Robert B. Hardy Papers
Scope and Contents
This collection is comprised of materials that document Colonel Robert Baskerville Hardy's personal, military, business, and senatorial activities from approximately 1941 through 1995, with at least one item dated as early as 1929.
This collection should be of interest to students of state government, military history, or Mississippi history. The senatorial papers are especially enlightening concerning the relationship between a state senator and his/her constituency, plus the myriad topics related to state government.
- Creation: circa 1929-1995
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
Robert Baskerville "Bob" Hardy was descended from several of the founding families of Lowndes County, Mississippi and had ancestors who arrived in America on the Mayflower. He was a Lieutenant Colonel (retired) in the United States Air Force; a former Mississippi state senator for Lowndes, Chickasaw, and Clay Counties (1972-1976); and a successful businessman in Columbus, Mississippi.
Colonel Hardy was born on July 5, 1919, in Columbus, Mississippi, the only son of Robert Orgain Hardy and Mary Paine Chapman Hardy. He had one sister, Mrs. Henry Rightor (nee Em Hardy). His early childhood was spent on the family plantation "Primrose Plantation" in Lowndes County. His early education was accomplished at Prairie Consolidated School, and he graduated from Stephen D. Lee High School in Columbus in 1936. He graduated from Mississippi State University (then Mississippi State College) with honors, receiving his bachelor's degree in business administration in 1941.
During his high school years, Hardy served in the National Guard, and in college, he was in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC). Following graduation from college, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry, and his first assignment was at Camp Wheeler, Georgia, training African American troops for combat.
After a year or so in the infantry, Hardy transferred to the Air Force, with the rank of captain. He became a fighter pilot and commanded the Night Fighter Gunnery School at Hayward Air Force Base, California. At the age of 26, he was the youngest base commander in the Air Force at that time. Toward the end of World War II, he was sent to General Mark Clark's headquarters in Caserta, Italy, as a member of the general's air staff. The air staff's mission was to disarm the Austrian Air Force and restore commercial aviation in that country.
Hardy was honorably discharged from the Air Force in 1946, but was recalled during the 1948-1949 Berlin Air Lift. His mission was to fly cargoes of coal and occasionally other commodities, such as flour, machine parts, and sulfuric acid into the isolated western sector of Berlin.
Following the Berlin Air Lift, Hardy decided on a military career, remaining in the Air Force until 1965 when he retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel. During his career he served at several bases in the United States, as well as in Europe, Guam, and Vietnam. In addition, he graduated from Air University (1952), Field Officers' Staff College (1957), and served as Chief of Strategic Air War Plans for Europe, in London. After retiring from the Air Force, Hardy became a partner in, and executive director of Comprehensive Planners, Inc., a consulting firm in Columbus, Mississippi.
In 1971, Hardy was elected state senator for Lowndes, Chickasaw, and Clay Counties, serving from 1972-1976. While in the Senate, he served on the Finance Committee, the Universities and Colleges Committee, and as Commissioner of the Bicentennial Commission. He supported legislation to reduce taxes, establish ethical standards for public officials, and prohibit gender discrimination in credit matters.
Colonel Hardy was a member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Columbus and had been active for many years in such civic organizations as the Retarded Children's Association, Columbus Historical Association, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Kiwanis Club, and Boy Scouts. He was also a member of the Order of Datelines (the national fraternity of military pilots), the Newcomen Society of North America, and the Society of Mayflower Descendants in Mississippi.
On November 4, 1941, Hardy married the former Anne Cazort of Little Rock, Arkansas. They had four children -- Rob, Jane, Sarah, and John.
Colonel Hardy died April 27, 2006 at the age of 86. He is interred in the Friendship Cemetery in Columbus, MS. Mrs. Anne Cazort Hardy died November 1, 2012 at the age of 93 and is also interred in the Friendship Cemetery in Columbus, MS.
9.50 Cubic Feet : MC2/D3
Language of Materials
The collection is divided into five series:
Series I: Personal Records
Series II: Military Records
Series III: Business Records
Series IV: Senatorial Records
Series V: Oversized Materials
Series I: Boxes 1 - 8 contain personal records maintained by Colonel Hardy, such as correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, pamphlets, brochures, and memorabilia. Items in this series are arranged alphabetically, by subject. The largest block of materials is the subseries entitled "Correspondence", which is divided into three parts: family correspondence, general correspondence, and greeting cards. Family correspondence consists primarily of letters to, from, and about the Hardys' four children, but also contains letters from other family members. Of particular interest is a large section of letters written by the eldest son, Rob, who is a psychiatrist in the U.S. Air Force. Rob's letters were written from his various military locales, and provide details concerning his medical practice, vacations and day trips, areas of special interest (such as L.L. Zamenhof's universal language, Esperanto), plus information concerning his family. Also of interest is an especially nice morale-boosting letter from Colonel Hardy to Rob (November 6, 1973). General correspondence covers a wide range of topics including commendation of public servants, houseboats, and politics.
Other materials in Series I include information regarding Mississippi State University, various organizations, the Hardy's fiftieth wedding anniversary, the estate of deceased cousin Caroline Winston, and a host of other topics.
Series II: Boxes 9 -11 contain Colonel Hardy's military records from 1941 to 1967. These records are arranged chronologically, and include orders, travel vouchers, commendations, service records, moving expenses, officer rosters, and certificates, plus pilot background files and individual flight records of Colonel Hardy.
Series III: Boxes 12 and 13 consist of a selection of alphabetically arranged business records from approximately 1952 to 1985. Topics include Comprehensive Planners, Inc., DISC, Inc. (Diversified Investment Service Company), a dairy farm in Lowndes County, various real estate projects, hand drawn floor plans, publications, stocks, and correspondence.
Series IV: Boxes 14 - 21 contain records maintained by Colonel Hardy during his term in the Mississippi State Senate. Materials in this series are divided into three subseries: Subject Files, General Information, and Correspondence. Subject Files and General Information are arranged alphabetically, and correspondence is arranged chronologically. Topics in the Subject Files range from Archives to "Who's Who." Examples are the Bicentennial Commission, house and senate bills, campaign materials, education, equalization of property taxes, the Equal Rights Amendment, floods, highways, invitations, public service, taxes, and utilities.
Among other things, the General Information subseries contains newspaper and magazine articles, legislation, lists of names, reports, and a 1972 copy of "Rules of the Mississippi House and Senate." Correspondence is largely from constituents urging support of a particular bill, or requesting a favor of some sort.
Series V: Contains oversized materials. Includes newspapers, election and campaign materials, charts, maps, and floor plans.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Materials in this collection were donated to the USM Archives by Robert B. Hardy, and were received in several increments between 1974 and 1995.
M17-02 Robert B. Hardy 2 x 3, Color, 1974 Head and shoulders portrait of Robert B. Hardy. He is wearing a business suit, and his arms are resting on a table. (Photo: Box 8, Folder 7)
M17-03 Robert B. Hardy 2 x 3, Color, 1974 This photo is very similar to M17-02, but taken from a slightly different angle. (Photo: Box 8, Folder 7)
M17-04 Caroline Webb 2 x 3; 1½ x 2, Color, 1993 Caroline is the daughter of Sarah Hardy Webb and Ted Webb, and the granddaughter of Robert B. Hardy this is her first grade photograph, and she is wearing a white blouse and plaid vest. (Photo: Box 8, Folder 7)
M17-05 Ralph Ruggiere 3 x 4, B&W, 1951 Ralph is standing on the ground with his hands behind him he is wearing a military uniform and is looking upward. The photo appears to have been taken from the air. (Photo: Box 8, Folder 7)
M17-06 Man, Woman and Graduate 3 x 5, Color, May 1989 A man and woman stand on either side of a young man in an academic gown and mortarboard, the three are posed in front of a stone –trimmed dwelling. (Photo: Box 8, Folder 7)
M17-07 1979 Triumph Spitfire 3 x 5, Color, 1988 Front view of a dark green 1979 Triumph Spitfire found in letter from “Mark” dated November 16, 1988. (Photo: Box 8, Folder 7)
M17-08 1979 Triumph Spitfire 3 x 5, Color, 1988 Driver’s side view of a dark green 1979 Triumph Spitfire found in letter from “Mark” dated November 16, 1998. (Photo: Box 8, Folder 7)
M17-09 1979 Triumph Spitfire 3 x 5, Color, 1988 Driver’s side view of a dark green 1979 Triumph Spitfire found in letter from “Mark” dated November 16, 1998. (Photo: Box 8, Folder 7)
M17-10 1979 Triumph Spitfire 3 x 5, Color, 1988 Driver’s side view of a dark green 1979 Triumph Spitfire found in letter from “Mark” dated November 16, 1998. (Photo: Box 8, Folder 7)
M17-11 1979 Triumph Spitfire 3 x 5, Color, 1988 Driver’s side view of a dark green 1979 Triumph Spitfire found in letter from “Mark” dated November 16, 1998. (Photo: Box 8, Folder 7)
M17-12 1979 Triumph Spitfire 3 x 5, Color, 1988 Passenger side view of a dark green 1979 Triumph Spitfire with hood raised found in letter from “Mark” dated November 16, 1998. (Photo: Box 8, Folder 7)
M17-13 1979 Triumph Spitfire 3 x 5, Color, 1988 Interior view of dark green 1979 Triumph Spitfire found in letter from “Mark” dated November 16, 1988. (Photo Box 4, Folder 5)
M17-14 1979 Triumph Spitfire 3 x 5, Color, 1988 View of trunk interior of dark green 1979 Triumph Spitfire found in letter from “Mark” dated November 16, 1988. (Photo Box 8, Folder 7)
M17-15 1979 Triumph Spitfire 3 x 5, Color, 1988 View of engine for 1979 Triumph Spitfire found in letter from “Mark” dated November 16, 1988. (Photo Box 8, Folder 7)
M17-16 1993 Mississippi Senators Reunion 5 x 7, B&W, 1993 Former Mississippi Senators are grouped on the steps of the State Capitol. (Photo Box 8, Folder 7)
M17-17 Group of Dignitaries 5 x 7, B&W, 1993 Group is posed on steps of State Capitol 1st row second from left is former Lt. Gov. Evelyn Gandy, 1st row third from left is former Gov. William Winter, 2nd row fifth from left is former State Senator Robert B. Hardy. (Photo Box 8, Folder 7)
M17-18 Robert B. Hardy 8 x 10, B&W, Sept. 12, 196 Head and shoulder portrait of Col. Hardy in uniform. (Photo Box 8, Folder 7)
M17-19 U.S. Air Force Air-Ground Operations School 8 x 10, B&W, April 13-17, 1953 Group photo of participants in Indoctrination course- No. 53-13. (Photo Box 8, Folder 7)
M17-20 Aerial View of West Point, Mississippi 5 x 7, Color, 1976 (Photo Box 8, Folder 7)
M17-21 Aerial View of Unidentified Town 5 x 7, Color, April 11, 1977 (Photo Box 8, Folder 7)
M17-22 Aerial View of Unidentified College Campus 5 x 7, Color, April 11, 1977 (Photo Box 8, Folder 7)
M17-23 Aerial View of Jackson, Mississippi Business District 8 x10, B&W, 1977 (Photo Box 8, Folder 7) Photographer: Bob Hand
M17-24 Aerial View of Jackson, Miss. Business and Residential Area 8 x 10, B&W, 1971 (Photo Box 8, Folder 7) Photographer: Bob Hand
M17-25 Aerial View of Mississippi College, Clinton Mississippi 8 x10, B&W, 1970’s (Photo Box 8, Folder 7)
M17-26 Governor Cliff Finch and Family 5 x 7, Color, 1977 Mississippi Governor Cliff Finch (1976-1980) is seated in a wing chair with his wife and four children gathered around him. (Photo Box 8, Folder 7) Photo features: Janet Finch, Nicky Finch, Gov. Cliff Finch, Anne Finch, Zelma Finch wife, Chuck Finch. Photographer: Bob Hand
M17-27 Governor Cliff Finch and Children 8 x 10, Color, 1977 Mississippi Governor Cliff Finch (1976-1980) and his four children are gathered around a speed boat. (Photo Box 8, Folder 7)
- Robert B. Hardy Papers
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
Part of the Historical Manuscripts and Photographs Repository
118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001