Sid Graves papers go to Ole Miss . . .

Dick Waterman
Sat Aug 16 19:40:22 EDT 2008

 The odd aspect of this is that the founder of the Delta Blues Museum did not leave his collection of blues memorabilia to the museum but instead to the University Mississippi, an hour away.


August 16, 2008

Blues lover’s collection donated to Ole Miss

The Associated Press

Scholars of the blues will soon have another resource for their studies.

personal correspondence, awards, audio recordings and photographs of
Sidney Foster Graves Jr., have been donated to the University of

Graves was a librarian in Clarksdale and founded
the Delta Blues Museum in that city. He died in 2005, and his daughter,
Abby McCall of Mobile, Ala., recently donated his collections to the
John D. Williams Library at Ole Miss.

McCall says she hopes the items will help others learn about her father’s legacy.

Miss professor Greg Johnson serves as the university’s blues curator.
He says Graves was correct to recognize that the blues are a strong
part of Mississippi’s cultural heritage.

Graves often saw
tourists seeking out local blues landmarks such as Muddy Waters’ cabin.
Graves saw an opportunity and established the museum in 1979 as part of
the Carnegie Public Library in Clarksdale.

“Clarksdale didn’t know what it was sitting on,” McCall said in a news release from the university.

was 5 when her father started the museum. She said one of the museum’s
first items was one of B.B.
 King’s Lucille guitars, which Graves
hesitated to leave overnight for fear it would be stolen.

“Every night, daddy would have to go get this guitar and lug it home,” she said.

Eventually, Graves received grants for exhibits and persuaded musicians, including ZZ Top, to make the museum a destination.

“It was a big deal for Clarksdale,” McCall said.

1999, after Graves’ tenure, the museum moved to its current location in
the Clarksdale freight depot. It is now expanding from 5,000 to 9,000
square feet of floor space for permanent and traveling exhibits. It
includes a classroom for a year-round music education program and
visiting lectures, and a stage that serves as the main venue during
annual music festivals.


Dick Waterman
Oxford, MS

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