Thursday, June 27, 2013

John Wesley Beeson and The Beeson Colleges

I stumbled across a reference to James T. Dawson's hardcover history of John Wesley Beeson several days ago and am delighted to learn more about the Beeson family's involvement with higher education in the South.

The book will certainly interest anyone who seeks specific information on East Mississippi Female College, Meridian Male College, or Meridian Woman's College.  Dawson weaves together a narrative with numerous photographs, architectural sketches of campus buildings, and selections from various yearbooks.

Dawson is also successful on another level in describing some of the approaches used by J.W. Beeson and other members of his family involved in the management of the institutions.  A brother, Malcolm Alfred Beason, served as president of Meridan Male College until 1914, later serving as a faculty member and dean of agriculture at Oklahoma Agricultural & Mechanical College, Stillwater, OK.  J.W. initially focused his energy on Meridian Women's College and ultimately moved from Meridian, MS.  He pursued other successful ventures after 1919, particularly with insurance, though he and his heirs continue to have a significant impact on higher education as reflected in major gifts to support Beeson Divinity School of Samford University and the Beeson International Center at Asbury Theological Seminary.

The book can be purchased from the Lauderdale County (MS) Department of Archives and History in Meridian, MS for $20 plus shipping/handling.