HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The University of Southern Mississippi is adding to its archives with the help of a generous donor.
Dr. John Pendergrass is an ophthalmologist by trade, but he’s been collecting political memorabilia for 45 years.
Recently, he decided to donate it to the McCain Library and Archives at Southern Miss.
“I needed a good home for it,” Pendergrass said. “I’m not getting any younger, and I wanted a place that would take good care of it.”
The university is thankful for the gift.
“It’s really a visual chronicle of Mississippi political history from the 1890′s forward,” said Lorraine Stuart, curator of the historical manuscripts.
Pendergrass says he got into the hobby because of his love for history. Most of the items are from the early 1900s, but there are some items from as far back as the Civil War.
“Sometimes I feel like I’m giving away my own children, you know,” Pendergrass said. “I’ve grown so fond of many of these items over the years.”
He says that joining clubs and connecting with people who also enjoy the same hobby of political memorabilia was a major part of growing his collection.
“They’re artifacts of history and they deserve to be preserved,” Pendergrass said.
Currently, the library is categorizing the items to be stored and they will be displayed on certain occasions.
Pendergrass isn’t finished with his donations and he donated more items to the collection Tuesday morning.