Republican Pioneer John Napier

S.C. Political Collections Celebrates Congress Week

South Carolina Political Collections is a proud member of the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress (ACSC). ACSC is sponsoring its fifth annual Congress Week, April 1 – 7, with the theme “The People’s Branch.” This is the third of five posts celebrating Congress Week.


John Light Napier (b. 1947) served a single term in Congress, 1981-1983, as representative of South Carolina’s Sixth District. As part of our celebration of Congress Week, SCPC today is mounting our oral history interview with Napier on our website, thus making it available to all who will find Napier’s life and career of interest. His is an inspirational story.

southern 500

Darlington “Southern 500″ Race: George H.W. Bush, Napier, and Strom Thurmond riding in the pace car

A graduate of Davidson College and the University of South Carolina School of Law, the young Republican attorney worked for Senator Strom Thurmond in the 1970s and decided to run for Congress. He defeated Ed Young in the 1980 Republican primary and then won election to Congress over incumbent John Jenrette with 52% of the vote. Democratic presidential candidate Jimmy Carter received 57% of the vote in the Sixth District, reflecting significant split ticket voting to elect the Republican. Napier was helped by the fact that the election occurred just one month after Jenrette’s conviction in the Abscam bribery scandal.

Ronnie Bonds, Lee Atwater, JLN, unidentified journalist, and Sandy Bridges conferring during the general election campaign against Congressman John W. Jenrette, 1980

Ronnie Bonds, Lee Atwater, Napier, unidentified journalist, and Sandy Bridges conferring during the general election campaign against Congressman John W. Jenrette, 1980

In Congress, Napier was appointed to the House Agriculture and Veterans Affairs committees and also served as assistant regional whip. In October 1981 Napier was credited for his leadership in the defeat of a significant anti-tobacco amendment, helping save the tobacco price-support program that was so important to his constituents.

Despite Napier’s strong performance in Congress, he was defeated in the 1982 general election by Democrat Robin Tallon, whose election was credited to Tallon’s work with African-American church leaders to assure high African-American turnout and support and Tallon’s extensive “Get Out the Vote” apparatus. Tallon polled 52% of the vote.

Since leaving Congress, Napier has worked as a lobbyist. In 2002, I interviewed Napier as part of SCPC’s effort to document the rise of the Republican Party in South Carolina. The wide-ranging interview covers his education, public service, and life after Congress.

Napier with Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, Washington, DC, 1980

Napier with Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, Washington, DC, 1980

He spoke at length about his work for and relationship with Strom Thurmond. Napier described Thurmond’s management of his office: “I’ve seen him use different management styles. And a lot of it deals with his Chief of Staff. I’ve seen him use the Roosevelt style, where he pits one staff member against another and never tells anybody what’s going on, and he’s the one who makes the final decision. And I’ve seen him then use a very structured Nixonian style. So it’s been different. He told me one time, he said, ‘You never tell anybody everything. You don’t withhold information. But you don’t tell everybody everything, or somebody everything, because if you do that they have as much power as you do.’ I thought that’s very telling about him. He’s a very open person, will be involved in exchanges, but he never reveals everything of himself.”

Napier campaigning in northeastern part of the Congressional District (Marion County)

Napier campaigning in the northeastern part of the Congressional District (Marion County)

During the ‘81 campaign, Napier was quoted as saying: “You don’t work for Strom Thurmond for that length of time and not learn something. Once you get to know him, you want to be like him.” When asked about the characteristics that Napier wanted to emulate, he responded, “Oh, I think his service to people. No one can ever accuse him of not wanting to serve people. He has been a great servant of people. He has strong faith. I had another situation to arise one time when I was writing something for him. I said, ‘I am afraid the national debt is out of control.’ He said, ‘I have never been afraid of anything in my life; I don’t use that word.’ He has a strong faith. You want to emulate that. Confidence, but not over-confident. He’s cautious, but by the same token, he’s willing to take risks. He’s balanced in his views of people. The only thing about him that’s unbalanced is politics is all-consuming to him. I mean, he has no real other hobbies or anything like that, but he does, as he executes his politics, he is very balanced in that. He’s the consummate political animal.”

Counting votes in Trent Lott's office during the debate on an amendment to the agriculture bill to abolish the tobacco price support program.  (Napier, Trent Lott of Mississippi, Hal Rogers, Republican of Kentucky, and Bill Natcher, Democrat of Kentucky)

Counting votes in Trent Lott’s office during the debate on an amendment to the agriculture bill to abolish the tobacco price support program.
(Napier, Trent Lott of Mississippi, Hal Rogers, Republican of Kentucky, and Bill Natcher, Democrat of Kentucky)

Later, Napier noted: “Being a member of Congress is different from being a staff member. Gosh, the informality of decision-making, one member to another member, is one thing that surprised me. I mean — just how people interact — I had no idea. The outside looking in is totally different from being on the inside looking on the inside. One to another. It’s a club. Not like the Senate, but it’s still a club. And you can say things and do things with people that otherwise you never could do. And that surprised me. My eyes were awakened to that. You have common problems. You have common problems in terms of finances; you have common problems in terms of personal life conditions; and you’re closer. Much more so twenty years ago than occurs now. There’s been a phenomenal change in Washington in the last twenty years. A phenomenal change. Basically because you have 435 political parties in the House and 100 separate political parties in the Senate. You’ve had that breakdown of the party in some ways. In other ways, you’ve had party discipline that’s been exerted. But in terms of the financing of operations, you’ve had everybody for himself — to work for reelection.

Napier, with daughter Page and wife Pam, visit with President George W. Bush in the Oval Office as he was ending his term in 2009

Napier, with daughter Page and wife Pam, visit with President George W. Bush in the Oval Office as he was ending his term in 2009

Napier’s congressional papers, 25 linear feet of material, are available for study at Clemson University.

By Herb Hartsook

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The Evolution of a Repository: SCPC since 1991

S.C. Political Collections Celebrates Congress Week

South Carolina Political Collections is a proud member of the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress (ACSC). ACSC is sponsoring its fifth annual Congress Week, April 1 – 7, with the theme “The People’s Branch.” This is the second of five posts celebrating Congress Week.


terry

George Terry in 1984

SCPC is the product of the vision of former Dean of Libraries George Terry and the dedication of Ashley Thrift, who in 1989 served as chief of staff to U.S. Senator Fritz Hollings.

Hollings is a graduate of The Citadel and the USC School of Law. Thrift is a loyal alumnus of The University of South Carolina. In 1989, Thrift contacted Terry and suggested that USC should approach Senator Hollings about his papers, and pledged to urge the Senator to give strong consideration to the University should it do so.

reading room

The Reading Room in the South Caroliniana Library

At that time, USC had a highly-regarded special collections repository, the South Caroliniana Library, and I headed the Library’s Manuscripts Division. The Division’s holdings included the papers of Senator Olin Johnston and Congressman Bryan Dorn, the League of Women Voters, and both major state parties. But none of these were arranged, described, or open to the public for research. I had begun working on Johnston’s papers shortly after joining the Library in 1984, but it was my backup project, and while I was making real progress, I had no timetable for opening the collection.

Meanwhile, SC’s senior senator, Strom Thurmond, had placed his papers at Clemson University, which had opened its Strom Thurmond Institute in 1981 and received the papers of several Republican congressmen. And other repositories in the state were considering seeking contemporary congressional collections.

thurmond institute

The Strom Thurmond Institute at Clemson University

Knowing my interest in government and large modern collections, Terry asked me to survey the handful of existing congressional repositories across the nation and prepare a proposal for Senator Hollings. Over the next year, we developed our proposal and initiated talks with the Senator, and found him receptive. It was an educational process. There were few congressional repositories and little scholarly work looking at the unique issues involved in modern legislative collections. It became obvious that this could be a transformative event for the USC Libraries.

hollings library

The Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library at USC, completed in the Spring of 2010

Terry determined that if we were successful, the University should build on the momentum to create something that would serve the nation as a model congressional repository. A new division of the Caroliniana would be created for modern political collections. It would collect broadly, targeting members of Congress, parties and party leaders, governors and leaders in the state legislature, and others impacting on government and politics. Terry shared a vision in which political collections would eventually achieve a stature and volume of holdings requiring its own building and independence from the Caroliniana.

moveable shelves

Beautiful moveable shelving enhances our storage capabilities and box retrieval from the stacks.

The Hollings gift agreement was concluded in 1991 and Political Collections was established with myself and two graduate assistants responsible for thirteen collections. We now have a staff of four full-time employees and 4 to 6 student assistants. Currently, we are responsible for 114 collections, including three actively serving members of Congress. We have contributed to the creation of a manual of “best practices” for congressional collecting and are recognized nationally as a model legislative papers repository. All this thanks to George Terry and Ashley Thrift, and of course, Senator Hollings himself. Unlike many congressional donors, Hollings has, from the beginning, showed great personal interest in our work with his papers and the development of Political Collections as a bi-partisan repository with rich holdings. I often comment how lucky I have been to know and serve the Senator and so many other men and women of such achievement.

By Herb Hartsook

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Elizabeth Johnston Patterson: Following a Family Tradition

S.C. Political Collections Celebrates Congress Week

South Carolina Political Collections is a proud member of the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress (ACSC). ACSC is sponsoring its fifth annual Congress Week, April 1 – 7, with the theme “The People’s Branch.” This is the first of five posts celebrating Congress Week


“Sometimes a colleague is startled to walk in, find that the senator is temporarily absent but that Lizzie is in his place, her feet up on the desk.”                                                                                                          —Life, 1949

Patterson

Liz Patterson as a child in Washington

“Lizzie”—Gladys Elizabeth Johnston—was the daughter of South Carolina’s Olin D. Johnston, who served in the United States Senate from 1945 until his death in 1965. Raised in a family committed to public service, she eventually grew up to earn her own desk on Capitol Hill. She was the first woman from South Carolina to be elected to a full term in Congress, and went on to serve for three terms, from 1987 to 1993.

Patterson was born November 18, 1939, in Columbia, South Carolina. She shared a birthday with both her father and her older sister, Sallie. Her father had recently completed a term as governor of South Carolina; he would be elected again in 1942, before stepping down in 1945 to ascend to the Senate. As a result, Patterson spent much of her childhood in and around Washington, D.C., and as a nine-year-old, attracted the attention of a writer for Life magazine for her roller-skating around the Capitol building.

Patterson and Mann

Liz Patterson and Congressman James Mann speak with a constituent

As a young adult, Patterson became active in politics in her own right, helping manage what turned out to be her father’s last campaign for the Senate in 1962, as well as working in the 1964 campaign of President Lyndon Johnson, taking a turn aboard the “Lady Bird Special” campaign train. Starting in 1966, she worked in Columbia as part of the state Office of Economic Opportunity, helping oversee VISTA and Head Start. From there, Patterson’s dedication to public service led her to work for Congressman James L. Mann, to serve as a Spartanburg County Councilwoman, and to a seat in the state Senate.

In 1986, she decided to run for the Fourth District’s Congressional seat. Throwing her hat into the ring, she noted, “My family taught me that our world is only as good as you make it, and one of the ways to make it better is to participate in the political process.” She was elected, and went on to serve in that role until 1993. Her legislative interests included banking policy, the budget, veterans’ benefits, and other issues affecting the Upstate, such as the Southern Connector highway and the textile industry.

Following her political career, Patterson worked as director of Continuing Education at Converse College, as well as teaching classes at Spartanburg Methodist College, where her father began his education while working in the mills.

Liz Patterson

Patterson stands with Governor Dick Riley during her 1986 announcement for Congress

Reflecting on her career in 2003, Patterson noted, “Our father used to say that he believed one of his daughters would marry a man who would become governor someday…  Opportunities for women opened up in politics after he died, and I think he would have been pleased with my political career.”

Patterson’s papers, now open for research, include eighteen feet of material, chiefly 1979 to 1992, documenting her public service as well as her campaigns for office. Audiovisual materials include numerous family and other photographs, as well as television and radio campaign ads.

By Dorothy Walker

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The Summerton 60

Senator Hollings writes regular op-ed pieces on issues that concern him. Following is one he sent out today, which we want to share with our followers.

~ Herb Hartsook


The Summerton 60

An Op-Ed by former
U.S. Senator Ernest F. Hollings

Hollings

Senator Hollings

When President Obama and Congressman John Lewis visited the Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on its 50th Anniversary, many in the press and media hailed Selma as the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement.  The Civil Rights Movement began fifteen years earlier when Levi Pearson fixed up a discarded school bus and went with Reverend Joseph A. DeLaine, a teacher at Scott’s Branch, to the Clarendon County School Board for gasoline money.  White children were bused to school in Clarendon County, SC, but black children had to walk.  Roderick W. Elliott, Chairman of the Clarendon County School board, told DeLaine: “White folks own property, pay taxes and provide money for buses.  Black folks don’t own property, pay no taxes and there is no money for black children.”  James M. Hinton, Chairman of the NAACP, told DeLaine that if he could get twenty-five plaintiffs, they would get “that Washington lawyer” Thurgood Marshall to bring a class action.  Instead of twenty-five, some seventy-six plaintiffs signed up – most from Summerton, SC.

DeLaine

The Reverend Joseph A. DeLaine

The plaintiff Harry Briggs, an African American, owned a filling station while his wife worked as a maid.  When the Board realized that Marshall was on the case, the Board retained Robert McC. Figg, who was considered the best attorney practicing in the federal courts in SC.  Upon the filing of Briggs vs. Elliott, all hell broke loose.  Pearson lost white customers for timber that he cut and the bank cut his credit.  White customers stopped coming to Briggs’ station, and finally losing it, he had to move to Florida to make a living.  Maids that signed the complaint lost their jobs.  Black farmers were refused seed and had to travel to Columbia for seed.  DeLaine lost his job at Scott’s Branch, and twice at night vigilantes drove by and shot up his home.  On the second occasion, DeLaine fired at the car’s tires so he could identify the assailants.  For this, DeLaine was charged with assault and battery with intent to kill.  Then on October 10, 1951, DeLaine’s home was burned down.  The church moved Reverend DeLaine twenty miles away to Lake City, SC.  DeLaine was given a new church, but before long his Lake City church was burned.  Shortly afterward, when Reverend DeLaine heard that a mob was coming to lynch him, he escaped out of the back door of his home, went across two fields to a highway where he caught a ride to Charlotte and then to New York – never to return to South Carolina.  At the time, his son, Joseph A. DeLaine, Jr., was in the U.S. Army in Korea.  All kinds of pressure was brought to bear on the plaintiffs to remove their names from the complaint, but sixty refused – the Summerton 60.

Waring

Judge Waties Waring

Briggs vs. Elliott came before a Three Judge Court which held two-to-one that it was bound by the Plessy “separate but equal” decision.  Judge Waties Waring filed a brilliant dissent that the Supreme Court later followed in its decision of Brown vs. Board of Education.  After his dissent, Waring received death threats, which caused him to leave Charleston, move to New York, never to return except for his funeral.

Briggs was the first Civil Rights case to reach the Supreme Court, and Thurgood Marshall considered it the most important.  Briggs was consolidated with challenges from Kansas, Virginia, Delaware and the District of Columbia.  Governor James F. Byrnes enlisted John W. Davis to represent South Carolina.  Davis had argued a hundred cases before the Supreme Court and Byrnes, a former Supreme Court Justice, wanted to make sure that South Carolina won.  On appeal, Governor Byrnes sent me with Figg to Washington because I had chaired the committee that wrote the sales tax equalizing school facilities.  When Figg checked at the Court, we learned that the case Brown vs. Board of Education was moved ahead of Briggs.  The secondary schools in Kansas were integrated but the primary schools were still segregated.  Kansas was submitting the Brown case without argument.  Figg called Byrnes, who called the Governor of Kansas, to send a lawyer to argue Brown.  Byrnes had served on the Supreme Court with Chief Justice Fred Vinson and told me that he expected South Carolina to win.  But Vinson died in September 1953 and President Eisenhower appointed former Governor Earl Warren as Chief Justice.  Thurgood Marshall and Judge Waties Waring commenced Civil Rights Law when the Supreme Court in Brown vs. The Board of Education reversed Plessy vs. Ferguson on May 17, 1954.

Marshall

Thurgood Marshall, Chief Counsel for the NAACP (photo: Library of Congress)

In November, 1956, The Supreme Court ruled in the Montgomery, Alabama, case that segregated bus seating was unconstitutional.  When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on December 21, 1956, she had The Supreme Court on her side.  The Supreme Court was not on the side of the Summerton 60 during their four years of hell.  Instead of losing their seats, the Summerton 60 lost their jobs, their homes, and their churches.  Because of the Summerton 60, the doctrine of “all men are created equal” in The Declaration of Independence was enshrined in the Constitution of the United States; Rosa Parks could keep her seat; freedom riders could ride; Martin Luther King could march; John Lewis could be elected to Congress and Barrack Obama could be elected President.

Clarendon plaque

Commemorative plaque at Scott’s Branch High School, Clarendon County

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Road Map of Justice: Judge Robert W. Hemphill

Hemphill

Judge Hemphill

Robert Witherspoon Hemphill (1915-1983) was a towering figure in South Carolina during his life.  He represented South Carolina’s Fifth District in the United States Congress from 1957 to 1964, when he ascended to a federal judgeship on the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina.  A distinguished and sometimes intimidating jurist, Hemphill was noted for his keen opinions and strong work ethic.  Hemphill took senior status in 1980 and continued to hear cases until his death.  Shortly thereafter, his staff boxed up the entire contents of his office for the South Caroliniana Library, and his papers were transferred to South Carolina Political Collections on the department’s founding in 1991.

road map

The road map

We received everything that was in his office, including the contents of his desk.  To this day, I use his scissors and ruler.  Having arranged and described the Hemphill collection, one aspect of his nature impressed me deeply: his devotion to his friends.  He seems to have taken time every day to pen short notes to friends, particularly if they were ill or had some other difficulty.  An avid outdoorsman, he routinely commented on the good “fellowship” he had enjoyed on hunting and fishing trips.

Recently, we received an Esso road map from Lyles Glenn, once Judge Hemphill’s clerk.  Judge Hemphill had traced on the map the route he traveled between Spartanburg, Rock Hill, and Columbia, cities in which he routinely held court, and Richmond, Virginia.  As Lyles recounted, “This road map is the one which Judge Hemphill frequently cited to attorneys who unsuccessfully argued motions or other matters which came before his court.  In other words, ‘if you don’t like the ruling you are welcome to appeal it; here’s the map, and here’s the route to Richmond (i.e., the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals)’.”

Hemphill road map

The Road to Richmond

For more on this fascinating figure, please read the description of our Hemphill Collection and view the finding aid.

 ~ Herb Hartsook

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SCPC Celebrates Women’s History Month

I was once asked why I wanted to dedicate my career to the papers of “old, fat, bald” men. The question took me aback because SCPC’s collections contain rich materials documenting women in America, and I feel particularly close to a number of our women donors. And even the papers of Fritz Hollings, Bryan Dorn, Olin Johnston, etc., all include voluminous materials reflecting the concerns of female constituents and a variety of issues impacting on the lives of women in America.

League and Hollings

League President Keller Bumgardner (right) and Board member Claire Randall with the recently-elected Senator Fritz Hollings in 1967

SCPC is happy to celebrate Women’s History Month with two small exhibits in the Hollings Library’s Brittain Gallery.

The larger case showcases the papers of the League of Women Voters of South Carolina. This large archives documents the League’s founding, growth, and programming and is one of our core holdings. As I often comment, if you research almost any topic of importance—local, state or national—you will need to study the League’s papers. There is almost nothing about government or society that the League doesn’t address in some form. In addition to the state League, our holdings also document local leagues throughout the state and the work of League leaders. Given our shared interest in good government, many League leaders have become friends.

Against the Tide

Keyserling’s memoir, Against the Tide: One Woman’s Political Struggle

A second case is devoted to the papers of Harriet Keyserling and Liz Patterson. Mrs. Keyserling (1922-2010) came to public service only after rearing her children. The self-proclaimed “New York Jewish liberal,” represented Beaufort County in the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1977 until her retirement in 1993. Her memoir provides wonderful insights into her life experiences and the workings of government. The collection itself, at 48 feet, is a particularly large collection for a state legislator. It reflects Keyserling’s deep interest in the arts, education, and nuclear energy and waste.

Patterson and Mann

Liz Patterson and Congressman James Mann speak with a constituent

Elizabeth “Liz” Johnston Patterson (b. 1939) grew up in the public eye as the daughter of former governor and U.S. Senator Olin Johnston. Like her father, she has enjoyed a life in public service. The Columbia College graduate worked with the Peace Corps, Vista, and Head Start, before joining the staff of S.C. Congressman James Mann in 1969. She won election to Spartanburg County Council in 1975, served in the state Senate beginning in 1980, and represented the Fourth District in Congress from 1987 to 1993, where she won a reputation as a strong fiscal conservative.

Both Keyserling and Patterson became good friends and have been wonderful donors—accessible, friendly, and eager to share their papers with the public.

I can’t imagine an SCPC focused solely on men in government. I believe history shows that we will be served best when more women have leadership roles in government.

~ Herb Hartsook

Note: For more on Liz Patterson, you may read an oral history interview with her here.

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Some Brief Reflections: Relationships with Donors

This is very self-indulgent, but I recently went through a stack of my own photos, and thought to share some, reflecting on the people I have had the pleasure to serve over the years.  Following are some favorites, in approximate chronological order.  I don’t regret losing weight but I’d love to have some hair back.

HH001 with Fritz & Peatsy Hollings, April 2000The ever elegant Peatsy Hollings with the Senator.  Many Hollings staffers refer to Hollings as “the Boss,” and that is how I always think of him;

HH002 with Isadore LourieIsadore Lourie, in almost every photo I’ve ever seen, he was smiling;

HH003 with Floyd SpenceFloyd Spence pledged his papers the day we first contacted him;

HH004 with John West, May 2000John West often recalled his early life on the farm, where he worked from dawn to dusk, or as he phrased it, “from can’t see to can’t see;”

HH006 with Wm WestmorelandDean of Libraries George Terry asked me to solicit General William Westmoreland’s papers.  Five years later, I had a great adventure in bringing the collection to the Caroliniana;

HH005 with Bryan Dorn, 2004For years, Steve Griffith and I visited Bryan Dorn each year, just before Christmas;

HH008 with Carroll Campbell, March 2004I met Carroll Campbell after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  When Dean of Libraries Paul Willis and I visited his home to pick up his papers, Gov. Campbell helped load our van.  When I objected to him carrying the heavy boxes, Mrs. Campbell accurately noted “Well, he’s the most fit.”  And it was true;

HH007 with John SprattJohn and Jane Spratt have proven to be ideal donors.  Here I am twisting his arm hoping he will pledge his papers to SCPC.

Herb Hartsook

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“I refuse to take it personally”: On the Popularity of the U.S. Congress

I have spent the bulk of my career documenting contemporary government and politics.  First as a graduate assistant during the late 1970s at the University of Michigan where I processed the papers of the Michigan Republican Party.  I take great pride in my association with legislators including Butler Derrick, Bryan Dorn, Jim Edwards, Lindsey Graham, Fritz Hollings, John Spratt and John West.  But, I also sometimes shudder at the antics of our nation’s leaders.  So, it was with great delight that I read remarks by Don Ritchie of the Senate Historical Office.  Don is one of the finest oral historians I have encountered and a fount of information on the Senate.

Don Ritchie

Senate Historian Don Ritchie doing one of his many appearances on C-SPAN

During a recent panel on congressional history presented at the 2014 annual meeting of the Society for History in the Federal Government, Ritchie noted, “Congress registers as the least popular branch of the federal government. Even at its highest levels, right after Watergate, Congress was well regarded by only 40 percent of the population. In recent years that approval rate has dipped below 10 percent—down below used car salesmen and just ahead of telemarketers.

Longworth

Nicholas Longworth in 1912

But this is nothing new. Back in 1925, Representative Nicholas Longworth—for whom one of the three House office buildings was named—commented that during the 20 years he had served, members of Congress had been “attacked, denounced, despised, hunted, harried, blamed, looked down upon, excoriated, and flayed. I refuse to take it personally,” he said. “I have looked into history. . . .We were unpopular when John Quincy Adams was a congressman. We were unpopular when Henry Clay was a congressman. We have always been unpopular. From the beginning of the Republic, it has been the duty of every free-born voter to look down upon us, and the duty of every free-born humorist to make jokes at us.”

Herb Hartsook

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Roll In With Olin

Johnstons

Senator Olin Johnston with his wife Gladys and daughter Liz in 1957

Political campaigns require a great deal from candidates.  They have to have the “fire in the belly” to withstand the rigors of a contested election and use all manner of “tools” to reach out to voters.  These might consist of meet and greets, door-to-door solicitation, clever advertising, yard signs, billboards, and recently, robo-calling.  Music has long been an effective tool used well by many campaigners.

“Roll In With Olin” was the campaign song used by U.S. Senator Olin D. Johnston, whose papers formed the University’s first major congressional collection when they were received in 1965 shortly after the Senator’s death.

The catchy song was written by Jimmy McHugh (1894–1969) a prolific songwriter active from the 1920s to the 1950s.  His songs were recorded by artists including Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Billie Holiday, Peggy Lee, and Frank Sinatra.

Liz Patterson

Liz Johnston (Patterson) campaigned for her father at the fair in Anderson, SC.

Daughter Liz Patterson recalls that the piece was so popular, it even played on the jukeboxes at the beach.  She recounts that Johnston’s connection to McHugh came through a relation who had moved to Hollywood.

We believe this recording was issued during Johnston’s final reelection campaign of 1962, when he turned back challenges by then-Governor Fritz Hollings in the Democratic primary, and Republican Bill Workman in the general election.

Please click below to hear two versions of this short campaign ditty.  Listen along as the song encourages voters to support “the tried and true . . . man who will fight for you.”

By Herb Hartsook

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SCPC Holiday Schedule

holly border topSCPC will be open on Monday, December 22nd,

and will then close for the Christmas break. 

We will be open for business again beginning

Friday, January 2nd.

Enjoy your holidays!

holly border bottom

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