From the time I started at SCPC as a Grad Assistant in 2009, I had heard about a so-called “cursed” collection. It was considered to be a great collection that researchers would find useful but everyone who worked on processing it would leave for one reason or another before they finished.* So, back in July, when Dorothy said that the Harvin collection was going to be my next project, I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into.
As I started going through the boxes to figure out my plan of action, what stood out was that Harvin loved the state of South Carolina and its people. These boxes held 29 years of constituent correspondence, legislation, committee agendas, clippings, and photographs. He had a great relationship with the people of Clarendon and Williamsburg counties and it is reflected in this material.
This was by far the most detailed collection that I have worked on at SCPC. Having to navigate through notes left by former assistants was difficult at times. Luckily, I had the help of Katharine, a second year assistant on this project. With her assistance, we were able to get this collection finished and ready to open.
-Virginia W. Blake
*Editorial note from Herb Hartsook, SCPC Director: In 1992, when Alex Harvin agreed to donate his papers to SCPC, he was only 42 years old but had already served 16 years in the South Carolina General Assembly. He had amassed over 100 feet of materials which formed the basis of the collection, and added to this regularly over the years. Harvin’s immediately became the largest collection donated by a state legislator in South Carolina. And, since state legislators rarely have a large staff to help them manage their files, the records, while rich, were in poor order, included a great deal of extraneous materials, and required a herculean effort to arrange and describe. Processing began in 1992 and wasn’t completed until just this year.