Consortium for the History of Agricultural and Rural Mississippi

CHARM Collections

CHARM was formed early in 2002 with a core collection of important documents and artifacts such as:

  • Photographs, reports, and other records of the MSU Extension Service
  • Diaries of farmers and plantation owners
  • Business ledgers, daybooks, deeds, correspondence, and other records of timber, agricultural, and other firms
  • Correspondence of agricultural and rural families
  • Exhibition catalogs from fairs
  • Records of the cotton trade
  • Plans for agricultural buildings

Please note that digitization of CHARM materials is a work in progress. Collections with digital content will be shown with a link to a page which will allow you to browse or search the digitized materials.

Manuscript Collections

The Manuscripts Division contains more than 670 collections of individuals, families and organizations. Included are diaries, letters, broadsides, speeches, plantation records, business and organizational records, unpublished reports, oral histories, architectural records and other materials documenting agriculture and rural life in Mississippi during the 19th and 20th century. Included also in the collection are materials of a broader, national significance which were created and collected by individuals who were born in Mississippi or who are alumni of Mississippi State University.

For additional assistance with manuscript collections, contact Special Collections at, (662) 325-7679.

Howard Langfitt "Farm Family of the Week" Collection

From 1954-1961, WLBT-TV in Jackson, Mississippi sponsored a program which was the creative product of Howard Langfitt (1919-1997), Farm Services Director. "RFD Televisit", an agricultural news and educational program, aired from 12:25-1:00 P.M. Monday through Friday and was sponsored by Hercules Powder Company, Monsanto, various rural electrification systems, and other companies that had an interest in the rural television market. Each program included farm news, agricultural weather and some type of demonstration of an approved farming or homemaking project. Langfitt relied heavily on county agricultural extension agents for projects and suggestions that went into producing the show.

After leaving WLBT in 1961, Langfitt retained the film negatives and scripts which make up the collection. 366 families are represented in the collection by 342 television scripts, and some 16,600 negative images. Most of the images are of Caucasian families, but there are images of African-Americans working on the farm and in the farm houses. Thirty-eight Mississippi counties and the Louisiana parishes of Madison and Tensas are represented. In addition, two educational institutions are represented: the French Camp Academy farm (September 7, 1956, script and 87 images) and the Hinds Junior College Agricultural Department (September 11, 1959, script and 72 images). Two meetings were the subjects of programs: a Delta Council meeting, May 26, 1961 (script only) and the Mississippi Association of Soil Conservation Districts annual meeting (undated, 11 images). The Livestock Market in Jackson, Mississippi was the subject of the August 18, 1961 (script only). Two recap stories featured a portion of the families (scripts, January 2, 1959 and December 30, 1960). 178 images are as yet unidentified.

For additional assistance with the "Farm Family of the Week" Collection, contact Special Collections, (662) 325-7679,

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Photograph Collections

Photographic images, including prints, film negatives, glass negatives and slides are an important historical resource documenting agriculture and rural life in Mississippi. The image collections of Mississippi State University Library are physically located within the individual collections found in the Manuscript and University Archives divisions of the Special Collections Department and the Congressional and Political Research Center. Images found in collections generally provide visual evidence of the activities, interests and collecting activities of the collection creators, thus augmenting and enhancing the textual content of the collections. The number and variety of images in each collection ranges from a single image to thousands of images in many formats. Both the Manuscript and University Archives divisions have General Photograph Collections containing images collected from a variety of sources. The University Archives General Photographs Collection is a significant source of visual information on activities of Mississippi State University, an important historical documentation component of the CHARM project. In addition, University Archives houses large collections of Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Extension Station (MAFES) and Cooperative Extension Services photographs. Congressional and Political Research Center collections, including the Mike Espy Collection, the John C. Stennis Collection, and the David R. Bowen Collection, contain images documenting agricultural and rural life events and personalities.

Historically, indexes and databases within the Special Collections Department have been used to provide access to the MSU Libraries' photographs. Currently, as photographs are digitized, metadata from those indexes and databases is being transferred to the CHARM CONTENTdm digital archive.

For additional information regarding photograph collections, contact Special Collections at (662)325-7679 or

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Faculty and Staff Papers

Faculty and staff papers that document the activities and history of Mississippi State University are primarily collected by the University Archives Division of the Special Collections Department. Included are materials in a variety of formats that provide evidence of the role of the University and its faculty and staff in shaping agricultural and rural life in Mississippi through education, research and promotional and extension activities. Of special interest and significance are the papers of individuals affiliated with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Forest Resources, the College of Veterinary Medicine, and the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Experiment Station (MAFES) and the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

For additional assistance with faculty and staff papers, contact Special Collections, (662) 325-7679,

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University Record Groups

The University Archives Division of the Special Collections Department is the official repository for University files, publications, photographs, audiovisual materials and memorabilia. Materials are collected and maintained in administrative record groups according to the office of creation. Among the record groups that contain extensive agricultural and rural life materials are records of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Forest Resources, the Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Records, and the Cooperative Extension Service Records, but other record groups such as the Presidents Papers also provide materials documenting the activities and influence of Mississippi State University as a land-grant institution. Augmenting the official record groups are articles, faculty and staff publications and other collected ephemeral materials contained in the MSU vertical files, an extensive group of files on MSU subjects and individuals connected to the University.

For additional assistance with University Record Groups, contact Special Collections, (662) 325-7679,

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The Special Collections Department contains an extensive collection of maps, atlases, charts, plats, birds-eye-views, aerial photographs and surveys documenting agriculture and rural life subjects such as the division of Mississippi lands, the development and growth of Mississippi towns, cities and counties, and topics such as agriculture, soils, railroads, waterways, politics and literature. The largest collection of maps is the flat map collection maintained by the Mississippiana and Rare Books Division. Access to the flat map collection is enhanced by indexes found in the Special Collections Department which provide access by cartographer and publisher, locality, format and subject. Some maps, the Mississippi soil surveys and many of the atlases found in the collection, have been cataloged and may be found in the Library's online catalog. Other maps and surveys, in particular surveys of individual plantations and properties and special interest maps and charts are found in individual manuscript and archival collections. For example, an extensive set of surveys of plantation and farm land in Sunflower County, Mississippi is found in the Horace Stansel Papers. Some maps from collections have been digitized and may be found in the Digital Collection.

For additional information regarding map collections, contact the Special Collections Department at (662) 325-7679,

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Mississippiana and Rare Books Collections

The Library's collection of Mississippiana, published materials by and about Mississippi and Mississippians, contains materials that can be used for researching agriculture and rural life during all periods of Mississippi history. Monographic histories, reminiscences, published diaries, genealogies, state and local documents and periodicals are a rich resource of Mississippi information. Some books have been designated as rare due to scarcity, fragility or special features. All published materials can be found in the Library's online catalog. In addition, the Division houses subject files of clippings, articles and ephemeral materials on Mississippi topics. An index to the subject files is available in Special Collections.

For additional information regarding map collections, contact the Special Collections Department at (662) 325-7679,

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Cully Cobb Forest Resources Tool Collection

The Mississippi State University College of Forest Resources' Cully A. Cobb Antique Tool Museum contains over 350 antique woodworking tools, farm implements, and household equipment. The museum is named for Cully A. Cobb, a 1908 graduate of MSU, who in 1968 initially donated 135 pieces. Over the years other donors to the collection include the Fatherree family (Jackson, MS); I.N. Hart (Yazoo City, 1971 MSU Graduate); Ford Parkman (Vicksburg, MS, 1934 MSU Graduate); J. P. Sartain (Yazoo City, MS); and J. D. Peterson (Money, MS).

The museum contains items that date back to the 1600's and include axes, saws, planes, hammers, drills, chisels, adzes, mauls, plow stocks, as well as well as a hand powered cornsheller, a handmade hickory compass, a handmade violin, model sawmill and more.

The Museum is located at Forest Products Department, 100 Blackjack Road, Starkville, MS but is not open to the public.

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