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South Carolina Political Collections celebrates 25 years

Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library


South Carolina Political Collections (SCPC) at the University of South Carolina marks its 25th anniversary this year. What began in 1991 with one collection is now a recognized leader among congressional repositories that houses 121 collections.

At its inception, SCPC was one of only a few repositories devoted to contemporary political papers. Now, thanks to its substantial holdings, SCPC is a comprehensive resource that helps students, scholars, and researchers undertake significant studies of modern society, government, and politics.

SCPC Holdings

SCPC is the repository for 121 collections, including those of:

  • -- Senator Ernest F. “Fritz” Hollings
  • -- Senator Olin D. Johnston
  • -- Congressman William Jennings Bryan Dorn
  • -- Congressman John Spratt
  • -- Governor John West
  • -- Governor James Edwards
  • -- Sarah Leverette and Keller Barron, community activists integral to the formation of the League of Women Voters in South Carolina
  • -- Papers of the Democratic and Republican parties

“From the beginning, SCPC’s mission has been to collect, preserve, and encourage research in private papers documenting South Carolinians and their government, at the national and state levels, from 1945 to the present,” said Herb Hartsook, Director of South Carolina Political Collections. “Some repositories are defined by one major collection, which is certainly true of presidential libraries. We instead take great pride in the wide array of collections held here.”

Among the SCPC collections are the papers of twenty-seven members of Congress; eleven recent South Carolina governors; jurists, including two state Supreme Court chief justices; leaders in the South Carolina state legislature; journalists; editorial cartoonists; Civil Rights activists; and organizations including major state parties and the League of Women Voters. A significant endowment supports professional and student positions within the division, as well as public programming, professional development for staff, and a research awards program.

It was a gift from Senator Ernest F. “Fritz” Hollings – his official Senate papers, personal papers including his World War II service records and those of his many campaigns, and even his gubernatorial papers – that was the impetus for creating SCPC.

“Our first home was in an old warehouse on the edge of campus,” said Hartsook, shown at left with Senator Hollings and Hollings' wife, Peatsy. “While we inherited wonderful collections from the University’s South Caroliniana Library to go along with the Hollings papers, we spent weeks transferring our collections from South Caroliniana Library to the warehouse, and we soon received three tractor trailer loads of Hollings papers. We also visited Senator Hollings’ Charleston office in the old Customs Building, where we found a treasure trove of important records from his time as governor.”

SCPC is located, fittingly enough, within the Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library on the USC Columbia campus.

Anyone wishing to use SCPC materials may contact collections staff to arrange to view materials or to schedule an in-person visit. For more information, visit “A Capitol Blog” highlights specific collections at