Mississippi Historical Society

The Mississippi Historical Society (MHS) is a historical society located in the U.S. state of Mississippi. The society was established in 1858 but was terminated due to the coming of the American Civil War. It remained in hiatus until 1890, publishing extensively over the next 35 years and helping to establish the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in 1902. After a second protracted hiatus, lasting from 1925 until 1952, the society re-emerged and has remained in continuous operation ever since.

Mississippi Historical Society
TypeHistorical society

The society publishes the quarterly Journal of Mississippi History, the monthly Mississippi History Newsletter, and the online journal Mississippi History Now.



The Mississippi Historical Society (MHS) was founded in Jackson on November 9, 1858.[1] The initial incarnation of the society was short-lived, expiring after only two years owing to the coming of the American Civil War.[1]

Second incarnation

After a thirty-year hiatus, it was restarted in 1890 on the University of Mississippi campus, in Oxford.[1] On the campus, the society had closed meetings and it languished in resources and interest until the young history professor, Franklin Lafayette Riley Jr., sought counsel from his academic mentor, Herbert Baxter Adams, other state educators, and war veterans such as Stephen D. Lee.[2]

Beginning in 1898, the rejuvenated MHS began a series of 14 annual volumes entitled Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, containing significant scholarship on the history of the state.[1] This was continued in 1916 with the publication of a new series of five additional volumes under the editorship of historian Dunbar Rowland.[1]

The society was instrumental in establishing the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in 1902, and the two organizations worked in close cooperation until the MHS expired once again in 1925.[1]

Society today

The Mississippi Historical Society was relaunched for a third time in 1952 and has maintained itself in continuous operation ever since.[1] The society publishes the quarterly Journal of Mississippi History, the monthly Mississippi History Newsletter, and the online journal History Now.[1]

In 2007, Mississippi State University history professor emeritus John F. Marszalek served as president of the Mississippi Historical Society. He is renowned for his original and creative work on the history of the Civil War and Reconstruction. His ascendancy to the presidency of the society is notable considering that he is one of the few northern-born members to serve in that position. During the early 2000s, the MHS repeatedly honored historians for their work on Mississippi history, notably Charles C. Bolton—Department Chair at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro and author of the highly critical 2005 book The Hardest Deal of All: The Battle Over School Integration in Mississippi, 1870-1980.

In addition, in 2007 the MHS invited Bolton and James W. Loewen, author of The Mississippi Chinese: Between Black and White, to speak at the annual meeting.[3] Loewen is notable for filing a federal lawsuit against the state of Mississippi in 1975 over the state's rejection of his textbook, Mississippi: Conflict & Change, co-authored by historian Charles Sallis, from use in the state's public schools.[4]


  1. Mississippi Historical Society official website Archived 2010-10-07 at the Wayback Machine, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, www.mdah.state.ms.us/
  2. Hollandsworth Jr., James G. (2008). Portrait of a Scientific Racist: Alfred Holt Stone of Mississippi. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. p.74, p. 243. ISBN 978-0-8071-3336-1
  3. "MHS Awards Prizes, Names Officers". Archived from the original on 2014-01-02. Retrieved Aug 20, 2013.
  4. "Loewen v. Turnipseed, State of Mississippi". Retrieved Aug 20, 2013.

Further reading

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