The University of Southern Mississippi -- McCain Library and Archives
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Collection Title: Stout (Polly) Collection
Collection Number: M122
Volume: .45 cu. ft.
Pauline "Miss Polly" Rogers was born on November 4, 1909 in Gardner, West Virginia to Lamar Claiborne Rogers and Dora Lee Shumate Rogers. She received an A. B. Degree from Concord State Teacher’s College in Athens, West Virginia, in 1930 and a M. A. Degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1934. She then taught at Concord College Training School, Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, Southwestern College in Memphis, Tennessee, and St. Mary's Episcopal School for Girls in Memphis, Tennessee.
On September 1, 1936, she married Dr. Wilbur White "Doc" Stout after an eight year courtship. Dr. Stout had been one of her teachers when she attended Concord State Teacher's College. No children were born of the union.
In 1944 Doc moved to Hattiesburg, Mississippi and began working at Mississippi Southern College (now USM), as Chairman of the Division of Language and Literature, and he also taught English. Miss Polly had one year remaining on her teaching contract at St. Mary's Episcopal School, and during that time, she traveled to Hattiesburg once a month to visit her husband. When her contract expired in 1945, she was hired as the assistant housing director at Mississippi Southern College, and later began teaching English and history in the Latin American Institute. In 1965 she became the research and editorial assistant to the president of the university. After her retirement in 1977, she continued to serve part-time until December of 1994. During her tenure at Southern Miss, she served under four presidents: Dr. Robert Cecil Cook, Dr. Richard Aubrey McLemore (interim president), Dr. William D. McCain and Dr. Aubrey K. Lucas.
Miss Polly was one of the charter members of the USM Faculty Wives Club. She was also a member of the USM Alumni Hall of Fame, the National Association of Women Deans and Counselors, American Association of University Women, Wesleyan Service Guild, Hattiesburg Study Club, Tau Beta Sigma, Mu Phi Epsilon, and Delta Kappa Gamma. She edited the university bulletin, and held national positions with Delta Zeta Sorority. From 1962 through 1971 she was included in Who's Who of American Women. She was a member of the Hattiesburg Main Street United Methodist Church and an honorary lifetime member of the USM Alumni Association.
When Miss Polly was in her sixties she discovered a book entitled The Madonna in Art in her mother's attic. She found herself fascinated with the Madonna, and began to collect Madonna Christmas cards. She soon started educating herself on Madonna art and then educating others by giving lectures at various gatherings.
On February 5, 1996, Miss Polly was honored by having the banquet rooms in the J. B. George Commons Building on the Hattiesburg Campus of USM dedicated in her name.
Pauline Stout died on December 23, 2000 at the age of 91, and is interred in Burlington, North Carolina. “Polly’s career at Southern Miss spanned a half century in many, many positions,” said Dr. Aubrey Lucas. “She was an institutional memory. She knew the history of the university, and more importantly, its people. “She was a remarkable person and we had really missed her since her retirement,” the former USM president added.
Contents of the Collection
This collection consists primarily of materials that document Polly Stout's career at the University of Southern Mississippi and her involvement in activities relating to the City of Hattiesburg. Included are brochures, newspaper clippings, photographs, and information regarding several organizations. There is a speech by Dr. Aubrey K. Lucas, and correspondence concerning the promotional publication, Discover Southern, as well as Alma Hickman's book, Southern As I Saw It.
Other Finding Aids:
Mrs. Pauline Stout
Oral History Interview, F341.5. M57x vol. 308