Timber and Lumber in Mississippi Exhibit on Display in Cook Library

When thinking of cash crops in Mississippi, timber and lumber are not the first things that come to mind. The kingdom of cotton, and all of the perils associated with it, dominates the popular vision of Mississippi’s past. While the importance of cotton’s impact on the state should not go unwarranted, it is also important to understand that large-scale cotton plantations could not survive everywhere.

Outside of the well-suited areas for cotton in Mississippi, other industries played a larger role. Timber and lumber are examples of this. Southern Mississippi was given the nickname “The Pine Belt” due to the large number and different species of pine trees that thrive in the region. Other areas of the state also cultivate different types of trees. Whether it was loblolly, shortleaf, longleaf, or slash, Mississippians of the past recognized this, and took it upon themselves to develop the industry into a major player in the state’s economy. In addition, as the timber and lumber industries blossomed, along came railroads and towns to also capitalize on the boom.

A new exhibit, Timber and Lumber in Mississippi, traces the development of the industries, and, in a way, Mississippi itself. The display will be available until September 28 on the first floor of Cook Library during regular library hours, which can be found here. Materials highlighted in the exhibit come from the S. G. Thigpen Papers, the Dr. Gilbert H. Hoffman Papers and Research Collection, various photographic collections, and state published documents. All of these archival materials can be located at Special Collections in McCain Library and Archives Room 305.

Timber and Lumber in Mississippi was curated by Jacob Featherling, a second-year M.A. student of history, at The University of Southern Mississippi. If you have questions about the exhibit, contact Jennifer Brannock at Jennifer.Brannock@usm.edu or 601.266.4347.