Harmon and Sallie Mims

Harmon Mims, that name, is one that brings lots of pictures to my mind. Harmon Mims was the “picture man” when I was growing up in Sylacauga in the 40’s and 50’s. I also remember Harmon Mims as being a band person, a good friend of my band director and mentor, Lewis Simpkins; but it was with his pictures that Harmon armHHpreserved that day and time for all of us because he took pictures of babies, school children in the surrounding areas, and pictures for school annuals. He took family reunion pictures, wedding pictures, pictures for law enforcement, and even pictures for the coroner when there were accidents or homicides.These are pictures that Sara Ann Mims Price, Harmon’s only surviving child, and Yebbie Price Copeland, her daughter, are digitalizing so that the memories of that time will be preserved. The legacy of aHHarmon Mims continues even though Mims Studio was closed a few years after his death from a heart attack at only 63 years of age in 1968.                                                                                                       
Harmon and Sallie Mims had two daughters, Mary Elizabeth and Sara Ann. They were beautiful girls, musically talented like their parents. They were favorite subjects for their grandfather’s photography skills. Sara Ann was the mascot for the Mignon and Sycamore Bands, and later a majorette for Mignon (B.B. Comer Band), and Sylacauga High School Band when she was in the tenth grade. Sara still lives in Sylacauga and continues to give back to Sylacauga as a Coosa Valley Medical Center “pink lady” 2 days a week. She is also a supporter of Brown Bag Lectures at the library. Her daughter, Yebbie, is married to Joe Copeland and together they write children’s books. Yebbie is retired from the Department of Human Resources, but continues to work at the Fresenius Dialysis center two days a week. Mary was a talented musician who played in her grandfather’s swing band, and in the Mignon Band until she transferred to Sylacauga High. She regularly worked at Camp Helen, Avondale’s camp near Panama City. Mary and her husband, Jim Curtis, a pharmacist in Columbiana, taught music in the Shelby County School system until she retired. They are deceased along with Mike Mims, Harmon and Sallie Mims’ only son.                                                                                                                                                                          
Both Sara and Yebbie were quick to give credit for Harmon’s success to Sallie Howell Mims, Harmon’s wife, who worked alongside her husband. Sallie was the daughter of John Howell. Her family included three brothers and four sisters, and they already lived in the Sylacauga area when Harmon came to Sylacauga from Prattville in 1920. As a fifteen year old young man, Harmon wanted to live with his Aunt Emma Mims who operated a boarding house near Comer School and make some money working in the mill. His connection with Avondale helped to shape his future. Harmon became the first Captain of the football team and the first quarterback for B.B. Comer football. He brought with him to Sylacauga an unusual dream, a dream that he had been putting some “feet to” while still living in Prattville. This dream really took off after he moved here and met Sallie who had been a member of the B.B. Comer Band, formerly the Mignon Mill Band, since she was 10 years old in 1917. Harmon’s dream led to music which led to band, to orchestra, to band director, to photography; and all of this began while he worked part-time at Avondale Mills. It is the story of an unlikely friendship that developed between Harmon Mims and Mr. Hugh Comer that moved that dream right along. I hope that you will be as anxious to read the rest of this story as I am to tell it. Meanwhile, enjoy all of these wonderful pictures! I cannot wait to tell you more about the man Lewis Simpkins called “Harmony Mims” next time. (Special thanks to Sara Price and Yebbie Copeland!)