We have hard numbers on how many folks visit our website, and I recently reviewed these statistics in preparing SCPC’s annual report. For the first time, the report will include a brief summary on the use of our web site. These numbers make it clear that the public benefits from the labor-intensive work we do to provide folder level access to our collections and from our efforts to maintain a rich web site. I was drawn to write this post because of the remarkable attention paid to one of our blog posts.
Historian John Hammond Moore’s article on the history of the flying of the Confederate Flag over the S.C. State House was accessed 114 times, and these people spent an average of over twenty-seven minutes studying John’s piece. One hundred fourteen hits is an impressive number but twenty-seven minutes is incredible.
John Moore is a gifted historian. He is currently in his early nineties and until recently, always was engaged in multiple book and article projects, most involving South Carolina history and requiring detailed study of resources held by USC Libraries. His gifts are perhaps best showcased by his history of the South Carolina Highway Department. This very dull topic resulted in a remarkably readable history. Among my favorite Moore books is The Juhl Letters to the Charleston Courier: A View of the South, 1865-1871, the first book of John’s I read. The book that best shows John’s quirky humor is Wacko War: Strange Tales from America, 1941-1945. This 2001 book collects thirteen odd stories, many of which I first heard recounted by John over a dinner or while driving to some little South Carolina hamlet antiquing.
John wrote his piece on the flag thinking that The State or some other newspaper or journal would publish it, but found no takers. He kindly gave me his manuscript for SCPC’s Vertical File on the flag. In it, he provides the most thoroughly researched account of the events that resulted in the flag flying over the State House. Given the great interest in the issue recently, it made sense to publicize the piece on our web site. None of us are surprised that so many folks found and read the piece. Over the last eleven months it is our 8th most popular page. It is the time spent on the page that astounds us.
Among John’s other as-yet-unpublished works is a wonderful modern day mystery involving archivists and a discovery regarding our Civil War. His first foray into fiction, the story is a terrific read.
So, kudos to John Hammond Moore: World War II Navy veteran, biographer of Errol Flynn and author of over twenty other books as well as countless articles – and my favorite Mainiac!
~ Herb Hartsook