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Cokie Roberts’ May 12, 2016 address at South Caroliniana Library 175th Anniversary event now online

Jun 3, 2016 3:21 PM

On May 12, 2016, acclaimed journalist and author Cokie Roberts addressed a crowd of 300 at an event concluding the yearlong celebration of the South Caroliniana Library’s 175th anniversary at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC.

Roberts praised the library and its holdings, which she researched in writing Founding Mothers, Ladies of Liberty and Capital Dames, books about women who helped shape America.

Roberts noted the threatened state of the library building and infrastructure, and the urgent need for funding to bring it up to modern building and fire codes. This year the library’s vast collections including manuscripts, maps, portraits, photographs, statuary, newspapers and oral histories were moved to other locations for safekeeping. The library is still open to the public, and its collections are accessible.

The South Caroliniana Library opened in 1840, and is the nation’s oldest freestanding academic library. Its design was based on plans drawn by Robert Mills, who designed the Washington Monument, the Department of Treasury building, the U.S. Patent Office and other notable structures in Washington, D.C.  

At the anniversary event, Roberts shared insights into Southern history and culture, particularly that of Civil War-era planter and author Mary Boykin Chesnut.

Additionally, she shared memories of U.S. Senators Fritz Hollings and Strom Thurmond.

Roberts’ talk was opened by South Caroliniana Library Director Henry Fulmer, USC President Harris Pastides and SCETV Executive Director of Cultural Programming and University South Caroliniana Society Vice President Beryl Dakers. Video of the entire 56-minute presentation is available here.

Roberts is a political commentator for ABC News and NPR. In her more than forty years in broadcasting, she has won countless awards, including three Emmys. She has been inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame, and was cited by the American Women in Radio and Television as one of the fifty greatest women in the history of broadcasting. From 1996 to 2002 she and Sam Donaldson co-anchored the weekly ABC interview program This Week.

To learn more about the South Caroliniana Library or contribute to the renovation fund, visit the website or contact Beth Well, USC Libraries Director of Development, at 803-777-1909 or