The Local History Department at the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library joins with the Mississippi Digital Library

The Local History Department at the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library has joined with the Mississippi Digital Library (MDL) to make collections at the library accessible online and in digital format.

The first collection added to the MDL includes samples from the Marion Stark Gaines Photograph Collection. Fifteen images along with the finding aid are included. For each image, the MDL includes the image itself along with the title, description, dates, and the location of the original at the Local History Department.

Marion Stark Gaines with camera, c. 1890s

Marion Stark Gaines was one of the earliest known published woman photographers of Mississippi and the grandmother of former library director Chebie Bateman. Gaines experimented with photography while living in State Line, Mississippi in the 1890s and early 1900s.  Her work captured not only family life, but also social customs and race relations in the rural South. 

Images from the collection in the MDL include Gaines’ children; George, Viola, and Edmund; as well as a self portrait of Gaines with her camera.  She also took photographs of Native Americans, African Americans, flora, and fauna.

Edmond Gaines, c. 1890s

Archivist Mona K. Vance said, “Being a part of the Mississippi Digital Library is a wonderful opportunity to provide better access to the wealth of historical materials available at the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library.  We are looking forward to adding more images in the near future.”

One can access the MDL at and simply browse the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library section.

The Mississippi Digital Library is the cooperative digital library program for the state. Its ultimate aim is to provide access to primary source materials covering a wide range of subject areas from Mississippi museums, archives, libraries, and historical societies. Cultural heritage institutions throughout the state are welcome to participate.

With funding awarded in December 2003 by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS, the library began as a partnership between the University of Southern Mississippi, Delta State University, the University of Mississippi, Tougaloo College, Jackson State University, and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. The collaboration originally focused on materials associated with the civil rights era.

The Mississippi Digital Library has since expanded, and is open to libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions in the state seeking to provide online access to digital materials on a wide range of subjects.

To find out more information about the Mississippi Digital Library contact Diane Ross at 601-266-5592 or by email at

For more information about the Local History Department at the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library contact Mona K. Vance at 662-329-5304 or by email at

Published in: on October 16, 2011 at 5:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

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