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New details about South Caroliniana Library to be revealed at April 7 symposium

Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library, Program Room


Architectural historian Dr. John M. Bryan will share recently discovered information about the design and construction of South Caroliniana Library in a symposium on Thursday, April 7. “Creating the Caroliniana” is part of a series celebrating the library’s 175th anniversary.

“South Caroliniana Library is the crown jewel of the University of South Carolina’s historic Horseshoe, which is widely recognized as one of the most beautiful academic spaces in the country. The library was designed by noted American architect Robert Mills, and he has been the central pillar of my academic research since 1974,” said Bryan, author of Robert Mills, America’s First Architect.

“Robert Mills is the first native-born American to train specifically for a career as an architect, and the first person to be an architect for the federal government. He built more than 200 buildings in the United States. He also published some 3,000 pages of very thoughtful and serious material.”

Bryan is relying on these pages and other materials to write his latest book – about South Caroliniana Library.

“I’ve never had the privilege of focusing on one building,” said the former professor of art and architectural history at the university. “The research began last spring and we have discovered some wonderful things.”

The author of nine books, Bryan fully recognizes the value of South Caroliniana Library as an historic building and as the repository of premier collections about the American South.

“I could not have written any of those books without using materials housed in South Caroliniana Library, or without the assistance of the library’s splendid staff.”

“Creating the Caroliniana” begins at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 7, in the Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library, which is entered through Thomas Cooper Library on the university campus. The event is free and open to the community, although reservations are recommended. Please RSVP to Todd Hoppock at 803-777-3131 or

Dr. Bryan is shown above in the South Caroliniana Library Reading Room.