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AM21-078, circa 1950-circa 1990s; circa 2020


Form of Material

• 125-page memoir written by Pearl Turner Rawls.

• Genealogical report written by Jonathan Puckett to contextualize the Todd family that she speaks about in the other document.


  • Creation: circa 1950-circa 1990s; circa 2020

Conditions Governing Access

Noncirculating; available for research.

Biographical / Historical

Life of Pearl Turner Rawls And Her Family was handwritten by the author starting around 1950 at the age of 67. The memoir recounts her own life as well as the lives of members of her extended family, which played important roles in Newton County, Mississippi, the University of Southern Mississippi, and William Carey. Indeed, Pearl Turner Rawls is a relative of former USM president Shelby Thames. The narrative describes Reconstruction from the perspective of a Mississippi debutante up to the hard times of the Great Depression.

Pearl's writings were all handwritten at irregular intervals and in numerous notebooks. There is much repetition and some incoherence as she grew older. Her daughter, Mary Byrd Dear and husband Jack, extracted and typed her writings with some editing and attempts to clarify. A letter from Mary Byrd Dear to Joe Todd from November 12, 1993 indicates that "it seems ... that Pearl was willing -- even hopeful -- that [the memoir] would be read by descendants and others. Jack and I did a little rearranging and omitted some repetition. We would be glad for her account to be enjoyed by others and agree with you [Joe Todd] that it deserves some circulation."


From the Unprocessed Collection: 3.00 Cubic Feet (total) : 302A.B15.R1-5

Language of Materials

From the Unprocessed Collection: English


Reconstruction Era memoir.


Given By: Jonathan Puckett

Date of Receipt: April 12, 2021

Repository Details

Part of the Historical Manuscripts and Photographs Repository

118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001