As SCPC prepares to open the papers of journalist and historian Jack Bass, Mary Clare Johnson reflects on her experience in completing the arrangement and description of his papers. As our Senior Graduate Assistant, she was entrusted with completing a project I began in the 1990s. While the soon-to-open collection represents the vast bulk of his papers, we receive regular additions documenting Jack’s current interests and activities. Thanks to the Schuyler L. and Yvonne Moore Endowment, Mary Clare, who graduated this past Saturday, will continue working with us while she seeks her first full-time professional position. We know she will have a successful career. ~HJH
We are pleased to announce the opening for research of the Jack Bass Collection. An exhibit in the Brittain Gallery of the Hollings Library celebrates Bass’s life and accomplishments.
Jack Bass is a prolific author, journalist, oral historian, and professor. He has obtained national recognition for his research and works on the American South, particularly in the areas of politics and civil rights. He has received such awards as South Carolina Journalist of the Year in 1968 and 1972 and the South Carolina Governor’s Award in the Humanities in 2011. Some of the colleges and universities at which Bass has taught include the University of South Carolina, University of Mississippi, and College of Charleston. As a newspaperman, he worked for The News and Courier and The Charlotte Observer among others. He has written numerous articles relating to government, race, and politics in South Carolina and other Southern states.
Bass has authored and co-authored a total of eight books including The Orangeburg Massacre (1970), Ol’ Strom: An Unauthorized Biography of Strom Thurmond (1998), and Taming the Storm: The Life and Times of Frank M. Johnson, Jr. and the South’s Fight Over Civil Rights (1993), with the latter winning the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. As an oral historian, Bass has interviewed notable figures, including Bill Clinton, U.S. Congressman James Clyburn, and South Carolina Governor Richard Riley.
His papers, c. 1936 to 2017, chiefly consist of materials documenting Bass’s work in researching and writing his books and articles. Other materials relate to Bass’s academic career at various institutions and his 1978 run for Congress.
Democratic candidate Bass attempted to unseat four-term Republican congressman Floyd Spence, who represented South Carolina’s Second Congressional District. One of his supporters wrote, “Your campaign seems to be only a natural progression from the compassion and concern that was always evident in your writing… I was inspired by your work and it’s quite heartening to see someone testing heart-felt convictions in public life.” Bass won the Democratic primary, but lost the general election to Spence.
Contributed by Mary Clare Johnson, Graduate Assistant (now graduate!)