“Chalmers Institute 1837 – 1879” by Hubert McAlexander NOW AVAILABLE!


Original painting of Chalmers Institute, done by Hubert H. McAlexander, in the 1950s, taking art instruction from Netty Fant Thompson – a local artist trained at the Art Institute of Chicago

Hubert H. McAlexander, eminent Marshall County chronicler, historian and descendant of several Chalmers Institute alumni, has written and privately published a new history of this proud edifice:


Within the account of this historic structure in Mississippi’s educational legacy, are thoroughly developed histories of the three educational institutions to occupy the building: The Holly Springs Literary Institute 1837-1839; The University of Holly Springs 1839-1843; Chalmers Institute 1847-1879. It was its brief tenure as the University of Holly Springs that earned it the designation “Mississippi’s first University.”

The work conveys the war years of 1861-1865 with accounts from the front involving Chalmers men. Included are members of the famed “University Greys” and Dabney Minor Scales of the Confederate Navy, whose service embraced the famed ironclad ram C.S.S. Arkansas and fabled raider C.S.S. Shenandoah.

The post-war years carry Chalmers’ history through to its ultimate closure in 1879, when it became yet another victim to the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1878. Afterwards, it became the residence for William Albert Anderson, an alumnus and final headmaster and his wife, Helen Craft. They lived at Chalmers until 1919. The Thursday Club, a Holly Springs women’s literary group that still exists, was founded here in the 1890s.This history is followed by an exhaustive listing and brief biographies of known alumni with seven pages of photographs and portraits that we were able to locate.

The Chalmers Institute history ends with a collection of essays on the architectural history of the structure and brief treatises on several no-longer extant contemporary institutions in Marshall County. Chalmers Institute is the only surviving educational structure of the ante-bellum era in Holly Springs, of which there were perhaps a dozen.

Preserve Marshall County & Holly Springs, Inc. gratefully acknowledges the heroic efforts of Hubert McAlexander and his small army of informants and the gift of 200 hardback copies of this privately printed, limited-edition history. It is Hubert’s personal donation to the continued rehabilitation of historic Chalmers Institute, a school and its history for which he shares an abiding affection. We are asking our supporters not simply to buy a book but to buy into being an active participant in the rebirth of historic Chalmers Institute – a true Mississippi treasure. A minimum donation of $100 (please include $10 for shipping) is requested to receive a copy of Chalmers Institute 1837-1879, ALL PROCEEDS go to the on-going rehabilitation work at historic Chalmers Institute.

Do plan to attend this year’s “Wrecking Ball”event on Saturday, 03 October 2015; it is Preserve Marshall County & Holly Springs, Inc.’s fifth annual fund-raiser to preserve Chalmers Institute. Hubert H. McAlexander, author of Chalmers Institute 1837-1879, will be there to speak briefly on Chalmers’ history and sign copies of this important piece of its historic documentation.

…Come To The Wrecking Ball!

Chalmers Book



Purchase a copy of Chalmers Institute 1837-1879 for a minimum donation of $100 (add $10 for shipping) through PayPal on our Preserve Marshall County & Holly Springs, Inc.’s website here.

or…send us a check via USPS:

Preserve Marshall County & Holly Springs, Inc.
P.O. Box #787
Holly Springs, MS 38635

…and do visit us on our Facebook page and “like” us: https://www.facebook.com/PreserveMarshallCounty

Copies may also be picked up and/or purchased at the Marshall County Historical Museum:
220 E. College Avenue – Holly Springs, Mississippi – Tel.# 662.252.3669

In advance, PMCHS thanks you for your support!

Chelius H. Carter, President
Preserve Marshall County & Holly Springs, Inc.


Note: Preserve Marshall County & Holly Springs, Inc. is 501-(c)3 registered non-profit organization; all donations are tax-deuctible to the extent allowed by law. Please consult with you tax-advisor.


Preserve Marshall County & Holly Springs, Inc. (501c3) formed in 2005 with the hope of bringing historic preservation advocacy and educational outreach to the community. As one of our inaugural undertakings we acquired Chalmers Institute and are currently working to not only pay off the bank note on the property but to stabilize and eventually rehabilitate Chalmers Institute into regional resource once more. Constructed in 1837, Chalmers Institute, was Mississippi’s first legislatively recognized University. Within these walls countless leaders, writers, educators, and citizens received the educational foundations that would help to shape their lives, careers, and region’s history. Its enrollment actively continued until 1879 when it became another casualty of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1878. This proud structure entered its second life as residence until the 1980s. It now awaits its third life as a contributing member of the community with your help.