The Smith Rouse Library, located on the Hattiesburg campus of William Carey University, is home to the prestigious Clarence Dickinson Special Collection. This unique assortment comprises an extensive array of items related to Clarence Dickinson, the celebrated organist of Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City, who dedicated fifty years to his musical career. Among the treasures in the collection are his papers, music, manuscripts, furniture, artworks, and personal belongings, which provide valuable insights into his life and work.

As a prominent concert organist in both the United States and Europe, Clarence Dickinson also made significant contributions as a composer, crafting numerous organ pieces and choral anthems. Notably, he founded the groundbreaking School of Sacred Music at Union Theological Seminary, a pioneering graduate-level music program that welcomed both men and women. Before its establishment in 1928, aspiring scholars interested in sacred music had no choice but to venture to Europe for advanced studies.

Accompanying Clarence Dickinson's legacy within the collection are the books, papers, and music belonging to his wife and collaborator, Dr. Helen Adell Dickinson. Dr. Helen Dickinson's groundbreaking achievement as the first woman to obtain a PhD from Heidelberg University in Germany highlights her determination and exceptional intellect, especially during a time when women faced significant challenges in gaining entry to graduate philosophy classes. Renowned for her talents as a lyricist, translator, and art historian, Dr. Helen frequently delivered lectures at Union Seminary.

Together, the Dickinsons authored an extensive repertoire of hundreds of chorales and anthems designed for church choirs. Their works continue to resonate within the music libraries of countless churches across the United States and Canada, making a lasting impact on sacred music.

With meticulous cataloging in 2005, the Dickinson papers now occupy an impressive 88 running feet of archival shelf space, preserving their rich history. Additionally, the collection houses the personal library of the Dickinsons, comprising 1653 music and art books. This space also serves as a repository for memorabilia from some renowned hymn writers.

To share this remarkable collection with interested individuals, tours are available upon request. If you wish to arrange a tour, kindly contact the library office at 601-318-6782 for further information and scheduling.

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