James E. Edmonds, was the son of Major and Mrs. J.E. Edmonds of Rosedale, Mississippi. Major Edmonds was a 1854 graduate of the University of Mississippi. James E. Edmonds also attended the University, and a significant number of letters in the collection were written during his tenure as a student between 1896 and 1900. Edmonds first entered the University in the fall of 1896, at the age of 16. Although Edmonds attended the University for four years, neither the Alumni Directory nor the Historical Catalogue list his as a graduate. During his years at the University, Edmonds was affiliated with the Hermaean Society and the Blackstone Society. He studied law, and played on both the baseball and football teams. Perhaps his greatest distinction as a student is his work as the illustrator on the first "Ole Miss" yearbook, printed in 1897. Edmonds was a talented artist, as the sketches he included in his letters will attest.
Edmonds was also a very informative and interesting correspondent. The letters he wrote while at the University cover a wide array of topics. He discusses University affairs: professors, students, fraternities, athletics, course work and, of course, production of the yearbooks. He also chronicles local events of interest, such as an outbreak of typhoid fever at Union Female College. National and international issues also did not escape his interest. He writes of the 1896 election and local reaction to the defeat of William Jennings Bryan, whom he supported, and he writes passionately of the oncoming of the Spanish-American War.
Currently, only materials dated through 1900 are available online, which include his tenure as a student at the University of Mississippi.
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