Crowe (Milburn J.) Photograph Album PI/2005.0015

In July 2005 Mound Bayou, Mississippi, historian and native son Milburn J. Crowe donated a late-nineteenth-century album of ninety photographs of the Benjamin Thornton Montgomery family and their friends and associates to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Benjamin Thornton Montgomery, gifted engineer, businessman, and ex-slave, bought the Davis Bend, Mississippi, plantations Hurricane and Brierfield from his former owner, Joseph Emory Davis (brother of Jefferson Davis), in 1867 and hosted a colony of tenant freedmen farmers that survived until 1886, nine years after his death. Benjamin Montgomery's son, Isaiah Thornton Montgomery, founded the town of Mound Bayou, one of the earliest self-governing black communities in the United States, with his cousin, Benjamin Titus Green, in 1887.

The album, patented in 1865, features photographs of Benjamin and Isaiah Montgomery, Benjamin Green, Frederick Douglass (correspondent of Isaiah's brother, William Thornton), and many Montgomerys, Lewises (relatives of Benjamin's wife, Mary), Greens, and other family members and friends. The album includes an index of unknown authorship for only the first twenty-one pages. Several photographs were rearranged or removed, so identifications may or may not be accurate.

Collection Description General & Tech Data Catalog Record

Image Arrangement and Numbering

The pages of the Crowe album are still intact and were photographed consecutively, front to back. Several photographs originally attached to those pages were loose or missing when the album was donated to MDAH and were kept in the order they were received. An unknown person numbered and indexed some, but not all, of the pages.

Technical Details

Digital Photographs: The MDAH Archives and Records Services Division's Image and Sound section used a Nikon D70 digital camera on a copy stand to capture images of the album in June 2006, creating 300 ppi 24-bit RGB NEF files.

Conversion: For preservation purposes, the native NEF files were also saved as TIFF files. The Electronic Archives staff used Zoomify to convert the TIFF files to 24-bit RGB JPEG files for access. Flash Player version 6 or later is required to view the Zoomify interface for the JPEG images.

Rights Management

The photographs in the Crowe (Milburn J.) Photograph Album are in the public domain and therefore free of copyright or other use restrictions. MDAH asks that each image used in a presentation, display, or publication be accompanied by the following credit statement:

Credit: Courtesy of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History

Copy Availability

High-resolution TIFFs of the images may be purchased from MDAH. The MDAH Public Order procedure and fee schedule apply. Consult the Photoreproduction and Digital Imaging policy or contact MDAH Reference Staff for order options as well as information on how to obtain and complete the necessary Public Order forms: 601-576-6876 or