Friday, April 7, 2006

New History Collections Online

Posted on Fri, Apr 7, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Local history buffs now have access to three remarkable collections focusing on local history, and they can be found in a rather unexpected place: The Shelby County Register of Deeds home page. An “Archives” link at the top take you to new collections devoted to the Dr. Martin Luther King assassination, Shelby County Schools, and even the county milk supply.

In the King exhibit, you can view hundreds of photos showing the boarding house used by James Earl Ray as a sniper’s nest, photos of Ray, photos of King, and copies of police reports. The highlight is the series of audiotapes which can be downloaded as MP3 files. These include one tape which compiles the frantic police radio broadcasts following the assassination, along with actual recordings of Ray’s trial.

The collection devoted to schools features more than 150 photos taken from a 1922 scrapbook that contained photos of most of the schools in Shelby County, including such long-lost establishments as the George R. James School near Eads and the Mt. Moriah School, location unknown.

The milk supply collection features more than 100 vintage photos of Shelby County barns, dairies, and even milk reports from the turn of the century.

Anyone interested in local history can spend several hours here. The website, however, doesn’t really make it clear how to find these materials. Here’s how: To view the collection, either click on the “Archives” building image, or use the pull-down menu labeled “Death Records”, both of these at the top right of the home page. Pull down to either “death record” or “Exhibits.” Under exhibits, then choose “Assassination Investigation,” “Memphis Milk Supply 1922-1958) or “Shelby County Schools 1922.” Here’s the website.

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