level
B.    Research Value will determine level of control
C.    Arrangement is determined by Provenance and Original Order
D.    Policy Manual is designed as a guide
E.     Goals are to Preserve, Arrange, Describe, and complete Forms

II.       PROCESSING PRINCIPLES

A.    Provenance is identified more with the creator than the donor
B.    Original Order should be maintained if possible
C.    Levels of Control are a way of implementing provenance and original order

1.     Collection Level is for small manuscript boxes or single items

2.     Series Level is for records in a sequence within a filing system or grouping

a.     Most important level in arrangement
b.     Character of the collection is reflected in the series
c.      Study the collection before assigning a permanent title
d.     Place the most important record first
e.      Sub-Series of Levels are based on form, record type, physical class of records, and filing arrangements

3.     File Unit Level is for documents treated as a unit

a.      Often Chronological
b.     Develop a Key or Code Book for internal classification

4.     Item Level is for a single document or manuscript

a.      Often for smaller, important or disheveled collections
b.     More likely to have to work item by item
c.      Rare to describe at the item level unless the collection is very small or very important, due to time-constraints

III.     ACCESSIONING

A.  Intellectual Control is needed for each donation and is always approved by Archivist

1.     Deed of Gift is completed for every donation
2.     Thank You Note, along with a copy of Deed of Gift, should be mailed to donor
3.     New Deed of Gift completed for any additions to collection, even if by the same donor

B.   Accession Record 

1.     Collection Description Notes  is done for info about preservation problems, items, facts, & creator
2.   Assign Accession Number
3.   Location is by Accession Number until the permanent Collection Number is assigned

C.  Control File

1.     Create for each Accession
2.     Name Control File on tab with Accession Number in pencil
3.     Change Control File Name on tab when permanent Collection Number is assigned

D.  Forms

1.     Deed of Gift
2.     Deed of Gift Oral History Agreement
3.     Accession Record

IV.     DE-ACCESSIONING (REASONS FOR)

A.    Format Transferred and no longer useful in original
B.    Duplicated in another format
C.    Format is Obsolete, unusable, and cost to re-format out-weighs historical value
D.    Collection Policy or Needs of Archives are no longer met
E.     Donor Requests a return or transfer and there are no other options (check signed Deed of Gift for restrictions)
F.     Need clear and legal title for de-accession
G.  Forms

V.     ARRANGEMENT

A.    Provenance
B.    Original Order
C.    Research Potential
D.     

III.     PRESERVATION
IV.     DESCRIPTION
IX.  CONFIDENTIALITY AND ACCESS TO FORMS
X.    PUBLICITY AND NEWS RELEASES
X.    LOCAL HISTORY ORGANIZATIONAL CHART
XI.   GLOSSARY OF TERMS
XII. MAP OF LIBRARY/ARCHIVES 


Student Journal Reflections

This outline was started during a time when the computer and scanner used for 
converting the slides to a JPEG format, was not available. It is a work in progress and far
from complete. The outline is based upon the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library's Local
History Department's Processing Manual. My plans are to use this as a guide for study
and comparison with material in archive and special collection textbooks that I have
access to.



Wednesday, February 29, 2012

STEPHEN D. LEE HIGH SCHOOL - YEARBOOKS


Wednesday
February 29, 2012
1:30 - 6:00 p.m.
Week 3 Day 4

Stephen D. Lee High School Yearbooks

An examination of Volume XXII, of the 1971 Stephen D. Lee Maroon & White yearbook, revealed similar findings as the Volume I, of the 1971 Caldwell High School yearbook. The “Generals” of Stephen D. Lee High School defeated the Tuscaloosa Bears, 20 to 17 during Homecoming, October 30, 1970. The S.D. Lee High School homecoming court was presented along with the court of the Robert S. Caldwell High School.

Page 42 of the 1971 S.D. Lee High School yearbook noted the following: “The 1970 season for the Columbus Generals was the best ever recorded in the history of the school. This team—because of a late change in the city school organization—was able to combine players from both high schools to play under the same colors.” This statement confirms that the first year of integration of the Columbus Mississippi public schools, resulted in the creation of Caldwell High School, while the Stephen D. Lee High School remained a senior high school, as well. This contradicts what the newspaper articles stated, that S.D. Lee became Columbus High School, East Campus, for grades 9 -10. According to the yearbooks, S.D. Lee never ceased being a senior high school.

Another interesting finding was on page 38, where the formation of a Bi-racial Commission was explained: 
“The Commission was formed as a request of the principal, Mr. Carr. The Commission was composed of twenty-four students, six from each class, equally representing both blacks and whites. The Commission met several hours each day to resolve difference caused by student dissension. The major factor of the Commission’s success was due to the fact that for the first time blacks and whites were able to communicate on controversial matters that needed to be brought out in the open. Their proposals were submitted to the School Board of Education and approved." 

“The 1992-1993 school term will bring another change as Lee High and Caldwell will consolidate and become Columbus High School. The Lee High General will give way to a new mascot, the falcon. The grand old maroon & white will fade to new school colors purple and gold. To those past graduates, however, Lee High School, named for the Civil War general, Stephen D. Lee, will forever be that torch that lit their way, preparing them for the world. So, to you, dear Lee High, farewell.”

Student Journal Reflections

As suspected, research on the Archives’ collection of Stephen D. Lee High School yearbooks, did verify the information learned from the Caldwell High School yearbooks. These schools were definitely intertwined in their history, through the process of desegregation beginning in 1970, in Columbus Mississippi. All of the inconsistencies found in newspaper articles were cleared up and a factual “Historical Note” can be revised for the Caldwell High School Slide inventory. The results of the research will also help in identifying people and events in  the images that will be continue to be scanned from slides to photographs.

The photos included with this entry are the outside front cover of the last issue of the Columbus High School yearbook. The photograph used on the yearbook was a portion of a large mural that had hung in the Columbus High School, near the cafeteria. When the school ceased to be a high school, the mural was donated to the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library Billups-Garth Archives, where it hangs today. I have included a photo of that section of the mural, which depicts the early history of Columbus.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

CALDWELL HIGH SCHOOL - YEARBOOKS


Tuesday
February 28, 2012
1:30 - 6:00 p.m.
Week 3 Day 3


 Caldwell High School Yearbooks

Previously, research of newspaper clippings revealed that Caldwell High School began in the 1970-1971 school year, in Columbus, Mississippi. The Robert S. Caldwell school had been an all-white junior high school since 1963, and changed to an integrated high school after court ordered desegregation in 1970. At this time there was currently an all-white high school in Columbus, which had been in existence since 1918, called the Stephen D. Lee High School. Articles indicated that Caldwell became the Columbus West Campus high school, with grades 11 and 12 and the Stephen D. Lee became the integrated Columbus East Campus High School, with grades 9 and 10.

A search of Caldwell High School yearbooks in the collection of the Billups-Garth Archives, in the Local History department of the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library, told a slightly different story than the newspaper articles.

  "Brothers are we all
—the black and white—
together."
The 1971 Excalibur yearbook began with a poem on page 4, of which the author was not given. A class poet was named on page 150, who was Cheryl Rappe. There was no indication found  verifying who wrote the following, which was on a page with a photograph of two arms reaching to touch in a peak over a church steeple in the background. The words were indicative of the circumstances of desegregation of the public schools in Columbus, Mississippi during this time.

  “Yesterday we said it wouldn’t happen.
Today it’s here.
  Brothers are we all—the black and white—together.
  We strive for the future, our future, a better future.
  Here we are, facing each other, opposing each other, working with each other.
The future…What does it hold?” (1971 Excalibur, p. 4)

The Homecoming festivities showed an all-white homecoming court, which was described as the first homecoming court for the new Caldwell High School, held on October 30. In fact, it was a double homecoming for both Caldwell and Stephen D. Lee High Schools. This year, the two schools combined football players and the “Generals” defeated the Tuscaloosa Black Bears 20 to 7. The 1970 football season had ended with a winning record of 9 and 0 (p. 25).

The examination of the remainder of the 1971 Excalibur Yearbook for the Caldwell High School specified that the mascots of the Caldwell basketball and baseball teams were the "Bobcats". The previous paragraph noted that the combined football team was called the “Generals”, which was the Stephen D. Lee High School mascot.

The 1972 Robert S. Caldwell High School yearbook (Volume II), noted that this was “Caldwell’s first Homecoming”, on October 22, 1971. The 1970 football season was featured in the 1971 Caldwell yearbook and the 1971 football season was in the 1972 yearbook. Although Caldwell’s first “combined” homecoming was in 1970, the next year was also considered a first homecoming, because it was not combined with Lee High School.

Eugene Bailey is on the left
Each consecutive yearbook was looked at for additional clues about Caldwell High School. The 1976 Excalibur featured an outdoor brick sign, with the name of R.S. Caldwell Senior High. Yearbooks continued to feature high school teams for football, basketball, baseball, etc. The 1977 Volume VII of Excalibur was dedicated to Mr. Eugene Bailey (p.3), who was described as a counselor, National Honor Society sponsor, and the Annual and Newspaper Staff photographer. Since the slides that are being accessioned into the Archives, are dated from 1975 – 1981, it is possible that Mr. Bailey could be the photographer responsible for the slides. Another probability is that some of the students on the slides could be from the Honor Society. So far, there has not been a connection made between the people in the slides and those in the yearbooks, but all of the slides have not been processed at this point.

1978 Excalibur yearbook
inside front and back cover
The 1978 Caldwell yearbook indicated that the name Excalibur described the Arthurian Legend, where the sword, Excalibur, was created to serve. The yearbook was created for “preserving memories of this past year”. This text was found inside the front and back covers of the 1978 yearbook. The R.S. Caldwell Gymnasium was also noted as being erected during this same year.

The Caldwell High School newspaper staff had an unusual group photo in the 1979 yearbook. It was a “Bonnie and Clyde” styled two-page photograph, with costumes, an old car, and guns (p. 120). Each yearbook featured some unique themes of photography for the staff of the newspaper, which was known as the      Kaleidoscope.

1979 Caldwell H.S. newspaper staff

There were twenty-one years that Robert S. Caldwell High School existed. The Billups-Garth Archives have all of their yearbooks from 1971 through 1992, with the exception of four years. The missing four years of Caldwell High School yearbooks are 1984, 1985, 1990, and 1991.


The 1992 Caldwell yearbook was the last yearbook of Caldwell High School, in Columbus Mississippi. Some additional notes were: their school colors were red and white, they were referred to as “Big Red” and “Topcats”. All of the other Caldwell High School yearbooks were prominently named Excalibur, but the last one was titled, “The Final Chapter.1992”. Excalibur was featured below that.
Student Journal Reflections

Researching the Archives’ collection of Caldwell High School yearbooks was a continuation in seeking information to complete the “Historical Note” section of the inventory for the Caldwell High School Slides. Previous information from newspaper articles was contradictory and confusing. The yearbooks were an excellent source for more specific and credible information about the history of the school. The next area of research will be the yearbooks for the Stephen D. Lee High School, which should verify the findings from the Caldwell High School yearbooks.