Hamilton (Luther) Photograph Collection PI/1994.0004

The Luther Hamilton Photograph Collection documents the life of a small southern town during the first half of the twentieth century through images of houses, stores, railroad stations, schools, sports teams, street scenes, parades, weddings, and more. A significant portion of the collection deals with agriculture, especially the farming and marketing of tomatoes and cabbage, and agrarian celebrations such as the annual Crystal Springs Tomato Festival.

The nearly 1,000 photographs were taken or collected by Luther Myles Hamilton, Sr., (1869-1944) of Crystal Springs, Mississippi, and his son, Luther Myles Hamilton, Jr. (1912-1994). Much of the collection is formal portrait photography taken in the father's studio, and includes town leaders Augustus Lotterhos, "the Father of Crystal Springs," and Bryant Wesley Matthis, "the Cabbage King," as well as people of various ages and races.

One of the earliest prints documents a Flag Day Parade in Crystal Springs in 1901. Of special interest are photographs of an African American café and barber shop, church sanctuaries decorated for special religious observances (baptisms, confirmations, Christmas, and Easter), community events such as Tom Thumb weddings, and the rural customs and traditions of the American South prior to World War II. Later snapshots include Franklin D. Roosevelt speaking in Tupelo, Mississippi, in 1934, and scenes from the son's studies at Mississippi State College in Starkville during the late 1930s and 1940s.

Collection Description General & Tech Data Catalog Record

Image Arrangement and Numbering

The photographic curator numbered the prints in the order they were received from Mrs. Luther M. Hamilton Jr. Duplicate prints (made from the same negatives) were not scanned, so there are gaps in the image numbers.

Technical Details

Digital Photographs: The original scans of the Hamilton (Luther) Photograph Collection were made by the Image & Sound Section staff in 2009-2010, according to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History Board of Trustees' approved imaging procedures, following ANSI/AIIM recommended practice. The images were scanned as uncompressed, 24-bit RGB (for color prints) and 8-bit Grayscale (for black-and-white negatives and prints) TIFF files at 600 pixels per inch.

Conversion: For Web display, the original scans of the Hamilton (Luther) Photograph Collection were converted to JPEG images in July 2010.


All copyright and intellectual property rights to the Hamilton (Luther) Photograph Collection were transferred by Mrs. Luther M. Hamilton Jr. to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. 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

Publicity and Privacy Rights

MDAH alerts the user to the issue of publicity and privacy rights of subjects represented in these scans. Distinct from copyright, which concerns the owner of the intellectual content, publicity and/or privacy rights apply to individuals who did not sign a contract or release form giving the creator the legal right to use his/her likeness or personal information. Publicity and privacy rights also differ from copyright in that there are not exemptions for Fair Use or educational purposes. These rights are not regulated by federal law but by state statute and common law. When using images from this collection it is the patron's responsibility to determine whether privacy and publicity rights issues may exist and consider the mitigating factors.

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 refdesk@mdah.ms.gov.