Governor on the Move: Adventures of SCPC’s Johnston Portrait


Bob Wynn and Brian Harrison carefully remove the portrait from the Smith Reading Room in the Hollings Library…

SCPC is proud to hold the personal papers of most of our post-WWII governors. These include the papers of Olin D. Johnston, who served as governor from 1935 to 1939 and again from 1943 to 1945. In 1945, he entered the U.S. Senate, having defeated incumbent Ellison “Cotton Ed” Smith” in the 1944 Democratic primary. Johnston served in the Senate until his death in 1965. His collection came to us as the first major congressional acquisition received by USC. In the early 1990s, we opened over 180 feet of Johnston papers for study, and Johnston remains a linchpin collection among our holdings.


…and prepare to take it into the Governor’s Mansion.

Johnston’s daughters, Sallie Scott and former congresswoman Liz Patterson, recently donated some additional papers to our Johnston and Patterson collections. One highlight of the addition were wonderful photographs that showcase the great sense of fashion shared by Johnston and his wife Gladys. We also received the portrait of Johnston painted in 1946 by Seymour Millais Stone (1877-1957). Other Stone portraits hang in the U.S. Capitol and the National Portrait Gallery. A copy of the portrait hung for years in the South Caroliniana Library’s Johnston Room, which housed the Manuscripts Division reading room.

SCPC reached out to the Governor’s Mansion to see if they might like to exhibit the Johnston portrait and we received an enthusiastic response. Last month, we delivered the portrait to the Mansion, where it will hang until January 2018, alongside portraits of other SCPC donors including South Carolina governors John West, Jim Edwards, Dick Riley, Carroll Campbell, and Mark Sanford. Our crew received a delightful tour given by Mansion curator Nancy Bunch.


Brian and SCPC Director Herb Hartsook reflect on the painting and the artist with Mansion Curator Nancy Bunch.

Hartsook & Bunch

Herb officially transfers the Johnston portrait to Nancy Bunch.

Johnston portrait

Olin D. Johnston back in his old home alongside portraits of former governors Richard Wilson Riley (served from 1979 to 1987) and Whitemarsh Benjamin Seabrook (served from 1848 to 1850) . The portrait will be on loan to the Mansion for the next two years.


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