Flynn T. Harrell: Friend of the Archives

Flynn Award Speaking

Flynn Harrell offers brief remarks to South Carolina archivists.

On October 10, 2014, the South Carolina Archival Association bestowed on Flynn T. Harrell its Friend of the Archives Award.  He earned this recognition through his long dedication to the South Caroliniana Library and his work in arranging his own papers, first for the Caroliniana, and now for South Carolina Political Collections.

Harrell is a native of Columbia and a member of the University of South Carolina Class of 1956.  His career was spent in finance and government as the business/financial officer of the South Carolina Baptist Convention and as executive assistant to South Carolina Attorney General Travis Medlock.  Harrell chaired Gov. Richard W. Riley’s Task Force on Critical Human Needs, and since his retirement, served on the State Ethics Commission.

Harrell served as president of the University South Caroliniana Society from 1987 to 1990. As a member of its Council and later president, Harrell provided able stewardship and helped guide the Caroliniana in its collecting and outreach efforts.  In 2008 Harrell created a collection with South Carolina Political Collections which formed the culmination of Flynn’s lifetime interest in the separation of church and state.  The Flynn T. Harrell Collection on the Separation of Church and State has become a leading collection documenting this key tenet of American government and society.  Some nine feet of personal papers document his professional career while over seventeen feet of material document the separation of church and state.

Flynn Award2

Flynn Harrell receives the award from SCAA Vice-President Steve Smith.

In an article written for a USC publication, Harrell reflected on his life as follows:

Early on I became enamored with the historic South Caroliniana Library and worked there as a student assistant during three summers and part-time during my junior and senior years.  I was an accounting major, but my love for South Carolina and its history made this a growing and cherished experience.  I boasted to a few friends that not every college student could say that he or she had worked in the oldest separate college library building in America.

The books, manuscripts and other holdings, all pertaining to our state, were informative and impressionable.  I have admired the leadership and staff of the library, having worked under the legendary Dr. Robert L. Meriwether and observed his successor directors, Les Inabinet, Allen Stokes and Herbert Hartsook.  I am a long-time member of the University South Caroliniana Society, having served as president following the term of my friend and noted historian Walter Edgar.  I knew this would be a humbling experience.

I have recognized the importance of special collections of the papers of numerous state leaders and citizens, from the early years forward, not only in politics and government but also in business, education, industry, arts and science.  These readily become repositories to document the history of South Carolina and its people.  An understanding of the past is a prelude to working toward a more enlightened and just future for all.

Having grown up as a Baptist, I was exposed to the historic belief of that denomination as to religious liberty and its corollary the separation of church and state.  I found the subject fascinating and concluded that separation was in the best interest of both government and religion.  I have read rather extensively in this field, including two journals throughout my entire adult life, Church & State, published by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and Report from the Capital, published by the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.

Over the ensuing years I have authored several church/state articles and have spoken on the subject on more than one hundred occasions to churches, schools, civic clubs and other groups.  In recent years I have served as treasurer on the Board of Trustees of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

For three decades now, in my opinion, the Southern Baptist Convention has compromised its historic commitment to religious liberty by becoming even more conservative and more a part of the Religious Right.  (Almost twelve years ago my wife and I joined a congregation of the Presbyterian Church/USA where I serve now as an elder and moderator-elect of the presbytery.)

I believe many Americans do not understand Thomas Jefferson’s reference to a “wall of separation” between church and state.  They have not reflected upon how well our constitutionally-guaranteed religious liberty has served both religion and government.  And they have not comprehended the weakness of religion in those nations which do not mandate such separation.  This freedom is far more inclusive than where there is an officially-established state church.  It did not work in the early days of the colonies, and it would work even less today in our vastly increased pluralistic society.

It is important that Americans remain free to worship or not to worship according to the dictates of their individual consciences.  State-coerced religion would result in an America that few of us would recognize or desire.  True and vibrant religious faith must remain voluntary.

The culmination of a lifetime of involvement in the cause of religious liberty has resulted in our gift to South Carolina Political Collections in the University Libraries of books, journals, an extensive clipping collection and correspondence of forty-five years.  Our family also made a financial gift to endow this collection so that these resources can expand and remain available for present and future generations of students, faculty and researchers from far and near.  These gifts have been given to help insure continued religious liberty for all Americans through the separation of church and state.

–Contributed by Herb Hartsook

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Former South Carolina Governor James B. Edwards on the 1964 Presidential Campaign Waged by Barry Goldwater

This entry is the second in a short series of posts celebrating the 50th anniversary of Barry Goldwater’s 1964 Presidential campaign. See the first and third.

An exhibit in the Hollings Library’s Brittain Gallery, October 16 through November, “In Your Heart, You Know He’s Right: The 50th Anniversary of Barry Goldwater’s 1964 Presidential Campaign,” will celebrate the anniversary and feature campaign ephemera.

brochure gold backgroundThe campaign caught the hearts of many South Carolinians and helped create an environment in which a nascent Republican Party began its rise to parity and eventual domination of South Carolina.

In 1964, oral surgeon Jim Edwards was becoming politically active and was drawn to the conservative message put forth by the iconic conservative candidate, Barry Goldwater.  When I first sat down with Dr. Edwards to discuss his donation of papers to SCPC, he spoke at length on why he was a conservative.  I have never heard a more moving and convincing argument for the conservative cause.  Dr. Edwards provided the following for this blog series:

During this time I was trying to read all I could about Communism and how it had spread around the world and had even invaded our own government.  The more I learned and studied about it, the more concerned I became.  About this time Roger Milliken funded a television program on all three of the TV stations simultaneously about how the Communists had invaded our own government and how many known Communists were serving in important positions in our government.  The program showed how they disrupted the hearings of the House Un-American Activities committee.

This further disturbed me, and I began more and more wondering what I could and/or should be doing to fight against what was going on in my country.  What was I going to leave my children and grandchildren?

bumper sticker small orangeAbout the same time the national Republican Party had nominated a man named Barry Goldwater for president.  I was passively interested in him. I had read the books Profiles in Courage by Jack Kennedy and The Conscience of a Conservative by Barry Goldwater.  Goldwater appealed to me and one night a good friend of mine was at my house visiting.  Goldwater was on the television and I said I would like to help that man Goldwater.  Arnie Mahoney said, “Jim, why don’t you go to the precinct meeting with me next week?”  I responded by saying, “What is a precinct?”  He explained it to me and I said I would go.

Well, the meeting went smoothly and they explained that each precinct needed to raise a certain quota for Goldwater’s campaign and that our precinct needed to give $1,500.  The precinct president asked if anyone had any suggestions about how to do it.  How to raise the $1500?  No one responded….  I finally said, “Why we don’t have a BBQ dinner at Alhambra Hall.  I believe we could get a crowd out for that.”  Everyone seemed to agree.  As usual the one making the suggestion wound up as chairman.  Ann and I arranged for the hall and asked the town if they would mow and clean up the grounds.  They said sorry, so Ann mowed the grounds with our little riding mower.

We set the date and, in the meantime, Bryan Rowell of Sullivan’s Island Precinct and big Clay Cable of the Isle of Palms Precinct asked if their precinct could join us and make it an East Cooper BBQ.  We all agreed and we all worked together.  We invited Paul Belknap, our County Chairman, to speak and we really had a great success.

sticker AUH2OWe sold all we had and sent for more barbecue, baked beans, and coleslaw.  We were selling AuH2O [“Goldwater”] for a dollar a can and as we began to sell out, we started auctioning it all for $10 a can.  The crowd swelled as the night went on, and when it was over, Arnie, Clay Cable, Bryan Rowell, Ann and I were up until after midnight counting the money.  We wound up not with $1,500 but over $15,000.

The next day the fight began over who was going to get the money.  The Republicans said it was theirs.  No, said Democrats for Goldwater, it was theirs.  The argument was getting hotter and hotter.  I had the cash, so I deposited it in the bank under “East Cooper Conservatives” and told both sides they were going to lower their voices or they would get none.  I then got together Clay Cable and Bryan Rowell and we quietly divided the money, making sure that it all got properly dispensed for use by Goldwater.  Paul Belknap, County Chairman, was most appreciative of the financial help that we had given him and the Republican Party, and wrote me a very nice note after the election.

We were all really brokenhearted [by Goldwater’s defeat] and Paul Belknap resigned as County Chairman to get back to the business he was running, which was Charleston Rubber Company.  They manufactured a variety of rubber gloves used in industry.  He was a wonderful patriotic person who did his part and my life has been enriched by knowing him and his wife.

Not long after the Goldwater defeat, I got a call from Arthur Ravenel and Richard Coen.  They asked if they could come by and visit after I completed my schedule for the day.  Arthur and I had been friends in St. Andrews Parish Grammar School during the fourth and fifth grade.  I told them that I would look forward to seeing them.  When they arrived, I was surprised at the number.  There were six or seven as I remember.  Among the group was Julia Dougherty, Tom Alexander, Arthur Ravenel, [Richardson M.] Sunny Hanckel, Micah Jenkins, John Harlbeck and Richard Coen.  I welcomed them to the office, and gave them a short tour and offered them each a Coke.   I could tell they were on a mission, but they were slow to come to the point.

After a few minutes, one of them explained to me that Paul Belknap was resigning as Chairman and they were looking for someone to be Chairman of Charleston County Republican Party.  I was truly shocked.  I thought they should recruit an attorney.  They said an attorney in his right mind would not want the job.  I wondered why they would expect me to want it.  I told them that I would have to think about it.

A button that made a statement--actual size 7 inches.

A button that made a statement–actual size 7 inches.

I went home that evening wondering why I should even consider such a thing.  I had a very good practice that I enjoyed – I had, for the first time in my life, a comfortable income stream.  I even had some time to hunt, fish and spend time with my family.  I also wondered how the political life would affect my practice.  Would the referral doctors not send me patients?  Would patients refuse my service because of politics?

I waited nearly a week asking the questions.  I really didn’t know what the pressure would be, but I was unhappy with the way things were going in my country.  I was also aware that the only way to change anything in the U.S. was through political action.  I sincerely wanted to preserve our system and to leave a free country with the same opportunities that I have had.  There were none seeking the job and I wondered why?  After a few days of prayerful consideration, I decided I would try it, even though I had only attended one precinct meeting in my life.  Once I agreed to accept the job, I asked if there would be a campaign for the position.  I was told that there would be an election, but no one was wanting the job, and after being nominated, I was elected by acclamation.

SCPC holds a number of collections (and oral history interviews) documenting the rise of the Republican Party in South Carolina.  The Goldwater campaign was a landmark event in that rise and Dr. Edwards a central figure in the spread of the Republican ideal throughout South Carolina.  Please plan to visit the Hollings Library’s Brittain Gallery and see a little of what captivated South Carolinians just fifty years ago, and marvel at the changes in our political landscape.

Contributed by Herb Hartsook

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SCPC Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Goldwater 1964 Presidential Campaign

This blog kicks off a short series of biweekly posts celebrating the 50th anniversary of Barry Goldwater’s 1964 Presidential campaign.  That campaign caught the hearts of many South Carolinians and helped create an environment in which a nascent Republican Party began its rise to parity and eventual domination of South Carolina.

brochure coverAn exhibit in the Hollings Library’s Brittain Gallery, October 16 through November, In Your Heart, You Know He’s Right: 50th anniversary of Barry Goldwater’s 1964 Presidential Campaign, will celebrate the anniversary and feature campaign ephemera.

Neal Thigpen, a historian of the Party, wrote a guest column for the Florence Morning News, Dec. 5 1977, titled “South Carolina Was Key to Goldwater Candidacy.”  In that column, he traced the origins of the Goldwater boom of 1964 to events in South Carolina in 1959 and 1960.  The following is an extensive quote from that article:

It all began in the fall of 1959 when South Carolina Republican chairman Gregory D. Shorey Jr. brought Goldwater to Greenville to speak at a party banquet.  There and over statewide television he introduced the senator as his choice for the 1960 Republican nomination.  Goldwater evidently didn’t take Shorey very seriously at the time.  But many people who attended the banquet that evening and thousands more who saw the television program, took Shorey’s endorsement to heart.

button collage 3In fact, the response to his announcement was so encouraging that Shorey and Roger Milliken, the state party’s finance chairman, invited Goldwater to come to Columbia to deliver the keynote address at the 1960 state convention.  The speech the Senator gave that day unwittingly won him the unanimous support of the more than 500 Republicans at the gathering.  Before they adjourned, South Carolina’s 13 national convention votes were officially pledged to Goldwater for president.  Not wishing to appear a political orphan in his own home state, the senator got Arizona Republicans to back him as a favorite-son, intending all the while to throw his support to Richard Nixon.
But by July, when the Republican national convention opened in Chicago, pressure on Goldwater to become a bona fide candidate and to seriously oppose the vice president for the nomination had begun to build.  Volunteers from the Goldwater-for-President Committee, which Greg Shorey headed, scurried about the convention hotels attempting to line up delegate support.  Goldwater realized, however, that Nixon had the nomination sewed up, and he decided t discourage those working on his behalf by releasing the delegates formally pledged to him so they could cast their ballots for the winner.

Members of the South Carolina delegation, from its leaders, Greg Shorey, Roger Milliken and Robert F. Chapman, who later succeeded Shorey as state chairman, down to the last alternate, urged Goldwater to remain in the contest.  Many argued that he should at least allow his name to be placed in nomination.  By so doing, he could then make a withdrawal speech to the convention that would give him and the conservative cause he represented invaluable nationwide both buttonstelevision exposure.  Reluctantly, Goldwater went along with the South Carolinians.
That night, to the thunderous applause of the delegates, the senator mounted the convention rostrum and asked that his name be withdrawn from nomination.  In his now famous address, he expounded his conservative political philosophy and urged his followers to stay within the party: Let’s grow up, conservatives!  If we want to take this party back, and I think we can someday, let’s go to work!  Goldwater did work loyally for the Nixon-Lodge ticket and the South Carolinian Republican returned home more determined than ever to make him the party’s presidential nominee four years hence. . . .

SCPC holds a number of collections (and oral history interviews) documenting the rise of the Republican Party in South Carolina.  A number of our collections include wonderful ephemera documenting the Goldwater campaign.  The collections of Greg Shorey, Charles Boineau, and, surprisingly, Democrat Bryan Dorn, are particularly rich in Goldwater material.  Please plan to visit starting Oct. 16th and see a little of what captivated South Carolinians just fifty years ago, and marvel at the changes in our political landscape.

bumper sticker–Contributed by Herb Hartsook

See the second and third posts in this series.

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“A Great American,” Congressman Joseph R. Bryson

BrysonCongressman Joseph R. Bryson served South Carolina’s 4th District in the United States House of Representatives from 1939-1953.  A conservative Democrat, one issue of great importance to him both personally and professionally was government regulation of alcohol.  He was ardently opposed to any alcohol consumption whatsoever, and many citizens at the time shared his view on this issue.  When Bryson took office, Prohibition was still fresh in the minds of Americans, having ended only six years prior.  Included in his collection are materials evidencing his and society’s feelings on alcohol and Prohibition at that time; a one-case exhibit showcasing some of these items is on display until October 15 in the Brittain Gallery at Hollings Library.


Disposal of liquor during Prohibition

Prohibition in the United States (1920-1933) had turned out to be to a large degree ineffectual, as widespread drinking continued throughout those years.  It also brought many problems along with it, including bootlegging, increased organized crime, political corruption, and the fact that the illegally manufactured alcohol was sometimes dangerous or even fatal when consumed.  However, supporters of reinstating Prohibition believed that the problems associated with legal access to alcohol were more devastating to society than those brought by restricting access.

It is easy for us to forget today just how much support there was for Prohibition, both public and political, at the time it took effect in 1920, and the items on display serve as an interesting reminder of how societal attitudes have changed over the years.  There were multiple organizations solely devoted to the outlaw of alcohol and an end to any and all drinking, and these organizations enjoyed solid membership and a degree of political influence.  The 18th Amendment was ratified by 46 of the 48 states; Connecticut and Rhode Island being the only states to reject it.  In contrast, the 21st Amendment which repealed Prohibition was ratified by 38 states, which was only 2 more than the minimum three-fourths required for passage; was rejected by South Carolina; and was not considered by nine states.

prohibitionists to carry countyThe Prohibition Party, founded in 1869, is the oldest existing third party in the United States.  It has nominated a presidential candidate in every election since 1872, and although never a leading contender, these presidential candidates enjoyed considerable support between 1884 and 1920, earning anywhere from 145,000 to 270,000 votes in each election during those years, and over 100,000 votes even as late as 1948.  Bob Shuler, a Prohibition senate candidate in 1932, attracted over 500,000 votes.  In comparison, the Prohibition presidential candidate in 2012 earned 519 votes.

joint resolution

Proposed constitutional amendment to reinstate Prohibition

Congressman Bryson introduced, at different times, both a bill and a constitutional amendment to bring back national Prohibition of alcohol, both of which were met with some degree of public support.  However, while strongly in favor of complete Prohibition, Congressman Bryson recognized that some progress could be made through compromise.  Bryson thus pursued laws that would impose regulations short of complete Prohibition; for example, prohibiting soldiers from consuming alcohol during times of war; and measures to prohibit beer and liquor companies from advertising their products.  In remarks to the House Speaker at a vote on a bill that would allow the President to limit the amount of wheat allocated for the production of alcoholic beverages he said, as he cast his vote in favor of the bill,  “I fully realize that the measure does not meet the needs…since the Majority party has indicated…that the pending measure was all that we could expect to get during this session, it is better to take a portion of a loaf than no loaf at all.”

Bryson and womanThe Prohibition folders in Congressman Bryson’s collection contain numerous letters from constituents expressing their opinions on the subject, and they are overwhelmingly supportive of his efforts.  One example from such a letter reads, “I hope your name will go down in history as a GREAT LEADER of the fight against this mighty enemy of the whole race.”  During World War II, some soldiers and civilians felt strongly that the war effort and national security would be best served by prohibiting soldiers from drinking.  One soldier wrote, “Here is one serviceman, and I know that there are millions more, who heartily approves of your efforts to curtail the consumption of the poison that people call liquor.  Servicemen have plenty of opportunity to see the effects of alcohol upon the nation, and especially upon its youth.  Needless to say, it is too awful for description.”  Congressman Bryson sent responses to some of these constituent letters.  In addition to correspondence, the items on display include speeches Bryson made to Congress, brochures and pamphlets about prohibition, poems, newspaper clippings, copies of bills introduced by Bryson, and literature from churches and temperance societies.

Bryson and son

Congressman Bryson and his son, Franklin David c. 1938

While the sincerity and motivations of some politicians claiming to support Prohibition may have been questionable, there is no doubt in Congressman Bryson’s sincerity.  He never wavered in his adamant opposition to and disapproval of all forms of alcohol consumption, nor in his fight to outlaw it again, and he truly believed society would be best served through Prohibition.  He claimed to have “always been sober and never [to] have taken a drop of intoxicating beverages.”  Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn said of Bryson that he “typified morals.  He practiced what he preached.  He was a good Christian and a great American.”  Come by the Brittain Gallery through October 15 to check out this exhibit, and read more about Congressman Bryson and his collection in the finding aid, found here.

Contributed by Mary Kennington Steele

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Learning about Agriculture at the National Museum of American History

Editor’s note: At SCPC, we’re proud to see our student assistants complete internships (read about Caitlin’s and Katharine’s summers) and take part in other enriching activities (like this and this).  Of course, we then ask them to, “do a blog about it!”  Here, Chris Fite (a second-year graduate student) tells us about his summer at the Smithsonian.

Did you know that RFID technology can alert farmers when cattle are sick? That many farmers plant crops without plowing the fields? That tractors can drive themselves with the assistance of GPS guidance? If you’re involved in agriculture, this probably sounds familiar. I must admit that it was all news to me. I learned about these things and much more as an intern at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. I spent my summer working with the curatorial team for American Enterprise, an upcoming exhibition on business and innovation in American history. My supervisor was Katharine Klein, a USC Public History alum and former SCPC graduate assistant.

I began the summer conducting further research on a group of objects from the exhibition. Based on my findings, I wrote 200-500 word labels that will appear in the American Enterprise online collections. These will complement the labels in the exhibition cases, which will be about 35 words each. If visitors want more information or cannot come to D.C., they can use the online collections to learn about particular objects and their historical contexts.

All of my objects were agricultural, including an 1880 windmill patent model, early toy tractor, and electronic cow tag. My assignment was challenging but also captivating. My sources ranged from old trade catalogs to census records. In describing an object’s historical significance, I also had to explain, in some detail, how it worked. In most cases, that meant having to learn for myself first. It was a reminder of how easy it is to take technology for granted, in the past or present.

Midway through the summer, curator Peter Liebhold enlisted my help in collecting new objects for American Enterprise. To highlight the importance of agricultural education, Peter chose to include an FFA jacket, the iconic blue corduroy worn by members since the 1930s. Surprisingly, the museum didn’t have one in its collections. We remedied that problem by collecting five jackets, including one from former President Jimmy Carter. We obtained some with the assistance of the National FFA Organization. For the others, we issued a public call for donation offers and selected from the dozens of submissions. You can read about the donors’ fascinating lives and careers on the museum’s blog, O Say Can You See?.

The agricultural focus of my internship was unexpected, but fortuitous. In the spring, I developed a growing interest in agricultural history. My work this summer not only dovetailed with my research interests, but also gave me an even greater appreciation for the fundamental role of agriculture in human society. After all, the invention of agriculture allowed humans to settle down and create civilizations. In American Enterprise, we hope that visitors will see how agriculture pervades American history, acting as a driving force for technological, economic, and social change.

–Submitted by Chris Fite

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Researching the Democratic Party at SCPC

By Thomas Hydrick


Thomas Hydrick at work in the reading room at the Hollings Library

For most of my life, I have been fascinated by South Carolina politics. Growing up in Columbia, I was raised in the center of political activity of our state and diligently followed developments in South Carolina’s political scene. As an undergraduate at Furman University in Greenville, I continued to pursue this passion, majoring in both political science and history. During my senior year at Furman, I participated in an independent study with the History Department, studying the career of South Carolina Governor and United States Senator Fritz Hollings. While working on this project, I made my first visit to South Carolina Political Collections at the Hollings Library. As an undergraduate, I was deeply impressed by the tremendous archival resources available at SCPC.

Following my graduation from Furman, I continued to pursue my interest in history by attending graduate school at the University of Cambridge, pursuing a Master of Philosophy degree in Historical Studies. I was attracted to Cambridge by the Historical Studies program itself but also by the opportunity to study under Professor Tony Badger. Professor Badger, the Master of Clare College and the Paul Mellon Professor of History, is widely recognized as a leading authority on the political history of the 20th century American South.


William Jennings Bryan Dorn campaigning
from the bed of a pick-up truck

In deciding on a topic for my dissertation at Cambridge, the choice was therefore fairly obvious. Naturally, I hoped to focus on South Carolina politics, and given my earlier work on Senator Hollings, I hoped to continue to study of the transformation of South Carolina politics through a close examination of the lives of key political figures in the state’s history. While much of the historical research on South Carolina and southern politics has focused on the rise of the Republican Party in the 20th century, historians have paid less attention to the actions of southern Democrats during this time. Given this gap in the historiography, I hoped to study the careers of several South Carolina Democrats in Congress. Furthermore, in selecting congressmen, I sought to study Democratic Representatives whose careers spanned much of the 20th century.  Given these parameters, I chose to examine the careers of Representatives John L. McMillan, L. Mendel Rivers, and William Jennings Bryan Dorn. All three individuals served as United States Representatives from South Carolina from approximately the 1940s until the 1970s; all three held important leadership positions in the United States House of Representatives; most significantly however, all three remained loyal Democrats even as the Republican Party gained numerous converts in the state. In short, I asked myself: How did these figures survive politically as the landscape of southern politics radically shifted in front of their very eyes?


John L. McMillan in 1968

In attempting to answer this question, I was naturally drawn to SCPC and the Hollings Library. Returning home to South Carolina for research trips in December and March, I attempted to spend as much time as possible in the archives. SCPC housed an abundance of valuable archival resources for my project, including the papers of John McMillan and Bryan Dorn. By reviewing their letters, papers, and other manuscripts, I was able to patch together a fairly comprehensive picture of the political lives of both McMillan and Dorn. Additionally, the staff of SCPC provided invaluable advice and perspective on my topic.

Reflecting back upon this research, I was struck by the heterogeneous nature of the Democratic Party during this time period. The diverse cast of characters and significant differences of opinion contained within the South Carolina Democratic Party during these years amazed me. During their time in public office, these men shared a party identity with figures as diverse as Olin Johnston, James F. Byrnes, Claude Stephens, Reverend I. DeQuincey Newman, James Clyburn, and Fritz Hollings. Within the span of their careers, the Democratic Party in South Carolina witnessed tremendous discontinuity, as the party’s platform and coalition of voters shifted dramatically. In responding to these changes, McMillan, Rivers, and Dorn sought to employ a wide array of strategies to survive politically. In doing so, they appealed to a diverse array of South Carolina constituents, ranging from unreconstructed white supremacists to progressive African American advocates of civil rights. Ultimately, this research greatly enhanced my own understanding of South Carolina and southern politics.

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The Passing of a Good Man: Johnnie M. Walters, 1919-2014

I first met Johnnie Mac Walters in 2002 when I contacted him soliciting the papers of the man who had stood up to President Richard Nixon.


Johnnie Mac Walters

Mr. Walters was a life-long public servant who had risen to head the IRS under Nixon and famously refused the President’s desire to punish his enemies through the offices of the IRS.  Our friend and donor Greg Shorey had recommended Mr. Walters to our attention.

As we relate in the finding aid to Mr. Walters’ papers, in 1971, embattled President Richard M. Nixon sought to use the Internal Revenue Service as a weapon to investigate and punish his “enemies.”  Tapes of White House conversations reveal Nixon wanted as Commissioner “a ruthless son-of-a-bitch, that he will do what he is told, that every income tax return I want to see I see, that he will go after our enemies and not go after our friends.”  Attorney General John Mitchell recommended one of his assistants, a specialist in tax law, Johnnie McKeiver Walters for the key post.

Walters was confirmed as Commissioner of Internal Revenue in August of 1971 and served until 1973.  Apparently, neither Nixon nor Mitchell ever spoke with Walters to ensure he would aid them as they desired.  In fact, Walters was “shocked” when Nixon aide John Dean presented him with an “enemies list,” and he refused to politicize the IRS as Nixon wanted.

When presidential domestic adviser John D. Ehrlichman confronted Walters about his “foot-dragging tactics” in regard to ordered audits, Walters told Secretary of the Treasury George P. Schultz that he could “…have my job anytime he wanted it.”  In an administration largely remembered for its abuse of power, Walters stands apart for his steadfast performance under pressure. . . .

Watergate articleBeyond his role in the Watergate investigations, Walters may be best remembered as a vocal advocate for reform of the voluntary tax system into a more taxpayer friendly system.  He received attention from the media for his efforts to simplify and clarify tax forms, for his reintroduction of the 1040A form, and for his pledge to crack down on corporate tax fraud.

My memory is of a gracious and elegant gentleman.  The world is a lesser place with him gone.

Herb Hartsook

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Remembering Modjeska Simkins

simkins book coverModjeska Simkins was a remarkable human rights activist and a uniquely powerful speaker.  Becci Robbins captures her essence in a new booklet, Modjeska Monteith Simkins: A South Carolina Revolutionary, just published by the South Carolina Progressive Network.  The 38 page booklet is clearly a labor of love by Robbins, the Network’s Communications Director.

Mrs. Simkins’ voice is present throughout the booklet which features lavish quotations.  Robbins places Mrs. Simkins both in time and place with a detailed biographical sketch.  The booklet also includes rich illustrations and statements by people such as SCPC donors Matthew Perry and Candy Waites who knew and were influenced by Mrs. Simkins.    Until a full length biography is produced, this forms the best treatment on the life and important role played by this forceful human rights activist.

A June 26 reception at Mrs. Simkins’ Marion Street home, which houses the Network’s offices, celebrated the new publication.  Brett Bursey, founder and director of the Progressive Network and devoted Simkins mentee, served as master of ceremonies and gave a stirring talk describing plans for the Modjeska Simkins School for Human Rights, a new endeavor by the Network which will train and encourage individuals to follow in the footsteps of Mrs. Simkins and “take on issues of economic and social injustice.”

3,000 copies of the booklet, which was made possible by a grant from the Richland County Conservation Commission, will be distributed to libraries around the state and interested individuals.  An electronic copy is available on the Network’s website.

Mrs. Simkins once noted, “Start each sunrise as a new day.  Start out believing there’s good to be done and people to do it for.”  That spirit still lives.

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The Diplomatic Life…continued

Recently Lori wrote about our latest exhibit, “The Diplomatic Life,” and how it depicts the various functions and facets of diplomatic service as documented by six of our collections.  These include the papers of James P. Richards, Paul Kattenburg, Rita Derrick Hayes, John West, Richard “Dixie” Walker, and David Wilkins.

All of these individuals played slightly different roles in the diplomatic sphere.  The latter three were in a role familiar to the general public, that of ambassador–although they served in widely varied times and places.  The other forms of diplomatic work displayed in the exhibit might be a little less visible or straightforward, but no less important.  This was the case for the other three individuals highlighted: Richards, Kattenburg, and Hayes.

Richards served as a special presidential envoy to the Middle East in the 1950s, and Kattenburg had a lengthy and distinguished career in the U.S. Foreign Service.  Also documented is the service of Hayes, who represented the United States in the realm of trade policy, via the World Trade Organization and the World Intellectual Property Organization.  Here are a few items from the exhibit from their respective collections.

An Arabic news article detailing James P. Richards' arrival in Beirut, Lebanon.  January 17, 1957.

An Arabic news article detailing James P. Richards’ arrival in Beirut, Lebanon, circa January 17, 1957. Richards served as Special Assistant to President Eisenhower for the Middle East from January 1957 to January 1958.

Richards at one of his destinations as an envoy.  These included Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, Tripoli and Turkey, among other countries. He also traveled to Formosa (Taiwan) and Malaya.

Richards at one of his destinations as an envoy. These included Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, Libya, and Turkey. He also traveled to Formosa (Taiwan) and Malaya. Richards’ years of experience on the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee gave him the expertise for his diplomatic assignment.

Paul Kattenburg in one of his diplomatic postings in East Asia.

Paul Kattenburg in one of his diplomatic postings in East Asia.


An official review of Kattenburg's work by the State Department, 1946.  A number of documents on display show the intricate paperwork involved in a long-term diplomatic career such as his.

An official review of Kattenburg’s work by the State Department, 1946. A number of documents on display show the intricate paperwork involved in a long-term diplomatic career such as his.

President Clinton commends Rita Derrick Hayes on her work in his administration.  In 1996, Clinton had awarded her the rank of Ambassador for her service.

President Clinton commends Rita Derrick Hayes on her work in his administration. In 1996, Clinton had awarded her the rank of Ambassador for her service.


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South Carolina Political Collections hosts congressional archivists

I want to thank everyone on the University Libraries team who worked so well together to present a highly successful and memorable 11th Annual Meeting of Association of Centers for the Study of Congress from May 14 to May 16.

The conference drew 42 congressional archivists, library administrators and congressional staff to Columbia. As we work in a Hollings-centric universe, we were pleased to see folks responsible for the papers of Hollings’ mentor, Richard Russell of Georgia; his mentee, Joe Biden of Delaware: and close friends, Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, Ted Stevens of Alaska, and Chris Dodd of Connecticut.

SCPC is gaining a reputation as an incubator of future archival leaders and we were proud to see two former SCPC student assistants on the program, Laura Litwer of Texas A&M Commerce and Debbie Todd of Baylor’s Poage Library.

The program opened with a keynote address delivered by former Democratic National Party chair Don Fowler. Seven panels considered the work of congressional chiefs of staff, campaign managers, innovative outreach, recent books and documentaries, the future of congressional archives, and “bridge” collections (non-legislative collections like League of Women Voters & political cartoonists). In addition, two former members of Congress spoke about their experiences having their papers collected. Program participants included our own Lori Schwartz;  former Hollings chiefs of staff Joey Lesesne and David Rudd; Floyd Spence chief of staff Craig Metz, whose dead-on impersonation of Strom Thurmond made him a favorite of the audience; campaign manager Jamal Gunn; Bryan Dorn biographer Jack Roper; and USC Professor of Library and Information Science Jennifer Marshall.

Attendees received a tour of SCPC and we were surprised that the one thing the group seemed most enamored of was our two-case exhibit just outside our processing area illustrating the steps in processing a major collection. We copied the concept from the Dole Institute and it sounds like the exhibit will soon be replicated at a number of our sister institutions. (For photos of the exhibit, please see our earlier blog post at

Special thanks to Christine Nicol-Morris; Rob Smith; Dorothy Walker, who serves as Secretary of ACSC; Lori Schwartz; and Dean of Libraries Tom McNally, who encouraged and made possible our hosting this conference. We began planning for this years ago, when we first learned we would be moving to a new state-of-the-art facility. The meeting was all we expected it to be and certainly solidified our standing as a leading congressional repository.

Contributed by Herb Hartsook

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