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University Libraries - South Caroliniana - About

About the South Caroliniana Library

Exterior of South Caroliniana Library

"One would be hard pressed to identify a single significant book on Southern history published recently that did not exploit the resources of the South Caroliniana Library."
—Dr. James L. Roark

The South Caroliniana Library is only one of the Special Collections of the University Librariesat the University of South Carolina

The current building of the South Caroliniana Library served as the main library of the University of South Carolina until 1940. Robert Mills, a native of South Carolina, designed the building in 1838, modeling the reading room after Bulfinch's plans for the original Library of Congress (Washington, D.C.) Completed in 1840, this structure marked the first use of a free-standing academic library building in the United States.

As a venerable survivor of the student "biscuit rebellion", the Civil War, and meetings of the state legislature, this building should be included on any tour of Columbia, S.C.

Beginning of the South Caroliniana Collection

Although the Library housed a collection of Caroliniana from its earliest days, it was not until 1906 that the University of South Carolina recognized the need for "a special committee to perfect...the South Caroliniana" holdings of the Library. Then in 1931 University President Davison M. Douglas formally established a "Caroliniana Committee" in an effort to halt the exodus of the state's historical resources to out-of-state repositories. The work of that committee was eventually superceded and expanded in 1937 with the creation of the University South Caroliniana Society, the organization for the friends of the library. In 1940, the University library moved to a new building, McKissick Memorial Library, now McKissick Museum. The University designated the former book repository as the South Caroliniana Library, a new institution charged with the task of documenting the history and literature of the Palmetto State.

Today, the Society continues to assist the Library in its mission to acquire, preserve, and disseminate published and unpublished South Carolina-related material.

Publications of the Society include the annual program and a biannual newsletter. TheProgram informs members of aquisitions of the previous year and is now available with full-text descriptions from 1993 to the present. The newsletter, Caroliniana Columns updates members on staff activities, grants, and discoveries at the library, including news from theUniversity Archives, as well as featuring unusual or "mystery photographs" from the collections

harvest - 11.9 K What important Charleston industry is documented ca. 1869 in
this recently discovered image?

Click on the image for answer, and read the Autumn 1997edition of the Society newsletter.

Today, researchers from around the world visit the Caroliniana to study the books, newspapers, manuscripts, pamphlets, serials, maps, audio recordings, and visual images preserved therein. Four major research divisions of the library include: Books, Manuscripts, and University Archives. The Library welcomes researchers at its main building located on the Horseshoe. Collections available in the original building include the University Archives and the Books and Manuscripts Divisions.