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William D. McCain Pamphlet Collection

Identifier: M393

Scope and Contents

The majority of the materials consist of pamphlets, collected by Dr. William D. McCain from 1955 to 1975. Topics covered in the materials include communism, civil rights, desegregation, and other race-related matters.


  • Creation: 1935-1987


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

William David McCain, fifth president of Mississippi Southern College (now The University of Southern Mississippi), was born on March 29, 1907, in Bellefontaine, Mississippi. He graduated from Sunflower Agricultural High School, received his bachelor’s degree from Delta State College, his master’s degree from The University of Mississippi, and his Ph.D. from Duke University. In 1967, the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters was conferred by Mississippi College.

Dr. McCain taught at East Central Junior College, Copiah-Lincoln Junior College, Millsaps College, The University of Mississippi, and Mississippi State College (now Mississippi State University). He served as Director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History from 1938 to 1955. In addition, he worked as a historian at Morristown National Historical Park in Morristown, New Jersey (1935) and served as Assistant Archivist at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. (1935-1937).

In 1924, McCain enlisted as a private in the National Guard. He served with General Mark Clark in Italy during World War II, and also served during the Korean Conflict. Remaining in the National Guard, he rose to the rank of Major General.

McCain married the former Minnie Leicester Lenz on October 3, 1931, and they were parents of three children: William D., Jr., John W., and Patricia.

On May 19, 1955, he was elected president of Mississippi Southern College and assumed office on August 18, 1955. When he took office, Dr. McCain promised to “keep the campus dusty or muddy with construction,” and during his tenure, twenty-five new academic and housing complexes were constructed.

Under McCain’s leadership, the first complete reorganization of the academic programs into Schools and Colleges was accomplished. This action paved the way for Mississippi Southern College to become a university, and on February 27, 1962, the school was officially renamed The University of Southern Mississippi (USM). Another event of profound significance that occurred during Dr. McCain’s presidency was the admission of USM’s first African American Students, Gwendolyn Armstrong and Raylawni Branch, in September 1965. In the 20 years that McCain served as president, enrollment grew from 3000 in 1955 to more than 11,000 in 1975.

Dr. McCain retired on June 30, 1975. In his honor, the William D. McCain Chair of History was established in 1975, and in 1976, the William David McCain Library and Archives on the USM was opened and named in his honor.

Following his retirement from USM, he maintained an office in McCain Library, as President Emeritus, devoting much of his time to civic activities. He died on September 5, 1993, and is interred at Lakewood Memorial Park in Jackson, Mississippi.

Dr. McCain was a nationally recognized author, lecturer, historian, archivist and genealogist. He was a founding member of the Society of American Archivists and wrote several genealogical volumes, including histories of the McCain, Fox, Shaw, and Vance families. In addition, he wrote "The Story of Jackson: A History of the Capital of Mississippi 1821-1851" (1953) and "The United States and the Republic of Panama" (1937)


2 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



Pamphlets collected by USM president on communism, civil rights, desegregation, and other race-related topics; a speech on Freedom by Dr. McCain and two books on Benito Mussolini and Italian Fascism.


There are also several books, reports and speeches, plus one broadside. Two of the books are in Italian, and they concern Benito Mussolini and Italian Fascism; their titles are "Storia de un anno" (1944) and "Progetto de un libro di massa su la dottrina del fascismo di Benito Mussolini" (1940). Many items in the collection are signed and dated by Dr. McCain, and both Italian books contain inscriptions by McCain.

Also included in the collection are an audio cassette and a typescript of a speech presented by Dr. William D. McCain to members of the Easterling Family Genealogical Society, Inc. on September 6, 1987, in Laurel, Mississippi. The topic of the speech is conditions that affected families of soldiers who served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War.

Items in the collection are divided into three series:

Series I: Materials on Communism

Series II: Materials on Racial Matters

Series III: Materials on Miscellaneous Topics


William D. McCain; The majority of the materials in this collection were transferred from the Mississippiana Collection and Cook Library in 1997. Leston E. Easterling, Sr. donated six items relating to the Easterling Family Genealogical Society on March 12, 2004.

Existence and Location of Copies

For Digitized Materials from this collection, see: External Documents link at bottom of page.


USM Archive Record Group 4 Faculty/Staff Biographies: McCain, William David.

William D. McCain Pamphlet Collection
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Historical Manuscripts and Photographs Repository

118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001