Please join us next Thursday, February 11th!
Free and open to the public!
See Herb’s blog entry from last week about Justice Toal, Judge Russell, and this event.
Free and open to the public!
See Herb’s blog entry from last week about Justice Toal, Judge Russell, and this event.
We hope you will join us Feb. 11 at 5:30 in the Hollings Library to hear retired Chief Justice Jean Toal, SCPC’s newest donor, present our inaugural Donald S. Russell Lecture.
In a December feature, The State newspaper called Toal a “force of nature.” We know you will enjoy her stories of her early experience as a Civil Rights activist, education as one of a handful of women attending the USC School of Law in the mid-1960s, practice of law as an active and skilled litigator, tenure in the General Assembly, and lengthy service on the South Carolina Supreme Court. Toal will be introduced by Judge Joseph F. Anderson, Jr.
Following the presentation, Justice Toal will be available to sign the new USC Press publication, Madam Chief Justice. The 189-page volume contains 23 essays reflecting on Toal’s life and impact on the political and legal landscape of South Carolina. Among the authors are fellow jurists, legal scholars and figures from politics.
The USC Class of 1956 endowment for South Carolina Political Collections supports this signature event honoring former USC president, governor, U.S. senator, and federal judge Donald S. Russell.
My interview of Judge Russell remains a vivid memory. It was not a successful interview in terms of oral history, as Judge Russell had no interest in reflecting on his achievements, and I was not prepared for his rather terse answers. I learned from that experience to always have two sets of questions — broad questions for narrators who delight in sharing their stories, and detailed questions for more reticent narrators like Judge Russell. Yet Russell was also my most memorable and inspirational interview. He opened up once I turned the recorder off. He became animated while speaking of cases coming before his court. And then he grew even more excited as he contemplated several challenging cases that seemed on track to hit his courtroom in two to three years. Judge Russell never took senior status and served on the bench until his death in 1998. I remain inspired by our interview, when Russell was in his mid-80s — a man who lived in the present, for the future.
For more information about the USC Class of 1956 endowment for SCPC, or to contribute to this endowment, see the web page here.
By Herb Hartsook
Nick Theodore is a progressive Democrat who served over twenty years in the South Carolina House and Senate and, from 1987 to 1995, under Republican Carroll Campbell, as the state’s 85th Lieutenant Governor. Theodore knows as much about South Carolina politics as any man alive and he shares his wealth of knowledge as well as details of his remarkable life in his 2014 book, Trials and Triumphs: South Carolina’s Evolution 1962-2014. The book is both a personal narrative as well as an analysis of an era in which politics and society underwent startling change. SCPC is proud to count Theodore among our donors of collections.
When Theodore mounted his first campaign, a successful race in 1962 for the South Carolina House, the South was a Democratic stronghold. The Republican Party had been chiefly a patronage organization but had recently begun to grow through the efforts of a small group of activists. Political campaigns at that time were personal. Candidates met workers at factory gates (yes, South Carolina had factories, chiefly a broad base of textile plants across the state), hosted bar-b-ques, and sought votes one at a time over the months before the Democratic primary. Except for Presidential campaigns, the Democratic primary served as the real election. How things have changed.
And Theodore worked well with Republicans as that Party grew to dominate the state. He is particularly generous in his praise of James B. Edwards, our first Republican governor (1975-1979) since Reconstruction — “Edwards was recognized for his ability to work across party lines in accomplishing needed legislation. Nowhere was that more evident than in our effort to continue improving education. . . . Edwards led the charge to provide adequate financing of our effort and promised to advocate for and sign the education bill.” He then goes on to detail how the Education Finance Act of 1977 passed the South Carolina House.
Trials and Triumphs is a must-read for any student of South Carolina society and politics. If you open the book at random, you will find something of interest. For instance, I have long been fascinated by the decision in 1965, following the death of U.S. Senator Olin Johnston, of then-governor Donald Russell to resign his office so that he could then be appointed to the Senate by his successor, Bob McNair. Years ago, I actually interviewed Russell about this decision. In two pages, Theodore sketches a better picture of this event than any I have seen before.
Some memoirs are better than others. Trials and Triumphs is among the best of its kind.
This past summer I had to the pleasure of completing an internship in the South Carolina Political Collections at the University of South Carolina. My project for the summer was processing the Tom Turnipseed papers, and it was a marvelous learning experience.
Before working on this project I had not heard of Tom Turnipseed and his fascinating and remarkable journey from the Old South rooted in racism to being an advocate for social justice. It is such an inspiring story. His papers show his journey from being George Wallace’s 1968 National Campaign Director to one of the loudest voices against injustice in South Carolina.
Turnipseed has been in the public eye since the late 1960s when he was the head of the Independent School Association. From there he went on to be George Wallace’s campaign director in the 1968 Presidential election. After leaving Wallace in 1971 to focus on his law practice in Columbia and his family, he began his own political journey running for office six times in 25 years. Though he was not always successful in winning elections he was able to bring issues to the forefront for public discussion. The amount of effort that Turnipseed has put into causes such as global peace,
homelessness, mental health, racial justice and equality is staggering. He has helped slash utility rates for South Carolinians, prosecuted the Ku Klux Klan, fought for those who do not have a voice and challenged the deep-seated prejudices of others through discussion.
Some of the most interesting items that I found in the collection were the campaign memorabilia from Turnipseed’s various campaigns. There are belt buckles, pins, different slogans and – the most humorous and effective – packets of actual turnip seeds. I just found the campaign seed packets to be so clever.
This collection has a significant amount of clippings, much more than I have ever worked with, dating from the late 1960s to the present. Many of those clippings were still a part of an entire newspaper. The most tiresome part of the entire process was searching for relevant articles and cutting them out of newspapers. There are a lot of clippings.
Though this blog post is delayed, my gratitude for this opportunity from the South Carolina Political Collections has not diminished in the slightest. The experience of working through an unprocessed collection on my own was a terrifying prospect at the beginning of the summer. It has been the largest archival project I have been given that much autonomy over to date. I am so thankful for the chance to work with Herb Hartsook and the rest of the South Carolina Political Collection team and for the opportunities that they offer students to work with them. Every day I worked there I learned something new about the archival field. My advice to those who are interested in processing and have not had the practical experience yet would be to ask questions and don’t get bogged down in the small details. These are lessons I know that I will use in my future career in the field.
Contributed by Erin Patterson
This blog entry was written by Graduate Assistant Clara Bertagnolli as part of a class project for FILM 710: Media and Archives. Each student was tasked with the job of designing a project using archived media.
Modjeska Simkins is well-known throughout the state of South Carolina as a strong voice in the fight for civil rights. Though nowadays, few have heard of the desegregation of the South Carolina State Hospital, to Simkins it was another one of her many battles for justice.
You may have heard the South Carolina State Hospital referred to as “Bull Street.” This road runs along the front of the former hospital’s property, a mildly famous mental hospital located not too far from downtown Columbia. Though the campus is now under development, in its heyday it was a densely populated mental institution. Some may consider this common knowledge, but what few people know is that from the early twentieth century up until the late 1960s, this was a white-only facility. Even less well-known is the presence of its segregated counterpart, seven miles away on Farrow Road. This facility was known as the Crafts-Farrow Hospital or the Palmetto State Hospital.
The Crafts-Farrow Hospital was constructed in the 1910s for the specific purpose of housing African American patients. Patients had been segregated by race before on the State Hospital campus itself, but overcrowding at the institution led this method to be impractical (perhaps the board of the Department of Mental Health also felt separation by building on the same campus was too integrated). When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 came around, and it was time to desegregate, some groups found that the Department of Mental Health took too long to do this in their Columbia facilities. Among them was Modjeska Simkins.
In December 1964, Simkins and others lodged a complaint against the Department of Mental Health, accusing them of their non-compliance with the Civil Rights Act. In February, WIS-TV captured a tour of the two state hospital campuses that proved them not only to be segregated, but to be unequal as well. Simkins was a member of that tour group, and most likely was not happy at what she saw.
Modjeska Simkins on the grounds of the State Hospital at Bull Street.
WIS-TV didn’t capture her working on this desegregation again until five months later, but by then it was clear she was displeased with the situation. In a brief interview, she explains that the Department of Mental Health had been cut off from federal funds, and they deserved this for not yet taking action. That same day, William Hall, Superintendent of the State Hospital and State Commissioner of Mental Health, released a statement on the same station, explaining that the Department has begun the process of desegregation, but expects that it will take two to five years. Unfortunately, the WIS-TV collection doesn’t include a response from Simkins, but no doubt, she would not have found that good enough. Simkins was never one to settle in the fight for justice.
–by Clara Bertagnolli
Last week Herb told you about this year’s Christmas on the Potomac exhibit, which has added a festive touch at the front of Thomas Cooper Library. Long-time friends of South Carolina Political Collections may be aware that we do a holiday card exhibit every year, and each one is titled Christmas on the Potomac – our “brand” if you will.
Prior to moving into the beautiful Hollings Library building in 2010, SCPC was housed in a warehouse in the hinterlands near the Colonial Life Arena. Granted, with all the recent and somewhat hectic University development in the Vista, that area doesn’t seem so far removed as it used to be. But at the time the holiday season gave us a golden opportunity to remind campus of our departmental presence by installing a display of cards in a prominent location at the main library – the heart of campus.
These exhibits started out fairly small; the first, I believe, focused solely on presidential cards received by one of our foundational donors, Congressman Bryan Dorn. Over the years, however, we have expanded our coverage to three cases, highlighting not only presidential cards (still a favorite) but also greetings from other political figures, foreign ambassadors and consulates, schools, civic and charitable entities, and corporations such as Coca-Cola and Michelin. We actively solicit holiday cards from our collection donors in anticipation of our annual display.
We began to incorporate additional Christmassy decorations in the displays to improve the presentation of the cards and generally add extra cheer. Ornaments, bows, mini pine cones, mini “wrapped gifts,” and ribbons festooned the cases. There was even a year or two in which we attempted the use of tinsel – a sparkling component that proved to be more trouble than it was worth when the time came to remove it from the velvet surface of the cases!
Speaking of ornaments, Herb has a personal collection of the official – and usually quite beautiful – ornaments produced annually by both the White House and Capitol historical offices. We include selections of these each year along with the cards, and they add a marvelous dimension to the display.
Every year, SCPC staffers look forward to this season when we can peruse the new cards, decide which will be included, and unleash our creative Christmas arranging and decorating instincts. We hope those who come by and see the exhibit find joy in it, too.
By Kate Moore
The holiday season is a spiritual time during which we reconnect with family and friends, but it is also a campaign season enjoyed by political junkies like me. South Carolina Political Collections’ 2015 holiday exhibit consists of three segments featuring cards from U.S. presidents; cards of prominent Democrats and Republicans in South Carolina and across the United States; and a sampling of cards received in 2014 by the Libraries’ newest donor – Congressman Jim Clyburn.
Our display almost always includes presidential cards. Our earliest presidential card was sent from President Eisenhower to Bryan Dorn in 1956. We recently acquired five cards new to our collection, received by donor and former congresswoman Liz Patterson. These welcome additions were sent by President and Mrs. George H.W. Bush and President and Mrs. Bill Clinton. All five appear in this year’s exhibit.
This 1992 card from the Bushes is particularly colorful.
I was also taken by their 1989 card showing the South Portico and the Bushes’ private entrance into the mansion during a snowstorm. (see below) The image was created by the mansion’s Director of Graphics William Gemmell at the request of Barbara Bush, who felt it “would be fun to have someone who had worked so long in the White House and who loved it so much to paint our card.” [from Season’s Greetings from the White House: The Collection of Presidential Christmas Cards, Messages, and Gifts, by Mary Evans Seeley, p. 177]
Democratic and Republican greetings include cards from Joe Biden, Governor and Mr. Haley, Secretary of State John Kerry, S.C. Republican Party Chair Matt Moore, presidential contender Martin O’Malley, Congressman Tom Rice, California Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (whose cards are always wildly popular), donors John Courson, Jim Edwards (who we lost earlier this year), Lindsey Graham, Tim Scott, Inez Tenenbaum, David Wilkins, and Joe Wilson.
Mr. Clyburn’s cards include greetings from BMW, Claflin University, Coca-Cola, Home Depot, the Japanese Consulate, and the president of Korea.
We hope you will enjoy our exhibit, and all of us at USC libraries wish you a very happy holiday season! ~ Herb Hartsook
The Christmas on the Potomac: 2015 display is located in three exhibit cases at the front of Thomas Cooper Library.
Monday was a momentous day at the Hollings Library as the University announced the creation of the Center for Civil Rights History and Research. Here are some excerpts from the news release:
University President Harris Pastides announced the creation of the center Monday (Nov. 23). It will be the first single entity dedicated to telling South Carolina’s civil rights story. Also Monday, Rep. James Clyburn, the state’s first African-American member of Congress since Reconstruction and the assistant House Democratic leader, said he would donate his Congressional papers to the new center. “I am honored to add my Congressional papers to the University of South Carolina’s significant civil rights collection. The establishment of the Center for Civil Rights History and Research allows for my Congressional papers to be a part of a larger effort to give vibrancy to South Carolina’s history and credence to its civil rights activities. . . .
University Libraries Dean Thomas McNally. . . said he envisions a center where visitors can learn through exhibits and programs and where students and scholars can conduct research using original documents. “Many young people today don’t know this state’s civil rights story or comprehend the sacrifice and courage of those involved in the movement,” he said. “Our collections contain personal accounts that tell South Carolina’s story in a way that will bring to life this transformational time in our history.” McNally said the center will start small, initially being housed in the Hollings Library. He hopes that eventually there will be a facility for the center, similar to those in other states around the country.
A terrific audience was assembled and was given the opportunity to view exhibits that included material on Congressman Clyburn, the papers of Luther Battiste, Bob Moore, I. DeQuincey Newman, and Modjeska Simkins, and our oral histories with former governors Fritz Hollings and Donald Russell in which they discussed the integration of Clemson University and USC by Harvey Gantt and Henrie Monteith Treadwell.
Politics is all about relationships and this was evident Monday. In his remarks, Clyburn mentioned that his mentor and SCPC donor John West had encouraged Clyburn to place his papers at USC. And the Center should, in time, become a destination for the public and scholars interested in learning about the struggle for equality in South Carolina.
Clyburn’s desire to use his papers as a base from which to create something broader recalls Sen. Hollings’ purpose in donating his own papers to USC in 1991. He, too, hoped that USC would use the momentum from his gift to develop Political Collections into a major center for the study of South Carolina government, politics and society. And he worked to help achieve that goal. Among the collections he helped us solicit are those of his good friends Jim Edwards and John West.
Also present on Monday was SCPC donor Robin Tallon. Tallon was Clyburn’s predecessor in Congress, serving five terms representing the 6th District. When that district was reconfigured as a black majority district, Tallon retired from the House rather than wage a campaign which pundits thought he would win, but in doing so, could tear the district apart. Clyburn and Tallon have been friends ever since.
This is an exciting time for the University and I look forward to my service on the Implementation Committee working toward our shared vision for the new Center.
See a video of the event and remarks by Pastides, McNally, History Professor Bobby Donaldson and Clyburn.
(For more information on the desegregation of the University of South Carolina, see the “5oth Anniversary of Desegregation” web page.)
In 1979, I came to South Carolina to work for the state Department of Archives and History. At that time, the Archives was engaged in a major oral history project documenting the gubernatorial term (1965-1971) of Robert McNair (1923-2007). In 1979, he headed the state’s most prestigious law firm, one with a regional presence and international clientele. And I was told that Bob McNair was the most influential person in South Carolina.The oral history consisted of an extensive interview with the Governor and more focused interviews with over twenty other McNair associates. This major undertaking was designed to cultivate the relationship between the Archives and McNair, in hopes that McNair would give them his official gubernatorial papers. McNair was the last governor to control his official papers. These were stored at the Archives but remained his personal property. The official papers of subsequent governors became, by law, the property of the state.
Eventually, Gov. McNair donated his papers to USC’s Southern Studies department. He eventually approved them coming to SCPC, where they were processed and opened for study. In addition to the personal papers of eleven of our recent governors, we also hold official gubernatorial papers of Fritz Hollings, who served from 1959 to 1963. McNair’s collection documents his service in the South Carolina House of Representatives (Allendale County), 1951-1962; as Lt. Governor, 1963-1965; and as Governor.
The progressive McNair worked to develop and broaden the state’s economy and improve education throughout the state. At a time of great turmoil, he was a constant advocate for the peaceful and orderly desegregation of the state’s public accommodations and public schools. He also initiated major innovations in economic development, created the state’s first state-supported kindergartens, and appointed the first African-Americans to state boards and commissions and to a professional position on his executive staff. He created the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism and is credited with improving the overall financial management and operation of state government. His service was marred by the incident at South Carolina State University in which three students were killed. For more about McNair, we highly recommend the Phil Grose biography, South Carolina at the Brink.
I came to like and admire him greatly. He helped SCPC in many ways and even gave us a desk that, for years, served as the focal point of our reading room. He used the desk when he was chair of the House Judiciary Committee and later in his law office. This fall, the office of Dean of Libraries Tom McNally was remodeled, and the McNair desk now serves as his desk. It is appropriate as McNally, like McNair, is devoted to this University and to the public that uses our rich Library resources.
By Herb Hartsook
I recently attended the 12th International Conference on Digital Preservation, also known as iPRES 2015. Over 300 people from around the world gathered on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to discuss a variety of issues related to digital preservation.
Since starting as SCPC’s Digital Initiatives Archivist in April, I’ve spent a lot of time working on getting the basics of our digital preservation program in place. This has included drafting accessioning procedures, researching and requesting hardware, ingesting born-digital materials, and preparing information to share with our donors about managing and (eventually) transferring their born-digital records to us.
Attending iPRES gave me an opportunity to think more about our long-term goals and learn how to work towards them more efficiently and effectively. Particularly thought-provoking were a full-day tutorial on ways to make progress towards becoming a Trustworthy Digital Repository and a “Policy and Practice Documentation Clinic” session. Santi Thompson, a University of South Carolina alumnus and former SCPC Graduate Assistant, presented a paper titled “Preserving the Fruit of Our Labor: Establishing Digital Preservation Policies and Strategies and the University of Houston Libraries” that I also found particularly relevant. There were many interesting and inspiring paper and poster presentations, demos, and other sessions in addition to the standouts mentioned above. The official conference proceedings will be posted on the International Conference on Digital Preservation’s website.
The information and ideas that I’ve brought back from the conference will help me improve SCPC’s digital preservation program, and will hopefully also ultimately benefit broader digital preservation efforts within the University Libraries.