Thursday, September 1, 2011

Researching institutional archives

While completing my new book, Milligan College (part of Arcadia Publishing's Campus History series), I realized what a treasure trove that college archives might be for genealogists. For instance, the collection of Josephus Hopwood, former president and key figure in Milligan's history, includes student essays and class rosters dating back to the mid 1800s. How cool would it be to read something your ancestor wrote in college? The Hopwood collection consists of more than six forgotten boxes of materials that were discovered in a campus garage in the 1950s.

In addition to the Hopwood letters, flyers, catalog materials, etc., the archives have photos, memorabilia, matriculation and graduates lists, and campus publications like yearbooks, newspapers, event programs and more.

In the area of Overmountain Men known for their Revolutionary War contribution at King's Mountain, Milligan has had many descendants of significant historic figures grace its halls. It also helped train officers for World War I and was the only college in the nation entirely turned over to the Navy V-12 program during World War II.