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Manuscript Collection

Collection Title: Newsome (Stella B.) Papers

Collection Number: M 129

Dates: 1936

Volume: 1 folder

Provenance: Items Donated by Ovid S. Vickers in February 1967.

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

Stella B. Newsome was born in Columbia, Mississippi and graduated from Columbia High School. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Mississippi State College for Women (now Mississippi University for Women) in Columbus, Mississippi in 1900 and earned her Master's degree from the University of Mississippi. She also received an honorary Doctor of Literature and Letters from Erskine College in Due West, South Carolina.

Mrs. Newsome was one of the two original faculty members of East Central Community College, in Decatur, Mississippi, in 1928. She was head of the department of English and taught English, literature, history, and speech. She remained on the faculty until 1958.

Before teaching at East Central Community College, Mrs. Newsome taught at Jones Junior College in Ellisville, Mississippi.

Scope and Content:

This collection consists of a pageant written by Mrs. Stella B. Newsome and performed for the celebration of the centennial of Newton County, Mississippi in 1936. The pageant is divided in tableaus, each of which represents a significant part of the county's history.

In telling the story of Newton County, Mrs. Newsome was influenced by Greek mythology, the writings of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and the prevailing ideology of the time. For instance, the play purports that:

  • The Greek gods created Newton County solely for the purpose of the white man.
  • In the antebellum South, everyone was better off, even the "happy-go-lucky slaves."
  • In the Reconstruction period, the Ku Klux Klan was the savior of the South (from the Negroes and the carpetbaggers).

The play includes a list of all the Confederate companies from Newton County that served in the Civil War and a list of the judges and District Attorneys that served in Newton County up until 1936. Also, there is a list of the early churches of the county.

This pageant presents a picturesque view of the history of Newton County, and includes the contributions of early settlers and Native Americans, as well. The pageant would be of interest to the historian of Newton County and the historian of social perspectives of the American South in the 1930s.


Created by: Bobs M. Tusa
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Revised: November 24, 2004