Emilie Blackmore Stapp, an American children’s author and philanthropist, and her sister, Marie Graham Stapp, were women with a mission. Their lives are documented in an extensive collection of lively correspondence and letters, published and unpublished manuscripts for children’s stories in books, periodicals, and newspapers; original plays, illustrations and publicity materials; and, personal items, such as photographs of friends and notables, fragile scapbooks documenting Emilie Stapp’s from 1904 through the time of her death in 1962 can be found in the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at The University of Southern Mississippi, McCain Library & Archives.
The Stapps lived in Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, and finally in Mississippi during a significant historical period, covering two world wars and the tumultuous Jim Crow era. Emilie Blackmore Stapp probably was years ahead of her time in her work with children of all races and creeds, raising funds for two World Wars, and other philanthropic efforts. Some of these, commencing soon after their arrival in Wiggins, include deeding the land and facility for the Women’s Club of Wiggins, donating over 4000 books to establish the first lending library in Stone County, and funding construction for a new post office.
The Stapp sisters bought a farm they named Friendship Farm out Highway 26 East. There they established a pecan orchard and built their homenamed The Dolls’ House. The home received its name from a rare collection of over 400 dolls of historic significance, that the Stapp sisters acquired from their world travels and prominently displayed there during their lifetimes.
You will be hearing more about Emilie Blackmore Stapp in the months ahead as The Old Firehouse Museum and The Stone County Arts Council jointly will celebrate her life and accomplishments in several very distinct ways. You will not want to miss those events so stay tuned for dates to be published!