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Betty Press Photographs

Identifier: M591

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of three CD’s and approximately forty-one pages of letters that were posted on a tree felled in Press’s Hattiesburg yard.

One CD has 79 images showing damage from Hurricane Katrina in Hattiesburg. Images include damage to homes, businesses, cars, churches, and power lines; streets blocked by debris; long lines at stores and gas stations; debris removal; Salvation Army volunteers distributing meals; and scenes inside a shelter for hurricane evacuees.

Another CD contains 101 images of damage in Bay St. Louis, Biloxi, and at the USM Gulf Park campus in Long Beach. Included are trailer life, tent schools, damaged homes, damage in downtown areas, and cleanup efforts.

The third CD has 96 images showing devastation in Biloxi, Long Beach, and possibly other areas along the Gulf Coast. Includes images of damage to homes, schools and business; a relief center; checkpoints with military and police guards; cleanup efforts; and scenes showing Vietnamese citizens coping with the aftermath.


  • 2005


Conditions Governing Access

Noncirculating; available for research.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Biographical / Historical

Raised on a Nebraska farm, Betty Press moved to Africa in 1987 where she worked as a freelance photographer and worked on projects “I Am Because We Are: African Wisdom in Image and Proverb” and “Young Rising: The African Urban Cultural Landscape.” Press moved to Florida to teach at Stetson University in 1995, and she taught as an Adjunct Professor of Photography at the University of Southern Mississippi from 2003-2014. She is currently photographing Mississippi in her “Finding Mississippi” project, and her work has been displayed at international galleries in London and Kenya as well as in Mississippi.

When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in August 2005, Press resided in Hattiesburg and photographed the subsequent damage. A huge tree was felled in her yard, on which she invited others to post their Katrina stories.


.25 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



The Betty Press Photographs Collection consists of three CDs of images taken by award-winning photographer Betty Press, which show damage along the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Hattiesburg after Hurricane Katrina. There are also forty-one pages of letters left on a tree felled in the photographer’s yard. This collection is particularly useful for researchers studying Hurricane Katrina, Mississippi storms, and public reactions to natural disasters.


This collection is organized into four folders.


Donated by Betty Press on December 7, 2005; February 2, 2006.

Related Materials

AM06-6, Hurricane Katrina Research Collection

AM06-21, Gary Mark Clark Hurricane Katrina Collection

AM17-70, Dr. James P. Smith Collection

M282, Hurricanes of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Collection


Case File

Contents from the collection

“Betty Press: About,”

Betty Press Photographs
Collection processed and finding aid written by Jonathan Puckett
16 January 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Historical Manuscripts and Photographs Repository

118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001