Photograph of Pinckney College

Slavery at South Carolina College, 1801–1865:

The Foundations of the University of South Carolina

Pinckney College, 1837

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

By 1836, the student population of South Carolina College had grown so large that rooms designed for two were filled with three or more students. By constructing both Pinckney and its complement, Elliott, the college doubled the available housing on campus. The building’s architect is unknown, but as the interior arrangement was identical to that in Rutledge and DeSaussure, it is possible that it was designed by the contractors Wade and Davis. Although it is currently painted brick, the trustees specified that Pinckney be stained red to highlight the color of the bricks and to have false white mortar joints painted on to make the bricks appear more regular. The contractors’ skilled slaves likely carried out this exacting, labor-intensive task. Whether they were cleaning rooms or making beds, slaves interacted with students in the tenement on a daily basis, and students paid a yearly fee for their services. Students and faculty called the building New South until it was named Pinckney in 1848. In 1884, a one-and-a-half-story frame locker, which may have been an adapted slave quarter, stood behind the dormitory.


Detail of Pinckney College from bird's-eye drawing of Columbia, 1872
Bird’s-eye view of Pinckney College, 1872, LOC
Photograph of Pinckney College, circa 1880s
Pinckney College, ca. 1880s, SCL