Introducing Mississippi Architect

Today will be the first of a long-running series reprinting the editorials and articles from the short-lived but important Mississippi Architect, published by the Mississippi chapter of the AIA from March 1963 through March 1965. Those of you who keep up with comment threads will remember that Carunzel tuned us in to the existence of this run of Mississippi Architect, not to be confused (as I had confused it) with the longer running The Mississippi Architect, which began in 1970.

The editor of this 2-year run was William R. Henry, who we memorialized here on MissPres back in March. Each issue follows a general pattern: an editorial covering some aspect of the architectural profession, an article about a recent Mississippi building project, and several articles about architecture in other parts of the country. The magazine seems to have been produced on a template provided by Construction News of Mount Vernon, NY, and these national articles were probably their contribution, along with layout and printing, I assume.

Through mostly legal means and with the help of industrious MissPres readers, I’ve managed to start scanning these issues, and I’ll reprint the Mississippi-related articles and editorials in serialized form as they were originally. I’ll also begin posting the full magazine in pdf format under the new page called “MSArcht,” which also has an index to all the articles.

This is a really exciting project that I hope will open a window on the mid-1960s, when the architectural profession in Mississippi was growing from the smaller partnerships into the large firms we know today. The architectural projects were also growing from single buildings into full-scale developments and high-rises. I hope ya’ll will enjoy getting to know the architects and buildings of the period as much as I have.

Without further ado, here’s the editorial from the first issue of Mississippi Architect, published in March 1963.

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Architecture Is Your Business

If it sounds presumptuous to say that architecture is your business, consider this : You are born in architecture and you die in it. You live and work, play and worship in it throughout your life; there are few times in your life when you neither see it it or feel it. It affects your movements, your senses, your comfort, and your pocketbook.

Within the next ten years, conservative economists say, we will spend the staggering total of 600 billion dollars on construction, a figure which exceeds the total value of all buildings in the United States today. By the year 2000, which is less than a forty-year mortgage away, we must double all present facilities to meet population needs. That is, we must build a second United States.

Mississippi, in the past, has spent proportionately less on construction than other states. There is every reason to believe that industrial development and a healthier economy will result in our spending proportionately more in the future. As a homeowner, a parent interested in schools, a potential investor, a taxpayer, and a voter, you will be affected by what and how we build even more directly than you are today. Architecture, then, is and will be your business.

Architecture as a profession is practiced in this state by men who in most cases have qualified themselves by a minimum of five years of formal training in recognized architectural schools, followed by a number of additional years of actual experience as employees and associates of other architects.

A profession, as distinguished from the production or handling of goods, is a field of effort characterized by the rendering of service for which there is a common core of ethics, principles, and practices. The true professional is always motivated by far more than the normal desire for monetary gain.

The architect’s services to an owner run the full gamut from the selection of a site, through the imaginative creation of structures interpreted to the owner pictorially and to the builder technically, to the final accomplishment of the finished structure as a useful and beautiful reality.

A high percentage of the architects in this state are members of the Mississippi Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The A.I.A. delineates the common core of ethics, principles, and practices by which we perform. This publication represents a new effort to present Mississippi architecture to you. We invite questions, comment, and criticism in
the interest of a better architecture.

– Bob Henry

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The Mississippi AIA has  granted permission to reprint the monthly issues on Preservation in Mississippi, making them available to the public again. I have tried to track down Construction News, but have not had any success, so I think I’ve made a good-faith effort to cover all the copyright bases.

Tomorrow, the first article from this inaugural issue–the First Federal Savings and Loan Building, across from the Old Capitol in downtown Jackson.

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Categories: Architectural Research

7 replies

  1. Yay! This is so exciting!

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  2. Indeed, looking forward to more posts from the Mississippi Architect!

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  3. This is wonderful! It is just like hearing my father’s voice, thoughts, and wisdom again…thank you!

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    • Yes, These guys were really class acts. I worked for James McAdams AIA in the mid 70’s and still remember the honesty and integrity that fortunately, still exists within the AIA today; However, things were much more straight forward and simple back then.

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    • Thank you so much for bringing this back for us! I learned so much from this wonderful man…my big brother. He is missed terribly by his family, and this puts us in touch with him again!! Thanks!

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  4. This is incredible! I’ve been wondering for a long time if a complete set of both mags were extant….somewhere…anywhere. It sounds like you found them!
    Here’s one of the main reasons I’m excited about this: I would love to revisit each year’s AIA Award-winning structures, because I know of at least two from the 1970’s that have disappeared…..

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  5. The other two complete-ish sets are at MDAH and the MSU architecture library. In this first two-year run of Mississippi Architect, it doesn’t look like they were listing the award winners. Possibly they weren’t doing awards in that period–I just don’t know enough about that era in the AIA’s history to be sure. I have seen the first four or five of the later run, called The Mississippi Architect, that started in 1970 I believe, and those do have nice spreads on the award winners. It looks like MDAH may also have a complete set of this iteration, which possibly lasted until 1984? If you’re in the Jackson area and have the time, you could go through that set and get your lists.

    It would be great to have your “re-visits” posted here on MissPres, if you’re interested. My knowledge starts getting a little fuzzy in the 1970s, so I’d love to have someone who really understands and appreciates the architecture give us his own take on each building.

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