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. 

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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.

 

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Schofield Normal and Industrial School

The end of the Civil War ushered in a time of restoration in the Southern part of the United States.  During this era, many people from the Northern part of the country felt the desire to move down South and lend a helping hand.  Martha Schofield was one of these people.

A native Pennsylvanian born into a staunchly abolitionist family, Martha Schofield had spent several years since graduating high school teaching in a Quaker school for African-American students in Philadelphia.  Following the war, she decided to move to the South to expand her teaching efforts and provide education to recently emancipated slaves.  Relocating to South Carolina in 1865, Schofield spent time in a few schools along the coast working with The Freedman’s Bureau.  After suffering from illness, she moved inland to Aiken in 1868; shortly after, Schofield purchased land and opened her own school.  Called the Schofield Normal and Industrial School, it quickly became known for its rigorous academic standards and training provided for African-American students.

“Training Colored Teachers,” a brief article in the Staunton Spectator (Staunton, VA), July 17, 1883

Like the school’s name suggests, its strict academic program offered the traditional “normal school” training to prepare students to become teachers and “industrial school” training that included teaching students occupational skills.  Schofield’s curriculum included basic reading and writing skills for all students; in addition, boys learned agricultural, carpentry, and blacksmith skills, and girls studied home economic skills such as sewing and cooking.  As the school grew in both size and status, it expanded to contain dormitories, a chapel, a library, and a farm among other amenities.  In March of 1922, the Keowee Courier reported on a disastrous fire in one of the boys’ dormitories which burned it to the ground; luckily no fatalities were suffered.

“Narrow Escape Pupils and Teachers” details the fire at the school in 1922. Keowee Courier (Pickens Court House, S.C.), March 08, 1922

A photo of Verlenden Hall, the girls’ dormitory, in 1909. The People’s Recorder (Columbia, S.C.), September 11, 1909

Schofield’s influence reached far beyond her school and even the borders of Aiken.  Schofield took it upon herself to write letters to newspapers around the country in hopes that her school and its efforts would gain attention.  A letter to the editor of the New-York Tribune penned by Schofield appears in its February 11, 1894 paper.  Schofield eventually began traveling to different parts of the country to speak about the success of her teaching.  In 1896, she is mentioned in the “City News in Brief” section of The San Francisco Call for speaking in town the prior day.  Her students also made an impact throughout the state and elsewhere.  One of the more famous Schofield graduates, Matilda Evans, gained recognition throughout the country for becoming South Carolina’s first female African-American physician.

The Schofield Normal and Industrial School continued to serve black students through the 1950′s even as it joined the Aiken school system in 1953 as a public high school.  With integration in the 1960′s, the school became a middle school for Aiken and has served in that capacity under Schofield’s name ever since.  The bell tower from the original school building still sits on the school’s property today.

Be sure to search Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers for more articles and references to both Martha Schofield and the Schofield Normal and Industrial School.  More can also be learned about the school by researching the Schofield Normal and Industrial School collection housed in the Manuscripts division at the South Caroliniana Library here at the University of South Carolina.

Resources:

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The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month: Remembering Armistice Day

Although the United States had only been directly involved for a year and a half, World War I had been going on for over four years by the time Germany signed a final armistice ending the war on November 11, 1918.  The armistice notably went into effect at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month that year.  Newspapers in South Carolina as well as the rest of the country excitedly announced the close of the devastating global war with headlines covering their front pages.

Front page of The Watchman and Southron (Sumter, S.C.), November 13, 1918

Front page of The Ogden Standard (Ogden City, Utah), November 11, 1918

A year later, on November 11, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson declared that the day would be observed in remembrance and recognition of the significant event that took place only one year prior.  Known as Armistice Day, newspapers across the country printed Wilson’s remarks regarding the day and its meaning.

“Today is Armistice Day: Message of President Wilson,” The Mt. Sterling Advocate (Mt. Sterling, KY), November 11, 1919

Other newspapers at the time detailed events and celebrations taking place for Armistice Day, including parades, dances, and dinners for servicemen.  The Garden Island featured an article on its all-day celebration which included a parade, several races, and other sporting events to make up the “largest and best sporting event ever held on the island of Kauai.”  Service men were encouraged to wear their uniforms and participate in the events.

“Armistice Day to Be Observed Here,” The Times-Herald (Burns, Harney County, OR), November 08, 1919

“Armistice Day Programme,” Perrysburg Journal (Perrysburg, Wood Co., Ohio), November 06, 1919

In 1938, Congress passed legislation making Armistice Day a federal holiday to be observed on November 11.  By the end of World War II, the idea grew that this day should not only honor those who served in WWI, but all armed service veterans.  It was under this notion that in 1954 President Dwight Eisenhower signed a bill into law establishing that the holiday’s name would be changed to Veterans Day.

For more historic newspaper articles about Veterans Day and its origin, be sure to check out Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.  We would love to hear about anything you find!

 

Related Articles in Chronicling America:
Germany Has Surrendered,” New York Tribune (New York, N.Y.), November 11, 1918.
German Surrender Unconditional,” Keowee Courier (Pickens Court House, S.C.), November 13, 1918.
Armistice Day Anniversary Celebrated,” El Paso Herald (El Paso, TX), November 11, 1919.
Armistice Day, Year of Peace, Observed Here,” The Washington Herald (Washington, D.C.), November 12, 1919.
Pullman Observes Armistice Day,” The Pullman Herald (Pullman, WA), November 14, 1919.
Armistice Day Celebration Here To-Morrow,” The Bourbon News (Paris, KY), November 10, 1922.

 

 

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The Election of 1912

100 years ago this week, people were hitting the polls in what some historians consider one of the most influential and memorable presidential elections of United States history.

Unlike what we are used to today, the 1912 election boasted not two but four candidates representing four different political parties: Republican nominee William H. Taft, Democratic nominee Woodrow Wilson, Progressive nominee Theodore Roosevelt, and Socialist nominee Eugene V. Debs.

Incumbent President William H. Taft had spent his previous four years in the White House gaining the trust and eventual leadership of the conservative wing of the Republican Party by advocating for business leaders over labor unions, high tariffs on imported goods, and the appointment of federal and state judges.  At the same time, former President Theodore Roosevelt was also expanding his leadership role within the Republican Party over the progressive wing, who favored labor unions and the popular election of federal and state judges.  The growing rift between the two wings came to a head during June of 1912 at the Republican National Convention in Chicago when Taft took the party’s presidential nomination.  Upset by this, Roosevelt asked his supporters to not only leave the convention, but the party as well.  The June 22 issue of The Watchman and Southron aptly portrayed the recent events, running two articles side by side declaring Taft’s nomination and Roosevelt’s split.  Similar articles appeared next to each other on the front page of the Laurens Advertiser the next week.

“Teddy Roosevelt Quits” and “Second Round for Taft,” articles in The watchman and southron (Sumter, S.C.), June 26, 1912

The progressive Republicans who walked out on the convention decided to form their own national political party, the Progressive Party (often referred to as the “Bull Moose Party”).  Roosevelt, of course, would serve as the party’s nominee in the presidential election.

Less than a month later, the Democratic National Convention took place in Baltimore and proved to be a tight race among the party’s leaders.  An article in the Keowee Courier detailed the tough race which included “a fist fight, numerous heated altercations between delegates and rough play.”  Although the Speaker of the House, Champ Clark, seemed to be the front-runner, it was with the last minute support of William Jennings Bryan that New Jersey Governor Woodrow Wilson eventually pulled ahead to take the party’s nomination.  Articles ran in the Edgefield Advertiser as well as The Watchman and Southron declaring Wilson the Democratic candidate.

In his fourth presidential race, Eugene V. Debs represented the Socialist Party of America.  A small party mainly representing ethnic communities and industrial cities, Debs’ presidential campaign was largely a symbolic gesture with hopes to garner more support for the party and encourage action of its members at the local level.

After campaigning vigorously, the moment of truth for the candidates came on November 5.  With the split in the Republican Party, their divided strength allowed Wilson to surpass Taft and Roosevelt as well as Debs.  Wilson won the election with 41.8% of the popular vote and 435 electoral votes.  Roosevelt came in second, making this the only election in which a third-party candidate received more electoral and popular votes than a major-party candidate.  Taft polled closely behind Roosevelt, and Debs came in fourth, still garnering almost 1,000,000 popular votes.  Both the Keowee Courier and the Laurens Advertiser proclaimed the victory of Wilson, who would use his administration to push progressive legislative reforms such as the Clayton Antitrust Act and the Federal Trade Commission among many others.

“Big Victory for Wilson!” an article in the Keowee courier (Pickens Court House, S.C.), November 6, 1912

With digitized newspapers spanning 1836 – 1922, content in Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers covers not only the election of 1912, but 21 other presidential elections.  The Library of Congress has already put together subject guides for the presidential elections of 1892, 1896, 1900, 1904, 1908, and 1912.  These guides include important dates, suggested search terms, and even highlight some interesting articles about each election from across the country.  Which historic presidential elections do you consider to be memorable or influential?  Can you find any articles about them in Chronicling America?  Let us know!

“Victory!” in the Laurens advertiser (Laurens, S.C.), November 6, 1912

 

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Forget Your Troubles and Come to the Fair

October is here and for many South Carolinians, it’s the best time of year: the air starts to feel just a touch cooler, football season is well underway, and one of the state’s biggest events takes place.  That’s right, the South Carolina State Fair.  While many are familiar with the fair’s blue ribbon pies, exciting rides, and deep-fried, well, everything, most may not realize the rich history behind the fair, which was organized over 140 years ago.

An advertisement for the fair appears in the Keowee Courier (Pickens Court House, S.C.), October 18, 1905.

In 1869, the State Agricultural and Mechanical Society of South Carolina organized a statewide fair as the City of Columbia began rebuilding the society’s convention buildings.  Although the buildings had previously been used for smaller fairs and conventions by the society, the structures took quite a hit during the Civil War when they were occupied by Confederate troops, used to manufacture munitions of war, and finally destroyed during General Sherman’s march through the city.  In the late 1860s, in the aftermath of the war, new fair buildings rose from the ground and so did the spirits of the South Carolinians, especially in regards to the state fair.  By the fall of 1869, articles appeared in papers across the state urging readers to attend the upcoming fair, which would now represent the entire state of South Carolina and its people.

“The Fair of the South Carolina Agricultural and Mechanical Society,” an article in the Daily Phoenix (Columbia, S.C.), November 9, 1869.

The excitement of the statewide fair spread quickly, and it eventually outgrew its original home, relocating in 1904 to its current location on Bluff Road.  Papers from around the state ran articles highlighting the brand new fairgrounds in the capital city.  The Watchman and Southron from Sumter went into great detail about the new location and buildings, claiming there was now “room for everything and everybody.”  Another article published in The Watchman and Southron described the modern improvements fair-goers would experience as well as the exciting events that would take place.  This same article was later distributed throughout the state and published for readers of The Anderson Intelligencer, the Keowee Courier, and The Laurens Advertiser.

As the fair grew in popularity, more and more people from all corners of the state came to Columbia to take part in the festivities.  Papers advertised special travel rates and arrangements in order to accommodate the fair attendees from various South Carolina cities and towns.  Railroad lines expanded their run time, added stops, and offered reduced prices for passengers heading to and from the fair.  In 1911, the Edgefield Advertiser offered the option of an airplane flight that ran twice a day to the capital city for fair goers.

An advertisement in the Edgefield Advertiser (Edgefield, S.C.), October 18, 1911.

Much more information about the early years of the famous South Carolina State Fair can be found in the historic newspapers on Chronicling America.  Try searching on your own with variations of the terms “South Carolina State Fair” and “State Agricultural and Mechanical Society of South Carolina,” limit your search to South Carolina newspapers and try “state fair,” or try your own search terms.  If you locate something interesting about the fair, post us a link to the article and tell us what you found!

Resources:
Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/
History of the Fair, South Carolina State Fair, http://www.scstatefair.org/fair/about/history.php

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Kudzu: The Vine that Ate the South

Wow this miracle plant grows 3 feet a day! Where can I get one? An article from The Ocala banner (Ocala, Fla.), 1909

It is hard to imagine driving down a highway in the south and not seeing swaths of kudzu carpeting eroded gullies and forests. Although one would think it a permanent feature of the southern landscape, the kudzu vine was not introduced in the United States until the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Japan showcased the kudzu plant in an elaborate garden exhibit in which it was promoted as an aromatic ornamental.

Let me call you sweetheart under the old kudzu vine, an article in the Fair Play (St. Genevieve, MO), 1919

Kudzu appears in numerous articles after 1876 recommended as a shade vine to grow on arbors and porches. By 1901, sophisticated city gardeners were contemplating adding kudzu to their gardens in places like Washington, D.C. An advertisement was found in The suburban gardener (Washington, D.C.).

Cows and Horses Can't Get Enough of It: an article in The Pensacola journal (Pensacola, Fla.), circa 1908.

Kudzu really seems to take off in the early 20th century when it became a favorite legume recommended to farmers as cattle fodder and as a nitrogen-rich crop cover for depleted land. Farmers marveled at its rapid growth which was seen as its biggest virtue.

Wheel Deep in June! An article in the Fair Play (St. Genevieve, MO), 1919

This circa 1919 article states that “this remarkable vine is destined to become one of the leading sources of wealth in certain sections of the U.S.”  Despite dim forebodings in this article when one man concluded “so rapid was its growth” it was a complete nuisance as an ornamental shade cover, he instead discovered kudzu to be highly desirable edible fodder for his livestock. This same kudzu enthusiast pined in another article in The Ocala Evening Star, that passing numerous eroded and washed out lands while riding through the south,  he “could see in [his] mind’s eye, kudzu climbing over those hilly, rocky places” and hoped that one day kudzu would cover all of them.

Kudzu’s popularity continued into the 1950s when it finally fell out of favor with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Today, kudzu covers an estimated 7 million acres across the southern United States and is considered to be the most wide-spread invasive species costing hundreds of millions of dollars in eradication, control, and financial loss to crops and forests. Yet, even so, it has become inextricably identified with the southern landscape.

Try searching for more articles on your own. Go to Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers and search “kudzu.” You can also try variations in spelling such as cudzoo, or nicknames such as the “Jack in the Beanstalk vine.”

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All Things Newspaper: Exciting projects associated with the National Digital Newspaper Program

Over the last two years, we have brought you information and updates on the South Carolina Digital Newspaper Program. SCDNP is part of the larger National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), along with 27 other states and the District of Columbia, that contributes digitized newspaper content to the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Each participating state has developed creative and innovative ways to present and interpret historical newspaper content. Here are some exciting projects that have been developed so far, along with some others created by folks not directly affiliated with NDNP.

Stanford developed this map of the US demonstrating growth of newspapers along with the expansion of the American West.

Stanford University created an interactive map of the United States, Data Visualization: Journalism’s Voyage West, to demonstrate the growth of newspapers in tandem with the expansion of the American West. This project used data from Chronicling America to plot 140,000 newspapers published from 1690 to the present. Stanford and the Texas Digital Newspaper Program have also partnered on the Mapping Texts project, in which they are “experimenting with new methods for finding and analyzing meaningful patterns embedded in massive collections of digital newspapers.”

A member of the public created this cool Flickr collection using many photos found in Chronicling America.

One cool project contributed to Flickr titled Old Washington includes 250 images of mid 19th to early 20th century Washington, D.C. many of which are found in digitized newspapers from Chronicling America.

The Ohio Historical Society developed the Using Chronicling America Podcast Series.

The Ohio Historical Society recently made available a fantastic resource, the Using Chronicling America Podcast Series, to walk researchers through the search process in Chronicling America.

The Oregon NDNP blog never fails to entertain.

Many NDNP staff have presented some really interesting blog posts hi-lighting articles and historical themes of interest. The Oregon Digital Newspaper Program blog never fails to enlighten and entertain on historical content that they have discovered in their newspapers. Other states that maintain awesome blogs hi-lighting historical newspapers include Fit to Print: Dispatches from the Virginia Newspaper Project, and blogs from Digital Newspaper Projects at Kentucky, Vermont,and Indiana.

The California Digital Newspaper Program employs a User Text Correction feature to improve OCR in their newspaper content.

The California Digital Newspaper Program has created a crowdsourcing project which invited members of the public to help correct the OCR (Optical Character Recognition) of newspaper articles. The CDNP explains that “newspaper copy is generated into searchable text using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software [which] computers often have a hard time reading. The User Text Correction (UTC) feature in the CDNC allows users to correct text that the computer could not properly identify.” This worthwhile endeavor invites registered users to assist in a project too large and expensive for the CDNP to undertake themselves at this time. To get involved, go to CDNP Help Page and scroll down to the Correcting Text section. CDNP reported that many retirees have enjoyed donating their valuable time to this project, and one individual in their “Hall of Fame” has edited and corrected 154,000 lines of newspaper data!

The Texas Digitization Program developed Resource 4 Educators: Texas Portal to History.

For K-12 teachers, the Texas Digital Newspaper Program created Newspaper Narratives, as part of their Resource 4 Educators: Portals into Texas History resource. The Montana Historical Society composed an extensive guide for K-12 teachers titled Thinking Like a Historian: Using Digital Newspapers in the Classroom and the Digitizing Louisiana Newspaper Project (DLNP) has developed K-12 Curriculum Packets for teachers that meet Louisiana’s Curriculum Standards.

The Library of Congress continues to compose top-notch Topics in Chronicling America. The list continues to grow but there are over 120 topics that showcase the rich history that readers will find in historical newspapers in Chronicling America. Some states like us at SCDNP have created Subject Guides to help users explore historical newspapers and to show the breadth and variety of content researchers might find themselves. Here is a link to our SCDNP LibGuide, as well as Hawaii’s NDNP LibGuide. Marist College has incorporated African-American newspaper titles, made available in Chronicling America, into a LibGuide they created on African American Newspapers Available Online.

NDNP has listed the many projects that have developed out of Chronicling America content and the NDNP. To learn more visit, Extra! Extra! NDNP Extras! And if you have come across any similar resources associated with Chronicling America, we would love to hear about it.

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New Podcast Series Assists Researchers on How to Use Chronicling America

National Digital Newspaper Program staff at the Ohio Historical Society recently launched an 11 Part Podcast Series, Using Chronicling America Podcast Series, that will be most helpful to researchers who wish to improve how they use Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

Each podcast will instruct users on the basics of how to use this great resource as well as tips on improving their search inquiries in order to access the rich historical content to be found in Chronicling America.

Podcasts are available on YouTube and can be accessed below.

To access the videos on YouTube, click on the “View” buttons.

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Voices in the Wilderness: Southerners who Opposed Secession

James L. Petigru (1789-1863) argued for decades for the preservation of the Union.

Each April on the anniversary of the first shots of the Civil War, many romanticize the Confederacy and the Lost Cause. Given the extensive coverage of famous battles, generals, and the devastating loss of life, we might be forgiven for ignoring many interesting subtleties that contribute to the larger picture of the Civil War. For instance, we rarely hear about those southerners who opposed secession and were pro-Union in the Civil War. Many assume that, in 1861, every southerner was crowing for States Rights and eager to sever ties with her mother country. Exploring lesser known details, like the Southern Unionist movement, can contribute to a better understanding of our complex past.

One brilliant legal mind, South Carolinian James L. Petigru (1789-1863) argued for decades for the preservation of the Union. He was politically active in the 1830s in opposition to Nullification and throughout the decades leading to Secession in the 1860s. In 1847, when Senator Daniel Webster of Massachusetts visited Charleston, it seems Petigru was involved in Webster’s visit to reaffirm good will between Massachusetts and South Carolina after sectional rifts resulted during the Nullification crisis.

Petigru obituary in the Nashville daily union, March 28, 1863.

In 1861, Petigru argued a case questioning the constitutionality of the Sequestration Act and the Confederate Government when he was served with a writ of garnishment instructing him to turn over his property to the newly formed Confederate Government. Despite the fact that it seems J. L. Petrigru spent his career as a political minority, an epitaph in the Nashville Daily Union, March 28, 1863 remembered the great man as “Faithful Among the Faithless…in the [Nullification crisis] of 1830-33 and in the secession movement of 1860-61, Mr. Petigru held fast to his loyalty to the Union [at] the sacrifice of popularity.” He might have gotten the last laugh when he surmised that secession was a “Lost Cause” prior to the war, remarking that “South Carolina is too small to be a republic, and too large to be an insane asylum.”

To read more articles about James L. Petigru, perform a search yourself in Chronicling America. Search All States, narrow the Date Range to 1836-1865, and enter Petigru in the Search box.

Governor Sam Houston (1793-1863) was removed from office when he refused to take the Confederate oath.

In March 1861, Sam Houston was asked to step down as Governor of Texas when the state legislature seceded from the Union and he refused to take the oath of the Confederacy. In the White Cloud Kansas Chief paper on April 4, 1861 they note that “Old Sam Houston retains his patriotic streak longer than had been expected and will not aid in secession.” Another article in The Perrysburg Journal (Perrysburg, Ohio) on April 11, 1861 recounts Governor Houston’s protest upon being removed from office.

When asked about his opposition to secession, Gov. Houston prophetically told his fellow Texans their future. “Let me tell you what is coming. After the sacrifice of countless millions of treasure and hundreds of thousands of lives, you may win [but] I doubt it. I tell you that, while I believe with you in the doctrine of states rights, the North is determined to preserve this Union [and] when they begin to move in a given direction, they move with the steady momentum and perseverance of a mighty avalanche; and what I fear is, they will overwhelm the South” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Houston).

To find similar articles about Sam Houston in the Civil War era in Chronicling America, try searching All States, Narrow the Date Range to 1861 to 1865, and enter Sam Houston in the Simple Search box.

Elizabeth van Lew (1818-1900) served as a Union spy while residing in Richmond, Virginia.

Other less famous individuals maintained allegiances to the Union during the Civil War. One woman, Elizabeth van Lew (1818-1900), nicknamed Crazy Bet, acted as a Union spy in her hometown of Richmond, Virginia. She also operated a larger spy ring that infiltrated the Confederate Department of the Navy and the Confederate Department of War. A retrospective article in the Washington times (Washington, D.C.), June 29, 1902, describes in detail her various accomplishments as a spy. Her obituary explains further her involvement in the war, keeping in contact with General Grant himself whenever his movements brought him near to Richmond.

Other southerners who sided with the Union acted as spies, such as one Mrs. Thompson, whose husband joined the 1st Tennessee Union cavalry and served in the Union army. While living in east Tennessee, she acted as a spy on many occasions and working in concert with her husband she was able to assist in the recruitment of 900 men to the Union army.

To find similar articles like these, try searching in Chronicling America for All States, Narrow Date Range to 1861 to 1865, and search Union Spy in the simple search box. To include retrospective articles, you might expand the Date Range from 1861 to 1922.

Many other southerners publicly maintained their allegiance to the United States and followed the Union into the Civil War. General Winfield Scott, a Virginian, and Brigadier General Montgomery Meigs from Georgia, both career U.S. Army men, chose to stay with the Union Army at the outbreak of the war. Governor Francis Pierpont, a native Virginian, became the Civil War era governor of West Virginia when that entire section of Virginia broke away from the state of Virginia at the outbreak of war. He also served as the Reconstruction governor of all of Virginia after the Civil War. North Carolina Governor William Holden became an outspoken opponent of the war and a leader in the North Carolina Peace movement during the Civil War. And native Virginian, John Minor Botts, who was arrested in 1862 for “manifesting Union proclivities” remained neutral and chose not to fight against his home state of Virginia.

The 1866 Convention of Southern Unionists was held in Philadelphia.

There are countless examples of individuals who bravely chose the unpopular path of resistance to Secession and the Confederacy. Try some searches yourself and you will doubtless find more fascinating accounts like these! The following terms might be a good starting point for your own searching in Chronicling America: Anti-secessionist, Unionist Democrats, Southern Unionists, Southern Loyalists, Union Loyalists, Lincoln Loyalists. Let us know if you find an article you’ve just got to share!

1. Photo of James L. Petigru, Courtesy of University of South Carolina Digital Collections.

2. Obituary of James L. Petigru, Courtesy of Chronicling America, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83025718/1863-03-28/ed-1/seq-2/.

3. Photo of Governor Sam Houston, Courtesy of ETV, http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/people/d_h/houston.htm.

4. Photo of Elizabeth van Lew, Courtesy of Chronicling America, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn87062245/1902-06-29/ed-1/seq-28/.

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Watch Free Webinar on The Power of Digitization: Digitizing Historical SC Newspapers at the SCDNP

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  • Have you heard about the SC Digital Newspaper Program (SCDNP) and would like to know more about what we do and which historical SC newspapers we are digitizing?
  • Would you like to learn more about how to search and use Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers?
  • Would you like to learn more about the history behind the history of SC newspapers digitized in this project?
  • Would you like to learn about program resources we have developed to help you get the most out of the digitized newspapers?

With the help of the SC State Library, we presented a free webinar last Friday which we recorded and is now accessible online. Just click on the link below or on the above image.

The Power of Digitization: The South Carolina Digital Newspaper Project

In this webinar, we discuss the SC Digital Newspaper Program, the newspapers we are digitizing which you can now access on Chronicling America, an overview of the background histories of the SC newspapers digitized in this project, and how to search and use Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. To learn more about our project, visit our website at http://library.sc.edu/digital/newspaper/.

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Exploring the Progressive Era in Historical SC Newspapers: 1900-1920s

The Progressive Era

The Progressive Era began around 1900 and continued into the late 1920s and marked sweeping changes in social issues, technology, and government involvement in everyday people’s lives.

Social issues such as child labor, women’s suffrage, prohibition, the Great Migration; government programs that crafted new policies to improve education, health, agriculture, and infrastructure; technological advancements such as the telephone, cars, radios, and airplanes; conflicts like World War I; and large scale building projects like the Panama Canal are all hallmarks of the Progressive era.

In 1900, when the Progressive era began….

You might not recognize South Carolina compared to today.

Even though automobiles had been invented, many people still used horses, mules, and wagons to get where they needed to go.

Most of South Carolinians lived on farms and worked in mills. In 1900, children made up 1/4 of all people working in mills.

At turn of century, many people could still die of diseases like typhoid, yellow fever, pellagra, smallpox, and tuberculosis. Many South Carolinians had health problems like hookworm due to their poor living conditions. Improvements made during the Progressive Era were able to prevent disease and improve the lives of families.

Across the state, many schools were one room school cabins like this one. In 1880, 22% of white people and 78% of African-Americans could not read or write.

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These articles are just a small sample of what you might discover in historical SC newspapers on the Progressive Era.

Child Labor

At the beginning of the 20th century, children were seen as a source of cheap labor. Children as young as 5 years old were doing some sort of work in mills alongside their older siblings and parents. Some children worked 6 days a week for 10 to 12 hours a day, and many children did not attend school because they worked. Over half of all mill children could neither read nor write.

Key Words: child labor, child labor bill, National Child Labor Committee, compulsory education

In 1903, a child labor bill finally became law, which prohibited any child under 10 years  to be employed in a factory, mine, or mill. In 1904, the age limit was 11, and in 1905 the age limit became 12.

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Women’s Suffrage

The first attempts in SC for women’s rights right after the Civil War in 1870. 1872, the General Assembly endorsed a petition of the American Woman Suffrage Association, but little came of it. Earliest suffrage clubs in SC organized in the 1890s. Women began to champion social issues like prohibition along with promoting their right to vote. Became very active around 1895, but were only promoting the right to vote to include educated, upper class white women. Opponents said the women’s rights movement was “against Scripture, against nature, and against common sense.”

In the 1910s, clubs and leagues like the New Era Club, the SC Equal Suffrage League, and National Women’s Party spread around SC. The first suffrage parade was held at the SC State Fair in 1914. One proponent of the movement, Eulalie Salley once boxed in a prizefight to raise money for her cause and hung out of an airplane scattering pamphlets over Aiken.

Keywords: American Woman’s Suffrage Association, Anita Pollitzer, Virginia Durant Young, Women’s Christian Temperance Union, South Carolina Equal Rights Association (SCERA), National Women Suffrage Association, Equal Suffrage League, Laura Clay, Eulalie Chaffey Salley, Nineteenth Amendment, Suffrage

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Education

At the turn of the 20th century, South Carolina taught white children and African-American children in separate schools.

Keywords: Illiteracy, Compulsory Education, Governor Richard I. Manning, Miss Will Lou Gray, Write Your Name Campaign, Night School, High School

New schools were built all over the state of South Carolina.

In 1914, illiteracy was widespread.  25% of voters could only sign their name with an X. During the Progressive Era, many educational programs sought to help teach adults and children alike how to read and write.

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Advances in Technology & Infrastructure

Consumer products such as electric vacuums, electric irons, washing machines, and gas stoves were labor-saving devices that made caring for one’s home easier for women. Other inventions like the telephone, automobile, and radio also changed people’s lives. Hydro-power dams were built which initiated widespread rural electrification in later years. State programs to improve roads and create paved roads, something we might take for granted today, were a marked improvement over the poor road system across S.C. until the early 1900s.

Keywords: Edison, telephone, automobile, airplane, radio, hydro-power, highways, road improvement, Southern Power Company

One might hear this conversation today using cell phones rather than these large wooden wall phones.

The automobile gained popularity during the 1910s and 1920s.

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World War One

SC experienced a boom in the economy with a rise in war time prices on food and clothing. 65,000 South Carolinians, both white and African-American, fought in WWI. Military installations like Fort Jackson and Parris Island Marine Base were started during that period.

Many African Americans fought in WWI, only to come home to segregation and limited opportunities. Mass exodus of African-Americans to northern and western cities.

Keywords: Camp Jackson, Camp Sevier, Camp Wadsworth, Parris Island, Charleston Navy Yard, Armistice, Western Front, President Woodrow Wilson, Allied Powers, Victory Gardens, Liberty Bonds, Red Cross, the Home Front, Treaty of Versailles

 

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Resource Links

Chronicling America, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/

SCDNP Subject Guide, http://guides.library.sc.edu/digitalnewspapers

SCDNP Blog, http://library.sc.edu/blogs/newspaper/

SC Digital Newspaper Program, http://library.sc.edu/digital/newspaper/

USC Digital Collections homepage, http://library.sc.edu/digital/

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Join Us for an Upcoming Webinar on March 30, 2012

Join us for a free webinar on March 30th, 2012.

The South Carolina State Library is hosting a free webinar on The Power of Digitization: The South Carolina Digital Newspaper Project. This webinar will be geared toward library staff but is open to anyone who would like to attend.

To register for this webinar, visit https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/668632934.

If you would like to learn more about the South Carolina Digital Newspaper Program, please visit our website, http://library.sc.edu/digital/newspaper/.

 

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Finding that Needle in the Haystack: The Power of Full Text Searching in Chronicling America

Imagine scrolling through the microfilm reels, at your local library, hoping to uncover that one small mention on your research topic: a name, an event, a place. Perhaps, discovering that one piece of information takes hours, days, or more…Now, imagine, going to your home computer, visiting Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, and plugging your search term and Bam! there are dozens if not hundreds of articles on the topic with which you are interested. Chronicling America can save hours of research time, with the help of OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software which scans the digitized newspapers and makes those millions of words on historical newspaper pages leap forth with full text searching capability.

Here are a few searches with which our friends and colleagues have asked us for help, lately. I thought I’d share them with you, as they are all great examples that demonstrate the power of full text searching in Chronicling America.

 Searching for Information for an Archaeological Site Find

We found lots of information on a bottle which was found in an archaeological context in Louisiana

An archaeologist I know recently sent me a text message with an attached photo he had taken in the field. He wrote: “Here’s a challenge for your newspaper project. I found this bottle today while surveying in Louisiana and want to find out more about it. It says ‘Pa-poose Root Beer Extract. Made in New Orleans.‘ Do you think you can find anything about it for me in Chronicling America?”

I tried a simple search in Chronicling America for the brand name of the bottle he provided. I tried searching All States and entered “Papoose Root Beer” into the search box on the home page. Eureka! I came up with 141 results between 1906 and 1922 (remember 1922 is our cut off date).

Here’s the earliest advertisement of this product that I found, in the Palestine daily herald. (Palestine, Tex. 1902-1949), April 20, 1906.

And the latest…The herald. (New Orleans, La. 1905-1953), September 28, 1922.                                                                                          

Papoose Root Beer Extract advertisement, published in The herald (New Orleans, L.A.) circa 1922.

 These ads tell a great deal about this artifact: the inventor’s name, the general dates of manufacture (1889 until at least 1922), where it was manufactured and places it was bottled, its intended purpose as “a delicious beverage and Blood Purifier” and much more.  The 1922 advertisement even provides an image of the product packaging, a detail not often found in an archeological context. My archaeologist friend replied “Thanks! This is totally awesome! I was even able to download the pictures to my phone so I can share this with others.” As you can see, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers will be a powerful research tool for historical archaeologists who wish to conduct research on artifacts that they uncover!

Sifting Through Search Results to Find that Needle in a Haystack

The circa 1951 replica of the SC Sword of State

A colleague at one of the special collections libraries here at the University of South Carolina recently asked us at SCDNP for assistance in using Chronicling America. A SC state government employee had contacted him seeking information on the physical description of the Sword of the State, a ceremonial sword carried into Statehouse Senate Chambers by the Sergeant-at-Arms of the Senate, which is laid at the rostrum while the Senate is in session. The original sword, crafted in the early 18th century in Charleston, S.C., was stolen in 1941 from the State House and remains at large to this day. Britain graciously gifted a replica in the 1950s which is used today.

This search wasn’t quite so easy as the bottle query. I tried searching “Sword of the State” limiting the search to “South Carolina” with few results. I kept playing around with the search terms, entering them into the various search boxes available in Advanced Search. You can perform Advanced Searches using the With Any of These Words, With All These Words, With the Phrase, and the Within 5 Words of Each Other (or 10, 50, etc.) search boxes. I retrieved the best results searching “sword of state” within 5 words of each other and limiting the search to South Carolina newspapers only.

Circa 1902 article in The watchman and southron (Sumter, S.C.) mentions the original sword of state scabbard was monogrammed with a "W.M."

After sifting through many articles that were retrieved but which were not relevant to the task at hand, I found a mention in an article noting a physical characteristic of the sword of state. This article, published in The watchman and southron (Sumter, S.C.), notes that the Sword of State was on display at an Exposition in 1902 and had an accompanying scabbard with a curiously monogrammed “W.M.” on it! Another article mentioned that the sword of state was double edged. Perhaps one day small clues like these will aid in the identification and return of South Carolina’s original Sword of State!

                                                                                                                                           Finding historical primary source materials on African-Americans

South Carolinian, Kelly Miller, was the first African-American student admitted to John Hopkins University and later became the Dean of Mathematics at Howard University

On another occasion, a colleague here at the University of South Carolina remarked that he was having little luck searching for information in traditional resources on Kelly Miller. Kelly Miller, a native South Carolinian,  was the first African-American student admitted to Johns Hopkins University and who later became the Dean of Mathematics at Howard University. So, I thought this might be another opportunity to flex Chronicling America’s searching muscles and see if we could find good results. Again, remarkably, there was a tremendous list of primary source historical newspaper articles to be read in Chronicling America! I performed a simple search for “Kelly Miller” and searched All States. While it appears that neither white nor African-American historical SC newspapers reported on Dr. Miller, he was a leading figure in America in the early 20th century on issues of race and African-American advancement. A contemporary of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Dubois, Dr. Miller was covered in hundreds of articles in newspapers digitized in Chronicling America.

Got a research question? Maybe we can help you find what you are looking for in Chronicling America. Comment here and let us know!

To learn more about the South Carolina Digital Newspaper Program, visit us at http://library.sc.edu/digital/newspaper/index.html.

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South Carolina State House Under Construction:1854-1907

The South Carolina State House, as it looks today

Did you know that it took 53 years (1854- 1907) and six different architects to complete the construction of the South Carolina State House? That originally a square tower, rather than a dome, was to top the statehouse? Or, that granite was quarried from the nearby Congaree River to build it? All these details and more can be found by searching “South Carolina State House” in Chronicling America and historical South Carolina newspapers.

Architect John R. Niernsee's design of the State House, circa 1862. Note the square tower rather than the dome that tops the statehouse today.

In 1854, Governor John L. Manning and the South Carolina General Assembly advanced plans to construct a grand new state house adjacent to the older ca. 1790 state capitol, under the guidance of John R. Niernsee, an Austrian-born architect well known for his work as chief engineer on the B & O Railroad. Niernsee’s original design planned to have a square tower ornamenting the state house, as you can see in this circa 1862 illustration above. Although an 1857 article in The Vermont Phoenix stated that it would be made of “pure white marble,” much of the structure was built with locally quarried granite, including the 43 foot tall and 37 ton monolithic (cut from a single piece of stone) Corinthian columns on the south and north porticoes. From 1854 until 1860, great progress in the construction of the new statehouse took place. One article notes that “in anticipation of the approaching great conflict the work was feverishly pushed until the war stopped it.” During the war, Niernsee served in the Confederate Army and was away from Columbia. By 1861, it was claimed that two million dollars had been expended thus far on the unfinished structure with no roof.

SC State House as it looked in 1865

In February 1865, Sherman and the Union Army occupied Columbia. The unfinished state house “presented a very conspicuous mark to the enemy’s cannon on Lexing heights” from their position across the river. Several shells entered the bare window openings and five struck the building.” Cannon fire damaged sills, walls, and columns on the west and north facades and, rather than be repaired, they were marked with bronze stars that can be viewed today.

Read this article in the Columbia Phoenix, April 11, 1865.

An April 1865 article in the Columbia Phoenix describes the damage further wrought to the state house by occupying soldiers, such as defacing the walls with their signatures, regiments, and “appropriately foul comments.” Curiously, the bronze statue of George Washington, which stands at the front steps of the capitol today, was the target of rocks, brick bats and sharp shooters. Washington’s cane remains broken to this day. The state library, Niernsee’s personal archive of 25 years work, and $700,000 worth of raw marble and granite were destroyed when the state house was set ablaze. Bells from St. Michael’s Church brought up from Charleston, for safe keeping at the capitol, were also damaged. You can read more about the mayhem that ensued in the city in a series of articles titled “The Capture, Sack, and Destruction of the City of Columbia” published in the Columbia Phoenix.

Circa 1867 article in The Charleston Daily News described the condition of the State House.

In 1865, a mine was prepared underneath the state house by Sherman’s men intended to destroy it completely! As they passed out of the city, Sherman ordered the blasting powder to be removed declaring it “a useless waste of ammunition” and that he, Sherman, “would leave the people [of South Carolina] so d—d poor that they would never complete it.” An 1867 article in The Charleston Daily News describes the status of the state house two years later. “It will be many long years before the Treasury of the State can afford to appropriate enough money to complete it in the style originally intended. All the wrath of Sherman’s burners was inflicted on the unoffending pile.”

A circa 1895 image of the State House before the dome and steps were added.

Governor Wade Hampton III had a temporary roof added to the state house in 1876 and funded work to landscape the grounds of the capitol. In 1888, Niernsee was rehired to finish his work on the State House but, unfortunately, he passed away just six months later. His business partner James C. Nielson continued Niernsee’s work from 1885-1888, and was later replaced by Niernsee’s son, Frank M. Niernsee, from 1888-1891. Plumbing and electricity were installed during Frank Niernsee’s work phase, as well as fireproof features such as cast iron railing, marble floors, and pressed metal ceilings. Niernsee did not complete the state house due to the small amount of appropriations set aside in 1891. From 1900 to 1903, Frank P. Milburn resumed work on the statehouse, replacing the roof, adding the dome, and finishing the immense stair cases on the north and south porticoes. Charles C. Wilson completed the interior from 1903-1907. Later, concerns over misappropriation of funding during construction sparked debate.

Read this circa 1897 article in The Watchman and Southron (Sumter, S.C.).

In 1897, a visitor to Columbia was told to “be sure and visit the State House” and she found it to be the “most imposing building and most interesting archive of history [which] like all people, bears its scars and hides its skeleton.”

Read this circa 1902 article in The Anderson Intelligencer (Anderson, S.C.)

When it was finally completed in 1907, the state of South Carolina had expended upwards of 3.5 million dollars in state funds. Fire, cannons, corruption, nor a dearth of funding did not deter South Carolina legislators from seeing to completion this imposing edifice that has witnessed and, indeed, endured so much of South Carolina’s history and its capitol city’s rich history.

To search for articles on South Carolina and the SC State House yourself, try these search terms: South Carolina state house, state house, statehouse, capitol, General Assembly, or by the various architects in charge of constructing the state house: P. H. Hammarskold (1851-1854), John R. Niernsee (1854-1865, 1883-1885), James C. Nielson (1885-1888), Frank M. Niernsee (1888-1891), Frank P. Milburn (1900-1903), and Charles C. Wilson (1903-1907).

To learn more about the South Carolina Digital Newspaper Program, visit our website at http://library.sc.edu/digital/newspaper/index.html.

Credits

1. The South Carolina State House as it Looks Today photograph, courtesy of wikipedia.org.

2. Architect John R. Niernsee’s design of the State House, circa 1862, courtesy of the South Carolina Digital Library and the SC State Museum Digital Collection.

3. SC State House as it looked in 1865, University Libraries, University of South Carolina Digital Collections, South Caroliniana Library, SC and the Civil War Collection.

4. The Columbia phoenix (Columbia, S.C.), April 11, 1865, courtesy of Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

5. The Charleston Daily News (Charleston, S.C.), January 7, 1867, courtesy of Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

6. A circa 1895 image of the State House before the dome and steps were added, courtesy of the South Carolina Digital Library and the SC State Museum Digital Collection.

7. The State’s Capitol One of the Most Historic Buildings in the South, The Watchman and Southron (Sumter, S.C.)., August 4, 1897, courtesy of Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

8. Capitol of South Carolina: Facts About Building Now Nearing Completion, The Anderson Intelligencer (Anderson, S.C.), January 1, 1902, courtesy of Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

9. South Carolina State House History, courtesy of scstatehouse.gov website.

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Celebrating Hanukkah in Historical S.C. Newspapers

Illustration of Judas of Maccabee, one of the key figures in the Hanukkah story, in The Tacoma times (Tacoma, Washington).

There are several interesting articles in historical S.C. newspapers that describe the significance, and interesting history, of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. As you might know, S.C. has a long and proud Jewish heritage. Its first Jewish settlers immigrated to Charleston in the 1690s!

The Hebrew Feast of Lights, in The daily phoenix (Columbia, S.C.), December 9, 1874

To Celebrate Hanukkah, in The Laurens advertiser (Laurens, S.C.), December 27, 1905

 

The Feast of Lights in The Keowee courier (Walhalla, S.C.), December 21, 1921

 

How the spirit of Christmas and Hanukkah are similar, in The daily phoenix (Columbia, S.C.), January 4, 1873

To search for yourself, try searching variations of the spelling of Hanukkah, like Hanukah or Chanukkah. Also try related items such as Feast of Lights or menorah. I limited my searches to historical S.C. newspapers, but you could try searching these terms by All States. To find more Jewish-related articles in Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, try searching terms like  Jewish or Hebrew. Also, you may browse two historical Jewish newspapers digitized in Chronicling America, The Jewish South (Richmond, V.A.) and The Jewish Herald (Houston, T.X.). Happy Hanukkah One and All!

To learn more about the SC Digital Newspaper Project, visit us at http://library.sc.edu/digital/newspaper/index.html.

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This Kid’s Going Places! Strom Thurmond’s Childhood in Historical S.C. Newspapers

Senator Strom Thurmond. Courtesy of the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress.

Strom Thurmond, the iconic South Carolina politician who lived to 100 years old and who died in 2003 shortly after retiring as United States Senator, was born 109 years ago today. A lot is known about Thurmond’s 75 years in S.C. politics and the head-line making details of his personal life but what is known about Strom Thurmond’s childhood in rural Edgefield County, S.C.? Content found about Strom Thurmond in Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers has revealed some interesting insights into the makings of a politician.

A circa 1903 baby photograph of Strom Thurmond. Courtesy of Special Collections, Clemson University Libraries.

While searching unsuccessfully for Strom Thurmond’s birth announcement in historical S.C. newspapers, I came across a preponderance of material on Strom Thurmond’s early life, beginning with his parent’s 1899 marriage and ending with his college days at Clemson College in 1922.  (Chronicling America does not digitize post-1922 materials due to copyright). Remarkably, Strom Thurmond’s life, which spanned the entire 20th century, was documented in newspapers from a very young age until his death at age 100 in 2003.

Strom's 7th Birthday Party in The Edgefield Advertiser, December 9, 1909

Strom’s entrance into public life began in a brief article in his hometown newspaper, The Edgefield Advertiser, which ran a short bit on his 7th birthday festivities. Being the son of a local solicitor and prominent Edgefield family, the Advertiser naturally reported on this social occasion, a “very gay and merry scene [of 50] light hearted little folks enjoying their halcyon days” and who joined in to help Strom celebrate in “very becoming style.”

Strom decided at the age of 10 that he would run for governor one day. In a 1978 interview, he said his two favorite things to do growing up were attending court sessions after school and attending campaign stump meetings with his father. The 1912 gubernatorial race, between incumbent Governor Cole Blease and Judge Ira B. Jones, made an indelible impression on young Strom. He recalled that “when Jones and Blease ran and I saw Blease castigate Jones unnecessarily without reason and degrade him, I made up my mind then I was going to run for governor some day” (Documenting the American South, 1978 oral history interview). This 1912 State Campaign meeting article in The Keowee courier gives one an idea of the tenor of the campaign between Blease and Jones.

Perhaps with these aspirations in mind, Strom was quite active in civic and church activities from an early age. At age 10, he participated in a local parade dressed as Little Boy Blue, and at 15, dressed as Uncle Sam he accompanied Lady Liberty in a parade to raise money for the Red Cross during World War I.

Strom portrayed Uncle Sam to raise money for the Red Cross during WWI

 During the Christmas of 1912, Strom and fellow children donated Christmas gifts to orphanage children rather than receive presents, as part of a Christmas tableau at the Baptist Church on the true meaning of Christmas. A couple of months later, in 1913, Strom was baptized with 30 other young people at a Baptist Revival, in an article titled a “Very Successful Revival.” At 14, he participated as a cast member in a Cantata on Prohibition at the local Opera House, in which the young people acted out a patriotic campaign against drinking. In 1919, Strom donated 5.00 dollars  to the Victory Boys and Girls Club to Aid in the war efforts of World War I.

Strom read an essay on The Dollar, The Edgefield Advertiser, February 16, 1916.

Even at a young age, Strom knew the value of hard work and a dollar. When he was 4 years old, his father moved the family to a farm in the country so that the Thurmond children could learn the value of hard work by being raised on a farm. Even though he received no allowance, Strom helped with chores like milking the cows and gathering the chickens on their self-sufficient farm. He also earned a little money by raising his own livestock. In a 1978 interview, Strom recalled when he was only 14, he and his brother purchased a small cotton crop from a neighbor who was leaving to fight in WWI. Realizing his brother was not likely to put a lot of sweat equity into the crop, Strom bought his brother out, too, and raised the cotton crop on his own, hoping to set some money aside.  He also worked in town clerking at stores and at a garage in the summers, and had several hundred hard-earned dollars saved when he left for college (Documenting the American South, 1978 oral history interview). With these experiences, he was well equipped to  read “a splendid selection entitled ‘The Dollar’” at the McDuffie Literary Society when he was only 13 years old.

Cadet Strom Thurmond at Clemson College, 1922. Courtesy of Special Collections, Clemson University Libraries.

Throughout his education, Strom excelled with good grades and was involved in numerous school activities. He made the 4th Grade Honor Roll for Edgefield Graded Schools, at age 10, and continued to make the Honor Roll throughout his education. In 1916, Strom won the high school prize at a Spelling Bee sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Later that year, Strom sharpened his oratorical skills on the subject that a “man’s intellect is greater than woman’s” in a debate exercise at the McDuffie Literary Society, in which he nimbly argued in the negative.

After completing the 10th grade, Strom entered college at Clemson in 1919 and was placed on the Edgefield County Club Honor Roll at Clemson.

Strom named 1st Lieutenant of Senior Class at Clemson College in 1922

The last item in The Edgefield Advertiser that praises Strom Thurmond is a small piece during his senior year when he was “bestowed the honor of being commissioned a first lieutenant of the cadet corps” at Clemson.

As an adult, Thurmond gained his first elected position as Edgefield County Superintendent of Education in 1929 at the age of 27. He became a teacher, an attorney, a judge, fought in WWII, served as Governor of SC (1947-1951), ran unsuccessfully for President as a Dixiecrat (1948), and was one of the longest serving United States Senators in American history (1954-2003). One wonders if Strom Thurmond was born to be a politician given his heavy involvement in his community during his youth or whether Edgefield, known for producing an unusually high number of South Carolina’s governors and statesmen, fostered his desire to serve his community and, later, his state.

There are many more articles about Strom, his father William Thurmond, and his mother’s family the Stroms, in Chronicling America. To find more, search Strom Thurmond, Thurmond, or Strom narrowing your search to South Carolina papers only in Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. As always, if you find a real gem of an article, we’d love to hear about it.

To learn more about the SC Digital Newspaper Project, visit us at http://library.sc.edu/digital/newspaper/index.html.

Credits

1. Senator Strom Thurmond. Photo courtesy of the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=t000254.

2. A circa 1903 baby photograph of Strom Thurmond. Courtesy of Special Collections, Clemson University Libraries, http://www.clemson.edu/library/special_collections/scjstphotos.html.

3. “Charming Little Host,” The Edgefield Advertiser (Edgefield, S.C.), December 9, 1909.

4. Strom portrayed Uncle Sam to raise money fro the Red Cross during WWI, The Edgefield Advertiser (Edgefield, S.C.), November 11, 1917.

5. “News Letter from Edgefield Schools,” The Edgefield Advertiser (Edgefield, S.C.), February 16, 1916.

6. Interview with Strom Thurmond, July 20, 1978. Interview A-0334. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007), Documenting the American South, http://docsouth.unc.edu/sohp/A-0334/A-0334.html.

7. Cadet Strom Thurmond at Clemson College, 1922. Courtesy of Special Collections, Clemson University Libraries, http://www.clemson.edu/library/special_collections/scjstphotos.html.

8. Strom named 1st Lieutenant of Senior Class at Clemson College in 1922, The Edgefield Advertiser (Edgefield, S.C.), September 13, 1922.

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5 Tips for Researching African-American History in Chronicling America

The types of newspaper articles found in historical African-American Newspapers in Chronicling America

Interested in researching African-American history in historical S.C. newspapers, and in other states, in Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers? Within these newspapers, you can find primary source records of African-American lives, African-American owned businesses (owned by both men and women), education, achievements, social organizations, literary societies, religion, evidence of historical trends such as the Great Migration, and much more. These newspapers record historical issues on enslavement, prejudice, disenfranchisement, and crimes perpetrated against African-Americans, as well. Here are 5 tips that will assist you in uncovering the rich and varied details of African-American history waiting to be found in Chronicling America.

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 1. Search with historically used terminology

Terminology referring to African-Americans has changed overtime. Try terms more common in the 19th c. and early 20th c. such as “negro,” “colored,” or “Afro-American.” If you are searching for pre-1865 materials, you might also try “slave,” “enslaved,” or “free persons of color” in your search.

 

2.Browse historical African-American Newspapers published in S.C.

SCDNP has digitized 10 historical African-American newspapers published in S.C. between 1860 and 1922, comprising about 100 separate newspaper issues. This list is a great place to start your research. You can browse and read newspapers in chronological order, as well as view descriptive details about each newspaper. You can access these newspapers by selecting this link, List of Historical African-American S.C. Newspapers in Chronicling America, or by clicking on the image below.

List of Historical African-American South Carolina Newspapers in Chronicling America

 

3. Browse historical African-American Newspapers published across America.

To date, 30 historical African-American newspapers from several states have been digitized and added to Chronicling America. There are more than 10,000 newspaper issues available in this list of African-American newspapers. States that have digitized African-American newspapers for this project are: Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia. You can view the entire list by clicking on this List of All African-American Newspapers in Chronicling America (All States) or on the image below.

Click here to View the Complete List of Historical African-American Newspapers in Chronicling America

 

4. Get a perspective on South Carolina events by researching S.C. topics in African-American newspapers published outside South Carolina.

By searching South Carolina-related topics in African-American newspapers published outside of South Carolina, you can learn about how Americans perceived these issues differently than within the state of South Carolina. For instance, I performed an Advanced Search and selected to search an African-American newspaper, The broad ax (Salt Lake City, Utah), and searched the phrase “South Carolina.”

I performed an Advanced Search, selecting The broad ax (Salt Lake City, Utah) and searched "South Carolina."

I retrieved some very interesting results! This circa 1907 article depicts Senator Benjamin R. Tillman in a light that one would certainly see less frequently in South Carolina newspapers of that time.

Alternate view of South Carolina politician Ben Tillman in The broad ax (Salt Lake City, Utah)

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5. Use the African-Americans in SC Topics page on our SCDNP LibGuide.

The SC Digital Newspaper Project has developed a subject guide, aka LibGuide, on historical S.C. newspapers to assist researchers in beginning their own research and to create interesting points of entry into the newspapers. You can visit the SCDNP LibGuide homepage here.

We also created S. C. History Topics pages, including topics on African-Americans, Education, Civil War, and Reconstruction, all of which have African-American related history to help you in your research. Below is a screen capture of part of the African-American Topics page.

Click on any of the Suggested Search Terms to view imbedded search results. You can also click on the Images, located along the right page, to read its related article.

View of African-American Topics Page in SC Digital Newspaper Program LibGuide

 

For more help on using Chronicling America, see one of our older posts on Helpful Tips on Researching Chronicling America. Best of luck in your research!

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Things that Go Bump in the Night: Ghost Tales Found in Historical S.C. Newspapers

Just had fun searching Halloween-related terms in our newspapers and came up with some fun ghost stories. Have a look.

Spectres, Disembodied Spirits, Apparitions, and Ghosts will be found in this compilation of Old World ghost tales, in The daily phoenix, January 13, 1869…

Click here to read this story "Ghosts Old and New" in The daily phoenix, January 13, 1869

 

An interesting Welsh ghost tale in the Keowee courier, May 21, 1869…

Click here to read the rest of this story in the Keowee courier, May 21, 1869

 

This fearsome ghost met his match in an English country parson, in the Keowee courier, September 10, 1913…

Click here to read the rest of this story "Ghost Laid Low by Rector" in the Keowee courier, September 10, 1913

 

Something a little closer to home. This story is about a young girl living near Iva and Starr in Anderson County, S.C. who conversed with a ghost visiting from Georgia, in The intelligencer, May 17, 1916…

Click here to read the rest of this story, in The intelligencer, May 17, 1916.

There are so many stories like these in our historical newspapers, I recommend that you try searching for yourself. I tried terms like “ghosts,” “ghost story,” “haunted house,” “spiritualism,” “seance,” “evil spirits,” “Halloween,” and “All Hallow’s Eve.”  I limited my searches to historical South Carolina newspapers, but a little searching in historical newspapers searched across All States in Chronicling America turned up these two frightening tales. See below…

Click here to read this story "Yolo County Ranchers Claim Evil Spirits Inhabit Girl's Body" in The San Francisco call, September 9, 1901

and

Click here to read "San Rafael's House of Mystery" in The San Francisco call, October 14, 1900

Let us know if you find a really scary one while doing searches on your own. We want to read ‘em!

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Drum Roll, Please! All 103,352 historical S.C. newspaper pages now online!

All 103,352 newspaper images, and 19 historical S.C. newspapers have been approved and uploaded by the Library of Congress and are now available online in Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers!

For the past two years, we here at the South Carolina Digital Newspaper Program and University of South Carolina Libraries, have been diligently working to digitize several selected historical S.C. newspapers. This first grant phase is now complete with the ingestion of these last 30,000 images into the Library of Congress’ historical newspaper database, Chronicling America.

To see a list of the newspapers now available, visit our SCDNP LibGuide List of Newspapers page. You can view the list of newspapers by county, browse the earliest and latest newspaper issues for each paper, read More Info about each newspaper, and begin searching from this guide.

This subject guide is also a great way to see the types of cool things we have found in S.C. newspapers and can give you an idea of the types of interesting items you might find while doing your own searching. We have created several S.C. History Topics Guides, and a cool historical timeline/flipbook of great articles we have found for you in our newspapers.

Some new content that was added in the last ingest, includes 10 African-American historical newspapers published in South Carolina. These were:

The Afro-American citizen.
Charleston, S.C., 1899-1902

The Charleston advocate.
Charleston, S.C., 1867-1868

The free press.
Charleston, S.C., 1868-186?

Missionary record.
Charleston, S.C., 1868-1879

The South Carolina leader.
Charleston, S.C., 1865-18??

The Georgetown planet.
Georgetown, S.C., 1873-1875

The free citizen.
Orangeburg, S.C., 1874-1876

The people’s recorder.
Columbia, S.C., 1893-1925

The Southern indicator.
Columbia, S.C., 1903-1925

The Rock Hill messenger.
Rock Hill, S.C., 1896-1921

Also, new titles were added in this last ingest, including:

The Laurens advertiser.
Laurens, S.C., 1885-1973

The Marlboro democrat.
Bennettsville, S.C., 1882-1908

The Edgefield advertiser.
Edgefield, S.C., 1836-current

and more content was added for the:

Keowee courier.
Pickens Court House, S.C., 1849-current

In addition to S.C. newspapers available in Chronicling America, there are also an astonishing 4.1 million searchable historical newspaper images, from 581 newspaper titles across 25 states and the District of Columbia. So, remember that you can search historic newspaper content from states other than South Carolina.

We have just begun our second grant phase which will allow us to digitize 100,000 additional historical S.C. newspaper pages to this phenomenal program. To see the newspaper titles selected for the 2011-2013 phase, visit our SCDNP website. Stay tuned for more Program Updates to come!

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