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Former MDAH director Hilliard dies

Former MDAH director Hilliard dies

By: Frank Corder - March 18, 2024

Elbert Hilliard with current MDAH director Katie Blount (Photo from MDAH)

  • Elbert Hilliard was the fifth director of MDAH, serving from 1973 to 2004.

Former Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) Director Elbert R. Hilliard has died.  Hilliard, who became the fifth director of MDAH in 1973 after starting with the agency in 1965, passed on March 17th.

Hilliard retired in 2004 after 39 years of public service.

Hilliard was named director emeritus of MDAH and continued to support the work of the department after this retirement.

“Under his leadership, MDAH grew to be a multifaceted historical agency with a national reputation for excellence,” said MDAH director Katie Blount in a statement from MDAH on Hilliard’s passing. “His work had a profound impact on the effort to preserve, interpret, and promote Mississippi history.” 

According to MDAH, Hilliard worked with the Mississippi Legislature to make the State Antiquities Law one of the strongest preservation laws in the country. He was an avid historian and preservationist. Among his many contributions was the establishment of a grant program to benefit historic properties around the state, including courthouses, schools, museums, and other sites.

During his 31 years leading MDAH, the department established a records management program for state government records, and Hilliard personally traveled the state to promote a records management program for cities and counties. 

He also oversaw the funding efforts for the construction of the state-of-the-art William F. Winter Archives and History Building that was dedicated in 2003 and served as the secretary-treasurer of the Mississippi Historical Society for forty-four years, from 1973 to 2017.

About the Author(s)
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Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father. Email Frank: