Monday, August 10, 2009

MMI Archives: More Bits and Pieces

The Summer 2009 issue of Alabama Heritage magazine, published by the University of Alabama, includes an interesting article entitled “Where the Dead Speak: Black Belt Cemeteries and Their Stories” by Thomas C. Ware. The piece is blessed with stunning photographs by Robin McDonald of Alabama Heritage. Here are a couple of images relating to Marion, both taken by Robin McDonald:

Harry’s Monument in the Marion City Cemetery. Remember, Harry was the slave who lost his life saving Howard College students in the tragic fire of 1854, which also destroyed the college building.

“Confederate Rest” in the cemetery of St. Wilfrid’s Episcopal Church in Marion. Most of these dead were from the Confederate Breckinridge Military Hospital on the Howard College/MMI campus, 1863-1865.

In another Alabama Heritage article about Blues legend W. C. Handy, there is this image of W.C. Handy as the director of the Alabama A & M Band in Normal (Huntsville), Alabama. No, this has nothing to do with MMI, but I was the Special Collections Librarian/Archivist (Assistant Professor) at Alabama A & M University in the early 1990s, and I know this story well:

W. C. Handy (standing at left holding a trumpet and baton) as bandmaster of the Alabama A & M Band, 1901-1903. (Credit: W. C. Handy Home, Museum, and Library, Florence, Alabama)

While doing a little research for the Alabama Military Hall of Honor, I took this image from the 1974 Orange and Black, MMI’s yearbook. It’s of Captain Max Powell Bailey, USN (Ret.), MMI ’37, the Commandant, who served as Interim President of MMI from 1973-1974. Now 91 and living in Florida, four sons also attended MMI.

Captain Maxwell Powell Bailey, Jr., USN (Ret.), MMI ’37, Interim President, MMI, 1973-1974.

Last, but certainly not least, I heard back from the good folks at AMCSUS, the Association of Military Colleges and Schools of the United States. Here is my report to Susan Stevenson on 9 July:

Hi Susan,
Rudy Ehrenberg, Executive Director of AMCSUS, just called me re: the blog. After checking with the past historian of AMCSUS, Spike Holman (?), it appears that two of the military preparatory schools – St. Catherine’s in Anaheim, California, and Benedictine High School in Richmond, Virginia – both Catholic schools – have had/have female leadership via their religious order’s organization.

However, neither gentleman knew of a female heading a military college (although, they both point back to Brenda Bryant of VWIL at Mary Baldwin College). Again, VWIL is a military program for women within a civilian women’s college.

So, it appears to me that you are, in fact, the first female head of a military college! That remains my story, and I’m sticking with it!

Susan Stevenson, Interim President, MMI (Summer, 2009). (Credit: MMI Alumni Office)