Hercules Powder Company Oral Histories Collection
Scope and Contents
In December 2004, Dr. Jeffrey Kaufmann’s Anthropology 422/522 class conducted interviews with residents of Hattiesburg’s Mobile-Bouie Street neighborhood who had lived near Hercules Powder Company. Lajuana Williams Thomas, Joyce Jackson, Evelyn Boone, Anna Collins, an anonymous subject, and “Lucky” recount their experiences living near the Hercules Powder Company. Among other things, the interviewees discuss the odor that surrounded the plant, the company’s role in providing jobs to the Hattiesburg community, and health issues they believe to have emanated from it.
- December 2004
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
The Hercules Powder Company, a manufacturer of gunpowder, purchased 100 acres of land in Hattiesburg in 1920 and opened in 1923 with sixteen buildings. According to the Hattiesburg American, the plant “‘opened in order to harvest the stumps that were in the ground that were left over from the timber cuttings form the late 1800s, early 1900s,’” and production later expanded into wood-based chemical products such as pesticides. The company employed 900 individuals by 1953 and changed its name to Hercules Inc., in 1966. When Ashland Inc., purchased Hercules Inc. in 2008, the Hattiesburg plant closed in 2009. Since Hercules’s closing, the City of Hattiesburg as well as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have filed suits against the company for potential environmental contamination and health issues that resulted from exposure to chemicals.
Language of Materials
Form of Material
The Hercules Powder Company Oral Histories Collection consists of six interviews with residents of Hattiesburg’s Mobile-Bouie Street neighborhood regarding their experiences living near the Hercules Powder Company plant. This collection is of particular interest to researchers studying local Hattiesburg history, the effects of industrial and chemical plants on communities, and memory.
The collection consists of a spiral-bound booklet that contains typescripts of six interviews conducted by Dr. Jeffrey Kaufmann’s Anthropology 422/522 class in December 2004.
Given by Dr. Jeffrey Kaufmann, February 16, 2005.
Burns, Haskel. “A Look back—and ahead—at the Hercules plant,” Hattiesburg American, July 4, 2015.
Dyer, Davis and David B. Sicilla. “From Commodity to Specialty Chemicals: Cellulose Products and Naval Stores at the Hercules Powder Company, 1919-1939,” Business and Economic History, 2nd series, vol. 18, 1989.
Hercules Powder Company Oral Histories Collection, M582, Historical Manuscripts, Special Collections, The University of Southern Mississippi Libraries.
Morgan, Margaret Ann. “Demolition Continues at Hercules Plant,” WDAM News, September 30, 2015.
- Hattiesburg (Miss.). Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Hercules Powder Company.
- Oral histories. Subject Source: Local sources
- Transcription. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Hercules Powder Company Oral Histories Collection
- Collection processed and finding aid written by Jonathan Puckett
- 17 December 2019
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the Historical Manuscripts and Photographs Repository
118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001