Collection spans nearly 25 years in municipal service to Oxford and the community
Elizabeth Leslie recalls that her husband loved Oxford and wanted it to be a great place to live. She said she hopes the collection of letters, photographs and other memorabilia she recently donated from her late husband’s tenure as mayor will help others who share his passion for public service.
“When John passed away, he left boxes and boxes of papers, correspondence and photographs that needed to be catalogued and organized,” she said. “I was happy to donate them to the library, and I hope that the collection will serve to commemorate how much John loved this town and help others who have an interest in municipal government.”
John Leslie, who passed away in 2012, served as mayor from 1973 to 1997. A pharmacist for 38 years, Leslie served on the Oxford/Lafayette County Planning Commission, the Oxford/Lafayette County Hospital Board, the Industrial Development Board and the board of the First National Bank of Oxford. Leslie was also past president of the Mississippi Pharmaceutical Association. In 1994, he was named Oxford’s Citizen of the Year.
During his six terms as mayor, Leslie was instrumental in the building of a public library, a new police station, Oxford’s first public swimming pool and the John Leslie Tennis Courts and Activity Center. His papers document, among other things, the strong relationship between the city and university, as evidenced by the cooperation to build Oxford-University Stadium for baseball.
“The university is very grateful that the Leslie family chose to donate this record of John Leslie’s years in public office to the archives,” said Leigh McWhite, UM political papers archivist and associate professor. “It will enable researchers to explore local history from a unique and important perspective.”
The John Leslie Collection is part of the library’s Modern Political Archives. The finding aid is online at http://purl.oclc.org/umarchives/MUM01795/.
The digitized photographs are available at http://clio.lib.olemiss.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/leslie.
—Sharon Morris, Ole Miss News Desk