RIDGELAND — Madel Morgan Stringer recently donated a set of The Journal of Mississippi History to the Historic New Orleans Collection, a privately owned entity concerned with the preservation of Southern historical materials.

Stringer, 88, said she had seen the Collection’s request in a Mississippi Department of Archives and History newsletter, and had happened upon her set of The Journal while preparing to move.

“When I saw that, I just wanted them to have them. One or two of them had gotten away from me, but I had most of them, from the beginning,” said Stringer. “I thought, ‘Well that would be a good use for it. These should go to somebody who will use them’.”

Stringer had her nephew take the journals down to the archives building in Jackson and dispatch them to New Orleans.

Gerauld Patout, head librarian of the Williams Research Center at the Historic New Orleans Collection, said he is grateful for Stringer’s contribution.

“I’m indebted to her,” said Patout. “We love people who support our mission.”

Stringer said she feels a bond between Mississippi and Louisiana, that the two were born of the same stock and so her donation had grounds.

“Mississippi and Louisiana have the same background,” said Stringer. “We were both discovered by the French.”

Patout explained that, because the Collection’s scope goes beyond the boundaries of its city and state, Stringer’s donation was of some importance.

“Our collection reflects the broad gulf south. It behooves us to expand our collection by getting these journals. There are articles pertinent to research done here,” said Patout.

An illustrated quarterly magazine on the history of both Mississippi and the South, The Journal of Mississippi has been published since 1939 by the Mississippi Department of Archives in collaboration with the Mississippi Historical Society, Stringer having been associated with both entities. Scholars, some of whom she has known, college students, and Stringer herself have contributed to its pages.

“They have all kinds of information. It’s a journal, mostly of scholarly articles,” said Stringer. “They’re all interesting. We’ve always had good articles.”

A graduate from Mississippi State College for Women (MSCW) before it became Mississippi University for Women, Stringer began working for the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in the early 1940s, after she and her husband moved from Hollandale, in the Delta. She served as secretary to William D. McCain, director of the department at the time.

The Mississippi Historical Society had been dormant since 1912, when, in 1952, a reorganizational meeting was held. Stringer was there to record the minutes.

“That’s the one I took the minutes for. We had a fun meeting,” recounted Stringer. “Some woman was yelling about things. She was very loud.”

When Stringer welcomed a daughter into her life, she decided to leave the MDAH.

“I left because we had a family. I enjoyed working there, and I missed it, [but] I went home to stay with my child,” said Stringer.

As her daughter reached school age, Stringer went to work as librarian for St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, and later, as special projects coordinator for the Mississippi Library Commission, but, during that time, Stringer said she never quite lost her taste for Mississippi history.

“I kept doing research for people after I left the archives,” said Stringer. “I knew the collection pretty well, and I knew where to look for things.”

When offered the position of archives and library division director back at MDAH, she gladly returned to her old stead for another nine years, until she retired in 1988.

Born and raised in Rosedale, Stringer remains a walking history herself, having known many people of note throughout her years. She recounts days of walking Eudora Welty’s garden when they lived adjacent of one another, of how Welty found appealing the remains of flowers lying on the ground.

“We were told that we could stroll through the garden, but not to pick up any of the Camelia petals that had fallen to the ground.”

Stringer now belongs to the Order of First Families of Mississippi, an organization whose members’ ancestors resided in Mississippi before statehood. Stringer’s family lived here when the Spanish still owned the territory. Ancestor Sarah Truly had not been in favor of the colonist rebellion against her English King, and so, she and her family had relocated to the area around what is now Natchez.

“We go back to the Truly family that came here in about 1780,” said Stringer. “[Sarah] didn’t want to be a trader to her King and so, she left Virginia to come down to the Spanish territory.”

Since retiring, Stringer has remained active. She is a member of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, from which she recently relinquished her duties as registrar, and the Mississippi Library Association, of which she was once president for two years.

Having, likewise, served as president for Mississippi Historical Society, Stringer remains a member of that organization, and she still performs the occasional genealogical dig.

Though Stringer was happy to donate the journals, she said she nonetheless hated to part with something held so dear for so long.

“When you’ve had something a long time, [you] just hate to part with it.”

Stringer said she looks fondly upon her stay with MDAH and The Historical Society, describing it as a rich and rewarding experience.

“I never had to work, because my husband supported us, but I did things I enjoyed doing. I worked there for a long time, and it certainly enriched my life.”

Now living with her dog Brutus in Ridgeland, a fresh issue of The Journal of Mississippi History still lands in the hands of Mrs. Madel Stringer every quarter. Stringer loves Mississippi. She loves its history. And she still loves The Journal.