Photograph of Elliott College

Slavery at South Carolina College, 1801–1865:

The Foundations of the University of South Carolina

Elliott College, 1837

Detail of Elliott College from 1884 Sanborn Map
Elliott College, 1884 Sanborn Map, SCL

In 1836, South Carolina College had 142 students enrolled, although it only contained enough space to house 100 students. Subsequent overcrowding led the board of trustees to appropriate $25,000 for the construction of two new tenements. The committee created to oversee this project received bids from several contractors and decided to accept the lowest bid, made by Wade and Davis for $26,000. Students were living in the building by October 1837, two months ahead of its scheduled opening of December 1837. The building was renamed Elliott College in 1848.

It is likely that slave labor was used in the building’s construction. Slaves also played a role after it was constructed, since these men and women were responsible for keeping the building and the student rooms clean. Students paid a fee every year for slave services such as these. According to the 1884 Sanborn Map of the campus, a one-story, shingle-roofed, brick building stood behind Elliott, which may have been used as a slave quarters.


Detail of Elliott College from bird's-eye drawing of Columbia, 1872
Bird’s-eye view of Elliott College, 1872, LOC
Photograph of Harper and Elliott Colleges, circa 1870s
View of Harper and Elliott (on left), ca. 1870s, SCL