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Thomas McAdory Owen correspondence on A Bibliography of Mississippi

Identifier: W-0093

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of correspondence between Thomas McAdory Owen and a number of Mississippi authors and scholars regarding Owen'sA Bibliography of Mississippi. The collection contains letters dated from 1896 to 1909, with the bulk of the letters written in 1899 and 1900.

Owen requested information on books, pamphlets, and articles written by Mississippi authors and many of the letters contain citations of books, along with biographical sketches of their authors. The collection includes letters written by Confederate General S. D. Lee, state tax commissioner Alfred Holt Stone, andsouthern historian Franklin Riley.

The collection also includes a small number of handwritten notes and lists of citations related to A Bibliography of Mississippi.


  • 1896-1909


Conditions Governing Access


Biographical / Historical

The son of Dr. William Owen and Nancy McAdory, Thomas McAdory Owen was born on December 15, 1866, in Jonesboro, Alabama. He attended The University of Alabama, earning his AB and LLB degrees in 1887. Owen began practicing law in Bessemer. and was elected justice of the peace in 1888. He became chairman of the Jefferson County Democratic executive committee in 1890.

On April 12, 1893, Owen married Marie Bankhead, the daughter of Congressman John H. Bankhead. The couple had two sons: Thomas McAdory Jr. and John Bankhead.

An avid collector of books, pamphlets, and other historical ephemera, Owen helped found the Southern History Association in 1896 and compiled bibliographies of Alabama and Mississippi which were published by the American Historical Society in 1897 and 1899. In 1898, Owen helped revive the Alabama Historical Society and was named the organization's secretary.

In this role, Owen encouraged Alabama legislators to create a state history commission. After the historical commission was created in 1899, Owen was appointed chairman of the new organization. In 1901, Owen submitted a bill to the state legislature calling for the creation of the Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH), an archive that would serve as the official repository for the state's historical and governmental records. The bill was approved on February 27, 1901, and Owen was appointed the organization's first director.

During his tenure as director of the ADAH, Owen contributed significantly to the state's library and historical communities. In 1904, Owen became the first president of the Alabama Library Association, and helped found the Alabama Anthropological Society. He also compiled research for his multivolume History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, which was published after his death in 1921.

Owen died on March 25, 1920. After his death, his wife became the second director of the ADAH.

Source: Monroe, Alden N. "Thomas M. Owen," Encyclopedia of Alabama.


0.2 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Contains correspondence between Thomas McAdory Owen and Mississippi authors and scholars regarding Owen's A Bibliography of Mississippi.

Physical Location

The A. S. Williams III Americana Collection, Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library, The University of Alabama


Gift of A. S. Williams III, 2010

Related Materials

The A.S. Williams III Americana Collection contains several collections related to Alabama authors, the Alabama Department of Archives and History and the Alabama Anthropological Society. The University Libraries Division of Special Collections holds a few copies of A Bibliography of Mississippi. Please contact a staff member for assistance.


Title on Spine: Correspondence Relating to Thomas Owen's Bibliography of Mississippi

Processed by

Haley Aaron, 2013



Guide to the Thomas McAdory Owen correspondence on A Bibliography of Mississippi
December 2013
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266