Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Sample of  page from Smith & Wright Ledger

314 N. Seventh Street, Columbus, MS 39701 

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

          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.
          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. 
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.
          William E. Prout
          No further accruals are expected.
          Open to research
          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 __________________.
          Lowndes County (Miss.)-History
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



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.


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.


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.


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 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.
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


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. 


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.


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.

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





No further accruals are expected.


Open to research


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.


Lowndes County (Miss.)-History



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




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


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


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


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


A.    Provenance
B.    Original Order
C.    Research Potential


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.