Research Tips & Tools
Archives & Special Collections

Archives & Special Collections:
Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are you open to the public?
Yes. Anyone can use the materials at the University of Mississippi’s Department of Archives and Special Collections. Researchers must show a valid picture ID card and complete a researcher registration form.

2. Where is the University of Mississippi’s Department of Archives and Special Collections located?
We are located on the third floor of the J.D. Williams Library.

map showing the library on campus


John Davis Williams Library third floor

map of library showing location of the archives

3. What are your hours?
We are open Monday through Friday from 8AM to 5PM. We are closed for the following University holidays:
Labor Day holiday
Thanksgiving holiday
Christmas Break-New Year’s
Martin Luther King Day
Good Friday
Memorial Day
Fourth of July
For more information on the general library hours please consult http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/general_library/files/admin/hours.html.

4. Can I get research material from the Archives?
a) You may come in person to conduct research. Since this a reference library no materials can be checked out, but you are welcome to make photocopies (except when collection restrictions apply).

b) You may telephone (662-915-7408) or e-mail to make research inquiries. Unfortunately due to our small staff size we are only able to conduct up to 30 minutes of research for off-site patrons.

c) You may contract with a freelance researcher. Special Collections does keep a list of available researchers which we can provide.

5. Can I obtain materials through inter-library loan?
Because we are a reference library and our materials do not circulate, we do not participate in the inter-library loan program.

6. Do you have university yearbooks?
We have copies of the Ole Miss yearbooks dating back to 1897 when the first one appeared. They are available in our reading room for consultation.

7. Do you have copies of the Daily Mississippian?
The Archives and Special Collections maintains bound copies of the student newspaper The Daily Mississippian. Due to their fragile nature we ask that patrons use the microfilm copies available on the first floor of the library in media/microforms.

8. Do you have copies of the university budget?
We maintain copies of the budgets from previous years. A copy of the current budget year is on reserve at the main library’s Reference Desk.

9. What Mississippi censuses do you have? Are they indexed?
Most of the complete census records are held in the department of Government Documents in the main library, but Special Collections does have indexed copies of mostly nineteenth-century census records. These were indexed by genealogists and are not the originals. For a complete listing please consult our online catalog. Here are some examples of the holdings in Special Collections:

--Early Mississippi Records : Bolivar County / co-editors: Katherine Clements Branton, Alice Clements Wade.
-- Early Mississippi Records : Census Series, Vol. 1 / compiled by Katherine Branton.
--Records of Jones County, Mississippi / compiled by Ben & Jean Strickland.
--Early Records of Mississippi : Issaquena and Washington Counties / collected and abstracted by Katherine Branton ; indexed by Alice C. Wade
--Records of Greene County, Mississippi : 1812-1820 Tax Rolls, 1816 Territorial Census / compiled by Ben & Jean Strickland.
--Covington County, Mississippi : 1820, 1830, 1840 & 1850 Federal Census, 1841 State Census / [by Patricia N. Edwards & Jean Strickland].
--1820 Census of Mississippi / McEllhiney and Thomas.
--Mississippi 1830 Census/ Irene S. & Norman E. Gillis.
--1840 U. S. Federal Census, Lafayette County & Yalobusha County, Mississippi : Also Index to 1850 U. S. Census, Lafayette Co., MS. / compiled by Earl A. Truett, Jr. & Catherine E., Mrs. G. L. Eatman.
--1840 Census of Newton County, Mississippi/ Mrs. Oliver H. Hopkins
--Mississippi Northern District : Index to the United States Census of 1840 / Gwen Platt, Annabel Lannart and Marian Peer.
--Mississippi Southern District : Index to the United States Census of 1840 / Gwen Platt, Annabel Lannart and Marian Peer.
--The Marriage Records of Itawamba County, Mississippi, 1837-1866, With Heads of Families, 1840 Federal Census.
--1850 U. S. Federal Census, Lafayette County, Mississippi / compiled by Eatherine E., Mrs. G. L. Eatman & Earl A. Truett, Jr.
--1850 Census, Lowndes County, Mississippi, Including Free, Slave, Mortality, and Agricultural Schedules / compiled by Betty Wood Thomas.
--Mississippi 1850 Mortality Schedules/ compiled by Irene S. Gillis.
--Mississippi 1850 Census; Surname Index/ Irene S. Gillis.
--1860 Census, Kemper County, Mississippi / Elia Griffin Daws.
--1860 Federal Population Census, Bolivar County, Mississippi / compiled by John C. Green III.
--Newton County, Mississippi 1860 Census and Slave Schedule / transcribed by Bonnie Morse.
--1860 U.S. Federal Census, Lafayette County, Mississippi / compiled Earl A. Truett, Jr. & Catherine E., Mrs. G.L. Eatman.
--Mississippi 1860 U.S. Census Index / by Mrs. Warren Gill Bonner
--1870 Federal Census, Lowndes County, Mississippi / compiled by Paula Hunt and Billie Wartes under the direction of Kris Bennett and Donna Pannell Kruetzer
--1870 Census of Lafayette County, Mississippi / transcribed from microfilm by Earl A. Truett, Jr. and Sybil Metts Hill; design and print preparation, Patricia Crocker Fitts.
--1890 Genealogical Census Reconstruction : Mississippi Edition / Sherida K. Eddlemon
--Choctaw and Chickasaw Early Census Records / compiled by Betty Wiltshire
--1890 Replacement Census, Tate County, Mississippi / transcribed, edited, and typed by Louise C. Fox.
--Enumeration of Educable Children in Pontotoc County, Mississippi, 1894 / Hazel Boss Neet.
--Index, 1900 Census, Attala County, Mississippi / compiled by James M. and Lillian (Noles) Hart.

10. Do you conduct tours and workshops for groups?
If time permits, we will conduct tours and workshops tailored to the interest of particular groups. Due to our small staff size we have limited our workshops to two a week. Please call in advance in order to see about the possibility of scheduling a tour. As we are a research facility we are unable to accommodate children’s groups under the age of ten.

11. Do you have photograph collections, and can I obtain a copy of images?
Special Collections has a strong collection of photographs and film relating to Mississippi. Prints can be made for patrons if they are out of copyright or the researcher has the permission of the copyright holder. It takes from two to four weeks to receive requested photographic copies. For more information please consult our visual collections policies.

12. How can I obtain a Civil War service record or pension application? Do you have unit histories?
To obtain a copy of a service record, please contact the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. The Mississippi Department of Archives and History has the National Archives microfilm of the compiled service records of soldiers serving in Mississippi units, both Confederate and Union. They also have many Confederate pension applications filed by veterans and their widows living in Mississippi after the war.

We do have selected unit histories in Special Collection. To learn more about our holdings, please consult our library’s online catalog.

13. What newspapers do you have? Are they indexed?
Special Collections has selected issues of some Mississippi newspapers, but most of these are available through microfilm in the main library. Due to the fragility of these newspapers Special Collections asks patrons to make sure the newspaper they need is not on microfilm before consulting the original newspapers. No photocopies of nineteenth-century newspapers are possible. Unfortunately our newspapers are not indexed.

14. How can I get a copy of a map?
We have a large collection of maps going back to the late seventeenth century. Maps in the collection may not be photocopied, but arrangements can be made for other means of reproduction. Contact Special Collections for more information.

A set of five color maps of Mississippi — 1816, 1822, 1842, 1852, and 1873 — reproduced by the Mississippi Historical Society may be purchased from the Old Capitol Shop. Tel (601) 576-6921.

The Mississippi Highway Department sells copies of current county highway maps. Write to Map Sales Division, Mississippi Highway Department, P.O. Box 1850, Jackson, MS 39215-1850.

The Mississippi Geological Survey sells copies of quadrangle or topographical maps. Write to: Mississippi Geological Survey, P.O. Box 20307, Jackson, MS 39289-1307. Tel (601) 961-5523.

15. How can I obtain information on university students?
The department contains student records from the founding of the university through the early 1920s. The other source we use for the early history of the university is The Historical Catalogue of the University of Mississippi, 1849-1909. For students attending the university after 1929, researchers should contact the Registrar’s office at (662) 915-7792 or the University of Mississippi Alumni Association.

16. Can I buy books from the Archives?
We do not sell books from the collection. We do sell exhibition catalogues of various Special Collections exhibits. For more information please consult http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/general_library/archives/exhibits/.

17. I have an old document. Can you tell me how much it is worth?
The Department of Archives and Special Collections does not provide this service. However the Library of Congress (http://www.loc.gov/preserv/presfaq.html) suggests finding a professional appraiser through the website of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (http://www.bookweb.org/) which features a Collector's Corner, advanced book searching capabilities, and a membership directory of appraisers indexed by subject and geographical area. You can also search for books on the website of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers , as well as obtain information about related events and the market for rare books. Auction catalogs are also an indispensable resource. Other sources of information are listed on the website of the Smithsonian Institution which includes a bibliography, professional contacts, and suggestions for selling valuable objects.


18. How do I preserve old documents and photographs?
For more information on the preservation and storage of fragile materials, please consult the Library of Congress' Preservation Department. The National Film Preservation Board maintains a site on the preservation of film at http://www.filmpreservation.org/. The National Archives maintains a site on the preservation of photographs at http://www.archives.gov/preservation/family-archives/storing-photos.html.


19. How do I donate materials to your collection?

Special Collections welcomes potential donors to contact our department. We collect items relating to Mississippi and the American South in format ranging from books, family papers, correspondence, blues recordings, Mississippi-related films, and other materials relating to the state. Please contact our main office line at (662)-915-7408 or send an e-mail through our “Ask Special Collections” site.


20. I have a collection of arrowheads, Native American artifacts, and Civil War items. Whom should I contact in order to make a donation?
The Department of Special Collections does not usually accept artifacts but instead refers donors of artifacts to the University Museum.

21. Does Mississippi have a genealogical society I can join?
The Family Research Association of Mississippi is the statewide genealogical organization. FRA’s address is P.O. Box 1334, Jackson, MS 39236-3384. Many counties also have genealogical or local history societies. For more information please visit http://www.rootsweb.com/?~msgenweb/society.htm or the Mississippi Department of Archives and History list. The Skipwith Society is the local Lafayette County history society. For more information please contact Maxine H. Karr, P. O. Box 1382, Oxford, Mississippi 38655.