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Reid Derr Dissertation Collection

Identifier: M683

Scope and Contents

Dr. Reid Derr’s dissertation, “The Triumph of Progressivism,” focuses on Paul B. Johnson Jr.’s tenure as governor of Mississippi. This collection reflects the planning that went into organizing and writing this dissertation.

The materials follow Paul B. Johnson, Jr.’s political career throughout the 1960’s. The notes include an unbound copy of the final dissertation,outlines, and chapter notes. Resources include Johnson's speeches and numerous oral histories, including testimonies from politicians and highway patrol officers. Paul B. Johnson III also gives an account of his father’s gubernatorial term.

The chapter layout of the collection is organized differently from the finished dissertation product. While some chapters in the final draft are in a separate order, others in it are combined.


  • 1940-1995

Conditions Governing Access

Noncirculating; avaliable for use.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code). Reproduction of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Provision of photocopies or digital reproductions does not constitute permission to publish, distribute, provide internet access to, or otherwise display images of materials in this collection. Copyright is retained by the lawful copyright holder, and it is the responsibility of the permission seeker to contact and secure permission from the copyright holder. Where copyright permission is not granted, images are only for use in private study subject to the Fair Use exceptions made in U.S. Copyright Law.

Biographical / Historical

Reid Stoner Derr was born on September 29, 1953 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Before attending Franklin and Marshall, he spent some time in Falun, Sweden as a Rotary International Exchange Student. Derr received a Bachelor of Arts from Franklin and Marshall College in 1976. He married Nancy Winnerling in 1981 and they went on to have three children: Aaron (deceased), Paul, and Samuel. He obtained a Master of Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary in 1982, then earned a master’s in European History (1988) and a doctoral in American History (1994) from The University of Southern Mississippi. While studying at USM, Derr also worked with the Oral History Program (1986-1990) and as a teaching assistant (1985-1986, 1990-1992). Dr. Derr spent the rest of his career at East Georgia College as an Instructor of History until his retirement in 2019. He has been teaching as an adjunct since the spring of 2020. Reid and his wife currently reside in Statesboro, Georgia.

Paul Burney Johnson, Jr. was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi on January 23, 1916. Johnson went to the University of Mississippi where he earned a degree in Law. After serving in World War II, Johnson began his career in politics. From 1960 to 1964, Johnson served as lieutenant governor. He was elected governor in 1964, ending in 1968. Although Johnson began his term as a segregationist, he ultimately played a crucial role in Mississippi’s civil rights movement. The Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner murders of Freedom Summer occurred early in his incumbency.He moderated between the expectations of the Citizen's Council, which had supported his campaign, and the civil rights activists. He made the critical decision to reorganize the highway patrol by firing culpable officers connected to the Ku Klux Klan and similar organizations.


9.5 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



Dissertation notes of Reid S. Derr


The collection reflects the donor’s original arrangement and is divided into two series: Series I. Chapter Notes Series II. Source Materials

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Given by Reid Derr.


Contents of the collection

Reid Derr Dissertation Collection
John Blackwell
January 26, 2023
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