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SOUTH CAROLINIANA LIBRARY
MANUSCRIPTS COLLECTIONS

Nicholson Family Papers,
1908-1956


Volume: 1.25 linear feet

Annex (Materials stored offsite; advance notification required).


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Scope and Content

Consisting chiefly correspondence between members of the J.C. Nicholson family of Camden, S.C., and their loved-ones and friends, the Nicholson family papers provide an in-depth view of daily life at the U.S. Naval Academy (Annapolis, Md.), Winthrop College (Rock Hill, S.C.), and the University of South Carolina (Columbia, S.C.) as well as news of happenings in and around Camden and Columbia, S.C. Other letters are descriptive of life at U.S. naval base stations prior to, during, and immediately following World War II.

The Nicholson family papers include three years of courtship correspondence exchanged between Virginia Nicholson and Alexander Salley ("Sandy") Heyward, Jr. These high school sweethearts continued their courtship via the mail when Sandy left Camden for the Naval Academy in the summer of 1926. They kept writing on an almost daily basis while Virginia attended Winthrop College (1927-1929) and the University of South Carolina (1929-1930). Sandy=s letters describe all aspects of student life at the Naval Academy: the plebe system, uniforms, roommates, liberties, watch duty, punishments, and social events. His letters always mention the latest scores or the Academy's standing in a particular sport, like football, rifling, or water polo. They also comment on traditional events at Annapolis, including Hundredth Night, June Week, House Party, and the Farewell Ball. Sandy also discussed, in detail, the summer cruises in which he participated while he attended the Academy (1927-1929).

While Virginia and Sandy were away at college and writing to one another almost every day, Virginia kept in close contact with her parents. The letters she wrote them frequently ended with such phrases as "please send more money" or "I really need a new dress for the social this week," but they also focus largely on school activities, with details of classes, social clubs, activities, roommates, trips, sororities, social activities, and exams.

After the couple was married in 1930, Virginia remained in close touch with her parents. Her letters furnish a revealing account of daily life as the wife of "Navy man." While Virginia informed her mother and father of the Heyward family news, Mrs. Nicholson updated Virginia on the latest family and local news. Mrs. Nicholson's letters also discuss the economic problems which the family faced during the years preceding and following the Great Depression.

Throughout the letters, correspondents mention noteworthy events taking place across the state of South Carolina: a fire in Camden (5 Jan. 1914), the Kershaw County Fair (11 Nov. 1926), the York County Fair (15 Oct. 1927 and 28 Oct. 1928), the execution of Ruth Snyder (14 Jan. 1928), the first May Day celebration at Winthrop College (1 May 1929), attempts by an African- American student to enroll at the U.S. Naval Academy (19 May 1929), a Camden store destroyed by fire (10 Apr. 1935), an outbreak of measles in Charleston (23 Nov. 1942), and the opening of DuPont in Camden (3 May 1948). The collection also includes postcards from Virginia=s journey westward to meet Sandy in San Pedro, Ca., in 1930, plus high school graduation announcements from Camden High School and Denmark High School.

The collection is housed in an archival storage carton (105 file folders). There are approximately 1, 046 items in the collection dating from 16 Jan. 1908 to 20 Jan. 1956. The primary correspondents include Mr. & Mrs. J.C. Nicholson, Virginia Nicholson Heyward, Alexander Salley ("Sandy") Heyward, Jr., Mary Nicholson Boyd, Jeff W. Boyd, George Nicholson, Samuel Nicholson, and Sandra Heyward.

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Timeline

1908 Samuel Nicholson (son of Mr. & Mrs. J.C. Nicholson) attended Marfeat Business College in Columbia, S.C.
1911 Dec. Jeff W. Boyd of Columbia, S.C., began traveling across South Carolina as a representative of the South Atlantic Candy Company
1914 Jan. Jeff Boyd and Mary Nicholson engaged
1914 Apr. 25 Jeff Boyd and Mary Nicholson married
1916-1918 George Nicholson (son of Mr. & Mrs. J.C. Nicholson) attended The Citadel (Charleston, S.C.)
1918 JuneGeorge Nicholson attended training camp at Plattsburg, N.Y.
1926 JuneVirginia Nicholson (daughter of Mr. & Mrs. J.C. Nicholson) attended Camp Capers (near Brevard, N.C.).; Alexander Salley ("Sandy") Heyward, Jr., enrolled at U.S. Naval Academy (Annapolis, Md.)
1927 May Sandy Heyward admitted to U.S. Naval Academy hospital
1927 June-Aug.Sandy Heyward on naval cruise aboard the U.S.S. Oklahoma; toured Central America
1927 Sept. Virginia Nicholson entered Winthrop College (Rock Hill, S.C.)
1928 June Virginia Nicholson visited Sandy Heyward at U.S. Naval Academy for June Week
1928 June-Aug. Sandy Heyward on naval cruise aboard the U.S.S. Utah; toured Guantanamo Bay area
1929 mid Jan. J.C. Nicholson suffered heart attack
1929 May 1 first May Day celebration at Winthrop College (Rock Hill, S.C.)
1929 mid May Sandy Heyward's father lost his job and began looking for work
1929 June-Aug. Sandy Heyward on naval cruise aboard U.S.S. Arkansas; toured the Mediterranean 1929 mid Sept. Virginia Nicholson left Winthrop College and enrolled in business classes at the University of South Carolina (Columbia, S.C.)
1929 late Oct.Mary Nicholson Boyd admitted to hospital for surgery
1929 Nov. 10 death of Mary Nicholson Boyd
1930 early Jan.Sandy Heyward's parents moved from Camden, S.C., to Yemassee, S.C.
1930 late Jan.J.C. Nicholson suffered another heart attack
1930 early JuneJeff Boyd's house burned; Sandy Heyward graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy
1930 mid June-mid July Sandy Heyward left for Naval Air Station in Norfolk, Va., to attend flight school
1930 mid Aug. Virginia Nicholson and Sandy Heyward married
1930 early Sept. 1930 early Sept.
1930 late Sept.Virginia Heyward traveled west to join Sandy in San Pedro, Ca.
1931 early Apr.Sandy Heyward transferred to Pensecola, Fla.
1931 Julybirth of Sanda Heyward, daughter of Sandy and Virginia Heyward
1932 early Mar.Sandy Heyward transferred to Coronado, Ca.
1932 Apr. 12 death of J.C. Nicholson of Camden, S.C.
1934 Aug.-Sept.Sandy Heyward and family lived in Norfolk, Va.
1934 mid Dec.Sandy Heyward transferred to Pensecola, Fla.
1936 early Oct.Sandy and Virginia Heyward joined Naval Officers Club in Pensecola, Fla.
1937 mid Aug.Sandy Heyward transferred to Coronado, Ca.
1940 early June Sandy Heyward transferred to Pensecola, Fla.
1942 early Jan.Sandy Heyward promoted to Lieutenant Commander
1943 summerHeyward family spent summer at Pawley's Island, S.C.
1943 mid Sept.Sandy Heyward transferred to Key West, Fla.
1944 mid JuneSandy Heyward received commendation for work in South Africa
1944 mid JuneSandy Heyward transferred to Jamestown, R.I.
1946 mid JulyHeyward family temporarily lived in the Washington, D.C./Arlington, Va., area while awaiting further orders
1947 early Sept.Sandy Heyward transferred to Newport, R.I.
1948 early Jan.Sandy Heyward became flight instructor
1948 early MaySandra Heyward (daughter of Sandy and Virginia Heyward) graduated from high school
1948 mid Sept.Sandra Heyward enrolled in college (Boston, Mass.)
1949 mid MaySandy Heyward promoted to Captain
1949 mid Aug.Sandy Heyward transferred to Chincoteague, Va.
1950 mid JuneSandy Heyward transferred to Coronado, Ca.
1952 mid Mar.marriage of Sandra Heyward (daughter of Sandy and Virginia Heyward)

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Contents List:

Folder 1.................................10 MSS, 16 Jan. - 20 Apr. 1908 
Folder 2.................................10 MSS, 26 May 1908 - 2 Jan. 1912 
Folder 3.................................10 MSS, 8 Jan. - 8 Mar. 1912
Folder 4.................................12 MSS, 17 Mar. - 2 June 1912
Folder 5.................................10 MSS, 4 Jan. - 31 July 1912
Folder 6.................................10 MSS, 3 Aug. - 16 Sept. 1912
Folder 7.................................10 MSS, 21 Sept. 1912 - 29 Jan. 1913
Folder 8.................................11 MSS, 31 Jan. - 19 Apr. 1913
Folder 9.................................10 MSS, 8 May - 15 July 1913
Folder 10................................10 MSS, 19 July - 11 Aug. 1913

Folder 11................................10 MSS, 11 Aug. - 15 Sept. 1913 Folder 12................................10 MSS, 17 Sept. - 15 Oct. 1913 Folder 13................................10 MSS, 16 Oct. - 13 Nov. 1913 Folder 14................................10 MSS, 14 Nov. - 9 Dec. 1913 Folder 15................................10 MSS, 14 Dec. 1913 - 5 Jan. 1914 Folder 16................................10 MSS, 7 Jan. - 1 Feb. 1914 Folder 17................................10 MSS, 13 Feb. - 4 Apr. 1914 Folder 18.................................9 MSS, 7 Apr. 1914 - 28 May 1915 Folder 19................................10 MSS, 4 Aug. 1915 - 10 Dec. 1918 Folder 20................................10 MSS, 19 May 1919 - 25 June 1926

Folder 21................................10 MSS, 4 - 13 July 1926 Folder 22................................10 MSS, 15 - 19 July 1926 Folder 23................................10 MSS, 20 July - 28 Aug. 1926 Folder 24................................10 MSS, 2 Sept. - 18 Nov. 1926 Folder 25................................10 MSS, 30 Nov. 1926 - 27 Jan. 1927 Folder 26................................10 MSS, 31 Juan. - 14 Mar. 1927 Folder 27................................10 MSS, 18 Mar. - 23 May 1927 Folder 28................................10 MSS, 31 May - 11 July 1927 Folder 29................................10 MSS, 24 July - 26 Sept. 1927 Folder 30................................10 MSS, 28 Sept. - 19 Oct. 1927

Folder 31................................10 MSS, 3 - 30 Nov. 1927 Folder 32................................10 MSS, 7 Dec. 1927 - 26 Jan. 1928 Folder 33................................10 MSS, 28 Jan. - 25 Feb. 1928 Folder 34................................10 MSS, 27 Feb. - 5 Apr. 1928 Folder 35................................10 MSS, 9 Apr. - 16 May 1928 Folder 36................................10 MSS, 19 May - 30 June 1928 Folder 37................................10 MSS, 6 July - 13 Aug. 1928 Folder 38................................10 MSS, 29 Aug. - 11 Oct. 1928 Folder 39................................10 MSS, 12 - 27 Oct. 1928 Folder 40................................10 MSS, 27 Oct. - 17 Nov. 1928

Folder 41................................10 MSS, 20 Nov. - 8 Dec. 1928 Folder 42................................10 MSS, 8 Dec. 1928 - 14 Jan. 1929 Folder 43................................10 MSS, 17 Jan. - 26 Jan. 1929 Folder 44................................10 MSS, 28 Jan. - 2 Feb. 1929 Folder 45................................10 MSS, 5 - 15 Feb. 1929 Folder 46................................10 MSS, 16 - 25 Feb. 1929 Folder 47................................10 MSS, 26 Feb. - 9 Mar. 1929 Folder 48................................10 MSS, 9 - 19 Mar. 1929 Folder 49................................10 MSS, 21 Mar. - 9 Apr. 1929 Folder 50.................................9 MSS, 14 - 18 Apr. 1929

Folder 51................................10 MSS, 18 Apr. - 4 May 1929 Folder 52................................10 MSS, 4 - 11 May 1929 Folder 53................................10 MSS, 14 - 23 May 1929 Folder 54................................10 MSS, 23 May - 5 June 1929 Folder 55................................10 MSS, 8 June - 19 Sept. 1929 Folder 56................................10 MSS, 24 Sept. - 5 Oct. 1929 Folder 57................................10 MSS, 9 - 24 Oct. 1929 Folder 58................................10 MSS, 26 Oct. - 12 Nov. 1929 Folder 59................................10 MSS, 13 Nov. - 5 Dec. 1929 Folder 60................................10 MSS, 5 Dec. 1929 - 13 Jan. 1930

Folder 61................................10 MSS, 15 Jan. - 1 Feb. 1930 Folder 62................................10 MSS, 5 Feb. - 22 Mar. 1930 Folder 63................................10 MSS, 30 Mar. - 11 Apr. 1930 Folder 64................................10 MSS, 11 - 19 Apr. 1930 Folder 65................................10 MSS, 20 - 29 Apr. 1930 Folder 66................................10 MSS, 30 Apr. - 10 May 1930 Folder 67................................10 MSS, 12 - 26 May 1930 Folder 68................................10 MSS, 27 May - 3 June 1930 Folder 69................................10 MSS, 17 June - 2 July 1930 Folder 70.................................9 MSS, 12 July - 21 Sept. 1930

Folder 71................................10 MSS, 24 Sept. - 31 Oct. 1930 Folder 72................................10 MSS, 3 Dec. 1930 - 1 Mar. 1931 Folder 73................................10 MSS, 28 Feb. - 19 May 1931 Folder 74................................10 MSS, 23 May - 10 Nov. 1931 Folder 75................................10 MSS, 16 Nov. 1931 - 19 Mar. 1932 Folder 76................................10 MSS, 12 Apr. 1932 - 30 Dec. 1934 Folder 77................................10 MSS, 8 July 1935 - 4 Apr. 1936 Folder 78................................10 MSS, 1 Feb. - 8 July 1935 Folder 79................................10 MSS, 21 May 1936 - 29 Mar. 1937 Folder 80................................10 MSS, 10 Apr. - 22 Dec. 1937

Folder 81................................10 MSS, 31 Dec. 1937 - 25 Aug. 1938 Folder 82.................................9 MSS, 9 Sept. - 12 Dec. 1938 Folder 83................................11 MSS, 16 Dec. 1938 - 13 Apr. 1939 Folder 84................................10 MSS, 24 Apr. - 24 Oct. 1939 Folder 85.................................9 MSS, 14 Nov. 1939 - 29 July 1940 Folder 86................................10 MSS, 5 Sept. 1940 - 20 Aug. 1941 Folder 87................................10 MSS, 20 Sept. 1941 - 20 July 1942 Folder 88................................10 MSS, 23 Nov. 1942 - 25 Oct. 1943 Folder 89................................10 MSS, 5 Nov. - 29 Dec. 1943 Folder 90................................10 MSS, 8 Jan. - 4 Apr. 1944

Folder 91................................10 MSS, 21 Apr. 1944 - 14 Aug. 1946 Folder 92................................10 MSS, 3 Sept. 1947 - 24 May 1948 Folder 93.................................9 MSS, 30 June - 19 Dec. 1948 Folder 94................................10 MSS, 21 Jan. - 3 Aug. 1949 Folder 95................................11 MSS, 11 Aug. 1949 - 3 July 1950 Folder 96................................10 MSS, 14 July 1950 - 11 June 1951 Folder 97................................11 MSS, 12 Jan. - 10 May 1951 Folder 98................................10 MSS, 31 May 1951 - 1 Feb. 1952 Folder 99................................10 MSS, 13 Mar. - 17 June 1952 Folder 100...............................10 MSS, 28 June 1952 - 26 June 1953

Folder 101................................9 MSS, 28 Sept. 1953 - 23 Jan. 1956 Folder 102...............................10 MSS, undated Folder 103...............................10 MSS, undated Folder 104...............................10 MSS, undated Folder 105................................7 MSS, undated


Administrative Notes

  • Location number: Annex (Materials stored offsite; advance notification required).
  • Accession number: 12533
  • Citation Form: Nicholson Family Papers, South Caroliniana Library, The University of South Carolina.
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