In the Family Tradition

On April 2, we were delighted to welcome family members of the late Senator Olin Johnston and of Congresswoman Liz Patterson for a tour of our exhibit, “In the Family Tradition: Olin D. Johnston and Elizabeth J. Patterson.”

FamilyIncluded in the party were Senator Johnston’s daughter Sallie and her granddaughter, and Mrs. Patterson’s children Pat and Catherine, as well as Catherine’s children.  After enjoying the exhibit, we walked over to the South Caroliniana Library to see Senator Johnston’s historic desk, which is installed in the Manuscripts Division reading room—the Olin D. Johnston Memorial Room.  Coincidentally, it was exactly forty-five years to the day since the University dedicated this room.

The dedication honored the former governor and U.S. Senator, who died in 1965, and whose papers formed the first major congressional collection ever received by the University.  It also honored friends of Sen. Johnston for their success in endowing a professorship in political science at USC.  The fundraising campaign, chaired by Congressman Robert Hemphill, raised nearly $100,000, a huge sum in the 1960s.

U.S. Senator Ernest F. “Fritz” Hollings, fresh from winning his first full Senate term, attended the dedication, and Governor Robert E. McNair delivered the address.  McNair praised Johnston “as a friend and a great teacher in the art of serving our fellow man.”  He noted that Johnston was “a man who championed difficult causes,” and was devoted to the working class on the farm and in the mills.

Senator Olin Johnston and his daughter, Liz.

Senator Olin Johnston and his daughter, Liz.

The papers of Johnston, Hemphill, Hollings, and McNair form core holdings of SCPC.

Mrs. Patterson also visited us last week with husband Dwight and a friend and toured the exhibit.  She is an inspirational figure and all of our staff and students enjoyed this opportunity to visit and hear stories of her life and public service.


Contributed by Herb Hartsook


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Spence and the Sunbelt Caucus

Congressman Spence

Congressman Spence

Our good friend Craig Metz, former chief of staff to Congressman Floyd Spence (1928-2001), pointed out that the Carl Albert Center includes among its holdings the papers of the Congressional Sunbelt Caucus.  Eleven feet of papers, chiefly 1981 to 1982 and 1987 to 1994, document the efforts of this bipartisan coalition of Southern and Southwestern representatives.  Mr. Spence was its first vice-chair.  The caucus proposed and tracked legislation for the Sunbelt states, and also advocated for more federal funding targeting the region.


The Albert Center was established in 1979 and holds a broad range of political collections consisting of over sixty collections ranging in size from 0.25 to 697 feet.  The Center also has a very active programming component.

Our Spence collection consists of some 74 feet of material, c. 1928-2001, and researchers studying the Caucus will find listed on our description, which is available on our website, seven folders of papers relating to the Caucus, 1981 to 1989.

Spence at the 1976 Republican National Convention

Spence at the 1976 Republican National Convention


I will never forget, when we first established SCPC, we wrote to each member of the South Carolina delegation, inviting them to entrust their papers to us.  Mr. Spence called me the day the letter arrived and asked what he could do to help us.  I responded that he could designate us as his repository.  He replied, “Done, what more can I do?”  A great gentleman!


 –Contributed by Herb Hartsook

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“Passing the Torch”


Dr. Henrie Treadwell

On Mar. 27, the I. DeQuincey Newman Institute for Peace and Social Justice, The College of Social Work, and the African American Studies Program presented an excellent program featuring a speech by Henrie Treadwell titled, “Passing the Torch: Civil Rights Agenda for the 21st Century.”   Dr. Treadwell addressed concerns over our educational, court and particularly prison systems.  Males of color, African Americans and Hispanics, are disproportionately suspended and expelled from school; often treated by the courts, while juveniles, as adults; and disproportionately imprisoned, leading to a society in which 1 in 3 African American males born today can expect to spend time in prison during their lifetime.  It was a powerful presentation in which Treadwell challenged the audience to take action.  Her aunt Modjeska would have been so proud of her.

The College of Social Work kindly invited SCPC to mount an exhibit and, as we have once before for them, we displayed a selection from the papers of the Rev. Newman, and added materials from the papers of Dr. Treadwell’s aunt, Civil Rights leader Modjeska Simkins, and also material on Treadwell herself.  Thanks to the generosity and sense of history shared by Mrs. Simkins’ family, her papers are preserved and made available for study at SCPC.  Since their donation, Dr. Treadwell has taken an active interest in our program and become a great friend.  It has been gratifying to see her recognized for her role in desegregating USC in 1963.

I. DeQuincey Newman

The event was held at USC’s Spigner House and drew a crowd of about eighty, filling Spigner, and including an impressive showing of students enrolled in the College.  Professor Bobby Donaldson was in attendance and brought images gathered by him while heading the Columbia SC 63 desegregation project.  Emily Newman, the Rev. Newman’s daughter and donor of the Newman papers, was also in attendance.  The April release by USC Press of Prof. Sadye Logan’s book, The Spirit of an Activist: The Life and Work of I. DeQuincey Newman, was announced.  I am eager to see it.

I was very impressed by the student turnout and the close relationship evidenced by the students and the College faculty.  And Dean Anna Scheyett made most eloquent closing remarks to end a very successful evening.  I don’t know that anything I do is more satisfying than when I serve have the opportunity to serve as the public face of SCPC at an event like this.

–Contributed by Herb Hartsook

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The United States Congress: The First 225 Years

See more at:

See more at:

The week of April 1, 2014, will be celebrated as Congress Week, as sponsored by the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress.

SCPC is one of just over forty institutional members of this organization, which is dedicated to preserving material documenting the work of Congress and encouraging research in those holdings.

Many of the institutions are repositories holding the papers of members of Congress.  Some, like SCPC and the Russell Library at UGA, collect broadly.  Others, like the Dole Institute at KU and the Byrd Center at Shepherd University stress public programming on current events or issues such as leadership.    The National Archives’ Center for Legislative Archives is also a prominent member.

You can learn more about ACSC by visiting its web site:

In publicizing Congress Week, ACSC president Frank Mackaman, of the Dirksen Center, wrote:

The United States Congress is 225 years old this year and we think this is cause for celebration and reflection….We want to encourage a focus on Congress each year during the month of April, the month in 1789 when Congress first got down to the business of governing the United States under its new Constitution….

    While Congress is a co-equal branch of government, the action today seems to be embodied in the president, not Congress. We have President’s Day every year, we conduct grand inaugural events when presidents are sworn in, and the news tends to focus on the president as the one individual who should govern the nation. Yet when each new Congress convenes every two years, the public pays hardly a nod to the event.  So Congress Week is a device, a non-partisan reminder, that Congress bears co-equal responsibility for governing the nation. Its rich and colorful history needs more of the nation’s attention.

    In coming years we hope Congress Week will spark a closer examination of the First Branch of government, encourage schools to develop programs to highlight the work of Congress, and stimulate more scholarly research into Congress by a wide range of disciplines.

    Congress has governed the nation for 225 years, and we hope it will survive and thrive for centuries to come. It can only do so if the nation continues to understand and appreciate the Constitution of the United States and the meaning of representative democracy.  James Madison and other founders believed strongly that an informed citizenry was the best hope for good government. We hope Congress Week will contribute to an informed citizenry.

SCPC currently holds the papers of some twenty-five members of Congress serving primarily in the post-World War II era, including those of current members, Senator Lindsey Graham and Congressmen Mark Sanford and Joe Wilson.  Our sister institution, the South Caroliniana Library, holds the papers of a number of members who served before 1945.  We value these papers not only for their documentation of government but because they help document in a very personal manner the lives, hopes, and fears of the people of South Carolina and our country through the letters, emails and other messages they send to their representatives in government, hoping to sway the legislative process and make all of our lives better.

As Mackaman wrote, “the great experiment in representative democracy is still an ongoing process.”

So, please join us during this first week of April in celebrating Congress Week!

–Contributed by Herb Hartsook

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Congress Week Exhibit: Early Congressmen and women in South Carolina

In celebration of Congress Week, I was designated to design our monthly exhibit for April, to be centered around early Congressional elections. This topic gave me a broad variety of collections to choose from, and a variety of approaches to take. I decided to work with our three earliest Congressional collections. My aim in assembling this exhibit was to demonstrate the broad range of subjects and materials available at the South Carolina Political Collections, even within collections from as far back as eighty years ago.


Allard Henry Gasque
Sixth District Congressman

The three collections I chose to work with were those of Allard Henry Gasque, Butler Black Hare, and Thomas and Clara McMillan, all working before and throughout the Great Depression. The exhibit includes materials relating to agriculture and agricultural assistance and Philippine independence as well as photographs and biographical articles.

You can stop by and see the exhibit in the Hollings Library on weekdays from 8:30am to 5pm. It will be just outside the entrance to the South Carolina Political Collections gallery.

Contributed by graduate student assistant Clara Bertagnolli

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Judge Matthew J. Perry: In His Own Words

Picture of Matthew J. Perry, Jr.As a lawyer, Judge Matthew J. Perry was heavily involved in many important, precedent-setting civil rights cases.  He argued before the United States Supreme Court multiple times, and lost only one case there.  He became the first African American federal judge from South Carolina, and is remembered for his civility and respectful nature both in the courtroom and out, even while pursuing divisive and conflict-ridden issues.  In his extensive, 184 page oral history he discusses his early life, education, and career as a lawyer.  Dr. Robert J. Moore conducted the interview; he is a historian, contributor to Judge Perry’s biography, and was a personal friend of the judge and his wife, Hallie.  Perry was a part of the second graduating class of 1951 at the South Carolina State Law School, which was established to comply with the “separate but equal” law as it was at the time, after South Carolina was given the choice of establishing a law school for African Americans, admitting them to USC Law, or closing USC Law.  While in law school the law required him to sit in the balcony at the courthouse; the federal courthouse in Columbia is now named for him.

There were few African American lawyers in South Carolina at the time, and Perry tells a particularly moving story about starting out as the only African American lawyer in Spartanburg in the early 50’s.  There was a general practice of lawyers gathering at the front of the courtroom on the first day of a new session of court, and one morning they were gathered and were all socializing and chatting amongst themselves, and with the judge, before court started.  When Perry arrived, no one spoke to him, the only acknowledgement he received was being looked at “as if [he] was some kind of fool” for going up to the front of the courtroom.  He describes how badly it made him feel to be ignored and left out, but that he had vowed never to let that show.  When the then mayor of Spartanburg, Tom Whiteside arrived, Judge Perry says that it was “as if one of the major stars had walked into the courtroom,” and right away he came over to Perry and shook his hand, in what is described as a very kind and reassuring gesture.

Another anecdote from his days as a young lawyer involves meeting a judge for the first time after having communicated about a case via mail and telephone.  They had arranged a meeting, and the judge said he would take Perry to lunch afterwards.  This judge evidently was not aware of Perry’s race, and when they met he was so surprised that he inhaled his partially smoked cigar, and it became temporarily lodged in his throat.  The lunch was not mentioned.  Judge Perry tells this story in an amusing way; it is a testament to his character that he is able to look back with humor on certain incidents in a more lighthearted way, even while these same incidents serve to highlight the racial injustices he endured.  He looks back on even some of the cruelest incidents with a huge degree of reason, logic, and awareness; and with a complete lack of bitterness or hatred.

Judge Perry discusses in detail his various United States Supreme Court appearances.  His first Supreme Court case was a death penalty case, and it was the only case he lost there.  This took place in 1960, when he was still a relatively new lawyer, and appealing a case to the U.S. Supreme Court was an unfamiliar and daunting prospect.  After the Court took the case, Perry asked Thurgood Marshall to argue the case for him, but he responded “You filed it and they granted it, now you argue it.”  Perry describes his extensive preparations for the case:  packing a hundred volumes of books on Supreme Court practice in the trunk of the car to take to Washington, reading every Supreme Court death penalty case he could find, virtually memorizing the trial transcript, and staying up all night before the argument reading and studying, unable to sleep from excitement or nervousness.  It is intriguing to know that even someone so accomplished, and with such a long and illustrious legal career, was nervous going before the Supreme Court the first time, and to hear him reminisce about the experience first-hand.

Judge Perry represented Harvey Gantt in the case to integrate Clemson in 1963, and he accompanied Gantt to campus to enroll and remained friends with him; this case as well as the actual process of integrating Clemson are both discussed in detail in the interview.  When asked what he considers to have been his biggest case, in terms of social impact, Perry points to several cases.  Stevenson v. West was a United States Supreme Court case which reapportioned the South Carolina House of Representatives into single-member districts, making the process fairer, and making it possible for African Americans gain more representation in the state legislature.  In another case, Brown v. South Carolina Board of Education, Perry blocked a plan to give parents state money to send their children to private schools, which would have resulted in continued segregation.  Perry said “we think we saved the public schools of South Carolina through that lawsuit.”  In State v. Edwards, 187 protesters were arrested for disturbing the peace while marching at the South Carolina State House.  They were not being rowdy, and were in a location where they were lawfully allowed to be, and were not blocking traffic or interfering with any government function.  Perry argued this case before the United States Supreme Court, where the convictions were reversed on First Amendment grounds.  The precedent set in that case and other cases he pursued resulted in the reversals of convictions of thousands of people around the country.  Eventually, Perry built up a reputation such that sometimes merely writing a letter or threatening to sue would get the opposition to go ahead and change its discriminatory policy.

Judge Perry faced opposition from many South Carolina lawmakers, as well as citizens, on the issue of civil rights.  However, he fostered what he describes as a good working relationship and gained the respect of many people whose job descriptions included enforcing segregation, as it was the law at the time.  Perry does not speak ill of anyone, even those who were ardently opposed to and actively fighting against civil rights and integration.  A federal judge wrote in an essay for Perry’s biography, “he is the only militant civil rights figure I know who seems to be loved by both racial groups while still engaged in the struggle.”  When Perry was nominated for federal judgeships, first at the United States Court of Military Appeals, and then to the United States District Court, he mentions that many of the people he had opposed through the years wrote letters, presumably to the Senate, praising him professionally.  This is mentioned simply in passing, but seems to speak a great deal to his professionalism, civility, and integrity.

To learn more about Judge Matthew J. Perry, check out his oral history here.

Contributed by graduate student assistant Mary Kennington Steele

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Women’s History Month: Women in Power in South Carolina

With the changing months also comes the changing of South Carolina Political Collections’ small exhibit in the Britain Gallery of Hollings Library.  Women’s History Month is celebrated worldwide every March, and this year is no different.  This month’s theme is “Women in Power” featuring two former representatives from South Carolina’s House of Representatives.  Harriet H. Keyserling and Candy Yaghjian Waites were both adamant advocates of women in politics and the South Carolina education system, just to name two.


State Representative Harriet Keyserling

Mrs. Keyserling began her political career later in life, but made a lasting imprint on South Carolina politics in her eighteen years of public service.  Education was her passion. She “saw that the County Council was not doing enough for education,” and determined she would help bring about change.  In 1974, Mrs. Keyserling became the first woman elected to the Beaufort County Council.  Among her initiatives, she went on to create a library consortium with other Low Country libraries, eliminating duplication and enhancing availability of resources for the citizens of Beaufort County. 

In 1976, Mrs. Keyserling was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives.  It wasn’t long before Keyserling and other legislators, known as the “Crazy Caucus,” joined forces to advocate for such causes as rules reform, education, the environment, the arts, ethics, and campaign reform.  Mrs. Keyserling was a member of the Joint Legislative Committee on Cultural Affairs; instrumental in the passage of the Education Improvement Act; served on the Ways and Means Committee, the Public Works Committee, the Rules Committee, the Judiciary Committee, and the Joint Legislative Committee on Energy.  In 1992, Mrs. Keyserling announced her decision to retire from the House of Representatives, but she continued her work in the community until her death in 2010.


Candy Waites campaign card

Candy Yaghjian Waites’ mother was active in the League of Women Voters, which helped to cultivate her interest in public service.  While a student at Wheaton College in Massachusetts in 1964, Waites and her friends held a fundraiser to help get her home to South Carolina to vote in the presidential election.  At this time South Carolina was one of only a few states that did not extend absentee ballots to out of state college students.  While $100 seems like a small amount to pay for a plane ticket, at that time it was expensive.  Not only did she get help from her fellow students, the story was picked up nationally and donations from around the country poured in to help in her plight.  The following spring, Waites addressed the South Carolina Senate concerning amending the absentee ballot law to open it to college students. 

In 1976, Waites was the first woman elected to the Richland County Council.  As a Council member for twelve years, she sat on such boards as the Central Midlands Regional Planning Council Board and the Richland County Coordinating Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect.  In 1988, Waites was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives.  She served for six years.  During her tenure, she was involved in many issues, including child care, education, women in politics, and ethics reform.  Last week, WIS Investigative Reporter Jody Barr visited the Hollings Library to interview Ms. Waites on ethics-related issues.  The piece aired on February 27, 2014. 

waites 2

Candy Waites speaks with reporter Jody Barr

Please come by and check out the exhibit featuring Harriet Keyserling and Candy Yaghjian Waites, as well as the Olin D. Johnston and Elizabeth Johnston Patterson exhibit featured in SCPC’s main gallery.  For more information regarding these two great women, or any of our other holdings, check our website.

By: Sara Norman

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The Inspirational Sarah Leverette


Sarah Leverette

The donor of our 109th collection is a fascinating individual who has several connections to our Library’s namesake.  Like Fritz Hollings, Sarah Leverette is in her early nineties.  Like Fritz Hollings, Leverette is an inspirational lifelong learner.  Like Fritz Hollings, Leverette doesn’t believe in retirement and goes to work every day.  Like Fritz Hollings, Leverette believes government should work to help all its citizens. 

And Leverette shares some history with Senator Hollings.  She was the librarian at the USC School of Law when Sen. Hollings was in school and he holds her in great esteem.  Leverette routinely opened the Library over the Christmas holiday so students like Hollings could study.  Hollings was just one of a number of World War II veterans trying to get through school as quickly as possible to catch up for the years missed in service.  Leverette’s devotion to the students is legendary.

Leverette was born in 1919 and graduated from Anderson Junior College in 1938.  She graduated from the USC School of Law and was admitted to the South Carolina Bar in 1943.  Her first job was with the state Department of Labor, where she worked chiefly as a statistician.  Encouraged by Law School Dean Samuel Prince, she attended Columbia University for post-graduate studies in legal research and law library administration.  In 1947, she returned to USC as Law Librarian.  In addition to her work at the Library, Leverette taught legal writing for twenty-five years.  During her career, she served with distinction in the American Association of Law Librarians.  Upon her retirement from the University in 1972, Governor John West appointed her to the Workman’s Compensation Commission, which she eventually chaired.


Senator Ernest “Fritz” Hollings listens to his constituents at a town meeting.

She served as Law Librarian from 1947 to 1972.  Her papers will mainly document her leadership in the League of Women Voters.  Leverette joined the League in 1957 and almost immediately became one of its most active leaders promoting good government at the local and state levels.  She presided as President of the Columbia League in 1958, and has long been active on the League’s board.  She is still, today, a staunch voice for good government.

The Sarah Leverette Papers will add greatly to our rich holdings documenting the League of Women Voters in their work to encourage informed and active participation in government, to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and to influence public policy through education and advocacy.  It has been a great privilege and joy to get to know Sarah as we have worked together to build her collection.

By Herb Hartsook

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Annual Meeting of the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress, May 14-16, 2014

South Carolina Political Collections is proud to host this year’s annual meeting of the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress (ACSC). It will be held May 14-16th at the Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library on the campus of the University of South Carolina (registration information here; program out in March). We hope you find this information useful as you plan your trip.

Hollings Special Collections Library

Hollings Library:
The Hollings Library opened in 2010 with South Carolina Political Collections, Rare Books and Special Collections, and Digital Collections. Visitors enter the Hollings Library via Thomas Cooper, USC’s main library. You’ll know you’ve found Thomas Cooper when you see the big reflecting pool out front. If you plan to drive to Thomas Cooper, the Bull Street Parking Garage next door has hourly parking. Save some time to look at the exhibits of Rare Books and Political Collections while you’re here.  We hope to have some new interactive elements in place by then.

The Inn at USCA block of rooms is set aside at The Inn at USC at a rate of $120/night for Wed. and Thurs. nights (breakfast & parking included). The block will be available until April 14th or until the rooms are all claimed. In order to receive the rate, you must call The Inn (803-779-7779) and refer to the block Association of Centers for Study Congress Convention–USC Libraries. If you plan to arrive Tuesday, there should be rooms available if you book sooner rather than later.

The Inn sits on the northeast side of campus and is .5 miles from the Hollings Library and a lovely 10-minute walk across USC’s Historic Horseshoe. See map below. We hope to arrange breakfast so that we will all be able to eat together at The Inn (even those not staying there) so stay tuned for more information.

The Columbia Metropolitan Airport is 7 miles (15-20 mins.) from campus. Cabs from the airport to campus are generally around $30-35 and available outside baggage claim on the lower level (not at the main entrance upstairs). If you’re interested in sharing rides, we suggest using the ACSC message board to coordinate.

Meals, except Thursday dinner, are part of your registration. Lunch will be served at the Hollings Library. On Wednesday, our group dinner will be at the renovated, historic Spigner House on the east side of campus, a short walk from The Inn and the Hollings Library. Thursday, SCPC staff members will lead groups to local, favorite dining spots (dutch treat). We’ll put out sign-up sheets at the meeting. If you head out on your own, you’ll find numerous restaurants in nearby Five Pointsthe Congaree Vista, on campus along Main and Sumter streets, or downtown along Main.

Sites within walking distance:
The meeting doesn’t start until noon on Wednesday, so why not seek out the charm and history of the South Carolina State House or the University of South Carolina campus?

SC State House from above

The State House is adjacent to campus and only 4 blocks from The Inn. Take a stroll around its grounds and you’ll come across an eclectic mix (of odd, somber, entertaining, and otherwise) old and new monuments. Make sure to head inside to grab a brochure about the grounds and take in the ornate foyers (upstairs and downstairs). The visitor’s entrance isn’t obvious but you’ll find it on the east side near the African-American History monument.

Historic Horseshoe at USC

The jewel of campus (est. 1801) is the Historic Horseshoe, the oldest section of USC and home to the South Caroliniana Library and McKissick Museum. At McKissick you’ll find the USC Visitor’s Center and an excellent exhibit, Bull Street: Forgotten Past and Uncertain Future (Bull Street is the former home of the State Mental Hospital). The Caroliniana Library is the oldest free-standing academic library (1840) in the U.S.  Worth a look is the interior of the 2nd floor reading room–it’s a replica of the original Library of Congress reading room–and the exhibit, David R. Coker and the Campaign to Modernize Southern Agriculture.

The University of South Carolina is designated a “Tree Campus USA” so if trees are your passion, take a tour.  FYI, our entire campus is also tobacco-free.

Places of interest:

Google map of ACSC meeting points of interest

Questions? Please ask your Host Committee members (i.e. Herb, Dorothy, and Lori!).

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Edward P. “Ted” Riley: In His Own Words

photo of RileyEdward P. “Ted” Riley was a lawyer, Family Court Judge, United States Attorney, South Carolina state chairman of the Democratic Party, and was active in Democratic politics for many years.  Among his many positions in community leadership, he served as counsel to the Greenville County School Board from 1958-1978, a critical time for school integration; and as chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party from 1960-1964, which was a critical time for the Democratic Party in South Carolina.  In Mr. Riley’s lengthy oral history, he discusses public and personal aspects of his life in detail, including his childhood; his educational background; his time in the Navy; his legal career; and his experiences in politics.

Ted Riley’s involvement in Democratic politics in South Carolina spanned a very active few decades, and he had close associations with many prominent South Carolina politicians. Recognizable names appear throughout the interview, including detailed accounts of his relationships and professional dealings with Speaker Sol Blatt, who was a friend of Mr. Riley’s from the time they were young; as was James Byrnes, with whom Mr. Riley had a falling out and then later a reconciliation; Judge Matthew Perry, whom he describes as “one of the greatest men I’ve ever known;” as well as Fritz Hollings, Charles Cecil Wyche, Bryan Dorn, Cole Blease, among others.

Ted Riley’s time working as a lawyer in private practice, as a Family Court Judge, and as an Assistant United States Attorney in Greenville provide for some interesting anecdotes, and shed light on just how much the practice of law differs between then and now.  In one story he describes a trial he was prosecuting involving liquor, presumably in the midst of Prohibition; during which the defendant died on the stand while Mr. Riley was cross -examining him.  The defendant’s last words before he collapsed on the stand were “I’ll see you in hell.”

Ted Riley was born in 1900, and was active and involved in politics and law up into the 1990’s.  He observed countless changes and controversies over these years; from the violent and dangerous Jim Crow period, to the school integration cases of the 1950’s, and the conflicts that accompanied integration in the 1960’s; and he discusses details about all of these in his interview.  He provides interesting insights into the changes in race relations over the years.  The 60’s was also a time when many southern Democratic politicians, as well as voters, were switching parties.  Mr. Riley, however, remained devoted to the Democratic Party throughout his life, despite many of his friends’ and colleagues’ attempts to get him to follow them to the Republican Party.

The Presidential election of 1960 was taking place in the midst of this mass-switch in party ideology, and many loyal Democrats were actively against John F. Kennedy for President.  Ted Riley was the chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party at the time.  He was a Kennedy supporter, and heavily involved in Kennedy’s presidential campaign in South Carolina, which was expected to go Republican for the first time.  Riley discusses the campaign and the election, particularly in relation to South Carolina, including Kennedy’s visit to South Carolina, Fritz Hollings’ involvement and support for Kennedy, and the eventual surprise win for Kennedy in South Carolina.

Ted Riley’s son, Dick Riley ran successfully for two terms as Governor of South Carolina, in 1978 and 1982, becoming South Carolina’s first two-term governor.  Ted Riley discusses his son’s decision to run; and his own involvement in the campaign; and some of Dick’s accomplishments during his time as governor.  He also discusses the dynamic among the major political players in the state during that time.  More on Governor Dick Riley’s family life and governorship can be found in two other oral history transcripts; that of his wife, Ann “Tunky” Yarborough Riley, and the oral history with Governor and Mrs. Riley and their son Ted Riley about their time spent in the Governor’s mansion.

To learn more about Ted Riley, check out his oral history here; or view his full collection here.

Contributed by graduate student assistant Mary Kennington Steele

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