Fighting for Equal Rights: Anita Pollitzer

Anita Pollitzer in Woman’s Enterprise (Baton Rouge, LA), March 10, 1922

The youngest of three sisters, Anita Pollitzer was born on October 31, 1894 in Charleston, South Carolina. After graduating from Charleston’s Memminger Normal School in 1913, she attended Columbia University, graduating with her bachelor’s degree in fine arts in 1916. (She would also later earn her master’s degree in international relations from Columbia in 1933.) Often noted for her work as a photographer and her close friendship with fellow artist Georgia O’Keeffe (whom she had met during college), it was during her time as an undergraduate student that Pollitzer become involved in the suffrage movement. Pollitzer joined the National Woman’s Party (NWP) after graduating from college and went on to hold several offices within the party throughout her lifetime. She quickly became a strong voice for the movement, lobbying across the nation for suffrage and equal rights for women.

During her college years, Pollitzer worked alongside her two older sisters, Carrie and Mabel, promoting women’s suffrage at the local level. Joining the NWP only fueled Anita’s fire further, providing her with additional support as she traveled throughout her home state. Unlike other women’s rights organizations, the NWP not only encouraged equality for women, but also focused on obtaining the passage of a constitutional amendment that ensured suffrage for women. In her early party membership, Pollitzer worked closely with fellow members of the party’s South Carolina branch to spread their message. While traveling all around the state, their sessions at times drew so many people that the crowds had to be split in two and NWP members would present concurrent speeches to attendees both inside the original meeting space and outside on the street.

Anita’s involvement with the NWP continued to expand over time. She began traveling across the country to speak to fellow party members, participate in protests, and lobby for the ratification of a suffrage amendment. Pollitzer spent time working in Washington, D.C. for the headquarters of the party directly underneath one of its founders, Alice Paul. By 1920, Pollitzer was dedicating much of her time to meeting with representatives in different states, urging them to vote for the ratification of the 19th amendment which would guarantee women the right to vote. In early 1920, the Washington Herald included a small blurb about a meeting with an Oklahoma Senator who promptly wrote a telegram “urging ratification of the suffrage movement” following his time with Pollitzer. One of Anita’s most impressive efforts took place a few months later in Tennessee where, after talking with her, the state’s representatives voted to endorse the amendment, making it the 36th state to do so, which was the final vote needed to add the amendment onto the Constitution. An article in the Washington Herald from August 1920 talks about the efforts of Pollitzer and her fellow activists and the influential role they played in getting the 19th amendment ratified.

Pollitzer’s work in Connecticut is noted in the Edgefield Advertiser (Edgefield, S.C.), October 20, 1920

Even as suffrage was achieved for women in 1920, Pollitzer continued her mission for equal rights for many more years. In 1921, she served in her first official position for the NWP as a member of the Executive Council. The next year, Anita made the headlines of the Laurens Advertiser for her work in Illinois trying to establish a statewide chapter of the NWP. Continuing to work her way up in the party, Pollitzer became the party’s National Chairman in 1945, succeeding only Alice Paul. Pollitzer spent the remainder of her life advocating for women’s issues. She worked with Paul to organize the World Women’s Party, fighting for recognition of women’s equality with the United Nations. Pollitzer also played influential roles in advocating for the Equal Rights Amendment and the National Fair Labor Standards Act.

Related Resources:

Posted in Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chronicling America Workshop

Last week, the SCDNP team traveled to Winnsboro, South Carolina to host a workshop for the Fairfield County Genealogical Society. Laptops in hand, the excited attendees used the hour to learn more about our digital newspaper program and to get hands-on experience navigating and searching Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, a database of over 7 million historical newspaper pages.

photo 3

Virginia Pierce, SCDNP Project Manager, and Craig Keeney, SCDNP Co-Principal Investigator, lead a hands-on demonstration of Chronicling America. (Photo courtesy Laura Blair)

The SCDNP team focused the workshop on showing attendees some useful tips and tricks for searching the database, especially while doing genealogical research. The team also highlighted some of the newest South Carolina titles added into Chronicling America, including several newspapers from Fairfield County.

Fairfield_MemorialEdition

The front page of the News and Herald’s 1910 Memorial Edition issue.

Fairfield County newspapers are chock full of interesting contemporary stories as well as rich histories of the county’s communities and people. Virginia Pierce, SCDNP Project Manager, found some great examples to show off at the workshop including the 1866 “Historical Sketches of Fairfield District”“Personal Reminiscences: Prominent Men of Western Fairfield, Who Lived Long Ago,” an article from 1880; a letter to the editor of the Fairfield News and Herald in 1899 entitled, “Old Brick Church”; and a 24-page Memorial Edition of the News and Herald in 1910.

photo 4

Pierce and Keeney answer individual questions. (Photo courtesy Laura Blair)

During the last part of the workshop, the SCDNP team provided individual assistance while attendees practiced their own searches. As the genealogists searched their family names and communities, the team offered guidance and answered questions. A great time was had by all!

Posted in Events, Program Updates | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Finding Solomon Northup in Chronicling America

Thanks to the Academy Award-winning film 12 Years a Slave, the story of Solomon Northup, a free African American who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the mid-1800′s, has been receiving lots of attention lately. But is this the first time Northup’s tale has made headlines? It doesn’t appear so!

Our colleagues at the Vermont Digital Newspaper Project recently wrote a blog about finding Solomon Northup and his story in the historical newspapers made available through Chronicling America: “Vermont papers printed articles about Northup’s rescue and also covered the subsequent arrests and trials of his kidnappers and the man who sold him into slavery.” Check out their post, “Vermont Papers Tell the Story of Solomon Northup,” to learn more.

Vermont watchman and State journal (Montpelier, Vt.), February 10, 1853

The folks from EDSITEment at the National Endowment for the Humanities have also written about using Chronicling America to locate stories about Northup’s life and his memoir, which was first published in 1853. Read their post to see what they found in the newspapers and some of the useful searching tips they used.

What can you find about Solomon Northup in the newspapers? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Posted in Articles | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hot Off the Press: More S.C. Newspapers Added to Chronicling America

We’re happy to announce that more historical South Carolina newspapers have been added to Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers! With new content from Newberry and several new titles from Abbeville, there are now 65 newspaper titles published in South Carolina between 1836 and 1922 that are freely available and full-text searchable on Chronicling America.

NewberryHN

Front page of The Herald and News (Newberry, S.C.) from May 5, 1916.

Here are the newest South Carolina newspapers in Chronicling America:

The herald and news (Newberry, S.C.), 1916-1922
This adds on to the 1903-1915 run of this title that has already been on the site.

The banner (Abbeville, S.C.), 1846-1847

The Abbeville banner (Abbeville, S.C.), 1847-1869

The independent press (Abbeville C.H., S.C.), 1854-1860

Abbeville press (Abbeville, S.C.), 1860-1869

The Abbeville bulletin (Abbeville, S.C.), 1865

The Abbeville press and banner (Abbeville, S.C.), 1869-1922

The Abbeville messenger (Abbeville, S.C.), 1884-1887

In addition to these new S.C. papers, titles from several other states have also been added to the site including the first content from the most recent states to join the National Digital Newspaper Program: Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, and North Carolina. Chronicling America is continually adding more newspaper pages so be sure to spend some time browsing the titles as the site reaches over 7 million pages!

Posted in Program Updates | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Air of Festivity: Planning Your Thanksgiving

As Thanksgiving dinner approaches, last-minute questions always arise: What should be on the menu? What about the table decorations? How does one actually cook a turkey? What are the appropriate place settings? A quick Google search for the answers to these questions (and others) may be the most tempting approach, but this holiday season, why not try more “tried and true” solutions to your food queries and turn to South Carolina’s historic newspapers instead? These papers are chock full of recipes, menus, and even party-planning and decorating advice for the holidays! We found a few examples to get you started:

“A Thanksgiving dinner should have an air of festivity, but at the same time it should not be too heavy or involve too much work in its preparation.” Some pretty sound advice from an article in the Manning Times printed in November 1921. Even the article’s headline offers helpful guidance for the meal: “A Thanksgiving Turkey Has No Real Substitute.” And if these words of wisdom aren’t enough, this article goes on to include “a simple thanksgiving menu,” a recipe for stuffing, detailed directions on baking a turkey, and the proper way to prepare giblet gravy.

thanksgiving01

Thanksgiving Proclamation cartoon in a Davis, Roper and Company advertisement in the Laurens Advertiser.

While still in the planning mode, take a look at this 1916 issue of the Laurens Advertiser which offers four possible Thanksgiving menus, all starting with an appetizer and ending with an after-dinner coffee. Also try this “Hints for Housewives” section of the Edgefield Advertiser which provides an article on delivering “A Simple, Satisfactory Dinner” for Thanksgiving. Included in this feature from 1900 are a menu, suggestions for table arrangements, and recipes for cranberry pie, pumpkin pie, salted nuts, Thanksgiving pudding, and ribbon jelly. As you get closer to the holiday, check out “The Holiday Housewife’s Plans” in this issue of the Edgefield Advertiser from 1897 that details how to break up the cooking and baking across several days in preparation for the meal.

thanksgiving02

See four potential dinner menus for a Thanksgiving meal in this feature by the Laurens Advertiser.

The turkey is, of course, typically the star of the show at Thanksgiving. When you’re ready to tackle the main event, this 1897 article in the Edgefield Advertiser shows readers just as its title suggests: “Various Ways of Cooking a Turkey.” But what to do with all that turkey left in the aftermath of a holiday meal? The Anderson Intelligencer answers this question in an article featuring several recipes in which leftover turkey can be incorporated.

If turkey isn’t your thing, never fear! Orangeburg’s Times and Democrat was one step ahead of you with their 1908 article, “Hog Killing Time.” Full of “good old Southern recipes,” this write-up provides several recipes to “make all sorts of good things” from a hog including pork chops, hog feet, liver mush and more.

Want more Thanksgiving recipes and ideas from newspapers around the country? Check out the Vermont Digital Newspaper Project’s Flickr page as well as these great blogs posts: “Holiday Foodways” from the National Endowment Humanities and “Across Texas, Across Time: Newspaper Recipes for Your Thanksgiving Table” by the Texas Digital Newspaper Program. Also try searching or browsing on your own through the papers in Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers for more great advice and recipes for the holidays.

Posted in Articles | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Extending Our Reach

As many of you know, we were recently awarded a third grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to continue our great work with the National Digital Newspaper Program for two more years (you can read more about this here). From now through 2015, we will be working to digitize another 100,000 pages of historic South Carolina newspapers and make them available in Chronicling America.

Starting a new grant cycle means the selection of a new round of newspaper titles to work with during these next two years. While not an easy process, it was the goal of our team and our Advisory Board to choose titles that would extend our work geographically and temporally. We are very excited to announce the titles that have been selected! Drum roll, please…

2013-2015 Newspaper Titles to Be Digitized

The Bamberg herald (Bamberg County)
The Beaufort Republican and sea island chronicle and related titles (Beaufort County)
Cheraw gazette and related titles (Chesterfield County)
The Dillon herald (Dillon County)
Greenville enterprise and The southern enterprise (Greenville County)
The Camden journal and related titles (Kershaw County)
The Batesburg advocate (Lexington County)
The Lexington dispatch (Lexington County)
The Spartan and The Carolina Spartan (Spartanburg County)
The weekly Union times and related titles (Union County)
The county record (Williamsburg County)
Yorkville enquirer (York County)

Click on our map to get more information regarding specific titles and dates as well as to see how our new titles will help us represent even more areas of South Carolina. (Blue markers indicate newspaper titles we have already digitized since 2009; yellow markers indicate the new titles for this upcoming cycle.)

Also, check us out in a recent podcast from the University of South Carolina’s Division of Information Technology. We give some insight into what we do as well as what we love about our job (which was hard to narrow down into just 5 minutes!). You can listen to the podcast here.

Posted in Program Updates | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

SCDNP Spotlight, Part 2

Here at SCDNP, we are proud to be a member of the National Digital Newspaper Program, a nationwide project that currently supports 36 states and territories digitizing historic newspapers and enhancing the way we see our nation’s history. Like us, many of these statewide projects not only contribute digitized newspaper images to Chronicling America, they also spend time creating added value resources such as LibGuides, podcasts, instructional videos, and blogs (just to name a few!). Over the next several weeks, we thought we would take some time to put the spotlight on some of these great resources from our fellow NDNP partners around the country.

Hawai’i Digital Newspaper Project

Since 2008, the University of Hawai’i at Manoa has been digitizing their state’s historic newspapers as part of NDNP. In addition, they have developed several resources highlighting the content in Hawaii’s newspapers. A few of these resources include a blog where they highlight unique articles and advertisements as well as post program updates; an excellent subject guide with tips for searching newspapers and topic guides; and a Flickr page with some fun and interesting images from Hawaii’s newspapers.

See this ad for walrus teeth and many more fun newspaper clippings on HDNP’s Flickr.

Texas Digital Newspaper Project

Hosted by the University of North Texas Libraries, this state project began working as an NDNP member in 2007. Since that time, they have built upon the NDNP foundation and have worked with institutions across Texas to create their own digital newspaper repository representing the entirety of the state. Through The Portal to Texas History, TDNP makes their newspapers freely available, and in February 2013, they reached the awe-inspiring milestone of digitizing over 1 million newspaper pages! Check out their blog to learn more about their project and view all of their newspapers in the Portal.

Tennessee Newspaper Digitization Project

The Tennessee Newspaper Digitization Project is a joint effort between the Tennessee State Library and Archives and the University of Tennessee and has been a part of NDNP since 2010. Tennessee keeps up a great blog that not only highlights content such as articles and ads, but also looks at all things newspaper-related such as these recent posts about newsies and typesetting. Check out their whole blog to read these and other great posts!

Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we continue to highlight some of the great work happening across the country by member institutions of the National Digital Newspaper Program. Read Part 1 of this series here.

Posted in Articles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

SCDNP Spotlight

Here at SCDNP, we are proud to be a member of the National Digital Newspaper Program, a nationwide project that currently supports 36 states and territories digitizing historic newspapers and enhancing the way we see our nation’s history. Like us, many of these statewide projects not only contribute digitized newspaper images to Chronicling America, they also spend time creating added value resources such as LibGuides, podcasts, instructional videos, and blogs (just to name a few!). Over the next several weeks, we thought we would take some time to put the spotlight on some of these great resources from our fellow NDNP partners around the country.

Indiana Historic Newspaper Digitization Project

Hosted by the Indiana State Library, this state project is dedicated to using its digitized historic newspapers to bring history to the “Hoosier masses.” Among other resources, the Indiana project maintains a blog that highlights interesting newspaper articles and stories. One of their more recent blog posts tells about the history of the Indianapolis Leader, the city’s first African-American newspaper which started in 1879. Follow this link to read the blog post about the paper and check out their whole blog to see what all is happening in Indiana.

Vermont Digital Newspaper Project

In 2010, the University of Vermont Libraries began working with several other institutions around their state to make historic newspapers freely accessible as part of NDNP. They, too, keep an active blog that showcases interesting articles and stories from VT newspapers as well as updates on the project and fun things their staff are doing. They recently wrote a great blog post about a popular opera house in Bennington, VT which resulted in this fantastic poster!

NDNP in Ohio

 The Ohio Historical Society has been working since 2008 to contribute content to Chroncling America as part of NDNP. They have created several great resources to help users delve into historic newspapers. One great resource is their list of several subject guides which provide important information and dates as well as suggested search terms for topics widely covered by Ohio newspapers. Additionally, they developed an 11-part video series that covers the basics of how to use Chronicling America as well as advanced tips for getting more out of your searches. You can view the first video, a brief introduction to the series, below: 

Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we continue to highlight some of the great work happening across the country by member institutions of the National Digital Newspaper Program.

Posted in Articles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Heart of the Grand Strand: Myrtle Beach

The summer is in full swing and many are making plans to stick their toes in the sand with the sound of crashing waves in the background (or at least dreaming of it).  Hitting the beach is a common getaway during the summer months and many know that one of the most popular tourist destinations along the East Coast for beach-goers is right here in South Carolina: Myrtle Beach.  Seeing several million visitors each year, Myrtle Beach sits at the heart of the Grand Strand and boasts an array of tourist attractions in addition to its sandy beaches.

In our lifetime it seems Myrtle Beach has always been the epitome of a beach destination; however, for all its popularity and success, Myrtle Beach has a relatively short history that dates back to right before the turn of the 20th century.

An aerial view of Myrtle Beach circa 1940. (via WPA Photograph Collection, South Caroliniana Library)

Situated in Horry County, the Myrtle Beach area remained uninhabited and unchanged for most of its early life. Due to its remote location, few Europeans attempted to colonize the area. It wasn’t until the 1880′s that the location began to see some settlement activity when the Burroughs & Collins Company out of Conway decided to buy land in the area for timber and set up a logging camp. Employees at the camp headed to the nearby beach on their days off. Additionally, the company built a railroad from Conway to the coastline in order to extract the timber. Once the railroad was in place and word spread of access to the coast, development in the area quickly picked up.

Initially the location didn’t have a formal name, and locals simply referred to the new train stop as New Town (perhaps in contrast to nearby Conway’s nickname of Old Town). A contest was eventually held for people to originate a name.  The winning contestant drew inspiration from the popular plant in the area, the wax myrtle, and the name Myrtle Beach was born.

The “Personal” section of the Marlboro Democrat (Bennettsville, S.C.) mentions a family vacationing at the beach in 1903.

Aside from the business potential, the Burroughs & Collins Company realized the possible tourist potential in this new area. In 1901 they built the area’s first hotel, the Seaside Inn.  A bathhouse and pavilion shortly followed. The company also began selling beachfront properties for twenty-five dollars. Throughout the summer months of the early 1900′s, the mention of Myrtle Beach in local newspapers quickly rose as families began traveling there for recreation and relaxation. The area soon became a popular destination spot, especially for those living in nearby South Carolina towns who could easily travel to the beach on a short train ride.  As early as 1902, the Watchman and Southron (Sumter, S.C.) included Myrtle Beach (via Conway) under their “Week-End Rates From Sumter to Popular Summer Resorts.” Advertisements for hotels also begin to appear in papers around the state, enticing tourists to come and stay on the “Finest Strand on the Atlantic Seaboard.”

By the 1920′s, other developers saw the opportunity in the growing seaside town and began to further develop the area with hotels and golf courses, all aimed at vacationers. Myrtle Beach became a popular spot, seeing even conventions and conferences come to town such as ones for the South Carolina Press Association and the [South Carolina] State Dental Association.

An article in the Watchman and Southron (Sumter, S.C.) draws attention to the upcoming South Carolina Press Association convention in Myrtle Beach in 1922.

A crowd enjoys the shoreline at Myrtle Beach. (via WPA Photograph Collection, South Caroliniana Library)

Although F. G. Burroughs (of Burroughs and Collins Company) had been the first to see the business potential in the area, it had also been his dream to see a resort town on the East Coast halfway between Miami and New York. After his death in 1897, his sons carried out his plan, developing the area and turning Myrtle Beach into one of the most popular seaside destinations in the country.

Posted in Articles | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New News for the Newspapers!

We are very excited to let you know about several new developments with our program!

  • First off, we are thrilled to announce that we have been awarded additional funding from the National Endowment for Humanities to continue as a partner in the National Digital Newspaper Program for a third grant cycle. This means that over the next two years, we will be bringing you even more South Carolina titles and newspaper pages! We cannot thank NEH enough for allowing us to continue this great work we love doing, and we are so happy to keep working with them, the Library of Congress, and our fellow NDNP partners across the country. We are also pleased that Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, and Mississippi will be joining the program and will start contributing content over the next year. To learn more about the recent awards granted by NEH, read their recent press release here: http://ow.ly/nzVm2
  • Secondly, we have sent off our last batch of newspaper pages to the Library of Congress for this second grant cycle. Over the last two years, we have digitized 100, 323 pages. While most of these are already available in Chronicling America, the entirety will be available by the end of the year once this last batch is processed by LC.

    Laura, Metadata and Outreach Specialist, places the last batch of digitized newspaper pages in the mail to the Library of Congress.

  • Thirdly, the Library of Congress updated Chronicling America this week and the site now boasts over 6.6 million newspapers pages and over 1,000 titles from across the country.  Several new South Carolina titles were added including ones from the Newberry, Pickens, and Winnsboro areas among others. View this list to see all 58 titles from S. C. now available for viewing: http://ow.ly/nzVbd
  • Lastly, as we look to the future, we hope to find new sources of funding outside of NEH to continue digitizing historic newspapers from around the state. Our partnership with NEH and LC has built a fantastic foundation for making these invaluable newspapers more widely available to the public, but our work thus far has only accounted for a small percentage of the numerous South Carolina newspaper titles. For only $1 a page, we can continue digitizing newspapers and making them freely available. If you have titles you would like to see, please consider helping us find additional funding avenues. Feel free to contact our team by email or phone if you have any questions or would like more information.

Contact Info:
Virginia Pierce, Project Manager, piercev@mailbox.sc.edu
Laura Blair, Metadata & Outreach Specialist, blairla@mailbox.sc.edu
(803)777-0735 

We thank everyone who plays a part in this great program from those who fund us to those who listen to our presentations to those who surf the pages in Chronicling America (and all those in between!). We are excited to keep moving forward!

Posted in Program Updates | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Last Man Standing: The Search for the Oldest Revolutionary Veteran

By the mid-1800s, the reality began to set in that the number of Revolutionary War survivors was quickly diminishing. As people began inquiring about the remaining veterans still living across the country, many newspapers took to the task of finding out exactly who was left of those who had bravely fought in the country’s war for independence. Throughout the next few decades, newspaper writers used several means to gather information on the surviving veterans including researching pension records, printing inquiries in papers, and simple word of mouth. Although none of these methods were error-proof, they did shine some light on the fast-fading era of revolutionary heroes.

The Daily Phoenix (Columbia, S.C.) reported in July 1865 on what was believed to be the only four remaining veterans of the Revolutionary War.

In 1843, a list circulated in newspapers throughout the country of over 100 surviving Revolutionary War veterans. A little over twenty years later, in July 1865, the Daily Phoenix out of Columbia, S.C. printed a small paragraph stating that according to pension records, only four soldiers from the Revolutionary War remained alive. The write-up included the soldiers’ names, dates of birth, and potential whereabouts. Just over a year later, in October 1866, the Daily Phoenix printed the death notice of a man (not mentioned in the previous article) who had fought in the war. And by December 1866, the paper had received word that another soldier who had not been previously listed was also still alive. However, by February of 1867, the death notice written for Samuel Downing presumed that with his passing no other veterans “who actually bore arms” in the war survived. In 1869, the Daily Phoenix printed a conclusive article stating that there were no longer any soldiers on the pension list (there were, however, many widows and children still recorded).

A photograph of Samuel Downing who was thought to be the last Revolutionary War veteran at the time of his death in 1867. (via americanrevolution.org)

Over the next couple of years, newspapers reported that more veterans were still living who had not been previously recorded on the pension rolls.  In 1870, the Anderson Intelligencer wrote about John Kitts, a Revolutionary soldier who had recently been received by the President and members of Congress in recognition of his service to the country. In 1871, the Daily Phoenix included a brief paragraph stating that two more soldiers were alive, but only one, D. F. Bateman, was on the pension list.

In 1871, the Daily Phoenix (Columbia, S.C.) prints that another two veterans remain alive.

Around this same time, a newspaper reporter from Birmingham inquired with the London Times to see if any British veterans remained. In June 1869, the Anderson Intelligencer published the reporter’s findings which stated that a veteran who had served as a drummer boy in the war was still alive.

As the numbers dwindled of those who actively fought, focus turned toward others who had some sort of connection to or memory of the war.  In 1868, the Anderson Intelligencer reported on an African-American man known as Old Father Robinson living in Detroit. Robinson had been born on the plantation of a Colonel in 1753 in Maryland. When the Colonel went to serve in the Revolutionary War, Robinson served alongside him as his bodyguard and was present for Cornwallis’ surrender at Yorktown which ended the war.

The Anderson Intelligencer (Anderson Court House, S.C.) reports in 1884 on the surviving widows.

There were also many widows and children of soldiers still living and wives of soldiers could continue collecting their husbands’ pensions from the government even after their passing. In 1884, the Anderson Intelligencer reported that 82 widows remained on the pension lists. In 1890, the Keowee Courier stated that only 25 were still alive. And by 1899, only 5 widows from the pension list were known to still be alive. As pointed out in the article, over 115 years had passed since the end of the war but since many older veterans had married younger women, the government was still paying pensions even a century later.

Using the newspapers alone, it becomes clear that conclusively finding the “last man standing” from the Revolutionary War is not as easy as it may seem. The topic is still contested today of just who was the last surviving veteran of the war. Try searching Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers to locate more articles about survivors of the Revolutionary War. Use a combination of words such as “revolution,” “veteran,” “pension,” or “widow” to locate different results.  Let us know in the comments below if you locate anything of interest!

 

Posted in Articles | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Using Historic Newspapers for Genealogical Research

Historic newspapers are valuable resources for genealogical research.  Rich with all types of information, newspapers can be useful in locating material regarding families and ancestors.  19th and 20th century newspapers devoted a lot of their print space to local and state events.  Social occasions, business advertisements, marriage announcements, real estate transfers, and death notices are a few examples of the many types of information that can be found within historic newspapers.

Many newspapers included a “Local and Personal” section like this one from the Keowee Courier (Pickens Court House, S.C.). Among other things, these sections detailed social events, meetings, and travel for the local community.

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers has made researching newspapers much easier.  Long gone are the days of indexing names in newspapers on microfilm; with Chronicling America, not only can research be conducted at the convenience of a personal computer (and for free!), these digitized newspaper images are full-text searchable as well as downloadable.

Before diving in to the over 6 million newspaper pages made available on the site, here are a few things to keep in mind when conducting genealogical research with historic newspapers:

1. Try searching variations of names.

Oftentimes, full names are not printed in historic newspapers in the same way they are today.  Men’s first names are sometimes shortened (i.e., William is printed as Wm.) or only initials are used (i.e., William Jonathan Taylor is printed as W.J. Taylor).  In some cases, married women are listed under their husband’s name (i.e., Mrs. William Taylor).  Additionally, the spelling of many family surnames has changed over time.  With these in mind, do not be afraid to search variations of first and last names to see what kind of results turn up.

This listing of candidacy announcements in the Edgefield Advertiser (Edgefield, S.C.) shows the different ways names can be listed as well as the possibility for misspellings.

This article in the Watchman and Southron (Sumter, S.C.) illustrates how surnames can be spelled in different ways even within the same article.

2. Be aware of historic terminology.

Language changes over time, so it is important to understand that some terms considered commonplace today were not used when these newspapers were printed.  In the same respect, many terms used then have now become obsolete.  For example, searching for a marriage announcement may not produce many results if using the terms “marriage” or “wedding” as these words were not always used; try including older words such as “nuptials” or “hymeneal” in conjunction with a family name for possible results.  When you do locate results, take note of the terms used for use in later searches.

3. Limit the date range to narrow the results.

When searching for a specific event or person, try altering the date range by using the “Advanced Search” tab.  Dates can be limited to a range of years or to a set of specific dates.  The database of newspapers in Chronicling America covers 87 years, so even if the exact date is unknown, narrowing the search to a five-year, ten-year, or even twenty-year period will narrow the results.

4. Be patient.

Research takes time.  While Chronicling America makes historic newspapers much more accessible than ever before, the research process still requires time and patience.  Although every newspaper page is run through OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology to enable keyword searching, this process is not 100% accurate meaning errors will occur.  Additionally, the Chronicling America database is continually growing and evolving; new pages and titles are added on a regular basis along with new states contributing content.  A search that produces limited or no results may generate more once new content is added.

5. Keep up with what you find.

When doing any type of research, it is important to document relevant findings and results.  Within Chronicling America, there are several ways to keep up with pages or articles of interest.

  • Persistent link: each newspaper page has a persistent link listed underneath the viewer; copy and save this link in order to return to that exact page.
  • Clip image: when viewing a newspaper page, an icon in the upper right-hand corner of the toolbar features a pair of scissors. This will “clip” the page as currently seen in the viewer. This is helpful to capture headlines, short articles, images, and advertisements. A great feature with clipping images is that it also keeps the persistent link and other citation information with it.
  • PDF: along the toolbar of the page viewer is a “PDF” icon; clicking this opens up the entire current newspaper page in PDF format.  Right-clicking on this PDF image allows for saving the whole page to a desktop or flash drive.

Have you used Chronicling America for genealogical research? What kind of results did you find? What other tips would you give researchers for using this database?

Posted in Tips for Chronicling America | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

From Socialization to Social Change: Women’s Clubs of South Carolina

Throughout the 1800s, women in the United States began to push the societal boundaries placed upon them by moving outside of the home.  Women started to become more outspoken and organized, thus making them more visible.  Even before the Civil War, women began campaigning for the right to vote and advocating for the antislavery movement.  The Civil War brought further progression as women took on various types of war work, further expanding their roles.  In the aftermath of the war, organized clubs quickly became an outlet for many women in South Carolina.

An announcement in the Keowee Courier on November 11, 1920 for an upcoming meeting of the Once-a-Week Club, a women’s club in Seneca.

Initially, many women’s clubs were channels for socialization; it was a time for women to be out of the home and among other women who shared similar thoughts and experiences.  Women also used the time for intellectual improvement, dedicating much of their meetings to continued education.  Focusing on literature, history, and arts, many of these women met under the title of literary clubs.  Through the socialization and study aspects, their main purpose was self-improvement.

While studying was originally thought to be simply a method of self-improvement, it also helped connect club women to the larger world around them.  They quickly saw their potential, recognizing that their organizations could not only be a means of improving their own lives, but could also affect the lives of those around them.  Clubs gradually moved from just reading and discussing social issues to actively participating in the communities around them.  From social events to philanthropic activities, organized women’s clubs became an avenue for women to enact change and reform.

In South Carolina, several small women’s clubs met on a regular basis in communities all across the state by the end of the 19th century.  In 1898, many of the local clubs joined together to form the South Carolina Federation of Women’s Clubs (SCFWC) as a part of the national movement known as the General Federation of Women’s Clubs.  Responding to the call of Mrs. J. H. Adams, president of the Once-a-Week Club out of Seneca, representatives from nineteen organizations met in June to create the SCFWC, a federation that was “to bring together the several women’s clubs of the State for mutual benefit.”  Following the first meeting, the Anderson Intelligencer printed a detailed account of the event.

A call from Mrs. J. H. Adams appeared in the Anderson Intelligencer on March 3, 1898. The proposed club federation would “uplift women socially and intellectually.”

Through the federation, women’s clubs could participate in statewide activities, bringing events to their local communities.  One such event was the traveling library.  Members from each participating club donated books to create a library that would travel between clubs across the state.  Modeled after the efforts of women’s clubs in other states, the traveling library, although administered by the club women, was open to the public of each town that hosted it.  In 1899, the Keowee Courier printed a letter from Mrs. Coleman, president of the SCFWC, about the idea of the traveling library.

The New-York Tribune highlights the philanthropic efforts of the SCFWC in August 1902.

Other philanthropic activities the members of SCFWC took on included providing scholarships for young women to attend college and a traveling exhibit of handmade arts and crafts.  Each local club continued to meet on a regular basis, and the SCFWC met annually in different cities around the state, an event that was often written about in the state’s papers.  By the 1920s, they were holding annual conventions that lasted two to three days.  Through their local organizations, and with the support of the statewide federation, women advocated within their communities for many issues from healthcare for children to education for young women.  As the clubs gained traction in the early 20th century, many women began using their club participation as a platform to fight for social reform on larger scale, advocating for equality through the passage of a suffrage amendment among many other issues.

An article about the annual convention of the SCFWC appears in an Arizona newspaper, the Weekly Journal-Miner, in 1911.

While individual clubs were often made up of women from similar backgrounds and social statuses, diverse populations of women were represented in clubs throughout the country.  An influential group in South Carolina, black women formed their own clubs and eventually followed in similar footsteps to the SCFWC by creating an umbrella organization of African American women’s clubs.  Forming the South Carolina Federation for Colored Women’s Clubs (SCFCWC) in 1909, these women advocated for gender equality as well as civil rights and racial equality.  In addition to supporting the fight for women’s suffrage, they also campaigned for issues relevant to the black population of the state such as better education, integration of schools, and ending racially-motivated violence.

Cayton’s Weekly, a newspaper out of Seattle, Washington, highlights the efforts and activities of the SCFCWC in their September 21, 1918 issue.

One particular cause the SCFCWC fought for in South Carolina was better health and sanitation for the state’s African American community. In 1915, the Manning Times printed an article describing a speech given at a meeting on the importance of promoting health knowledge.  The SCFCWC also held annual conventions when delegates from member clubs would meet and discuss important topics and decide on possible activities for the upcoming year.

A headline in the Southern Indicator, an African American paper out of Columbia, about the 1915 annual convention of the SCFCWC.  Click the picture to read the entire article.

Included in the “Local News” section of the Southern Indicator is a mention of some of the delegates who attended the 1915 convention.

Despite success in social reform, membership and enthusiasm for women’s clubs slowly fell off in the latter portion of the 20th century.  However, the dedication of club women in South Carolina truly provided much needed assistance and advancements to the population of the state.  Through the work of their clubs, these women were able to ensure a powerful place in the landscape of their communities, states, and the nation.

The historic newspapers in Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers are a wealth of information about women’s clubs in South Carolina.  Try narrowing the search to include only papers from South Carolina and search for individual club names such as the Once-a-Week Club, the Tuesday Afternoon Club, or any others.  Also using variations of the terms “state federation of women’s clubs” or “South Carolina federation of women’s clubs” when searching through “all states” will bring up results showing how the federation’s news spread across the country.

Posted in Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

5 Tips for Undergraduate Research in Chronicling America

The South Carolina Digital Newspaper Program (SCDNP) here at USC makes historic newspapers in South Carolina freely accessible and full-text searchable through a partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress (LC). We are part of the National Digital Newspaper Program, in which we contribute digitized newspaper content to a free, online database, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

What can you expect to find in Chronicling America?

  • žLocal historical events, žSouth Carolina History, žUnited States History, and some international history.
  • Researching the Civil War, Reconstruction, World War One, Women’s History, African-American History? Read contemporary articles that were published as events happened.
  • Find articles on your topic in other newspapers published in 31 other states and D.C., and in over 6 million newspaper pages all in one full text searchable database.
  • Think there’s just history in Chronicling America? Not so. The types of information you might find in Chronicling America is expansive. Majors in disciplines such as Journalism, English, Political Science, Business, Education, History, Theater, Art, Cinema, Anthropology, and others can find great primary source information on their topics in Chronicling America.

 

Here are a few tips to get you started using the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers and historic SC newspapers in the South Carolina Digital Newspaper Program.

 5 Tips for Research in Chronicling America

1. You can find the South Carolina Digital Newspaper Program and Chronicling America online a few different ways.

  • Look for Chronicling America: Historic America Newspapers in Article Databases. Find it alphabetically or by looking at databases under the categories for History or Newspapers.
  • Of course, just googling “chronicling america” or “south carolina digital newspapers” will also work.

 

Not sure where to begin?

Use these program resources to help you get started with your research.

SCDNP LibGuide is a great place to get started if you want to research SC history. There are SC History Topic Guides on the Civil War, African-American History, Reconstruction and more; an updated list of digitized newspaper titles, Helpful Tips for Searching Chronicling America, and a historic timeline of newspaper articles to give you an idea of what you might find in the newspapers.

 

Topics in Chronicling America, which covers American history topics, is another great place to get started. You can peruse topics guides on particular subjects and read historic newspaper articles on almost 100 topics: like Butch Cassidy and the Hole in the Wall Gang, Early Cinema, the Chicago Black Sox Scandal, the Emancipation Proclamation, Yosemite National Park to name just a few.

 

2.  Developing Good Search Skills to Use Chronicling America

 

3. Organizing content you find in ChronAm as you perform research.

  • Create a folder on your Desktop, and save articles to that folder.
  • Make a word document and copy and save the persistent links to be used in citations when you are writing your paper.
  • You can download an entire page as a pdf and save it for later reading.
  • Use the Clip Image feature when you want to zoom in on a particular image or article on a page. You can then download it to your folder.

 

4. How to properly cite content used in Chronicling America.

Newspaper content in Chronicling America is copyright-free because content pre-dates the 1923 copyright law. However, although all newspaper content included in Chronicling America is copyright-free, don’t forget that you still need to cite sources you use in your research. Here are two examples, using Chicago/Turabian and MLA citation styles, that you might follow when citing an article you have found in Chronicling America. Persistent links are provided on each newspaper page that will always take you back to the content, if you save it while doing your research.

 

Chicago/Turabian citation example

“The Duties of the Hour.” South Carolina Leader, October 7, 1865. From the Library of Congress website Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83025783/1865-10-07/ed-1/seq-2/

 

MLA citation example

“The Duties of the Hour.” South Carolina Leader 7 Oct. 1865. From the Library of Congress website Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83025783/1865-10-07/ed-1/seq-2/. 26 Mar. 2013.

 

5. Evaluating Chronicling America as a good source for information.

  • Although newspapers are quality primary sources, keep in mind that the content is not always objective, but can be biased and subjective based on the writer’s point of view, the newspaper’s political views at the time, and the historical context in which an article is written.
  • Don’t just take our word for it. Ask yourself the same questions you would for any other online resource: who is the organization that makes Chronicling America available? is the site updated regularly? Why does the Library of Congress makes this info available? Are there any pop-ups and advertisements on the site? Is the information on the site free? Does Chronicling America check out as a quality source for information to you?

Need more help? Contact us and we would be glad to give you some more pointers and guidance on researching the newspapers. You can find our contact information on our SCDNP webpage under Contacts, http://library.sc.edu/digital/newspaper/index.html.

You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@UofSCDigColl) and find out the latest in digitized collections at the university.

Posted in Tips for Chronicling America | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Extra! Extra! Chronicling America Reaches Six Million Pages!

As of Monday, March 18, 2013, the team at the Library of Congress has made some enormous improvements to Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.  Adding over 800,000 new pages to the database, the site now holds over 6 million pages of freely available and full-text searchable historic newspapers from 1836-1922!  This update includes new content from states already represented on the site, papers from new states (Indiana and North Dakota), and newspapers in French and Spanish from Louisiana, Arizona, and New Mexico.  The update contains around 33,000 new pages from South Carolina, including some additions to titles already on the site as well as some brand new titles.  It also includes the first content from South Carolina to predate 1860.

Front page of the June 14, 1922 issue of The Manning Times, a new South Carolina title added to Chronicling America.

 

Here are the most recent additions to South Carolina newspapers:

Edgefield Advertiser (Edgefield, S.C.), 1836-1863
This expands upon the run of the Edgefield Advertiser that was already available on Chronicling America from 1863 to 1922.

The Laurens Advertiser (Laurens, S.C.), 1913-1922
This expands upon the run of The Laurens Advertiser that was already available on Chronicling America from 1885 to 1913.

The Manning Times (Manning, Clarendon County, S.C.), 1885-1922

The Pickens Sentinel (Pickens, S.C.), 1913-1922

The Sumter Banner (Sumterville, S.C.), 1846-1855

The Fairfield Herald (Winnsboro, S.C.), 1866-1876

The News and Herald (Winnsboro, S.C.), weekly edition, 1876-1881

The News and Herald (Winnsboro, S.C.), triweekly edition, 1877-1900

The upgrade to Chronicling America also brings about some enhancements to the layout and functions of the website.  Two noticeable changes can be seen when looking at a single newspaper page.  The viewer now includes a thumbnail of the newspaper page in the upper right hand corner; when zooming in and out on a page, this thumbnail image helps provide further navigation.  Beneath the image, a full citation for that particular page is listed, including the page’s persistent link.

This screenshot shows some of the enhancements added to Chronicling America including a thumbnail viewer and full citation.

Many other changes were put into place including additional support for viewing the site on iPhones and iPads as well as lots of upgrades behind the scenes.  Be sure to head over to Chronicling America and see all the new improvements for yourself! Which of these new South Carolina titles are you most excited about? Do you think some of these additions will help you when using the site? Let us know in the comments section!

 

Posted in Program Updates | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Matilda Evans

In honor of Black History Month, SCDNP looks at influential people and events in the African American community of South Carolina throughout the month of February.

At a time when both women and African Americans were prohibited from doing many things, Matilda Evans never let these two obstacles stop her from accomplishing her goals. Born and raised in 1872 in Aiken, South Carolina, Evans attended Schofield Normal and Industrial School (a school dedicated to the education of black students) as a child. Encouraged by the school’s founder, Martha Schofield, Evans went on to study at Oberlin College in Ohio. Developing a strong interest in medicine, Evans left Oberlin prior to graduating and spent time teaching in order to save money to attend medical school. She soon enrolled in the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia where she received her Medical Degree in 1897.

Dr. Matilda Evans

The house where Dr. Evans opened her first private practice, located on Taylor Street in Columbia.

Although her original intention had been to practice medicine as a foreign missionary, her time in school helped her to understand the grossly inadequate health care available to the black population of her home state. Upon graduating, Evans moved to Columbia and began her own practice, becoming the first licensed African American female physician in the state. Evans’ achievements overcame many obstacles. During this time, most medical schools did not allow African American students. The medical practice was also largely male dominated, but schools such as WMC, where Evans attended, were attempting to change this standard by educating only women. An article about Evans’ new practice in The Anderson Intelligencer from 1897 relayed the significance that “a woman doctor is somewhat a novelty in this city and a colored one is an unexpected innovation in the medical profession.”

Evans and her hospital is mentioned in the Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha, Neb.), December 13, 1908

Evans is listed under “Physicians” in the 1899 city directory of Columbia (via South Caroliniana Library)

Once in Columbia, Evans began a private practice out of her own home where she treated both white and black patients.  Although rare for the time, Evans’ reputation of professionalism attributed to her large, diverse clientele.  Helping many wealthy white patients, Evans often used the funds received from them to cover the cost of providing free care to poor black patients, especially women and children.  By 1901, Evans established Taylor Lane Hospital and Training School for Nurses, Columbia’s first black-owned hospital (the hospital’s name later changed to St. Luke’s Hospital and Training School for Nurses after the original one was destroyed by a fire in 1911).  Serving as the director until 1918, Evans focused heavily on training African American nurses at her hospital.  At the time, St. Luke’s was only the fourth hospital in the country to also operate as a school for nurses.

The Appeal (Saint Paul, Minn.) writes a brief paragraph about Evans on March 3, 1906

In addition to teaching nurses and treating patients at her hospital, Evans also worked to reach out to her community.  She focused much of her attention into the well-being of black children. Realizing how little health care they were receiving, Evans often paid for checkups out of her own pocket.  Evans took it upon herself to implement regular health examinations in schools and encouraged public schools to employ physicians.  She also strongly advocated preventative medicine, seeing the need to deliver medical information about sanitary habits and other safe health practices directly to the people.  When the Depression caused federal funds to cease for many types of health care, Evans continued to provide those services which included maternity and infant care.  By 1932, Evans opened up a walk-in clinic in Columbia.

Although she never moved from her home state, Evans’ impact reached far beyond the borders of South Carolina.  Newspapers from around the country printed articles about her and her accomplishments, including The San Mateo Item in Florida, The Colfax Gazette in Washington, and The Broad Ax, an African American paper out of Utah.  Her dedication and passion not only made proper health care available to many African Americans for the first time, Evans vastly improved health awareness among the black community.

Posted in Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Emancipation Day

In honor of Black History Month, SCDNP looks at influential people and events in the African American community of South Carolina throughout the month of February.

On January 1, 1863, the dawn of the third year of a gruesome civil war, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring “all persons held as slaves” within any state of rebellion from the Union to be “thenceforward, and forever free.” Although this proclamation had many limitations and did not immediately free slaves within the Confederacy, its issuance shifted the goal of the Civil War to explicitly include the abolition of slavery in the United States to the war’s original objective of preserving the Union.

Many newspapers printed the full transcription of the Emancipation Proclamation such as the New-York Daily Tribune (New York, N.Y.), January 3, 1863.

For South Carolina – the first state to secede from the Union, the state upon whose ground the first shots of the war rang out, and the state whose black population was twice that of its white population by 1860 – the Proclamation had both immediate and lasting implications. Unlike other Union-controlled Confederate locations, South Carolina was in no way exempt from the provisions of the Proclamation (border states that never seceded as well as states already under the control of the Union army were not included).

Although it took years for slaves in South Carolina to see full freedom, the impact of the Proclamation started immediately. At Camp Saxton in Port Royal, South Carolina, thousands of African Americans gathered to celebrate Emancipation Day on the very day the Proclamation was issued by President Lincoln. Many traveled far distances to the plantation owned by John Joyner Smith to be a part of the day-long celebration that included speeches, singing, feasting, and above all, the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation. An article in the Cleveland Morning Leader details the events of the occasion. According to this account, the day began with an opening prayer and the performance of an original song composed for the celebration. The Proclamation was read aloud so that all attendees could hear of their new legal status. Many speeches were given and the day concluded with a barbecue of oxen. For many of the celebrators, this was, as the article claims, “the happiest New Year’s day that has ever dawned upon them.”

“Emancipation Day in South Carolina” depicts the first celebration in 1863 (via Library of Congress)

This occasion would start a trend throughout South Carolina and other states as Emancipation Day celebrations continued on through the remainder of the war and into the Reconstruction Era. While the types and sizes of celebrations varied from location to location, they each drew large crowds and gave African Americans the chance to publicly celebrate their freedom. In December 1865, the South Carolina Leader included an announcement regarding the upcoming Emancipation Day celebration in Charleston. A few weeks later, a more detailed account of the ensuing celebration was printed.  A year later, on January 13, 1866, the same newspaper published an article relaying the events of a recent Emancipation Day celebration in Boston, Massachusetts.

The headline of an article detailing Charleston’s upcoming celebration in the South Carolina Leader (Charleston, S.C.), December 23, 1865

An announcement on December 21, 1901 in The People’s Recorder (Columbia, S.C.) for an upcoming Emancipation Day celebration

In some places, Emancipation Day celebrations are still held to honor this day and its meaning. It remains a truly significant event in the history and culture of the African American community.

For further reading:


Posted in Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Restaurant Week: Restaurants Across the State

One of South Carolina’s newer events is Restaurant Week: a state-wide event held over eleven days that showcases the distinct and exciting restaurant scenes found across the state. As participating restaurants offer special deals during this time, attendees have the opportunity to try new food spots and revisit old favorites. In celebration of Restaurant Week (January 10-20, 2013), SCDNP takes a look at the culinary scene of South Carolina’s past as seen through historic newspapers. In this final installment, SCDNP highlights restaurant advertisements from around the state.

As the trend of eating at restaurants began to take off, advertisements for dining establishments started appearing in newspapers all across the state of South Carolina during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Charleston’s Old Southern Exchange restaurant advertises its re-opening in The Charleston Daily News (Charleston, S.C.), December 12, 1865

As some of these advertisements show, many restaurants operated in conjunction with other businesses.  Some popular spots, like the Wheeler House in Columbia, were found in hotels and served travelers as well as local residents.  Other restaurants were located under the same roof as groceries, markets, or bakeries.  This offered local customers the option to grab a bite to eat while they shopped for their own cooking ingredients.

This grocer’s advertisement includes a short line about its attached restaurant. Keowee Courier (Pickens Court House, S.C.), April 21, 1898

An advertisement for a restaurant located with a bakery and candy kitchen. Keowee Courier (Pickens Court House, S.C.), December 11, 1907

Early restaurants only provided meals during specific times of the day, but as their popularity grew, many began offering their menus for longer periods of times. Some started advertising that they served food “all day” or emphasized their hours of operation.

The Busy Bee Restaurant includes its hours of operation in The Laurens Advertiser (Laurens, S.C.), June 24, 1908

This restaurant advertises that it serves “meals at all hours” in The Marlboro Democrat (Bennettsville, S.C.), March 16, 1906

Search Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers for other restaurant advertisements in South Carolina newspapers as well as papers from across the country.  And don’t forget to check out Restaurant Week to see what local places are serving up in the event’s last days.

Posted in Articles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Restaurant Week: Wheeler House

One of South Carolina’s newer events is Restaurant Week: a state-wide event held over eleven days that showcases the distinct and exciting restaurant scenes found across the state. As participating restaurants offer special deals during this time, attendees have the opportunity to try new food spots and revisit old favorites. In celebration of Restaurant Week (January 10-20, 2013), SCDNP takes a look at the culinary scene of South Carolina’s past as seen through historic newspapers. In this second installment, SCDNP takes an in-depth look at the Wheeler House, a popular hotel and restaurant in Columbia.

Browsing through one of Columbia’s historic papers, The Daily Phoenix, any researcher will be quick to notice the advertisement for the Wheeler House. This ad appears in every issue for one year between January 15, 1873 and January 15, 1874. Located in the heart of Columbia’s downtown on the corner of Main Street and Plain Street (now Hampton Street), the Wheeler House was both a hotel and a restaurant. It was not uncommon that a restaurant would be attached to another business at the time as the trend of stand-alone restaurants was still in the beginning stages (for more information on the history of restaurants, see the previous blog post). The restaurant at the Wheeler House accommodated several types of people including locals as well as traveling guests staying overnight in the hotel.

When the advertisement for the Wheeler House first appears in The Daily Phoenix, the proprietor of the business, T. M. Pollock, provides a brief description of services offered in conjunction with a sketch of the building. One year later, the advertisement is pared back to only include the sketch, a one-line description, and a price.

Advertisement for the Wheeler House in The Daily Phoenix (Columbia, S.C.), January 15, 1873

Advertisement for the Wheeler House in The Daily Phoenix (Columbia, S.C.), January 15, 1874

While the ad for the Wheeler House appears to stop in the beginning of 1874, its notoriety can still be seen in other advertisements. Several businesses located near the popular spot often use it as a point of reference to describe their whereabouts.  The Wheeler House’s central location in the capital city’s downtown was ideal to attract customers, both local and traveling.

The Grand Central advertises its location as “Under the Wheeler House.” The Daily Phoenix (Columbia, S.C.), March 06, 1874

As discussed in the previous post, many restaurants of this time utilized the availability of local ingredients to create their dishes. While some places would carry staple items each day (such as fresh oysters, shrimp, etc.), many crafted daily menus based off of the accessibility of fresh food items.  A dated menu from the Wheeler House illustrates this concept.

A page from the menu of the Wheeler House dated March 12, 1875. Click on the picture to see the full menu (via South Caroliniana Library and USC Digital Collections).

The Wheeler House continued in operation until 1880 when it became the Grand Central Hotel. Today, the Columbia Marriott Hotel stands on the corner where the Wheeler House once stood.

Stay tuned throughout the rest of the week as SCDNP explores the advertisements of restaurants in other parts of the state.  Restaurant Week continues through Sunday, January 20th, so be sure to check out the deals and visit some local places to eat. 

Posted in Articles | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Restaurant Week: The Rise of the Restaurant

One of South Carolina’s newer events is Restaurant Week: a state-wide event held over eleven days that showcases the distinct and exciting restaurant scenes found across the state.  As participating restaurants offer special deals during this time, attendees have the opportunity to try new food spots and revisit old favorites.  In celebration of Restaurant Week, SCDNP takes a look at the culinary scene of South Carolina’s past as seen through historic newspapers.  In the first installment, SCDNP explores the history of the restaurant and highlights some located in the state’s capital city.

Although the concept of a “restaurant” seems commonplace in today’s society, this idea originated not too long ago.  For most of history, the thought of eating at an establishment outside of one’s home was typically reserved for travelers; and even then, most people of any wealth often took servants with them to prepare food wherever they stopped, or they stayed and dined with friends and family along the way.  The establishments closest to resembling today’s restaurants originated in France in the mid-1700’s along with the actual term “restaurant.”  While these places appealed mostly to wealthy clientele in the beginning, they established many practices still seen today including a public dining room and a menu offering a choice of meals and beverages.

An advertisement for Congaree Restaurant in The Daily Phoenix (Columbia, S.C.), November 24, 1866

The trend of the restaurant quickly made its way to America with early prevalence in cities of high populations.  Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, transportation became more accessible and customary thanks to steamships, railways, and eventually automobiles.  These advancements not only changed the way people traveled, but increased the need for dining establishments as eating away from home turned into an experience rather than a necessity. By the 19th century, the term “restaurant” had become a word in the average person’s vocabulary.

Our House Restaurant advertisement, The Daily Phoenix (Columbia, S.C.), November 10, 1868

Advertisement for Stork’s Restaurant, The Daily Phoenix (Columbia, S.C.), February 07, 1873

Columbia, South Carolina was certainly not immune to the rise of the restaurant. Newspaper advertisements for restaurants in the capital city pop up all throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries.  Some restaurants stood alone while many were attached to other businesses, such as markets and groceries.  Still others operated within the confines of a hotel, attracting both local eaters and traveling guests staying overnight.

One would typically find a restaurant’s menu to be no more than a page of dishes that varied on a daily basis because of the accessibility and use of primarily fresh, locally grown ingredients.  Some restaurants, such as the Pollock House, utilized Columbia’s daily newspaper, The Daily Phoenix, to advertise its menu for the day in each issue.  Many independently owned restaurants of today carry on this tradition, using local produce and meats to create daily menus.

The menu for Pollock House in The Daily Phoenix (Columbia, S.C.) on Tuesday, November 27, 1866

The menu for Pollock House in The Daily Phoenix (Columbia, S.C.) on Wednesday, November 28, 1866

Browse through newspapers from South Carolina and other states in Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers to find advertisements and daily menus of restaurants.

Stay tuned throughout the next week as SCDNP explores the advertisements of restaurants in other parts of the state as well as looks in-depth at the Wheeler House, a popular hotel and restaurant in downtown Columbia.  In the meantime, be sure to check out Restaurant Week.

 

Posted in Articles | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment