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University Libraries - Elizabeth Boatwright Coker Graduate Assistantship

Elizabeth Boatwright Coker Graduate Assistant at South Caroliniana Library

From the dust jacket of "India Allan"
published by E.P. Dutton & Co.

The late Elizabeth Boatwright Coker, a noted author and supporter of literary and historical endeavors, donated funds to the South Caroliniana Library for the establishment of an assistantship for graduate history students, the Elizabeth Boatwright Coker Graduate Assistant. As a result of this generosity, qualified students are encouraged and enabled to advance their professional research skills.

The assistantship is shared with the University of South Carolina's Department of History. Each academic year, one student in the Public History Program is selected as the Coker Graduate Assistant. Recipients gain valuable work experience and training through their work with the collections of the South Caroliniana Library.

For information on applying for the Coker Graduate Assistantship, please contact the Director of the South Caroliniana Library at 803-777-3131.

Elizabeth Boatwright Coker

Elizabeth Boatwright Coker was a well-known author of historical novels and of poems, short stories, and essays for magazine publication. She based much of her writing on the family histories of South Carolina and her travels around the world. She was born and reared in Darlington, S.C. in 1909, and resided in Hartsville, S.C. for over sixty years.

After completing her education at Converse College, she moved to New York City hoping to work as a writer. While there, she met James Lide Coker III and became engaged. They returned to South Carolina, were married in 1930, and made their home in Hartsville, as her husband took over leadership of Sonoco Products. Elizabeth lived an active family life with her husband and children, James Lide Coker IV and Penelope Coker Hall. She was also active in the community but always made time for writing and maintaining friendships with other writers.

After honing her writing skills through study, conferences, and mentorships, Mrs. Coker published her first novel in 1950. Her last novel was published in 1981. She died in Hartsville in 1983 at the age of 84. She received numerous awards for her literary works over her career. In 1992, Mrs. Coker was inducted into the South Carolina Hall of Fame in recognition of her cultural contributions to South Carolina.

The South Caroliniana Library holds the collection of her personal papers, and the finding aid is available. For more information, read "Elizabeth Boatwright Coker Papers Opened for Research" on page 10 of the Spring 2000 issue of Reflections.


Havilah Babcock, Elizabeth Boatwright Coker,
Julia Peterkin, Edison Marshall, and Mrs. Marshall
at USC, 1958
Big Drum, published by E.P. Dutton, 1957.
From the dust jacket of "The Big Drum"
published by E.P. Dutton & Co.


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Updated 2/28/2017