Reflections of a Moore Summer Intern

By Chandler White


Chandler White

I became aware of the Moore Summer Internship through my academic adviser at the University of Tennessee, where I am a second year graduate student. I made the decision to apply due to my dual interests in archives and politics. I felt as though this would be a great opportunity to gain professional experience in a field for which I have great interest and also work with material and subject matter that I found interesting. I was honored to be selected for this opportunity and began my journey the day after Memorial Day 2015.

Before arriving as an intern at SCPC, I knew very little of South Carolina politics except for the names I had seen on television as part of the national political debate; Lindsey Graham, Mark Sanford, Nikki Haley, etc. My work at SCPC introduced me to three fascinating figures who have impacted the lives of South Carolinians in a very localized and positive fashion. While processing the papers of Luther Battiste III, Flynn Harrell and Johnnie Mac Walters I was able to get a glimpse into the careers of three honorable and thoughtful men who served with integrity, courage, and honor.


Luther Battiste at a City Council meeting

My first assignment at SCPC was to process an addition to the collection of Luther J. Battiste III, a highly respected past member of the Columbia City Council and a practicing attorney. Battiste began his official political career in 1983 when he was elected as one of the first African American city councilmen in Columbia, South Carolina, since the Reconstruction era. I say this marked the beginning of his “official” political career because he was involved in one historic election prior to becoming a Councilman, managing the successful 1971 campaign of Harry L. Walker as the first African American student body president at the University of South Carolina. Battiste served as Walker’s campaign manager and this successful bid set the tone for the many accomplishments Battiste would achieve in the coming years, including the completion of degrees from U.S.C. in International Studies and from the Emory University School of Law.

The Battiste collection paints the portrait of a gentleman politician who always served with the best interests of his constituents in mind, putting the betterment of the city ahead of his personal political ambitions. Battiste served on the Council for 15 years, running unopposed in every election after the first, but decided not to seek re-election after his third term ended in 1998 though he could have easily won again. Battiste explained through papers contained in the collection that due to his expanding legal career and family commitments he did not feel he could devote the time and attention necessary to serve on the Council and give the people of his district the full commitment they deserved. This is typical of the dedication to putting the citizens first that is reflected in the entire Battiste collection.


Flynn Harrell

The Flynn T. Harrell collection was another highly insightful project which I had the privilege to work with during my time at SCPC. Harrell, like Battiste, is a native South Carolinian, raised in Columbia with a strong affiliation with the Baptist church. This upbringing inspired Harrell to become both a public servant and a lifelong advocate for religious liberty, as reflected in his collection of materials on the separation of church and state. My assignment in regard to the Harrell collection was to describe and integrate papers transferred from the South Caroliniana Library into the existing church and state items.

Through these papers I learned that Harrell worked for the people of South Carolina in many ways, serving as Executive Assistant to the state Attorney General for eleven years, serving on the Columbia Planning Commission, serving as Chairman of Governor Richard Riley’s Task Force on Critical Human Needs from 1981 to 1982, and as a member of the South Carolina Ethics Commission from 2000 to 2005. Harrell is also a long time member of the Democratic Party, which is showcased by correspondence with both local and national Democratic figures. These personal papers create the profile of a man who is both rational and compassionate, never forgetting that his purpose for being involved with politics was to help the citizens of South Carolina. I had the privilege to meet Mr. Harrell during my time at SCPC and found him to be the same kind, intelligent, and humorous gentleman that I had pictured from working with his papers. It was a great honor to meet Mr. Harrell and I feel that I learned much from him.

Walters and Mitchell

Johnnie Mac Walters with U.S. Attorney General John Mitchell in 1969

My final assignment at SCPC was to process an addition to the collection of Johnnie M. Walters. Again, I had no prior knowledge of Mr. Walters or his career, but came to admire his integrity and skill. Walters was appointed Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service by President Richard M. Nixon with the expectation that Walters would “play ball” with the Administration and use the IRS as a political weapon to reward the President’s allies and punish his enemies. Walters refused to go along with this plan, ignoring the enemies list compiled by the President and his orders to unjustly harass the persons on the list through the IRS. Walters emerged as one of the few members of the Nixon Administration to escape the Watergate scandal with their reputation fully intact and to carry no taint of corruption into their post-Administration career. This fact is a tribute to the sense of integrity and competence which came through to me in reading his papers. The vast majority of the addition I processed consisted of speech transcripts ranging from the mid-1960’s to the late 1990’s, mostly centering on tax law and the functionality of the IRS. Walters was a prolific speaker, as I found out by creating an Appendix of the almost 200 speech transcripts contained in the collection. The audience for these speeches ranged from Senate and House Committees on Watergate to the Greenville Kiwanis Club. This showed both Walters’ voluminous knowledge of tax law and his great sense of humor.

I am writing this blog on my last day at SCPC and can’t believe how quickly these four weeks have flown by. It has been a very exciting time for me and I will carry many great memories back home. I am thankful for the leadership, knowledge and good nature of all my colleagues in the processing room, especially Mr. Herb Hartsook, who on a daily basis displays a tremendous sense of professionalism and camaraderie that has served as a great example to me moving forward. I consider the experience I have gained in the area of processing and cataloging documents invaluable toward my future career goals and I am certain this experience will serve me extremely well in the future. I will remember the beauty and history of the University of South Carolina campus and the many fine meals I enjoyed at Preston’s Upstairs at the Russell House, easily the finest on-campus dining facility I have ever experienced.

Chandler White group

Dean of Libraries Tom McNally, SCPC Director Herb Hartsook, collection donor Flynn Harrell, and Chandler White

I will remember my weekend trip to the beautiful city of Charleston and the happy realization that I was staying only 2 hours from the beach, as opposed to 8 hours in also beautiful but landlocked Tennessee. Sadly, I will remember the shock of the tragic Charleston church shootings, which took place during my time at SCPC, but I will also feel encouraged by the overwhelming support of the people of South Carolina to those who lost loved ones and friends in that terrible event, and encouraged by the positive changes that seem to be in motion in the aftermath of such an unthinkable tragedy.

But most of all, I will remember the honor I felt in being selected for the Moore Summer Internship and the confidence it has given me. I encourage anyone with an interest in the field of archives to learn more about SCPC and apply for any opportunity to be a part of this growing and vibrant organization, and I hope that many more students will get the opportunity to share my great experiences in the years to come.

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The Confederate Battle Flag: A Controversy Re-ignited…and Resolved?

confederate flag

The Confederate battle flag was flown atop the cupola of the State House from 1962 until 2000.

The Confederate Battle Flag was raised over the South Carolina State House in 1962 to commemorate the centennial of the Civil War. It remained there until 2000, and even with its move to a flagpole near the Confederate memorial, its continued presence on the State House grounds remains a source of division and turmoil.

I remember well Governor David Beasley’s valiant call in 1997 to remove the flag from the Dome. He was supported in that effort by former governors Fritz Hollings, Bob McNair, John West, Jim Edwards, Dick Riley and Carroll Campbell, all SCPC donors. Beasley’s failed initiative contributed to his 1998 re-election defeat by Jim Hodges.

dump beasley, keep the flag

Bumper sticker from the Governor Beasley-era flag crisis

I will never forget the December 1999 news conference in which surviving members of the 1962 General Assembly, led by John West and Bob McNair, petitioned the General Assembly to remove the flag from the Dome. They argued the original intent of the Assembly was simply to commemorate the Civil War and that the flag should have come down afterwards, and that the fact that it did not was an oversight in the drafting of the legislation. Both West and McNair were SCPC donors, as were petitioners Charlie Boineau, the first Republican elected to the General Assembly since Reconstruction, Don Holland, Ryan Shealy and Nick Zeigler. SCPC friends Steve Griffith and Crosby Lewis were also among the group. Showing his dry humor, West proclaimed them “the has-been brigade.”

McNair and West

Robert McNair and John West at West’s 1971 inauguration as governor

Their petition was front page news. And while Gov. Jim Hodges was meeting with members of the then-current Assembly, West declared, “This petition represents a historic event. It is the first time in the history of South Carolina. . . that the former legislative body, after more than a quarter of a century, has petitioned . . . an existing legislative body to correct an oversight or error, remedy a wrong and heal a divisive situation.” George Campsen, Jr., who conceived the petition, said, “Through mere oversight and omission, our resolution regarding the flag did not state when it should come down. We are here today pleading guilty to that omission.”

In 2000, under Governor Hodges, a compromise led to the removal of the flag to the State House grounds beside the Confederate Soldier Monument, a compromise that failed to satisfy the people who argued that moving the flag was an insult to their Confederate ancestors who fought for States’ Rights, the people who felt the flag was a symbol of racism, and all those falling in the spectrum between those two poles.

Confederate soldier monument

Currently, the flag flies from a pole next to the Confederate Soldier Monument in front of the State House.

Now it seems that the flag will move to a place of honor in the Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum. USC President Harris Pastides supports the move, as did President John Palms, whose three page 1999 statement concluded, “I believe further that I have an obligation to convey to our leaders my personal judgment that flying any flag except our state and national flags above the State House harms this University with which I am so personally engaged.”

On Monday, June 22nd, Governor Nikki Haley made a stirring call to the legislature to act quickly to remove the flag. It was telling that she was surrounded by other leaders including Senators Graham and Scott, Congressmen Jim Clyburn, Tom Rice and Mark Sanford, and State Senator John Courson. It has been a long time coming.

By Herb Hartsook

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Why are Some Collections Closed to Study?

Contemporary political collections differ from traditional manuscripts collections in a number of key ways.


Staff and students unload a shipment of material from Congressman John Spratt.

*They are big, often hundreds or even thousands of cartons. A typical manuscript collection is usually under ten cartons and often under one.

*They are composed of a wide variety of record formats, including a dizzying array of audiovisual and electronic materials. The typical manuscript collection is composed of paper, perhaps with photographs, although this is changing.

*Donors of political papers are often alive and active and may, for some years, be the primary user of reference service into their collection. Many manuscript collections are donated by distant descendants who will almost never visit to see the collection.


Conducting an inventory of a newly-arrived collection

*Finally, while traditional manuscript repositories are ethically bound to open their acquisitions to research as quickly as feasible, modern political collections are usually closed to research for some significant time.

A significant number of South Carolina Political Collections’ holdings are closed to the public. We are unusual in that we serve an ever-growing number of sitting legislators – currently U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham and congressmen Mick Mulvaney, Mark Sanford and Joe Wilson. Senator Tim Scott recently announced his decision to entrust his papers to SCPC. It is extraordinary to serve so many sitting members of Congress.

carter and west

Several of our diplomatic collections, such as that of John West (pictured here with President Jimmy Carter) have been reviewed for classified material.

Each of these collections is closed to research, as are other collections of recently retired public figures. There are key reasons to close a collection. First, in collecting the papers of active or recently retired members of Congress, SCPC staff must be alert to the possible presence of classified materials. Members of Congress often have access to materials that are classified or otherwise restricted. Such materials often relate to foreign relations or the military. Our government makes clear to archivists handling congressional papers that sensitive documents will not necessarily be boldly stamped CLASSIFIED – it is the informational content of the documents that determines whether information is classified. Age isn’t necessarily a factor in whether or not a document might be classified. The U.S. State Department argued that certain World War II documents received in one of our collections needed review by their staff before we could allow them to be made public.

Second, in dealing with contemporary records, our staff need to be alert to the privacy rights of individuals reflected in our collections, such as constituents seeking help from their member of Congress with the federal bureaucracy. Constituents often lay bare the details of very personal matters and provide sensitive information such as social security numbers.

processing papers

The nature of political papers demands close examination as they are being processed.

Because collections can contain such sensitive information, SCPC staff must study materials closely. Beyond that, however, political collections are complex, taking in a broad array of subject matter, types of records, etc., and staff must devise an arrangement plan that will make the collection useful for researchers. That takes time, which has led to our policy that no collection can be opened for study until it has been fully organized and described. For most collections, this labor-intensive process means the opening of a collection is delayed until sometime after the creator of the materials has retired from public life and is no longer transferring large accretions of papers to USC.

Our Fritz Hollings collection provides a good example. Between 1989, when Senator Hollings began sending material to the University, and his 2005 retirement, the University received some 2,400 cartons of papers, audio-visual records and electronic files – over two million pages of material documenting Hollings’ storied career of public service. A team of archivists and student assistants worked throughout this time organizing and describing the materials. The Hollings Papers were opened for study in 2007 and have received frequent and important use. Hollings still adds to the collection almost weekly, but the new material is typically one or two items, and easily interfiled.

Our policy serves our public, our donors of materials, and the University, while observing the interests of our government and our donors’ constituents. An exhibit on this subject is on display in the Brittain Gallery through the end of June, 2015.

Contributed by SCPC Staff

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Dr. Benjamin E. Mays Museum and Historic Site

Bryan Dorn was very proud of his friendship with educator Benjamin Mays. SCPC was delighted to provide from our Dorn collection a recording of Mays’ 1981 speech at the dedication of the Mays Crossroads. That speech is just one of the many treasures preserved thanks to the sense of history shared by Mr. Dorn and his wife Millie.

Herb Hartsook

By Loy Sartin
Curator, Mays Museum and Historic Site

Dr. Benjamin Mays

Dr. Benjamin Mays

The Benjamin E. Mays Museum and Historic Site was officially dedicated in Greenwood on April 11, 2011. It was a grand celebration as visitors listened to Ambassador Andrew Young, Dr. Samuel Dubois Cook, President Franklin of Morehouse College, Dr. Elaine Tuttle Hansen of Bates College, Mrs. Billye Aaron and others lift up the praises of Dr. Benjamin E. Mays and his monumental life. The mission of the site is to perpetuate the mighty legacy of one of the greatest Americans of the 20th Century, Dr. Benjamin E. Mays.

As the president of Morehouse College for twenty-seven years, Dr. Mays became a legend in his own time and a true national asset. He was called upon by Presidents Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, and Carter for service and counsel. It was Dr. Benjamin Mays who eulogized the immortal Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which was broadcast live across the nation and into Japan. As one of America’s preeminent educators, Dr. Mays served as president of the Atlanta Board of Education for almost twelve years from 1970-1981.


Dr. Mays (seated right) with Gov. Dick Riley, M.L. King, Sr. (in wheelchair), Mrs. “Tunky” Riley, and Coretta Scott King, circa 1983

An early and forceful opponent of segregation, Mays was without peer as a public speaker railing against segregation and discrimination in the secular society as well as within the church. His famous sermon in 1954 at Evanston, Illinois at the 2nd Assembly of the World Council of Churches is a classic example of the passion with which he spoke against segregation and racial discrimination – a sermon that is printed as an appendix in his 1971 autobiography, Born to Rebel, and is credited with internationalizing the Civil Rights Movement.


Gov. Dick Riley and Dr. Mays in front of the S.C. General Assembly, circa 1983

To his students at Morehouse, Dr. Mays was almost God-like. Dr. Mays provided inspiration, hope and encouragement to students especially during the dark days of segregation in the forties, fifties, and early sixties. One student in the class of 1961 put it this way when he said to me, “You know, we worship Mays.” He gave “voice to the voiceless” to those who were helpless and treated as second class citizens because of forced segregation. Dr. Samuel Dubois Cook who eulogized Dr. Mays said in the introduction of Quotable Quotes of Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, “Dr. Mays’ eloquent words, born of deep convictions, prophetic power and imagination, purity and sincerity of heart, integrity, character, and nobility have uniquely influenced human behavior, attitudes, thoughts, and choices; and affected and transformed human lives. The man has incredible powers of motivation, inspiration, and persuasion….he has the capacity to proclaim profound truths about human life and the journey of the self in simple, direct, easy, mind-gripping, clinging, unforgettable, haunting, cementing language.”


Congressman Bryan Dorn

Dr. Mays returned to his place of birth on November 6, 1981 to be honored by the naming of an intersection near his home on US-178 as “Mays Crossroads.” Attended by many notables including Coretta Scott King and Congressman William Jennings Bryan Dorn, Dr. Mays gave a passionate and eloquent speech about his long life, his experiences, and the various places that life took him. As curator of the Mays Museum and Historic Site, I had been attempting to locate Dr. Mays’ speech for five years. Recently, I noticed that it was contained on an audio cassette tape donated to USC’s S.C. Political Collections by Congressman Bryan Dorn. I contacted Herbert Hartsook who graciously located the tape, converted it to a digital CD, and sent it to me. Needless to say, I was overjoyed to receive the speech! I plan to transcribe the speech and have it available in written form as well as audio form to visitors who desire a copy.


Loy Sartin, Curator of the Mays Museum and Historic Site in Greenwood, S.C.

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Women in Elected Office

A recent issue of the Free Times, April 1-7, featured a fascinating article by Chris Trainor, titled “Women Are Few and Far Between in the South Carolina Legislature–And That’s a Problem.”  Trainor provides a number of statistics and stories showing South Carolina trailing most of the nation in the number of women in elected to office, despite our having elected Nikki Haley to our highest statewide office.  The General Assembly currently includes 22 female House members and only one female state senator.  That makes our legislature 13.5 percent female.  This is the fourth-lowest percentage in America.

 As I recounted in an earlier blog post, I was once asked why I was dedicating my life to documenting the work of fat, bald, old men.  I liked the question because it allowed me to draw attention to our many women’s collections and to highlight the wonderful records documenting women’s issues and the lives of women in our largest collections–our congressional holdings.  This article made me use my feeble math skills to ascertain what percentage of our collections were generated by women.

Clara McMillan, center, with Mr. and Mrs. James F. Byrnes, c. 1960.

Clara McMillan, center, with Mr. and Mrs. James F. Byrnes, c. 1960.

I came up with 27 out of 122, or 22.13%.  If we were a state legislature, we would rank below 29 states.  The 122 figure counts some collections twice.  I needed to do this because we have several collections of married couples.  For instance, we have one collection for the papers of Thomas and Clara McMillan.  Both served in Congress; Mrs. McMillan was appointed to her husband’s seat after his death.

The result was not as satisfying as I had assumed it would be.  My gut told me we’d be around 30%.  Still, we are doing better than South Carolina itself.

 –Contributed by Herb Hartsook

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Looking to the Future of Digital Initiatives at South Carolina Political Collections

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 final of five posts celebrating Congress Week.

I first became familiar with the issues surrounding the archiving of born-digital congressional records while working at SCPC as a graduate assistant. In the almost two years between leaving SCPC and returning, I was fortunate enough to be able to continue learning about managing congressional electronic records and to gain experience in helping to set up an electronic records program. I’m pleased to be able to bring what I’ve learned back to SCPC as the new Digital Initiatives Archivist.

laura and VHS tower

As an SCPC graduate assistant, Laura Litwer helped build a tower of VHS cassettes as part of an effort to draw attention to the preservation needs of the media in our collections.

As congressional offices conduct an increasing amount of their business electronically, it has become correspondingly important to insure that congressional papers repositories are equipped to accession, process, store, and ultimately make available the digital records that they receive. My first major goal at SCPC is to build the framework for an electronic records program that is coherent, efficient, and in keeping with the best practices that have been developed for working with digital archival materials. Some of the steps I’ll be taking to accomplish this goal include surveying SCPC’s current digital holdings, developing policies and procedures to guide our work with digital materials, and setting up a dedicated electronic records workstation.

Although our initial framework will undoubtedly need to be modified over time, accomplishing this first step will provide a solid foundation from which to pursue additional goals, such as the processing of the digital components of specific collections, the implementation of long-term storage and access solutions, and the management of information in proprietary databases. It is my hope that some of the work I will be doing at SCPC will also be beneficial to other repositories within the congressional papers community as they develop their electronic records programs.

A-V still life

A still life of some of the obsolete audiovisual formats contained in our collections

In addition to our goals for managing born-digital materials, SCPC is also working to increase access to audiovisual information currently stored on obsolete media (e.g., Betamax tapes). To this end, I’ll be working with other University Libraries staff to digitize selected audiovisual items from our holdings and make those in open collections available for use.

Developing and managing SCPC’s digital initiatives promises to be an engaging and challenging undertaking, and I am thrilled to be able to participate in this exciting endeavor.

By Laura Litwer

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Snapshot of History: Butler Derrick of South Carolina’s Third District

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 fourth of five posts celebrating Congress Week.

butler derrick

Butler Derrick

“Butler Derrick is a true leader, a man of principle and integrity. When the public thinks of Congress, I’d be proud if they thought of Butler Derrick, because he was a member of the House in the finest sense of the word.” So said Former Speaker of the House, Thomas Foley, upon Butler Derrick’s retirement from the House of Representatives in January 1995.

Butler Carson Derrick, Jr. (1936-2014) was elected to Congress in 1974 to represent South Carolina’s Third District. He served in that office until 1995 and rose to serve as Chief Deputy Majority Whip — the fifth most senior leadership position in the U.S. House — before retiring from office. At the time of his retirement, Derrick was considered one of the ten most influential members of Congress.

As a means of highlighting the people and subjects of our collections, South Carolina Political Collections has created a series of digitized “samplers” we call In Their Own Words. Derrick is our most recent subject.


Derrick visits with some constituents

Derrick’s In His Own Words is still a work in progress, and more items will be added later this year. The digitized material includes campaign speeches, statements in press releases, op-ed pieces, statements concerning bills before the Rules Committee, letters, and photographs.

Here you will find remarks concerning issues of critical importance to him and South Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District as well as those of national and international significance. Among the subjects: South Carolina lakes, the Richard B. Russell Dam, the development of a South Carolina National Heritage Corridor, nuclear energy and waste management, crime bills, the Brady Bill for gun control, national energy policy, defense appropriations (Desert Shield/Desert Storm), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the 1991 “October Surprise” investigation of the Iran hostage crisis and presidential election of 1980, and many others.

Swirl, Inc

Visiting Swirl, Inc., in Easley, SC, 1986
(pictured: Bob Olson, V.P. of Operations, Derrick, Larry Nachman, Chairman of the Board, and Ervie Lee McNeely, sewing)

Derrick made statements upon the resignation and pardon of Richard Nixon; wrote a letter to President Reagan concerning the terrorist hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985, during which American tourist Leon Klinghoffer was killed; led a 1984 memorial service for the victims of the Korean Air Lines flight shot down by the Soviets on September 1, 1983; and promoted America’s Bicentennial by taping a “Bicentennial Minute” for CBS and sponsoring a Bicentennial essay contest.

Seen by his party and others in Congress as a bridge between the liberals and conservatives, Derrick surprised many with his announcement on February 16, 1994, that he would retire at the end of his term. In his retirement announcement Derrick said, “The U.S. Congress is the greatest deliberative body in the world. I will always be grateful to the people of the Third District for the honor of serving in the House of Representatives.” When asked about his greatest achievement Derrick replied, “I am most proud of my solid, honest, straight-forward leadership and the thousands of people I’ve been able to help.”

derrick and carter

Derrick with President Jimmy Carter

We hope Butler Derrick: In His Own Words will provide you with a window into the heart and mind of this well-respected South Carolinian.

For more on Butler Derrick and to view the collection finding aid, see his page here.

By Kate Moore

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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.


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


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

Posted in collections, events, spotlight | Comments Off on Elizabeth Johnston Patterson: Following a Family Tradition