SCPC Today: 121 Collections and Growing (Part 1)

To celebrate Congress Week, April 1-7, 2016, South Carolina Political Collections (SCPC) will post daily blogs reflecting on our history and celebrating our 25th anniversary.


dole institute

The Robert J. Dole Institute for Politics at the University of Kansas

Some repositories are defined by one major collection.  This is certainly true of the presidential libraries and also of prominent congressional repositories like the Robert J. Dole Institute and Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies.  We instead take great pride in the wide array of collections held by SCPC.  Among our collections are the papers of twenty-seven members of Congress; eleven recent South Carolina governors; jurists, including two state Supreme Court chief justices; leaders in our state legislature; journalists; editorial cartoonists; Civil Rights activists; and organizations including our major state parties and the League of Women Voters.

hollings & thurmond

Fritz Hollings with Strom Thurmond in 1969. Thurmond’s papers are the foundation  of Clemson University’s special collections.

Our largest collections include some of the largest manuscript collections in South Carolina.  We eventually received more than 2,400 cartons of material from U.S. Senator Ernest F. Hollings.  To the best of my knowledge, only the Strom Thurmond collection at Clemson University is larger.  I believe Thurmond donated approximately 3,000 cartons of material to Clemson.  We received over 800 cartons of materials documenting the careers of congressmen Bryan Dorn, 1947-1948 & 1951-1974, and John Spratt, 1983-2011.  Each of these acquisitions is quite a story in its own right, but some of the smaller collections involve equally interesting back stories.  And in this and tomorrow’s post I will share the stories of two smaller collections – the papers of John West and James Edwards.

Fritz Hollings wanted to see SCPC become a center for the study of government and politics.  Towards this end, shortly after he donated his papers, he convinced his friend and fellow Citadel graduate John West to visit SCPC.  West served during World War II, earned his law degree at USC, served in the South Carolina Senate, as Lieutenant Governor, as Governor, 1971 to 1975, and as President Jimmy Carter’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, 1977 to 1981.  West quickly decided that his papers should come here, and soon became a major SCPC supporter.

john and lois west

SC Governor John & First Lady Lois West

West’s collection is relatively small but rich, particularly because of the presence of a diary begun on the campaign trail and maintained through his years as governor and as ambassador. In the diary, West documented his life on a nearly daily basis.  This diary reflects both West’s deep sense of history as well as terrific discipline.  I can’t imagine how he made time each day to record his thoughts, but he did and we all benefit from his foresight. The diary is unique among our holdings and presents valuable insights into West’s service and personal life.

My relationship with West deepened over time, particularly through the hours we spent recording a life history oral history interview.  West grew up on a small farm and remarked about working from “can’t see to can’t see,” rising before dawn and not resting until the sun had set.  That picturesque phrase is one I find myself repeating at least once or twice a month.

Tomorrow’s post will continue this theme.

–Herb Hartsook

west and hartsook

John West with SCPC Director Herb Hartsook

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25th Anniversary of SCPC: How we began

To celebrate Congress Week, April 1-7, 2016, South Carolina Political Collections (SCPC) will post daily blogs reflecting on our history and celebrating our 25th anniversary.


scl

Reading Room at the South Caroliniana Library

Modern Political Collections, now SCPC, was created in April 1991 as a division of the University of South Carolina’s main special collections repository, the South Caroliniana Library.  The Caroliniana has long been known for its remarkable holdings of manuscript collections, published materials and visual materials relating to South Carolina and its history.  I worked as the Caroliniana’s Curator of Manuscripts for seven years before establishing SCPC.  It was a thrilling experience, working with a wide array of rich and wonderful collections and meeting fascinating researchers as well as memorable donors of collections.

The creation of SCPC was a result of the decision by U.S. Senator Ernest F. “Fritz” Hollings to donate his papers to the University.   The potential his papers represented, in terms of importance, size and complexity, made the University rethink its special collections arrangements.

hollings

Our original benefactor

Hollings was a graduate of The Citadel and the USC School of Law.  He began his career of public service as a member of the S.C. House, served as Lt. Governor under George Bell Timmerman, and succeeded Timmerman as governor.  Don Fowler, political scientist and former chairman of the national Democratic Party, has described Hollings as governor (1959-1963) as “The leader who best exemplified the creativity and leadership that transformed the South to a new era of progress and prosperity.…While many have improved and added to the programs that he created, we still work with the basic institutional arrangements he created and we still benefit from them.” [letter to the author, Aug. 19, 1996]

In 1966, Hollings won election to the U.S. Senate.  By 1989, when the University approached Hollings about his papers, he was highly regarded as an active proponent of a strong military, a balanced budget, and social programs designed to help the poor become active contributing members of society.

terry portrait

Shown unveiling a portrait of the late George Terry are then-USC President, Andrew Sorensen; artist, Larry Lebby; USC President Emeritus, John Palms; George Terry’s widow, Lynn Robertson; and then-Dean of Libraries, Paul Willis (2005)

When the University decided to go after the Hollings collection, then-Dean of Libraries George Terry asked me to design our proposal.  I surveyed the field, and found there were few repositories devoted to contemporary political papers, but that we had two in our backyard — at Clemson and Georgia.  The University of Georgia’s Richard B. Russell Library is probably the best congressional repository in the country and has served as our model.

Part of the appeal to Sen. Hollings was that we wanted to build on his collection to create a nexus of holdings that would allow significant studies of modern society, government, and politics.  SCPC’s mission has, from the beginning, been to collect, preserve, and encourage research in private papers documenting South Carolinians and their government at the national and state levels since 1945.

stokes

Allen Stokes

Upon SCPC’s creation in 1991, we inherited rich collections to go along with the Hollings papers.  These had mainly been acquired through the efforts of Caroliniana Director Allen Stokes and Field Archivist Tom Johnson.

At our founding, in addition to Hollings, we transferred from the Caroliniana’s Manuscripts Division two major unprocessed congressional collections totaling over 1,300 linear feet, the papers of Senator Olin Johnston and Congressman William Jennings Bryan Dorn, and eleven smaller collections including the papers of the Democratic and Republican parties.  Most of these collections had received minimal attention from the Caroliniana staff, probably because of their size and complexity.

Dean Terry’s vision for Political Collections was challenging.  From our earliest discussions, his vision called for us to eventually merit a building of our own and status as an independent unit of University Libraries.

scpc warehouse

The Warehouse, a/k/a the Old Pearle Building

Our first home was in an old warehouse on the edge of campus.  We spent weeks transferring our collections from the Caroliniana, and soon received three tractor trailer loads of Hollings papers from the Suitland Records Center outside Washington.  We also visited Hollings’ Charleston office in the old Customs Building, where we found a treasure trove — important records from his time as governor.  (Before the term of John Carl West, governor’s papers were considered personal rather than state property.)

Today, we hold 121 discrete collections including the papers of members of Congress, governors, leaders in our state legislature, jurists, both major state parties, journalists, Civil Rights activists, editorial cartoonists, and others.  A significant endowment supports professional and student positions, public programming, professional development for our staff, and a research awards program.  And, we are receiving or have pledged to us the papers of eight members of South Carolina’s current nine member congressional delegation.

Next week we will share additional reflections on SCPC’s history.

–Herb Hartsook

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Insurgents All: The General (Jackson) and the Mogul (Trump)

A guest post contributed by Dr. Lacy K. Ford, Jr., senior vice provost and dean of graduate studies and professor of southern history at U of SC


Political observers are prone to search the historical landscape far and wide for analogues to the most striking phenomena of each campaign season.  This year is no exception.

Trump

Donald Trump

In a typical campaign year, the search for a counterpart of an avowed socialist challenging an experienced party veteran at the risk of harming his party’s ultimate chance for success (think Henry Wallace 1948) would provide enough fodder to occupy the punditry.  But this year the pundits are preoccupied if not obsessed with fathoming the unexpected success of billionaire real estate mogul and political novice Donald Trump in the Republican primaries.

huey long

Louisiana’s legendary populist politician Huey Long — “Every Man a King”

Historical comparisons to Trump have hatched like mosquitoes in the Congaree flood plain.  The irreverent, iconoclastic Trump and his insurgency have been compared to Barry Goldwater’s takeover of your grandfather’s Republican Party in 1964 or the maverick John McCain’s failed challenge to “W” in 2000.  Trump has even been compared to third party movements like those of Ross Perot, George Wallace, and, most aptly, Huey Long.   Each historical analogy may yield some insight into the Trump movement, but to find the most telling (and perhaps troubling) comparison, commentators might have to forage a century further back than Long, to the rise of General Andrew Jackson, the “Old Hero,” to the presidency during the 1820s.

Unlike Trump, Jackson was not a political newcomer, having served in the US House of Representatives and largely inconsequential periods in the US Senate from Tennessee, but, like Trump, his notoriety and fame emanated chiefly from outside the world of politics.

andrew jackson

General Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812

Jackson exploded onto the national political scene based on his popularity as a successful military leader.  Jackson was not only the hero of the Battle of New Orleans, the decisive, face-saving American victory during the War of 1812 (actually achieved after the peace had been negotiated in Europe) and his exploits in a variety of campaigns in “Indian wars” (military engagements against Native American tribes) which had pushed the tribes further west and cleared valuable land for the expansion of slavery and the cotton kingdom across the deep South.  If Jackson earned fame as a military leader (or “chieftain” as his critics referred to him), Trump earned his as a rich (if publicity-hungry) business tycoon known for mastery of the “Art of the Deal,” and more importantly as reality TV celebrity known for delivering the lines “You’re fired” at the end of each episode of the “The Apprentice.”

trump the apprenticeThe appeal of Jackson and Trump parallel.  They voiced both the fears and aspirations of frustrated and even angry citizens who are neither comfortable nor fluent with the language of complexity and nuance or with the give-and-take compromise of politics in our republic.  They both flashed tempers and did not shy from vitriolic denunciation of their targets and opponents.  Neither won kudos for tolerance or moderation.  They both have won support by vowing to let nothing stand in the way of getting their way—perhaps including legal and constitutional restrictions.  Their urgent calls for the unrestrained pursuit of greatness resonates with impatient portions of the population, but spawn fears of authoritarian excess and a rogue presidency among others.

John C Calhoun

Jackson’s vice-president, South Carolinian John C. Calhoun, led the virulent opposition during the Nullification Crisis of 1832.

As Jackson rose to power, James Madison, John Quincy Adams and John C. Calhoun, men who disagreed on many issues of their day, all expressed concern that as his popularity grew Jackson might prove an American Napoleon or Cromwell.  At the very least they knew that, if elected, Jackson would be the first American president not born to that “aristocracy of talent” that Thomas Jefferson thought should lead governments.  The early national elite’s skepticism regarding Jackson proved warranted.  As a commander, he had summarily executed soldiers who deserted during battle and invaded Florida without formal approval of the Monroe administration.  As president, he refused to enforce a U.S. Supreme Court decision which favored the tribal rights of Native Americans in Georgia; he threatened to invade S.C. during the nullification crisis, and he destroyed the Second Bank of the United States, the controversial pillar of the national financial system, with fiery rhetoric.

andrew jackson

Jackson’s populist support

None of Jackson’s excesses troubled the majorities that elected him.  Whether the people, like Shakespeare’s spirits, will come in sufficient number for Trump when he calls them (as they did for Jackson) remains an open question.  But the appeal of the powerful outsider playing to fear and promising a return to past greatness (no matter how irrational the fear or improbable the restored glory) should never be underestimated.

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A Successful Evening: The Donald S. Russell Lecture with the Hon. Jean Toal

Held on the evening of February 11th, the inaugural Donald S. Russell Lecture by the Hon. Jean Toal was a great success!  We are pleased to announce that the event is available on YouTube.  The entire program is presented, including the introduction by the Hon. Judge Joe Anderson.

Here is the link to the video, and below are some still shots from the evening.

toal1

Dean Tom McNally chats with Bud Ferillo and retired Justice Toal before the event.

toal2

SCPC director Herb Hartsook opens the proceedings.

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Judge Joe Anderson introduces the keynote speaker.

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The audience was entertained.

toal5

Justice Toal had them spellbound.

toal6

We had a good crowd, and Donald Russell watched over the event with approval from a big screen.

Justice Toal caught up with former SC First Lady Ann Edwards.

Justice Toal caught up with former SC First Lady Ann Edwards.

toal7

The new book!

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

removal

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.

mansion

…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.

Johnston

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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Are All Primary Seasons Crazy?

hollings windbreaker

A highlight of the exhibit is this windbreaker, one of those worn by Hollings campaign workers in 1984.

Political pundits have been shocked and amazed by the unfolding of both the Democratic and Republican presidential primary contests. No one but the candidates and their close associates gave any legitimacy or hope to Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump when they announced their bids for the presidency. Most knowledgeable folks assumed then that Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush would crush their opposition. After voting in Iowa and New Hampshire, the field is still muddled and all eyes turn to South Carolina. The electorate for our upcoming primary contests is more diverse and should be more focused on national security and religion.

Hollings case

The Hollings-centric case – notice the photo at left detailing the 1984 vote count from Dixville Notch, NH, as the votes came in at midnight, launching Primary Day in that state

SCPC has mounted a special exhibit in the Hollings Library’s Brittain Gallery showcasing past presidential primary fields, and particularly the 1984 presidential run by South Carolina’s own Ernest F. “Fritz” Hollings. His campaign is represented by buttons, bumper stickers, a windbreaker, editorial cartoons, and one of my favorite items, a paper fan handed out at the 1983 Florida Democratic State Convention featuring photos of the seven Democratic candidates.

The display includes material from campaigns circa 1952 to 1992, including those of Lamar Alexander, John Anderson, Jerry Brown, John Connally, Pete du Pont, Dwight Eisenhower, Geraldine Ferraro, Steve Forbes, Lindsey Graham, Gary Hart, Hubert Humphrey, Jesse Jackson, John Kennedy, Alan Keyes, Wilbur Mills, Ed Muskie, Richard Nixon, Ross Perot, Ronald Reagan, Sargent Shriver, Paul Tsongas, and George Wallace. You may also see a vintage punch card voting machine donated by Congressman Joe Wilson.

exhibit corner

Yes, we have an old punch card voting booth!

Come see how many of these candidates you remember. The exhibit will be up through the end of the month.

Herb Hartsook

PS:  To answer my own question, I believe that indeed all primary seasons have crazy moments. Let us know what you think!

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An Invitation: The Donald S. Russell Lecture with the Hon. Jean Toal

Please join us next Thursday, February 11th!

Free and open to the public!

ToalToal2See Herb’s blog entry from last week about Justice Toal, Judge Russell, and this event.

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Force of Nature – Jean Toal

Toal and Hartsook

Chief Justice Jean Toal speaks with Herb Hartsook at the 2015 Thomas Cooper Society Dinner at the Hollings Library

We hope you will join us Feb. 11 at 5:30 in the Hollings Library to hear retired Chief Justice Jean Toal, SCPC’s newest donor, present our inaugural Donald S. Russell Lecture.

In a December feature, The State newspaper called Toal a “force of nature.” We know you will enjoy her stories of her early experience as a Civil Rights activist, education as one of a handful of women attending the USC School of Law in the mid-1960s, practice of law as an active and skilled litigator, tenure in the General Assembly, and lengthy service on the South Carolina Supreme Court. Toal will be introduced by Judge Joseph F. Anderson, Jr.

book

Forthcoming from U of SC Press

Following the presentation, Justice Toal will be available to sign the new USC Press publication, Madam Chief Justice. The 189-page volume contains 23 essays reflecting on Toal’s life and impact on the political and legal landscape of South Carolina. Among the authors are fellow jurists, legal scholars and figures from politics.

The USC Class of 1956 endowment for South Carolina Political Collections supports this signature event honoring former USC president, governor, U.S. senator, and federal judge Donald S. Russell.

Russell

Governor Donald Russell addressing the General Assembly in the early 1960s

My interview of Judge Russell remains a vivid memory. It was not a successful interview in terms of oral history, as Judge Russell had no interest in reflecting on his achievements, and I was not prepared for his rather terse answers. I learned from that experience to always have two sets of questions — broad questions for narrators who delight in sharing their stories, and detailed questions for more reticent narrators like Judge Russell. Yet Russell was also my most memorable and inspirational interview. He opened up once I turned the recorder off. He became animated while speaking of cases coming before his court. And then he grew even more excited as he contemplated several challenging cases that seemed on track to hit his courtroom in two to three years. Judge Russell never took senior status and served on the bench until his death in 1998. I remain inspired by our interview, when Russell was in his mid-80s — a man who lived in the present, for the future.

For more information about the USC Class of 1956 endowment for SCPC, or to contribute to this endowment, see the web page here.

By Herb Hartsook

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Lessons Learned in a Career of Public Service: Nick Theodore

Nick Theodore

Nick Theodore

Nick Theodore is a progressive Democrat who served over twenty years in the South Carolina House and Senate and, from 1987 to 1995, under Republican Carroll Campbell, as the state’s 85th Lieutenant Governor. Theodore knows as much about South Carolina politics as any man alive and he shares his wealth of knowledge as well as details of his remarkable life in his 2014 book, Trials and Triumphs: South Carolina’s Evolution 1962-2014. The book is both a personal narrative as well as an analysis of an era in which politics and society underwent startling change. SCPC is proud to count Theodore among our donors of collections.

When Theodore mounted his first campaign, a successful race in 1962 for the South Carolina House, the South was a Democratic stronghold. The Republican Party had been chiefly a patronage organization but had recently begun to grow through the efforts of a small group of activists. Political campaigns at that time were personalbook. Candidates met workers at factory gates (yes, South Carolina had factories, chiefly a broad base of textile plants across the state), hosted bar-b-ques, and sought votes one at a time over the months before the Democratic primary. Except for Presidential campaigns, the Democratic primary served as the real election. How things have changed.

And Theodore worked well with Republicans as that Party grew to dominate the state. He is particularly generous in his praise of James B. Edwards, our first Republican governor (1975-1979) since Reconstruction — “Edwards was recognized for his ability to work across party lines in accomplishing needed legislation. Nowhere was that more evident than in our effort to continue improving education. . . . Edwards led the charge to provide adequate financing of our effort and promised to advocate for and sign the education bill.” He then goes on to detail how the Education Finance Act of 1977 passed the South Carolina House.

Columbia Record article

Columbia Record article about the juggling of senators and governors

Trials and Triumphs is a must-read for any student of South Carolina society and politics. If you open the book at random, you will find something of interest. For instance, I have long been fascinated by the decision in 1965, following the death of U.S. Senator Olin Johnston, of then-governor Donald Russell to resign his office so that he could then be appointed to the Senate by his successor, Bob McNair. Years ago, I actually interviewed Russell about this decision. In two pages, Theodore sketches a better picture of this event than any I have seen before.

Some memoirs are better than others. Trials and Triumphs is among the best of its kind.

Herb Hartsook

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I Can Still Recall My Last Summer: Processing the Turnipseed Papers

Erin Patterson

Erin Patterson spent her internship processing the papers of Tom Turnipseed.

This past summer I had to the pleasure of completing an internship in the South Carolina Political Collections at the University of South Carolina. My project for the summer was processing the Tom Turnipseed papers, and it was a marvelous learning experience.

Before working on this project I had not heard of Tom Turnipseed and his fascinating and remarkable journey from the Old South rooted in racism to being an advocate for social justice. It is such an inspiring story. His papers show his journey from being George Wallace’s 1968 National Campaign Director to one of the loudest voices against injustice in South Carolina.

Turnipseed has been in the public eye since the late 1960s when he was the head of the Independent School Association. From there he went on to be George Wallace’s campaign director in the 1968 Presidential election. After leaving Wallace in 1971 to focus on his law practice in Columbia and his family, he began his own political journey running for office six times in 25 years. Though he was not always successful in winning elections he was able to bring issues to the forefront for public discussion. The amount of effort that Turnipseed has put into causes such as global peace,

seeds

seed packets!

homelessness, mental health, racial justice and equality is staggering. He has helped slash utility rates for South Carolinians, prosecuted the Ku Klux Klan, fought for those who do not have a voice and challenged the deep-seated prejudices of others through discussion.

Some of the most interesting items that I found in the collection were the campaign memorabilia from Turnipseed’s various campaigns. There are belt buckles, pins, different slogans and – the most humorous and effective – packets of actual turnip seeds. I just found the campaign seed packets to be so clever.

gubernatorial campaign

gubernatorial campaign literature from 1978

This collection has a significant amount of clippings, much more than I have ever worked with, dating from the late 1960s to the present. Many of those clippings were still a part of an entire newspaper. The most tiresome part of the entire process was searching for relevant articles and cutting them out of newspapers. There are a lot of clippings.

Though this blog post is delayed, my gratitude for this opportunity from the South Carolina Political Collections has not diminished in the slightest. The experience of working through an unprocessed collection on my own was a terrifying prospect at the beginning of the summer. It has been the largest archival project I have been given that much autonomy over to date. I am so thankful for the chance to work with Herb Hartsook and the rest of the South Carolina Political Collection team and for the opportunities that they offer students to work with them. Every day I worked there I learned something new about the archival field. My advice to those who are interested in processing and have not had the practical experience yet would be to ask questions and don’t get bogged down in the small details. These are lessons I know that I will use in my future career in the field.

bumper sticker

Turnipseed campaign bumper sticker

Contributed by Erin Patterson

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