Mary Lillian Peters Papers
Scope and Contents
The collection contains mementos of Mary Lillian Peters’ college career at Mississippi Normal College, now The University of Southern Mississippi. Materials include recital programs, church bulletins, YMCA/YWCA “Helpful Hints”, student government constitution and by-laws, cheerleader yells, YWCA membership card, a State Teachers College financial statement, and recital invitation. The materials date primarily from 1921-1925.
- Creation: 1921-1925
Biographical / Historical
Mary Lillian Peters was born on November 27, 1902 in Mashulaville, Mississippi, to Charles Perry Peters (1869-1914) and Pauline Elizabeth Glenn Peters (1866-1941).
Charles Peters was a cotton farmer and served as deacon of Elim (Mashulaville) Baptist Church for seven years before his death in 1914. Pauline Peters served as Sunday school teacher in the Mashulaville Baptist Church. Mary Lillian Peters was the fourth of five children (the first died in infancy).
Peters began her formal education in the public schools in Macon County, Mississippi at the age of four. At age fifteen, Peters took the teacher’s examination and left home for her first teaching position in Walnut Lake, Mississippi. Peters graduated high school in 1918, and, in September 1920, began her college education at Mississippi Normal College (now The University of Southern Mississippi). Her first year of undergraduate studies was subsidized by a concerned relative, and her later years by Mr. B.B. Jones, Mississippi philanthropist. Peters resided in Hattiesburg Hall, then a girl’s dormitory, and studied education and music. Peters was heavily involved in the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) and received a scholarship to attend Blue Ridge, North Carolina conference in the summer of 1921 and returned again for the YWCA conference in the summer of 1922. Peters graduated from Mississippi Normal College in 1923. She later studied at Mississippi State University and the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.
Peters spent more than 38 years teaching in Mississippi public schools including Walnut Lake in Tunica County, Cooksville-Paulette in Noxubee County, Wilkinson County Agricultural High School in Woodville, Harrison-Stone-Jackson AHS and Junior College in Perkinston, and Rosedale Consolidate School in Bolivar County. Thirty-six and a half years were spent as a music educator. Peters is credited with introducing Band, orchestra, piano and choral work to the public school in Macon, and organizing the first orchestra at Ridgecrest (N.C.) Baptist Assembly and in Chatooga, Georgia.
Peters notable service roles include President of the Woman’s Missionary Union of her Church (1942), President of the Mississippi Piano Teachers (MEA) Group (1960-1961), and twice President of the Lyric Club. Peters was also a member of the Huguenot Society, American Clan Gregor Society, and Magna Charta Dames. Peters was 1974 “Woman of the Year” Macon-Noxubee Co. Chamber of Commerce.
Peters married George Creswell Ogden June 12, 1932. They had two children, Lieutenant Colonel George Creswell Ogden Jr. (b. January 1, 1935) and Charlotte Glenn Ogden Kirby (b. June 15, 1939). Peters married a second time to Walter Wood Whitten (b. September 21, 1887 d. September 2, 1973) on November 24, 1949.
Mary Lillian Peters Whitten died on April 14, 1993.
A scholarship is set up in her honor to students studying music in the College of Arts and Letters at The University of Southern Mississippi.
1 Folder (29 items)
Language of Materials
Mary Lillian Peters was a music educator who graduated from Mississippi Normal College (now The University of Southern Mississippi) in 1923. The collection contains mementos of her college days including church bulletins, YWCA “helpful Hints”, music recital programs, and Mississippi Normal College historical items. Items date range from 1921-1925.
Resources are arranged alphabetically by subject, then chronologically within subject. Subjects include Church bulletins, Mississippi Normal College history, Mississippi Normal College Music programs, and other music programs.
Donated by Charlotte Kirby via USM Office of the President in 1996.
Existence and Location of Copies
For Digitized Materials from this collection, see: External Documents link at bottom of page.
Mrs. Mary Lillian Peters (Ogden) Whitten Oral History Interview, transcript call number F341.5 .M57x vol. 56 (McCain Library).
"Peters, Vaughan, Russell, and Related Families" by Eddie Inez Peters Holloman and Mary Lillian Peters Whitten (Grenada, Miss.: E.I.P. Holloman, 1980), McCain Library, call number CS71 .P48 1980.
- Mary Lillian Peters Papers
- Collection processed and finding aid written by Elizabeth La Beaud, May 2015.
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the Historical Manuscripts and Photographs Repository
118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001