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Henry Fulmer named Director of South Caroliniana Library

Jan 4, 2013 7:20 AM

Henry G. Fulmer has been named Director of the South Caroliniana Library, located on the USC Horseshoe. A three-time USC graduate and thirty-year USC Libraries employee, Fulmer began his new duties January 2.

“Henry is the perfect candidate to lead South Caroliniana Library,” said USC Libraries Dean Tom McNally. “He has thirty years of experience, combined with knowledge of not just the library’s collections but also the individuals who support the library. He’s been instrumental in the success of the library in the past, and he can now take the library to the next level.”

Built in 1840 as the central library for South Carolina College, South Caroliniana Library is the oldest continuously occupied academic library in the United States. Today the library serves as the repository of the Palmetto State’s documented history and literature. Students and faculty of the university, as well as researchers from around the world, visit the library to study the books, newspapers, manuscripts, pamphlets, maps, audio recordings and visual images preserved there. Its five major research divisions are published materials, manuscripts, university archives, oral history and visual materials.

Fulmer might have stuck with his original plan to pursue a doctorate in music – if he hadn’t taken a part-time job as a graduate student assistant in the library’s manuscripts division.

“I felt at home the moment I walked into the library,” said Fulmer, a native of Fountain Inn, S.C. “My paternal grandmother had been the child of a Civil War veteran. As a young child, the tales I wanted to be told were not the classic imaginary fairy tales but stories about how things were done in the past. My grandmother also was the collector and preserver of family artifacts, so I grew up surrounded by historic items, just as I am here at South Caroliniana Library. Feeling that connection to the past, to history, has always been a part of my life. At USC, I’m helping to collect and preserve the state’s heritage for future generations of citizens and scholars.

“My abiding interest in and concern for the conservation treatment of archival and special collections materials also began at USC,” Fulmer said. “When I was a graduate assistant my primary task was to carry out the hands-on preservation work then done exclusively in-house on manuscript collections. After becoming a permanent staff member in 1981, I had the responsibility for training student workers in those delicate tasks. And for years afterward, I participated in bench work conservation demonstrations.”

Since 1992, Fulmer has been the library’s Curator of Manuscripts. He has seen the addition and acquisition of numerous materials, including the papers of General William C. Westmoreland and, most recently, Mary Boykin Chesnut’s Civil War photograph albums.

Fulmer has a bachelor’s degree in applied music, a master’s degree in English, and a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of South Carolina. He is active in a number of professional organizations, including the South Carolina Archival Association. He currently serves as treasurer on the Board of Governors of the South Carolina Academy of Authors. He also is the organist-choirmaster at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Columbia.

“I have appreciated the opportunity to work with Henry, beginning when he first came to the library as a graduate student,” said Allen Stokes, who has served the South Caroliniana Library as director for more than a quarter of a century. “Henry’s been a great colleague; he is wonderful with donors, wonderful with the collections, and much admired by the staff.”