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Fannie Kyker Collection

Identifier: M518

Scope and Contents

The Fannie Kyker Collection encompasses a broad time period and includes materials that illustrate regional and national interests. This includes photographs from early Hattiesburg, Camp Shelby during World War I, mid-century college life, and late-century local politics. It also includes correspondence, news clippings, ephemera, and realia. Of note is a collection of postcards from Gulf Coast hotels, many of which were destroyed during Hurricane Camille in 1969. Also of note are photographs from Front Street and the downtown district of Hattiesburg, which span the first half of the twentieth century.


  • circa 1910-2010


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

Fannie LaVelle “Goodie” Kyker (b. 1926) was a prominent citizen in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Her parents, Dana H. Kyker and Leo (Fortenberry) Kyker, owned the Kyker Newsstand, located on Front Street in the Saenger Building. Kyker earned a Bachelor’s degree from Sophie Newcomb College and a Master’s degree from Tulane University. She worked as a translator for the International Trade Mart in New Orleans, then became a certified Medical Records Librarian, working for hospitals in New Orleans and in Jackson, Mississippi.

Kyker developed a reputation as eccentric, and became known as “the Cat Lady of Hattiesburg.” Her mother, Leo, may have been partially at fault for Kyker’s reputation, since Leo held a funeral for her pet poodle, even burying her beloved pet in a casket built for an infant. The dog’s funeral made newspapers across the state. Kyker herself was well known for feeding numerous feral cats in her neighborhood.

Kyker was politically active, having served as an honorary “Lady Colonel” for at least three governors of Mississippi. She ran for the position of city commissioner, as well as campaigned for Evelyn Gandy and others.

Kyker’s life illuminates many of the major events in 20th century America. She began college during World War II, reflected in her correspondence with a cousin who was stationed at Trieste. A close friend, Brett F. Jackson, Jr., died within two weeks of contracting infantile paralysis, approximately six years before the Salk vaccine was released. Jackson’s death led to Kyker’s involvement with March of Dimes. Her correspondence and photographs illustrate college life during the mid-twentieth century, and other materials highlight the growing prominence of women in politics and civic life during the latter twentieth century.


6.50 Cubic Feet (13 boxes)

Language of Materials



Post cards, correspondence, printed items, photos, and other memorabilia collected by this long time Hattiesburg resident.


Series I: General Correspondence

Series II: William F. Tolbert, Jr., materials

Series III: Brett F. Jackson, Jr., materials

Series IV: News Clippings

Series V: Ephemera & Memorabilia

Series VI: Photographs


Collection donated by Kaylene Behm in 2010.

Most materials were generated by Fannie Kyker or her family members.


Obituary of Fannie LaVelle “Goodie” Kyker. (2009-06-17) in Clarion-Ledger.

Sources held within the collection.

Processing Note

“Camp Regulations, Camp Shelby (1975)” removed to Camp Shelby Collection M517.

Fannie Kyker Collection
Collection processed and Finding Aid written by Lynn Cowles
December 2018
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Historical Manuscripts and Photographs Repository

118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001