In the Family Tradition

On April 2, we were delighted to welcome family members of the late Senator Olin Johnston and of Congresswoman Liz Patterson for a tour of our exhibit, “In the Family Tradition: Olin D. Johnston and Elizabeth J. Patterson.”

FamilyIncluded in the party were Senator Johnston’s daughter Sallie and her granddaughter, and Mrs. Patterson’s children Pat and Catherine, as well as Catherine’s children.  After enjoying the exhibit, we walked over to the South Caroliniana Library to see Senator Johnston’s historic desk, which is installed in the Manuscripts Division reading room—the Olin D. Johnston Memorial Room.  Coincidentally, it was exactly forty-five years to the day since the University dedicated this room.

The dedication honored the former governor and U.S. Senator, who died in 1965, and whose papers formed the first major congressional collection ever received by the University.  It also honored friends of Sen. Johnston for their success in endowing a professorship in political science at USC.  The fundraising campaign, chaired by Congressman Robert Hemphill, raised nearly $100,000, a huge sum in the 1960s.

U.S. Senator Ernest F. “Fritz” Hollings, fresh from winning his first full Senate term, attended the dedication, and Governor Robert E. McNair delivered the address.  McNair praised Johnston “as a friend and a great teacher in the art of serving our fellow man.”  He noted that Johnston was “a man who championed difficult causes,” and was devoted to the working class on the farm and in the mills.

Senator Olin Johnston and his daughter, Liz.

Senator Olin Johnston and his daughter, Liz.

The papers of Johnston, Hemphill, Hollings, and McNair form core holdings of SCPC.

Mrs. Patterson also visited us last week with husband Dwight and a friend and toured the exhibit.  She is an inspirational figure and all of our staff and students enjoyed this opportunity to visit and hear stories of her life and public service.


Contributed by Herb Hartsook


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