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Politics and Government (Archives): Congressional Collections

Congressional Collections

Thomas Gerstle Abernethy (1903-1998)

A Democrat, Thomas G. Abernethy served in the U.S. House of Representatives between 1943 and 1973, where he was a member of the Committee on Agriculture, the Committee on Education and Labor, and the District of Columbia Committee.

The Thomas G. Abernethy Collection consists of 444 boxes and contains congressional papers from throughout his term in office. A folder-level inventory is available, and the collection is open to researchers.  The collections is open to researchers, and a finding aid is available onlinePatrons should provide notice at least two business days prior to prospective visits so that staff may transfer requested boxes from the Library Annex (an off-site facility) to the Special Collections Reading Room. Please contact Special Collections at (662) 915-7408 to specify requested material.  Photographs and a recording are available online as a digital collection.

William Thad Cochran (1937- )

A Republican, Thad Cochran represented Mississippi in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1973 to 1978. Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1978, he has served on the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry and has chaired the Senate Republican Conference and the Committee on Appropriations.

The Thad Cochran Collection is not open to researchers.

Ross Alexander Collins (1880-1968)

Ross A. Collins, a Democrat, served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1921 to 1935 and from 1937 to 1943.

The Ross A. Collins Collection consists of one scrapbook donated by Collins containing photographs and autographs of prominent individuals, as well as one box of copied papers regarding Collins’ efforts to have the Library of Congress acquire the Vollbehr Collection of Incunabula (the Library of Congress holds the original correspondence). The collections is open to researchers, and a finding aid is available online. Patrons should provide notice at least two business days prior to prospective visits so that staff may transfer requested boxes from the Library Annex (an off-site facility) to the Special Collections Reading Room. Please contact Special Collections at (662)
915-7408 to specify requested material.

Jefferson Davis (1808-1889)

A Democrat, Jefferson Davis served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1845 to 1846 and in the U.S. Senate from 1857 to 1861, where he was chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs. Davis resigned from the House in 1846 to command the First Regiment of Mississippi Riflemen in the Mexican War. From 1853 to 1857, he served as President Pierce’s Secretary of War. In 1861, Davis was elected President of the Confederacy.

The Joseph E. Davis Collection contains the papers of Jefferson Davis’s brother.  The three-box collection is open to researchers, and a finding aid is available online.

The Archives & Special Collections possesses other original items related to Jefferson Davis that are scattered in various collections – see the Politics & Government Subject Guide page for Nineteenth Century Collections.

James Oliver Eastland (1904-1986)

In 1941, James O. Eastland accepted an appointment to fill the vacancy left in the U.S. Senate by the death of Pat Harrison. Mississippi elected Eastland to the Senate in 1943, a post the Democrat held until 1978. He served on the Committee on Agriculture and Forestry and was chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary. From 1928 to 1932, Eastland was a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives.

Portions of the James O. Eastland Collection remain closed to researchers while curators process the papers. However, File Series 1: Personal/Political, File Series 2: Public Relations, and portions of File Series 3: Constituent Files are now open to scholars, and the finding aid is available online.  A small selection of items from the collection are available as a digital collection. Patrons should provide notice at least two business days prior to prospective visits so that staff may transfer requested boxes from the Library Annex (an off-site facility) to the Special Collections Reading Room. Please contact Special Collections at (662) 915-7408 to specify requested material.

Winfield Scott Featherston (1820-1891)

A Democrat, W.S. Featherston served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1847 to 1851. During the Civil War, he received a brigadier general commission in the Confederate Army. After the war, Featherston sat in the Mississippi House of Representatives from 1876 to 1880, attended the Democratic National Convention in 1880 as a delegate, and was a member of the 1890 Mississippi Constitutional Convention.

The Featherston Collection consists of sixteen boxes of material from 1825 to 1952, with the majority dating between the 1840s and 1880s. Although the collection contains a number of politically-related items, none appears connected to his congressional service in Washington.  The collection is open to researchers, and a finding aid is available online

Byron Patton “Pat” Harrison (1881-1941)

A Democrat, Pat Harrison served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1911 to 1919 and in the U.S. Senate from 1919 to 1941. He was chair of the Committee on Finance and served as President Pro Tempore during the Seventy-Seventh Congress.

The Pat Harrison Collection consists of fifty-one boxes whose contents date from his terms in the U.S. Senate. The collection is open to researchers, and a finding aid is available online. Patrons should provide notice at least two business days prior to prospective visits so that staff may transfer requested boxes from the Library Annex (an off-site facility) to the Special Collections Reading Room. Please contact Special Collections at (662) 915-7408 to specify requested material.

Twenty-six original Clifford K. Berryman political cartoons featuring Senator Harrison are available in the Berryman digital collection.  Photographs from the Pat Harrison Collection are available in the Harrison digital collection.

Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar (1825-1893)

L.Q.C. Lamar served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1857 to 1860 and again from 1873 to 1877. He represented Mississippi in the U.S. Senate from 1877 until 1885.

Lamar was a delegate at the Mississippi Secession Convention of 1860 and held the office of lieutenant colonel in the Confederate Army until 1862 when he entered the Confederate diplomatic service. Lamar served as a delegate at Mississippi’s Constitutional Conventions in 1865, 1868, 1875, 1877, and 1881. President Cleveland appointed him Secretary of the Interior (1885-1888) and then Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1888-1893).

The L.Q.C. Lamar Collection consists of fifty-three photocopied items, mostly letters from Lamar to Oxford resident E.D. Clark dating from 1868 to 1885. The collection is open to researchers, and a finding aid is available online.

Chester Trent Lott (1941- )

A Republican, Trent Lott served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1973 to 1988, attaining the office of minority whip. Lott represented Mississippi in the U.S. Senate between 1989 and 2007, where he held the office of party whip, majority leader, and minority leader. Lott also chaired the Committee on Rules and Administration.

Although the Trent Lott Collection is closed to researchers, selected recordings from the collection are available as a digital collection.

John Elliott Rankin (1882-1960)

A Democrat, John Rankin was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1921 to 1953, where he served on the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and chaired the Committee on World War Veterans’ Legislation. Rankin was a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1932, 1936, and 1940.

The John Rankin Collection remains closed to researchers.

Jacob Thompson (1810-1885)

A Democrat, Jacob Thompson served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1839 to 1851, chairing the Committee on Indian Affairs. President Buchanan appointed Thompson Secretary of the Interior in 1857, a post which Thompson held until his resignation in 1861. He then acted as Inspector General in the Confederate Army and as a confidential agent of the Confederacy to Canada.

Donated by descendants of Jacob Thompson, the William & Marjorie Lewis Collection contains genealogical research as well as original financial documents, correspondence, and carte de viste dating from 1822 to 1890. The collection is open to researchers, and a finding aid is available online.

Edward Carey Walthall (1831-1898)

Appointed as a Democrat to fill the seat left vacant by L.Q.C. Lamar, E.C. Walthall served in the U.S. Senate from 1885 to 1894 when he resigned for ill health. Reelected, he served again from 1895 to 1898. Walthall chaired both the Committee on Military Affairs and the Committee on Revolutionary Claims.

The E.C. Walthall Family Collection consists of one box, whose materials range from 1837 to 1898. Only a few of the items date from Walthall’s congressional years. The collection is open to researchers, and a finding aid is available online.

Roger F. Wicker (1951- )

A Republican, Roger F. Wicker served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2007. He has represented Mississippi in the U.S. Senate since 2007. In the House, Wicker became deputy whip and member of the Republican Policy Committee. He also served on the House Appropriations Committee. In the Senate, Wicker sits on the Armed Services Committee; the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee; the Foreign Affairs Committee; the Small Business Committee; and the Veterans Affairs Committee.

The Roger F. Wicker Collection is closed to researchers.

Jamie Lloyd Whitten (1910-1995)

A Democrat, Jamie L. Whitten represented Mississippi in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1941 to 1995, where he served as co-chair of the Joint Committee on Budget Control and chair of the Committee on Appropriations. Whitten was a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives from 1931 to 1932.

The manuscript portion of the Jamie L. Whitten Collection is closed to researchers; however, all the recordings are now available as a digital collection. The collection's finding aid is available online.

William Madison Whittington (1878-1962)

William M. Whittington, a Democrat, served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1925 to 1951, where he sat on the Committee on Public Works and chaired the Committee on Flood Control. Whittington was a member of the Greenwood, Mississippi city council from 1907 to 1911; a member of the Mississippi Senate from 1916 to 1920 and again from 1923 to 1924; and a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1920, 1928, 1936, 1940, and 1948.

The William M. Whittington Collection consists of 316 boxes whose contents date from 1897 to 1962. The collection is open to researchers, and a finding aid is available online. Patrons should provide notice at least two business days prior to prospective visits so that staff may transfer requested boxes from the Library Annex (an off-site facility) to the Special Collections Reading Room. Please contact Special Collections at (662) 915-7408 to specify requested material.

John Sharp Williams (1854-1932)

John Sharp Williams served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1893 to 1909, where the Democrat was minority leader and chair of the Committee on Party Leaders. Williams sat in the U.S. Senate from 1911 to 1923; He served on the Committee on the Library and the Committee on the University of the United States and chaired the Committee to Audit and Control the Contingent Expenses.

Williams’ biographer, George Coleman Osborn, accumulated the material in the John Sharp Williams Collection. Consisting of eleven boxes, the material dates from 1887 to 1932. Many of the letters are copies of originals. The collection is open to researchers, and a finding aid is available online. Patrons should provide notice at least two business days prior to prospective visits so that staff may transfer requested boxes from the Library Annex (an off-site facility) to the Special Collections Reading Room. Please contact Special Collections at (662) 915-7408 to specify requested material.

Other Library Resources

Other Library Resources

"Hail to the Chief!: An Exhibit on Presidents and Mississippi in Presidential Elections" is available online with full-text scans for many of the display items.

Presidential Debate Subject Guide was created for the 2008 presidential debate on the University of Mississippi campus.

For assistance with non-archival resources, see the main library's Political Science, History, or Government Information subject guides.

Online tutorials describe the differences between primary and secondary resources as well as finding and using the Archives & Special Collections.

The library has created a searchable database on its Mississippi Newspaper holdings.  Search by text, year, city, or county to find newspaper titles, time span in the library's possession, and a link to the catalog record.