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Whitworth College Collection

Identifier: M652

Scope and Contents

This collection contains interviews, histories, and photographs about this historic college in Brookhaven, Mississippi.


  • 1859-1996


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

Whitworth College was established as a Methodist women's college in 1858 by Milton J. Whitworth as the successor to the renowned Elizabeth Female Academy in Washington, which had been destroyed by fire. Mr. Whitworth was a Brookhaven planter and businessperson who convinced railroad officials to divert the route of the railroad through Brookhaven and convinced A.E. Moreton, the architect of the French Opera House in New Orleans, to design the buildings of the new Whitworth College. Moreton remained to design several imposing residences and to make his home in Brookhaven.

During the Civil War Whitworth College became a Confederate hospital. After the war, it reopened with Mr. Whitworth's financial support and played an important role in Mississippi higher education for many years. In 1928, it became a junior college, noted for the prominent musicians who came from all over the country to give performances on the campus.

After 1938 Whitworth College was affiliated briefly with Millsaps College, became a day school, and then an evening school for veterans attending college on the G.I. bill. From 1960 to 1976, it was operated by the Methodist Protestant Church as a four-year college and from 1976 to 1983 as Whitworth Bible College by a group of Christian businessmen.

Declining enrollment led to a final but futile effort to maintain the school as the Brookhaven Center for Leadership and Development. The school closed in 1984.

In 2003, the state of Mississippi opened the Mississippi School of the Arts on the grounds of the former college.


.25 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



This collection contains materials about Whitworth College.


The materials in the collection were organized in alphabetical order.


Donated by Mr. Henry J. Ledet and David Richards, plus an additional purchase.

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M316 Tatum Family Business Records

M602 Jeff Balfour Collection

Whitworth College Collection
Collection processed and finding aid written by Brandon Ball
November 30, 2020
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Historical Manuscripts and Photographs Repository

118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001