SCPC recently compiled a report on scholarly research conducted in our holdings since we moved into the Hollings Library during the summer of 2010. We ended up identifying over fifty researchers who we felt merited this designation.
These ranged from scholars who visited many times over a period of more than a year, such as the Cambridge University doctoral student studying the early career of Senator Fritz Hollings and a senior professor writing a biography of Congressman Bryan Dorn, both of whom presented on their work at our “Art of Political Biography” event, to more limited studies, such as the visit for just a few days by a German scholar studying the early women’s movement or the Citadel professor studying voter turnout in the 1970s.
Almost half of the scholars on this list are USC students, faculty, or staff, and four are affiliated with other South Carolina schools. We strive to reach out to the teachers and students here, so that is a rewarding statistic. Others traveled quite a distance, having first learned of SCPC through our website. In addition to England and Germany, we had researchers come from places as far away as La Trobe University in Australia; the University of California, Berkeley; Princeton; and Yale. See previous blog posts from December and January by recent visitors about their research.
Almost all of the people represented in this report made excellent use of our website before visiting–analyzing the finding aids we produce for our collections to identify exactly what they wanted to see, and sometimes reading our “In Their Own Words” publications and/or oral history transcripts in the comfort of their homes before coming to the Smith Reading Room.
Dorn Research Awards are available to underwrite research visits. Three to four awards of up to $1,000 are available to reimburse scholars for travel, lodging, copying, etc. These awards are becoming ever more popular and we take great pride in the work of our Dorn Scholars.
Over the next months, our exhibit gallery will undergo a significant change as we add new graphics and video touchscreens and displays, allowing visitors to see and hear video, audio, and images relating to our physical exhibits. While we hope our scholarly users will enjoy the new exhibits, we hope even more that they will help explain why USC devotes the resources it does to SCPC. It will be interesting to see if these changes will attract even more people to come and study our recent past.
–Contributed by Herb Hartsook