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Burney Lynch Parkinson Presidential Papers

Identifier: UR-001-03

Scope and Contents

The Parkinson record group consists of correspondence, reports, files on job vacancies and contracts, and his working files from his tenure as university president. The majority of the files contain correspondence with other on campus or with the Board of Trustees.


  • Creation: 1926 - 1969
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1932 - 1952

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

2 folders from Lot 339 are severely damaged. Boxes C54 and C55 show significant damage from roaches. C60 and C61 show mold damage and rust, and C62 and C63 have water damage and some evidence of mold. Lot 29, folder 2 is damaged beyond use, and was left in Orr

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

All unpublished materials are protected by copyright held by Mississippi University for Women. Permission to publish or reproduce must be requested in writing to the University Archivist. Published materials may also be protected by copyright, and the user must locate and request permission from copyright holder to publish or reproduce.

Biographical / Historical

Burney Lynch Parkinson (1887-1972) was an educator from Lincoln, Tennessee. He received his B.S. from Erskine College in 1909, and rose up the administrative ranks from English teacher in Laurens, South Carolina public schools. He received his M.A. from Peabody College in 1920, and Ph.D. from Peabody in 1926, after which he became president of Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC in 1927. He was employed as Director of Teacher Training, Certification, and Elementary Education at the Alabama Dept. of Education just before coming to MSCW to become president in 1932.

In December 1932, the university was re-accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, ending the crisis brought on the purge of faculty under Governor Theodore Bilbo, but appropriations to the university were cut by 54 percent, and faculty and staff were reduced by 33 percent, as enrollment had declined from 1410 in 1929 to 804 in 1932.

Parkinson authorized a study of MSCW by Peabody college, ultimately pursuing its recommendations to focus on liberal arts at the cost of its traditional role in industrial, vocational, and technical education.

Building projects were kept to a minimum during the Parkinson years. Old Main was restored and named for Mary Calloway in 1938. Franklin Hall was converted to a dorm, and the Whitfield Gymnasium into a student center with the Golden Goose Tearoom inside. Parkinson Hall was constructed in 1951 and named for Dr. Parkinson the following year.

The Parkinson administration was a number of changes to the curriculum and campus life, including the creation of the Speech Dept. in 1939, accreditation of the library science program and restoration of the B.S. in physical education, a 4 year art curriculum in 1947, the psychology dept. in 1947, and the journalism dept. in 1949. and the end of the school's uniform and chapel attendance requirements.

Dr. Parkinson resigned from MSCW in 1952, as the Board of Trustees recently enacted a mandatory retirement at 65 years old. He became Professor of Psychology at Mary Washington College from 1952 until his retirement in 1956. Sarah Neilson, the president's administrative assistant, wrote "MSCW 1932-1952: Two Decades of Progress" in celebration of his tenure, partly in response to criticisms that the university had stagnated over the last few decades.

Dr. Parkinson was the husband of Belvidera Ashleigh Dry Parkinson, who in 1927 became the first woman to receive a doctorate degree from the University of South Carolina.


42 Linear Feet (42 archival boxes)

Language of Materials



The files are generally kept in chronological order. Box C69, however, does not fit the larger organizational scheme and contains files from 1905-1952.

Other Finding Aids

Dera Dry Parkinson Papers


This record is slated for permanent retention.

Burney Lynch Parkinson Presidential Records
Derek Webb
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Beulah Culbertson Archives & Special Collections Repository

Fant Memorial Library
1100 College Ave, MUW-1625
Columbus Mississippi 39701