Pictures from the past

By M. Scott Morris

TUPELO – Those good ol’ days, they won’t be forgotten, if a team of Lee County men gets its way.
They’re collecting black and white and color photographs of Tupelo and Lee County for one or more books.
“We want pretty much anything that’s historically significant,” said Boyd Yarbrough. “It could be something relatively modern, going up to the 1970s, which was 40 years ago. When I think of the ’70s, I think of high school, but that was a lifetime ago.”
Yarbrough has teamed up with Julian Riley, Mim Leake, Bill Lyle, David Baker and Dick Hill. They have collaborated on a series of picture postcard books that feature Northeast Mississippi towns.
For their latest effort, the focus has shifted to photographs.
The plan had been to get a book out by November, but that deadline may be pushed back.
“We’re still inviting people to bring their pictures in to be scanned,” Yarbrough said.
From 1 to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays, you can take old photos to the Lee County Library. They’ll be digitally scanned while you wait.
“I really enjoy when people talk about their families and where the pictures were taken,” Yarbrough said. “If you don’t know where it is, we try to figure it out by looking at things in the photo. It’s kind of like detective work.”
One of the oldest pictures collected depicts the J.S. High Building at the corner of Main and Spring streets in 1898. Shots include meetings of Confederate veterans and church groups.
The scanned images will be archived at the Oren Dunn City Museum, which will benefit from the book sales.
“The main goal is to preserve these in some fashion,” Yarbrough said. “After another generation, some of these pictures might not be interesting enough to the people who own them to want to save them. This is our chance get the photos and the stories behind them.”