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When Vision and Strength Were Needed: Jewish Leaders in South Carolina Government

South Carolina Political Collections Gallery, Hollings Library
Sep 1, 2011 - Nov 30, 2011

South Carolina Political Collections holds the rich collections of personal papers of Sol Blatt, Isadore Lourie, and Harriett Keyserling. This exhibit highlights these collections which document the political lives of these three leaders, their impact on South Carolina, and their religion. The title of the exhibit is taken from remarks made by former governor Dick Riley on the occasion of Lourie’s 1993 retirement from the state senate.  Riley noted, “Much of the major legislative accomplishments of the past quarter century is due to the leadership and caring of Isadore Lourie. He’s been there, with his colleagues, when vision and strength were needed.”

Sol Blatt (1895-1986) (pictured at left addressing the General Assembly in 1963) represented Barnwell County in the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1933 to 1986, and served as Speaker from 1935 to 1946 and 1951 to 1973, when he voluntarily gave up the office and was immediately named Speaker Emeritus. As Speaker, Blatt held tremendous power and helped lead South Carolina’s transition from a chiefly agricultural economy to a far more industrial one and helped modernize state government.

Isadore Lourie (1932-2003) represented Richland County in the South Carolina General Assembly from 1965 to 1993. He authored major legislation including the Freedom of Information Act, and bills resulting in the creation of the Commissions on Aging and the Blind and the Legislative Audit Council, the exemption of sales taxes on prescription drugs, and the establishment of public kindergartens. Lourie also was a founder of the South Carolina Jewish Historical Society.

Harriet Keyserling (1922-2010), a Democrat and self-proclaimed “New York Jewish liberal,” represented Beaufort County in the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1977 until her retirement in 1993. She was a tireless advocate of the arts, of education, and of the protection of the environment from nuclear waste and other energy hazards.

Regular hours for the Hollings Library exhibit galleries are Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The galleries will be open special weekend hours on Saturday, September 24, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. and Sunday, September 25, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.