Saturday, February 18, 2012


The University of Southern Mississippi

Student:  Donna S. Ballard
Instructor:  Dr. Teresa S. Welsh, Associate Professor
Course:  LIS 648 Archival Practicum, Spring 2012

Site Supervisor:  Mona K. Vance, Archivist                                      
                  Local History Archives
                  314 North Seventh Street
                  Columbus, Ms 39701     
  Mona K. Vance, Archivist

Day 1
Saturday, February 18, 2012
10:00 a.m. –  4:00 p.m.


The Folder is named by year, consecutive number of item, and a descriptive title which represents the vast majority of the collection. The order of accession is determined by situation.

Example: 2008-77: Caldwell High School Slides

Insert originals only, if possible, such as Deed of Gift, Accession Record, Publicity and Copies of Letters.

Control file numbers on the file tab will change when the item is completely processed (Example: 2008-77 will become MS-401), where MS indicates Manuscripts, and the next available consecutive number. The location of the Control File will change from Accessions to Processed.

Control File in Accessions

2008-77: Caldwell High School Slides, 1975-1981        

Control File in Processed
  MS-451       Caldwell High School Slides, 1975-1981 


Processing procedures were discussed and demonstrated in a Control File, such as: Deed of Gift, Accession Record, De-accession, Arrangement, Description, Estimated Processing Time, and a Descriptive Summary for Finding Aids.

The machine for encapsulation used by the CLPL Archives was invented by Bill Minter, a book conservator from Pennsylvania. CLPL-Columbus is the only site in Mississippi with the system. An ultrasonic generator and motor control seals polyester (mylar), instead of using archival tape. Tape will eventually lose its hold and allow air into the item and cause brittle, torn pieces to shift into the tape.

The Minter Encapsulation System in the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library-Local History Archives is shown in the photo on the left. 

At the top-center of the photograph on the right, a piece of paper has moved into the area that was encapsulated with archival tape. This would not have occurred in a properly-sealed document with a Minter weld around the edges. The Minter method would also prevent moisture from entering.

Minter encapsulation is used for items that are deteriorating, that you do not want people to touch, and when other archival storage is not practical.

Two unusual items (See photos below)  were seen that did not fit within the regular scope of the mission of the CLPL-Columbus Local History Archives, which is to collect local history of Lowndes County, Mississippi. 

One item was an 1892 map of Cuba and the West Indies on one side and a world map, on the other. The second item was an August 4, 1887 copy of the National Tribune, a Washington D.C. newspaper.


Two carousel trays filled with a total of 147 slides from Caldwell High School were donated to the Local History archives of the CLPL. Processing was begun by starting at slide one, then removing and inserting each slide into archival slide notebook sleeves. 

The original order of the slides was kept. An archival pen marker was used to consecutively number each sleeve insert at the bottom-left corner. The carousel slide trays were in small carousel boxes, which were then stored in an archival box, with the following label, placed on the upper-left side of the box:

147 Slides 1975-1981

Billups-Garth Archives

Caldwell High School Slides, 1975-1981

Box 1 of 1

The archival box will be reused for something else. The carousel trays and individual boxes will be discarded. Information from research found about Caldwell High School will be applied to building the finding aid. An initial look at the slides had revealed dates from 1975-1981, of Caldwell High School, which included slide photos of sports, band, color guard, flag corps and a helicopter. The slides will be looked at in more detail after researching Caldwell High School.  

The Archives is fortunate to have a large vault area (See photo above) that is temperature-controlled. The Vertical Files, Minter System, Yearbooks, Shelving, etc. is located there.There are some yearbooks from Caldwell High School in the archives, which will be looked at another day. There was a file on Caldwell High School in the archives’ Vertical Files. This was found through an index on the CLPL Local History website. The file contained newspaper clippings about Caldwell High School. Notes from the file are below:

            Morgan, K. (1996, August 18). Columbus schools enter a new era. Columbus Dispatch, pp. 1A, 5A.
The U.S. Justice Department had filed suit against the city of Columbus, MS, in 1968, for the purpose of desegregation.  The city fought this for two years and lost in the 5th District Court of Appeals in New Orleans. Afterward, they were given one year to get ready to integrate the school system.

“In 1971, Lee High and Caldwell were made the city’s high schools. Caldwell had served as a junior high school since its construction in 1963. ‘After the ruling, Hunt High School became a middle school and Caldwell a high school, because of its location and larger facilities, enabling it to become a high school and accommodate the high school students’, said Shields Sims who served as school board attorney from 1969-1989.”

            Morgan, K. and Imes, B. (1992, July 03). 2 campuses taking on CHS images. Columbus   Dispatch.
Previous history of the schools indicated that blacks and whites had separate and distinct schools.  In the 1970 integration changes, Stephen D. Lee High School became the West Campus of Columbus High School (grades 9-10) and Robert Stewart Caldwell Junior School became the East Campus of Columbus High School (grades 11-12).

Caldwell had opened in 1963 as an all-white junior high school for Columbus MS. Caldwell became an integrated high school in 1970, as a result of desegregation.

S.D. Lee High School began in 1918 on Seventh Street and Third Avenue North (at the present CLPL site) and was moved after a fire, to Military Road, in 1953. It was an all-white high school until 1970, due to desegregation, and became S.D. Lee High School, West Campus (grades 9-10).

The schools took measures to become more unified, leading to new mascots and school colors. The Caldwell, East Campus mascot of the Bobcat, was painted over in 1992. The General, (which looked like the former controversial Ole Miss Rebel mascot) was the S.D. Lee, West Campus mascot, with school colors of maroon and white. The decision was made for both campuses of the Columbus high schools to be changed to the Falcons as a mascot, with the school colors becoming purple and gold.

On July 1, 1996, S.D. Lee, East Campus and R.S. Caldwell, West Campus, combined into one new building, as Columbus High School, housing grades 9-12.

Student Journal Reflections

As a librarian who is near the completion of a graduate certificate in Archives and Special Collections, I was familiar with much of the terminology discussed on the first day of the Practicum. The Minter machine was not something I had learned about before, although I have been taught the encapsulating method of using archival tape to seal polyester film.

The specific methods involved in creating and maintaining a Control File were very helpful and something I will implement in building an EMCC Libraries Archives, Digital and Special Collection at my current place of employment. In addition, Ms. Vance has given me a Processing Manual she has developed from her experience, which will be valuable in standardizing East Mississippi Community College Libraries (EMCC) archival records.

During the initial accession and processing of the Caldwell High School Slides, I have seen why previous course studies indicated the importance of provenance and original order, as well as the importance of forms for Deed of Gift, Accessions, and De-Accessions. 

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