Mansion, The (Robert O. Wilder Building)
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Built as a plantation home for John Boddie and his fiancé, the significance of the Mansion encompasses more than its value as an example of antebellum Italianate architecture in Mississippi and its association with the cotton culture of the Old South. Perched on the highest point of what was once a 2000-acre cotton plantation, the slave owner's house became the nucleus for one of the first schools established to educate and train freed slaves. In 1869, this building, constructed by slave labor, once standing as an all-too-familiar symbol of the oppression and cruelty of slavery, began to serve as a center of education and hope for those who were formerly enslaved. The Mansion was then the only significant building, and contained the dormitory and classrooms.
The Mansion is a two-story wood-frame Italianate structure with low gabled roofs, bracketed cornices and a central belvedere. It is presently undergoing the first phase of a major restoration. This phase includes a major structural stabilization and exterior restoration. The second phase, when funded, will include the complete restoration of the exterior and interior of the building.
Campbell, Clarice T., and Oscar Allan Rogers, Jr. Mississippi: The View from Tougaloo. Jackson, MS: University of Mississippi Press, 1979 and 2002.
Campus Planning and Development Assessment [Tougaloo College]. National Park Service report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1989.
Dixon, John Morris. "How to Grow a Campus: 1. Tougaloo College." Architectural Forum 124 (April 1966): 56-60.
Historical Sketch of Tougaloo University: Tougaloo, Mississippi. [s.l.:] American Missionary Association, 1909.
John W. Boddie House [Tougaloo University]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1982.
Mayo, Amory Dwight. Industrial Education in the South. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1888.
Mississippi State Building Commission. "Physical Facilities, Institutions of Higher Learning, State of Mississippi, Public and Private Institutions." Report. 1967-1968.
"Negro." WPA Records, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Jackson, MS.
"Tougaloo College." WPA Records, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Jackson, MS.
U.S. Congress. House Committee on Natural Resources. Historically Black Colleges and Universities Historic Building Restoration and Preservation Act: Report Together with Dissenting Views (To Accompany H.R. 2921) (Including Cost Estimate of the Congressional Budget Office.) [Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1993.]
WFT Architects. Historic Structures Report: The Mansion. 1998. Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS.
Wise, Deborah G. Tougaloo College Historic District. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1998.