Department Newsletters (1965-Present)

USM History Dept Newsletter #1 1965


 “I assume that everyone knows that we intend to continue to strengthen and expand the Department of History, that we are working toward the final approval of the doctoral program in history, and that we are continuing to allocate money for purchases of historical materials for the Library.”  --Dr. William D. McCain

“Dr. William K. Scarborough has been appointed Associate Professor History.  A native of Maryland, Professor Scarborough holds the B.A. degree from the University of North Carolina, the M.A. degree from Cornell University and the Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina.  He was formerly a member of the History Department at Millsaps College in Jackson and Northeast Louisiana State College in Monroe.  He teaches courses in Southern and American history.”  --Departmental affairs


“Edward H. Moseley, Associate Professor of History, assumed his duties in June, 1965.  The department is now able to expand the course offerings in Latin American history.  Courses in ABC Powers, Mexico, and Caribbean are being offered for the first time this year.”  ---Departmental Affairs


“Miss Willery Jackson, Associate Professor of History since 1940, retired at the end of the summer quarter, 1966.  The Department honored Miss Jackson with a retirement party held at the Wagon Wheel Restaurant in Hattiesburg on June 3, 1966.  Also the Department has established the Willery Jackson Library Fund to be used for the purchase of materials to enrich the Mississippi Collection.”

Additions to the department in Sept. 1966:  Gordon Bond; Richard Bowers; JE. James Clark; William S. Coker; John P. Posey; John Ray Skates, Jr.; Pauline Rogers Stout; Frank L. Turner


“Professor William K. Scarborough read a paper entitled ‘The Racial Views of the Antebellum South in Modern Perspective:  A Reassessment of the Concept of Racial Differences.’”


“John Guice (doctoral candidate at the University of Colorado) will assume his duties as assistant professor of history in September, 1969, to teach courses in Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century American history.”

“Professor Bowers, under grant from the University of Southern Mississippi, did research in the Public Record Office on Italian merchants in Medieval England.  During the summer, Professor Bowers was accepted for membership in the Institute of Historical Research and attended the Anglo-American Historical Conference sponsored by the Institute at the University of London.”


“The Department of History is emerging as the most energetic, diverse, and professional faculty on the campus of the University.  All members now have the Ph.D.  Nearly all have publishing commitments for books in the near future.  With the addition of four new members with degrees from UCLA, Indiana University, Colorado, and Vanderbilt, the faculty is more cosmopolitan than ever before.”

“However the mere existence of such a department is not enough.  The fact that we have such embryonic quality produces questions which we have not as yet answered.  How can we make the people of Mississippi and the country aware of this excellence?  What should the primary direction of the department be?  Good undergraduate teaching?  The production of graduate students?  Publications?  How can the members of the faculty best serve the people of Mississippi, who, after all, pay our salaries?   In short, what long-range plans can be developed?”

“William D. McCain, President of the University, has recently announced the forthcoming publication of a two-volume co-operative history of Mississippi.  Sponsored by the State of Mississippi, the Department of Archives and History, the Mississippi Historical Society, University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University, and the University of Southern Mississippi, this project is under the editorial supervision of RICHARD A. MC LEMORE, WILLIAM D. MCCAIN, JOHN K., BETTERSWORTH, and PORTER L. FORTUNE, JR.”


Oral History at USM “The History Department is pleased to assist in the University’s new Mississippi Oral History Project.  Designed to preserve a ‘living record’ of the state’s recent past, the project was launched following a one-day workshop conducted by an oral history interviewer from the Lyndon B. Johnson Library.  Approximately eighty-five prominent Mississippians have been invited to record their memories fro preservation in the University Archives.  Among members of the department who will assist in the initial interviews are Professors John E. Gonzales, John D.W. Guice, Kenneth G. McCarty, Neil R. McMillen, and John R. Skates.”


“The history faculty continues active in the University’s Oral History Project.  During the past year members of this and other departments taped interviews with such leading Mississippi personalities as Bidwell Adams, Ross Barnett, Thomas P. Brady, Erskine Caldwell, Turner Catledge, Charles Evers, Stanton Hall, Fannie Lou Hamer, Aaron Henry, Purser Hewitt, William M. (‘Fish Bait’) Miller, and William Waller.”

Placement – “Despite widespread blight within the academic market-place the department’s graduating job-seekers continue to find more or less satisfactory placement.  In 1971-1972, six ‘ABD’s’ or Ph.D.’s left he departmental fold for teaching positions in higher education.  Indications are clear, however, that prospects for future years are bleak at best.  The market for ‘ABD’s’ appears to be all but gone and the demand for Ph.D.’s is less than at any time since the depression years of the 1930’s.”


A Tribute to J. Treadwell Davis – “August of 1974 will mark a significant date for the History Department at the University of Southern Mississippi.  Then, after twenty-six years of inspired and devoted teaching at USM, Professor J. Treadwell Davis will retire to become the institution’s first Professor Emeritus of History.”


“In this day morale among historians is at a low ebb.  The profession is glutted with too many Ph.D.’s.  The demand for public school history teachers is declining.  Advocates of career education sneer at historians as useless, asking ‘but what can he do?’  So too often history departments are relegated to teaching survey service courses in the university core, and history professors are looked upon as some sort of academic hoe hands whose work is to weed out weak students.”

"Howard J. Jones, first black faculty member, September 1974, but left for Prairie View Agricultural and Mechanical University.  Jones was a PhD from the University of Washington."


“In an effort to create a more attractive curriculum we are now offering one or two advanced courses each semester which are designed to appeal to the general student.  In the spring semester 1979, we offered ‘Women in U.S. History.’  In the fall we will offer a history of The Second World War.  The experiment appears to be successful.”

“Chester M. (Bo) Morgan has completed the course work for the doctorate at Memphis State University and hopes to return to Hattiesburg to do most of his research for the dissertation.”


Dr. Scarborough the chair of department – July 1, 1980

“the number of full-time, undergraduate history majors has dropped from 91 to 50 during the last five years….On the graduate level we have experienced a similar decline—from 27 full time, resident students in 1974-75 to 14 during this past year.”

“In an effort to counter these trends we have recently implemented two new graduate programs—an M.S. degree program tailored specifically to meet the needs of secondary school teachers and a dual Master’s degree program in History and Library Science—and have expanded our offerings of such general-interest undergraduate courses as ‘The U.S. in Vietnam,’ ‘World War II,’ and ‘Women in U.S. History.’  It remains to be seen whether these and other efforts will have any appreciable effect in attracting new students.”


“In the area of scholarship our faculty has been very productive, as you can see from the section in this newsletter reporting on their accomplishments.  The most noteworthy achievement, of course, belongs to Dr. McMillen who won the 1990 Bancroft Prize in American history, the most coveted after the Pulitzer, for his book Dark Journey:  Black Mississippians in the Age of Jim Crow.”

Chuck Bolton, as noted in this edition, joined the department in 1990

Marjorie Spruill… joined in 1985

Dr. Wiest’s first appearance in the bulletin


“The 1995-96 academic year began with a magnificent conference organized by Neil McMillen.  It dealt with the role of African-Americans in World War II, and it was the culmination of Neil’s two-year tenure as Moorman Professor of the Humanities, the College of Liberal Arts’ most prestigious award.”

“We expanded and revised substantially the department’s course offerings to reflect the growth and diversity of our faculty; we increased our participation in study abroad programs with course offerings in China, France, and Jamaica taught by Drs. Sun, Mackaman, and Sensbach respectively; and, through the leadership of the Oral History Program, we have launched an exciting new vehicle for the discovery of Mississippi culture and history, the Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage: The Pine Hills Culture Program”


“History on the Coast,” Talks about the advances for USM on the Coast, particularly in the secondary ed folks.


Longtime professor John Gonzales donates more than $800,000 for Student Scholarships


Centennial stories from the History Department; Study Abroad News; and the CoAL Undergraduate Research Symposium