Bicentennial

Who collected all these vintage photographs of South Mississippi?

Paul Jermyn
Paul Jermyn

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Paul Jermyn of Long Beach has collected thousands of word pictures to visually tell the history of the Mississippi Coast.

Jermyn’s collection of photographs, vintage postcards, books and documents help the Sun Herald convey the story of the Coast and its role in Mississippi history as the state celebrates its bicentennial.

Jermyn is a Gulfport-Handsboro native and a test engineer with Rocketdyne, a division of Aerojet at the Stennis Space Center. This family man has instilled his love of visual local history into his own family, and he generously shares his collection with historians and writers telling the Coast story.

“When I moved back home in 2000, my brother showed me two or three old Coast postcards and I started looking for more ... and it kind of escalated,” Jermyn said. “They ‘tell’ you how people lived in the early days, what their houses, towns and churches looked like, what (damage) disasters did, how people lived.

“When you read the words people wrote on the old postcards, you learn what they thought of the light of the Coast, the sunshine, the food, the weather, how friendly the people are. That’s why my family has been here for five generations.”

All the early images in this and the next two days of Bicentennial history coverage come from the Paul Jermyn collection. He was asked to select some of his coastal and pineywoods favorites that show the development and fascinating past of the state’s six southernmost counties. For him, it was a daunting task to whittle down the number, and in the end, he offered too many to put into the newspaper.

Go to sunherald.com to see more of Coast history through his collection.

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