Moncrief (Winfred) Photograph Collection PI/1994.0005

The collection consists of 890 black-and-white photonegatives produced during the course of Winfred Moncrief's career as a photographer in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in the 1950s and '60s. The photographs cover a variety of topics, including civil rights activities, the 1953 Vicksburg tornado, Paul B. Johnson Jr.'s successful 1963 gubernatorial campaign and 1964 inauguration, a 1964 Tatum Salt Dome nuclear test, and an October 1965 Ku Klux Klan rally.

Mr. Moncrief's negatives have been digitized by MDAH and are presented as positive, grayscale images accompanied by bibliographic and descriptive information. Twenty-three photographs attributed to Jim Ellis, a student photographer with whom Mr. Moncrief worked at the Hattiesburg American, were donated with the photograph collection and may be viewed in the William F. Winter Archives and History Building Archival Reading Room, but they are not available in electronic format.

Collection Description General & Tech Data Catalog Record


Winfred Harmon Moncrief was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, on December 30, 1923. After completing work on a journalism degree at Mississippi Southern College (now the University of Southern Mississippi) in 1953, he began a career as a reporter and chief photographer for the Hattiesburg American. Moncrief worked for the American until 1968, covering regular, "hard" news beats, including civil rights activities in the community. He was also a stringer for the Associated Press and the commercial division of the United Press International and did some work for Time and Life magazines.

From 1968 to 1971, Moncrief served as assistant to the Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce. From 1970 to 1971 he was also Director of Publicity and instructor of journalism at Gulf Park College in Long Beach, Mississippi. Prior to this point, Moncrief had taught journalism and photography on a part-time basis at USM. From 1971 to 1992 he was Director of Public Information for Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (MGCCC) and taught journalism and photography on a part-time basis at the Perkinston and Jefferson Davis campuses. Although Moncrief officially retired in 1992, he was retained by MGCCC to assist with special projects.

Winfred Moncrief received many accolades during his long career as a photographer. As a photojournalist, he was cited seventeen times by the Associated Press for excellence in photography and twice by the AP's National Managing Editors Association. Along with other Hattiesburg American staff, he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. He received fourteen awards from the College Public Relations Association for various television and radio presentations used to advertise and promote MGCCC. In 1989, he received a commendation from MGCCC's Board of Trustees "for outstanding contributions to the public information field." In 1993, he was the joint recipient of an Award of Merit from the Mississippi Historical Society for a video documentary entitled No Greater Love: Roy Wheat in Vietnam, which he produced with Charles Sullivan and Doug Mansfield. Winfred Moncrief died July 28, 2000.

Collection Description

The Moncrief Photograph Collection consists of 890 original black-and-white negatives produced in the course of Winfred Moncrief's career as a photographer in the 1950s and '60s. It is one of two collections donated to MDAH by Moncrief, and he transferred his title and copyright interests for both to the agency. Jim Ellis, a student photographer with whom Moncrief worked at the Hattiesburg American, retains copyright for twenty-three photographs attributed to him in this collection. Mr. Ellis's photographs may be viewed in the William F. Winter Archives and History Archival Reading Room but are not available in electronic format.

Winfred Moncrief's photographs focus on Hattiesburg and the surrounding area, although there are pictures from other parts of the state. The images cover a variety of topics, including the 1953 Vicksburg tornado, Governor Paul B. Johnson Jr.'s 1963 election campaign and 1964 inauguration, nuclear tests at the Tatum Salt Dome in 1964, an October 1965 Ku Klux Klan rally, and various civil rights activities, primarily in Hattiesburg. The civil rights activities include an Aaron Henry rally in October 1963, voter registration attempts and demonstrations in January-February 1964, August 1965 voter registration activities in Prentiss, events surrounding the murder of Vernon Dahmer in January 1966 and its resulting trials, and demonstrations in April 1968 after the murder of Martin Luther King Jr.

Image Description

The negatives were not individually described by the photographers. Moncrief made a brief content annotation on the envelopes that originally housed batches of negatives prior to donating the negatives to MDAH. This note usually consisted of a subject and/or location and a date, such as "Dahmer, Vernon trial, March 8-11/68," "polio vaccine tests (Laurel) 54," or "Integration, voter - Jan Feb 64," and relied upon Mr. Moncrief's memory of events that occurred thirty to forty years before. Once the collection was accessioned by MDAH, the photograph curator developed a collection finding aid that combined transcriptions of the envelope content notes with brief, item-level descriptions of the visual content of each print.

Further descriptive information was added as part of processing the collection for online access. When identification was possible, more detailed contextual information about buildings, people, and events was provided with links to additional MDAH resources.


The Moncrief Photograph Collection was donated to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) by Winfred H. Moncrief in the summer of 1994. A donor agreement, which specified that he transferred his title and copyright interests to MDAH, was signed on September 28, 1994. The collection consists of approximately 890 black-and-white negatives. Jim Ellis retains copyright for twenty-three photographs in the collection attributed to him. In April 1997, MDAH hired Jasper Ewing & Sons photographers to make 3"×5", positive photoprints of the negatives to facilitate patron access. In November 2004, MDAH scanned Moncrief's negatives as negative TIFF images. Positive TIFF and JPEG access copies were made from the negative TIFFs. Additional photo prints were created by MDAH staff in May 2006. MDAH updated the Digital Archives exhibit and access copies to JPEG tile sets in 2024.