Revitalizing Wikipedia Pages

wiki campbell

Original Campbell page

For the past month, SCPC has been continuing our work to improve the Wikipedia pages of our donors, as detailed in our earlier blog post.  For the first phase of the project, we have been uploading photos of our donors that have Wikipedia pages and adding them in where appropriate.  Sometimes, the effect has been to replace a low-resolution photo with a high-res color one.  Other times, we have been adding images to pages where one did not exist before.

wiki campbell

New primary photo on Campbell page

One example is former Governor Carroll Campbell’s page.  Campbell was Governor from 1987-1995, and there should naturally be a number of color photographs from this time.  Instead, the page only had a single, black and white photograph for the lead image.  We uploaded our own color portrait as well as a few other images to add to the page itself.  In the text of the page, where it talks about Gov. Campbell’s response to Hurricane Hugo in 1989, we decided to add a photo of Campbell touring the wreckage caused by the storm.  While changes like these are small, they improve the overall quality of the articles and hopefully will be more engaging to the readers.

wiki Campbell

Post-Hugo photo now in the body of the text

We’ve learned a few lessons as well.  For one thing, it is not enough to simply upload some photos you have copyright to.  Using Wikipedia’s submissions ticket system (OTRS) you have to tag the photos with the {{OTRS pending}} marker, then send an email to the OTRS team with your copyright information; else, you risk the photos being deleted while waiting for a site volunteer to approve them (as I learned the hard way…). 

Another thing we learned is that once the photos are uploaded, you cannot delete or edit the name easily.  Forever will the photo for William Jennings Bryan Dorn be titled “W.B. Bryan Dorn” on the uploads page.

The full list of people whose lead pictures have been added or changed using photos from our collection is below:

By Zach Johnson

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Picture Perfect: Congressman Joe Wilson gets a New Office

Joe Wilson’s DC office is filled with memorabilia of a life in politics.  His recent move to the Longworth House Office Building is documented in this very fun video available on YouTube. 

Kudos to his staff for making this move!

Welcome to 1436 Longworth House Office Building!

And read about the move in this article from The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC).

Ready to pack — Congressman Joe Wilson’s accumulations!
(photo: Post & Courier)

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“It Is So Ordered”: New Exhibit highlights Judges and the Law in South Carolina

Robe belonging to Judge Bruce Littlejohn

The phrase “It is so ordered” is the traditional ending to opinions and orders of the court. The American Bar Association writes, “It is meant to remind the reader that the opinion is issued impersonally from ‘the Court,’ not individual justices.” It is through this lens of the dignified, impartial court that we created our exhibit, It Is So Ordered: Judges and the Law in South Carolina, highlighting SCPC’s robust, wide ranging collections of federal and South Carolina Supreme Court judges.

Two cases examine the trial process, from jury selection, to the appeals process, to the drafting of opinions. One item, a 1949 letter from an inmate to one of our judges, asks for a reduced sentence on account of good behavior and remorse for his crimes. The man had been sentenced to 3 years in jail for stealing a car, but the judge agrees to reduce his sentence by half. Also highlighted are drafts of judicial opinions. We often only see the final opinion published by the court, but judges go through weeks and months of writing and revising opinions all while reading, lobbying, and deliberating with their colleagues on the bench.

U.S. Fourth Circuit, District of South Carolina — Robert Hemphill is at right

We highlight eight judges who have placed their papers with SCPC. Some interesting items include the robe of Bruce Littlejohn who served on the South Carolina Supreme Court from 1967 to 1985 (and as Chief Justice from 1984-1985); a 1906 letter by Justice Cecil Wyche of the U.S. District Court from his school years at The Citadel; and the USC School of Law report card for Judge Robert Hemphill of the U.S. District Court (he received all B’s!). These collections complement each other well and provide a valuable resource to researchers.

Judge Cecil Wyche at work

Finally, we examine some of the more important cases of the past 100 years. Briggs v. Elliot (1952) challenged segregation as unconstitutional. It was rolled into Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas along with 3 other cases (the U.S. Supreme Court often combines cases from multiple lower courts that deal with the same fundamental issues) and would become a landmark decision overturning segregation. Gantt v. Clemson (1963) dealt with the desegregation of Clemson, Reynolds v. Sims (1964) concerned state redistricting and the “one person, one vote” idea, and Ravenel v. Dekle (1974) ousted “Pug” Ravenel, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, due to residency requirements on Sept. 24, 1974, just weeks before the election.

Seventh Circuit Court Judges — Bruce Littlejohn is at right

We hope you come see the exhibit!

By Zach Johnson

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Wikipedia and the Case of the McNair Imposter

For many of us, Wikipedia is the first stop when researching any topic or person that we’re unacquainted with.  I forgot who was Lieutenant Governor in 1957?  Check Wikipedia.  There’s a government agency I know nothing about?  Check Wikipedia.  Naturally then, such an ubiquitous source should have the best, most complete information we can provide.  Using our wealth of collections here at SCPC, we’re starting a project to improve and even create entries on our donors on Wikipedia.

Robert McNair

Portrait of S.C. Governor Robert McNair, now on his Wikipedia page

The most eye catching part of each page is the lead photo.  We found that many of the photographs of our donors simply aren’t of a high enough quality, or the pages are missing one altogether!  Luckily, we have a wealth of photographs in our collections.  For the first part of the project, we will be periodically uploading and adding some of our photographs to the pages.

In one case, as we surveyed existing pages for our collection donors, we discovered that the photograph for Gov. Robert E. McNair (1965-1971) wasn’t even McNair at all!  The photograph came from a misidentified photo in the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library’s online photo archive (misidentification can occur in any archive).  We emailed the LBJ Library and were greatly assisted by archivists Margaret Harman and Jennifer Cuddeback.  Ms. Harman replied with a detailed message correcting the information and filling us in on where the error may have come from.

It turns out that Gov. McNair had visited President Johnson at the President’s ranch along with a cadre of other Democratic governors to discuss their grievances, past political help, and new education guidelines.  McNair arrived with the first group of governors, while the unidentified man mistaken for Gov. McNair had actually arrived with Gov. Hearnes of Missouri as part of the second group.  To confirm all this info, Ms. Harman tracked down the photographic contact sheets of the visit as well as the President’s diary entry for the day.  Governor McNair does appear in several of the photos on the contact sheet.

LBJ Library photo

The man to the right of Lady Bird Johnson was identified as Robert McNair, and his photo – cropped from this one – was being used on the McNair Wikipedia page.
(LBJ Library photo c4170-27)

Hats off to the great archivists at the LBJ Library for their diligence and knowledge.  It’s simply amazing to know what resources are held in our presidential libraries!  You can find more great stuff at their digital archive and main website.

We’ll be posting updates on the blog as our Wikipedia project progresses.

Zach Johnson

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Now Available! New Politics in the Old South: Ernest F. Hollings in the Civil Rights Era

New Politics in the Old South: Ernest F. Hollings in the Civil Rights Era, by David T. Ballantyne, is now available from U.S.C. Press.  Ballantyne conducted extensive research at SCPC for his Ph.D. dissertation for the University of Cambridge.  This book is a revision of that dissertation.

Ballantyne focuses on “Fritz” Hollings’ early life and particularly on the period 1948-1974.   This includes portions of the years Hollings served as governor of South Carolina, 1959-1963, and U.S. senator, 1966-2005.

Readers of our blog will recall Ballantyne’s submission last month in which he described his research experience.  We highly recommend this scholarly examination of a distinguished and important leader and look forward to future studies of Hollings’ life and impact.

Here are links to U.S.C. Press’ book description and order form.

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Cheers to the Season!


The original cocktail recipe

The original cocktail recipe

For many people the Christmas season involves traditions, such as decorating a tree, hanging festive lights, and singing certain holiday songs. Another tradition may include special foods and drinks. In keeping with this theme, we would like to share a drink recipe with our readers. It was discovered among materials recently added to the collection of John C. West, who served as governor of South Carolina (1971-1975) and U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia (1977-1981). He loved socializing and was well-known for entertaining.

As you can see, the handwritten recipe requires some deciphering, and none of us at SCPC has been able to make out the word after “Honey” in the second line. If any of you can identify it, please pass on your suggestions in the comments. And if anyone feels emboldened to try this drink, let us know how it tasted. Enjoy!

After Dinner Drink

Honey [Lush?] – Krupnikas [Lithuanian Honey Spirits]

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

10 cloves

10 whole allspice

2-3 sticks cinnamon

1 vanilla bean cut

2 pieces yellow ginger

2 pieces white ginger

10 opened cardamom seeds

½ whole nutmeg

2-3 strips orange rind

2-3 strips lemon rind

1 pinch saffron

4 cups water

2 lbs. honey*

1 quart honey*

1 quart 190 proof grain alcohol

john west

John & Lois West in the S.C. Governor’s Mansion — host & hostess extraordinaire

Simmer all spices in water until reduced to 2 cups (about 1 hour). Strain through cheese cloth. Bring honey to slow boil and strain off white foam. Add 2 cups of spice liquid (without spices) to honey and remove from heat. Slowly add grain alcohol.

 * We don’t know why honey is included twice in two different measures.  We checked, and 1 quart of honey weighs 3 pounds.

Post by Mary Clare Johnson (SCPC Grad Assistant)


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Holiday Schedule

tumblr_nyh4k4tyju1uswp8qo1_1280SCPC will close for the Christmas break at 5:00 pm on Wednesday, December 21st.

We will re-open at 8:30 am on Tuesday, January 3, 2017.

Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season from all of us at SCPC!


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From Cambridge to Columbia to Keele, via Fritz Hollings


David Ballantyne with his newly-published book

In October 2010, I started as a fresh-faced PhD student at the University of Cambridge.  I was studying Ernest F. “Fritz” Hollings, a Democratic state representative, lieutenant governor, governor, and long-serving U.S. senator for South Carolina.  I wanted to learn more about how white southern Democrats negotiated the Civil Rights Movement, away from the Dixiecrats and those who left the party once Democrats at a national level became vocal supporters of civil rights legislation.  Hollings had made a name for himself in 1963 by calling for the peaceful desegregation of Clemson College (now University) in his farewell address as South Carolina’s governor, rhetoric that contrasted with Alabama Governor George Wallace’s simultaneous pledge to preserve “segregation forever”.  Hollings’s papers had recently opened for researchers at the South Carolina Political Collections (800 linear feet of boxes), and while Hollings had published a memoir in 2008, nobody had examined his career in depth.

Fritz Hollings makes a stop on his tour of South Carolina's poorest areas.

Senator Ernest F. Hollings makes a stop on his tour of South Carolina’s poorest areas.

There followed numerous research trips, mainly to the Hollings Library at the University of South Carolina; first for a month in early 2011, then from August 2011 to May 2012, and several shorter visits after that to round out my research.  Moving to Columbia, many things were initially unfamiliar, from simple things like the layout of groceries stores, to the rules of college football and the correct uses of “y’all.” 

Throughout my research time, staff members at the Hollings Library (along with those at the Caroliniana and countless university staff) were remarkably helpful.  They offered suggestions on finding interesting materials in the Hollings papers and other collections, suggested potential oral history narrators, and even gave advice on the better places to explore southern cooking (more prominent in the UK now, but still unusual to find).  Unsurprisingly, I really enjoyed my time in South Carolina!  (That I met my now-wife at USC and made fast friends with several keen triathletes and the choir at the Church of the Good Shepherd didn’t hurt either.)

Hollings, LBJ and Westmoreland

Senator Hollings confers with President Lyndon Johnson and General William Westmoreland.

I defended my PhD in December 2013.  After some revisions, I signed a publishing contract with the University of South Carolina Press.  By November 2016, the book hit the shelves. What changed in the meantime?  First, I conducted some additional research on Hollings’s early life and Senate tenure, achieved by visiting the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon presidential libraries, and contacting those who know far more about 1920s residential patterns in Charleston than I do.   I also gave more context on how South Carolina and the South changed socially, demographically, and economically from the 1940s to the 1980s.  Further, I offered broader reflections on Hollings’s legacy, particularly relating to the on-going challenges facing the state and region, such as persistent racially polarised voting patterns, the partial but incomplete closing of the per capita income gap between the state and the national average, and the state’s loss of manufacturing industries.  With the help of Hollings Library staff, Bill Barley, and the U.S. Senate Historical Office, there are now several photographs as well.  The result should be (I hope!) a much better read.

I.D. Newman and Hollings

I.D. Newman accompanies Senator Hollings on his 1968 “Hunger Tour” of Columbia, South Carolina

Why should you, the reader, care about Hollings?  Throughout his career, he gained a reputation as an acid-tongued politician with a willingness to voice what he perceived as hard truths, as with his call to desegregate Clemson in 1963, or his testimony in 1969 that hunger and malnutrition were prevalent in South Carolina (unusual behaviour for a politician who usually touted the state’s economic promise to potential investors).  His career bridged the old, white supremacist southern Democratic Party and the contemporary, more racially inclusive one.  He was centrally important in moving South Carolinian and southern Democrats away from openly endorsing racial segregation, while his accommodations with black South Carolinians demonstrated the fluidity of southern politics in the 1960s and the tangible, but incomplete, gains African Americans won during the Civil Rights era. 

hollings & thurmond

Senator Hollings with Senator Strom Thurmond in 1969

In the late 1960s, Hollings became a key supporter of domestic anti-hunger programs (anybody who has seen ‘WIC’ on food items in grocery stores will have noticed his influence on anti-hunger policy), and by the 1970s was a prime mover in crafting environmental legislation.  He represented the moderate end of the electable southern political spectrum, while his career offered a blueprint for success for white Democrats in the post-civil rights South.  Re-elected to office with relative ease (except for two close elections in 1992 and 1998), by the time he left office in 2005, Hollings had held a Senate seat for thirty-eight years as a Democrat, in a state that had become consistently Republican at the presidential and state levels.  All told in six snappy chapters and an epilogue, if the upheaval of American (especially southern) politics and society since the 1950s interests you, you should like it! 

Finally, for those thinking of researching modern political history at the South Carolina Political Collections, I strongly endorse it.  The wealth of little-used (or unused) archival materials and the knowledgeable and helpful staff make a trip well worthwhile.

ballantyne_coverDavid Ballantyne is a lecturer in American History at Keele University in the United Kingdom.  He published his first book, New Politics in the Old South: Ernest F. Hollings in the Civil Rights Era, with the University of South Carolina Press in 2016. 

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Collection Highlight: The Photographs of William D. Workman, Jr.

SCPC recently applied for a grant to digitize the photographs in the William D. Workman, Jr. Papers. We are excited about the possibility of being able to improve access to these fascinating images and wanted to highlight a few of them on the blog.

William D. Workman, Jr. was a well-known South Carolina journalist, newspaper editor, and talented photographer. His career as a newspaperman made him a household name throughout the state, and his book The Case for the South provided an important argument in defense of segregation. Although unsuccessful, Workman’s 1962 bid to become one of South Carolina’s US Senators created the skeleton of a statewide Republican Party in what was then a solidly Democratic state.

The Workman Papers are remarkable for their breadth and depth on a number of important issues. The collection’s strengths include civil rights, race relations, politics, and the creation of the Savannah River Plant nuclear facility. These and other themes are represented not just in the textual material in the collection, but in the photographs and other audiovisual materials, as the images below illustrate.


Cromwell Alley slum

Tenants and a “rent instalment man” on the porches of a building in Cromwell Alley, 1938.

Tenants and a “rent instalment man” on the porches of a building in Cromwell Alley, 1938.

In about 1938, a slum in Charleston’s Cromwell Alley was cleared to make way for a federally funded low-income housing project. The slum tenants were African American, while the housing project would be occupied by whites. Workman’s images of the slum illustrate a number of themes, including the institutional racism then common across the South, severe urban poverty during the Great Depression, and the role of the federal government in urban development.


Mullins Tobacco Festival

“Kneeling, Gov. Strom Thurmond, standing back of him in a dark suit, Marcus A. Stone [unsuccessful candidate for governor (1946) and US Senate (1948)]; at right – dark suit – Sen. Burnet R. Maybank.” Child seated on tobacco is William Charles Harrington, grandson of tobacco barn owner W. P. Clark. August 1947.

“Kneeling, Gov. Strom Thurmond, standing back of him in a dark suit, Marcus A. Stone [unsuccessful candidate for US Senate (1948)]; at right – dark suit – Sen. Burnet R. Maybank.” Child seated on tobacco is William Charles Harrington, grandson of tobacco barn owner W. P. Clark. August 1947.

The City of Mullins was once home to South Carolina’s largest tobacco market. The above image was taken during the Mullins Tobacco Festival. It illustrates the importance of agriculture to many rural communities in the post-World War II period, as well as the way in which politicians interacted with potential voters.


The Dixiecrat movement

Former Alabama Lieutenant Governor Handy Ellis speaks at a States’ Rights Rally in Birmingham, July 17, 1948.

Former Alabama Lieutenant Governor Handy Ellis speaks at a States’ Rights Rally in Birmingham, July 17, 1948.

Following World War II, South Carolina remained a solidly Democratic state, and its African American residents continued to be effectively disenfranchised and treated as second-class citizens. In 1948, the national Democratic Party’s support of civil rights for African Americans led a number of white southerners to support the short-lived States’ Rights Democratic Party (Dixiecrats). This party was an early sign of the splintering that ultimately led to the rise of the Republican Party and the development of two-party systems in southern states previously controlled by Democrats.


Savannah River Plant construction

A woman and a man talk in a mobile home park near the Savannah River Plant site, c. 1951.

A woman and a man talk in a mobile home park near the Savannah River Plant site, c. 1951.

Plans for the Savannah River Plant (SRP), a facility for manufacturing weapons-grade nuclear material, were publicly announced in November 1950. A large number of workers were needed to build the plant, but little housing was available near the rural site. This led to a growth in mobile home parks as a housing solution for some construction workers and their families. Workman’s images of the construction workers’ housing, early SRP buildings, and the communities that were evacuated to make way for the plant illustrate the Cold War’s impact on American civilians.

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Labor of Love


Reverend Marvin Lare at St Paul’s United Methodist Church in Los Angeles, 1980. He was pastor there from 1961-1965.

For over a decade, the Libraries have supported a project by Marvin Lare to document the Civil Rights movement in South Carolina through oral history.  This month, USC Press will publish the first volume in this epic work, envisioned as five volumes telling South Carolina’s story, chiefly in the words of leaders and soldiers in the movement. It is titled, Champions of Civil and Human Rights in South Carolina, Volume 1: Dawn of the Movement Era, 1955-1967.

Editor Lare is a retired Methodist minister and a veteran administrator of public service projects for the South Carolina Department of Social Services and Community Care, Inc.  From the time of his early ministry in the inner city of Los Angeles, he participated in many civil rights demonstrations, including the Selma to Montgomery march.

Marvin Lare

Marvin Lare

Lare interviewed more than one hundred civil rights activists in South Carolina.  Volume 1 will be published Dec. 15 and consists of some 464 pages with 59 black and white illustrations.  Orders submitted before December 15 receive a 15% discount.  Contact the USC Press at 718 Devine Street, Columbia, SC 29208, 800-768-2500, Fax 800-868-0740.

It has been an honor to be associated with this important project.

Herb Hartsook




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