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Kohn-Hennig Library Finds New Home at the South Caroliniana Library
The South Caroliniana Library hosted approximately 275 guests on the evening of Friday, March 9. The reception followed a program at Drayton Hall Theatre during which Julian Hennig Jr. and the Hennig family were honored for the gift of the Kohn-Hennig Library to the University. South Caroliniana Library Director Allen Stokes discussed the development of the collection by August Kohn and Helen Kohn Hennig and its preservation in the Hennig home at 811 Woodland Drive since Mrs. Hennig's death in 1961.
August Kohn and daughter Helen Kohn Hennig, 1922.
Read more about the remarkable Kohn-Hennig collection in our Spring 2000 edition of this newsletter.
To browse more than 900 titles included within the Kohn Hennig collection, go to USCAN, select author search, and type "Kohn Hennig"
Dr. Belinda Gergel, Chair of the Department of History and Political Science at Columbia College, reviewed the lives of August Kohn and his daughter Helen and cited their many contributions to Columbia's business, civic, cultural, and religious life, especially their involvement with the Tree of Life Synagogue and such events as the celebration of Columbia's Sesquicentennial.
Left, the Hennig family: Helen Kohn Hennig Kluiters, Virginia Hennig, Julian Hennig, Jr., and Julian Hennig III; and right,a view of the reception at the Library.
The Kohn-Hennig Library will be housed in a dedicated space in the Reading Room of the South Caroliniana Library. The collection is to be given over a period of years. The initial gift was received in 1999, and subsequent gifts have been made in 2000 and 2001. It consists of approximately 4,000 books and pamphlets covering a broad range of subjects and types of materials, including the following: the Revolutionary War; Confederate imprints, regimental histories, and recollections; antebellum politics and government, agriculture, and labor; natural history; literature; the textile industry; journalism; biography; serials; and local history. Both August Kohn and his daughter Helen were interested in collecting pamphlets. In fact, August Kohn's first publication, A Sketch of Orangeburg, City and County, South Carolina (1888), written while he was a student at the University of South Carolina, was issued as a pamphlet.
Examples of recently acquired pamphlets in the Kohn-Hennig Library include this address by the Honorable John Smythe Richardson (1828-1894).
The dictionary describes a pamphlet as "generally a small, thin, unbound book made up of sheets of paper stapled or stitched together and usually having a paper cover." Thousands of pamphlets were published in South Carolina beginning in the eighteenth century. Throughout the eighteenth century and continuing into the twentieth century, pamphlets were one of the chief venues for airing political views. In the several decades before the Civil War, railroads and
William Bartram's Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida (ca. 1791), includes an inscription to his niece Ann.
manufacturing companies issued annual reports in pamphlet format. Cities and towns promoted the advantages of their particular climates and locales in countless "booster" pamphlets. Typical of the latter is A Story of Spartan Push. The Greatest Cotton Manufacturing Centre in the South. Spartanburg, South Carolina, and Its Resources (1890). The text of the pamphlet originally appeared in the July 28, 1890, issue of the News and Courier. Many booster pamphlets were reprints of articles that appeared in newspapers. From the earliest promotional literature of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries until recent times, South Carolinians have sought to promote, inform, educate, and indoctrinate through pamphlets.
Because of the fragile method of putting pamphlets together, they often bear the marks of wear and tear. It is fortunate that there were collectors in South Carolina like August Kohn and Helen Kohn Hennig who recognized the importance of saving such items, which comprise more than half of the Kohn-Hennig Library. There are more than a thousand loose pamphlets and eighty-three bound volumes containing nearly 1,300 pamphlets. Most of the bound volumes are arranged by subject such as "Agriculture," "Railroads," and "Confederate." There are also volumes that can be characterized as miscellaneous groupings. Among the titles, many are new to the South Caroliniana Library's holdings, and a few have never been reported to any national database.
More scenes from 9 March 2001: left, Dr. Belinda Gergel addressing the audience at Drayton Hall at U.S.C.; and right, Library Director Dr. Allen Stokes and Vice Provost and Dean of Libraries and Instructional Services Dr. George Terry chat with Julian Hennig, Jr., center.
Among the unique titles are: The Looking Glass: In Which the Disorganizing Tendency of the Doctrine of Nullification is Fully Exposed, by its Own Acts, to the Comprehension of Every Common Sense Reader (1833); Proceedings of a Public Meeting of the Citizens of Hamburg, South Carolina: to Celebrate the Victories of the Army in Mexico. Held on the 15th September 1847; and Robert Barnwell Rhett, Speech of the Hon. R. Barnwell Rhett: on the Western Harbor and River Bill, in the House of Representatives, April 1844. As the work of cataloging the Kohn-Hennig Library proceeds, no doubt many more titles will be identified that are new to the holdings of the South Caroliniana Library and perhaps new as well to the national database to which we report.
In addition to the pamphlets, there are titles among the books and serials which represent significant additions to the Library's holdings. Two very important titles are separated by almost two centuries in date of publication. Samuel Urlsperger's Der ausfuhrlichen nachrichten von der königlich-gross-britannischen colonie saltzburgischer emigraten in America... (-1752) reports on the Salzburger emigrants who settled in America, including the colonies of Georgia and South Carolina. Modern Cotton Mill Engineering (W. B. Smith Whaley & Co., 1903) provides architectural, engineering, and historical information about the role of the Whaley company in constructing mills. Additionally, the nearly complete set of De Bow's Review is a title that any library with holdings in southern history would want to have on its shelves.
The Kohn-Hennig collection also includes these pamphlets dating to the 1830s, including, left, a publication regarding the Nullification controversy, and below, a title for "citizens of Hamburg, South Carolina," regarding the Mexican War.
The Kohn-Hennig Library as a whole reveals much about the interests of its creators. There are important presentation copies such as William Gregg's presentation of Essays on Domestic Industry... to F. W. Pickens and William Bartram's presentation of Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida... to his niece Ann. The collection also includes many presentation copies to August Kohn and Helen Kohn Hennig. Furthermore, a number of the books and pamphlets that were purchased still contain the dealers' prices, and for others, invoices are enclosed.
The program and reception on Friday, March 9, brought together three elements at the core of a great library: generous donors (Julian Hennig Jr. and the Hennig family); collections that encourage and inspire scholarly research (the Kohn-Hennig Library); and patrons (friends of the Hennigs and members of the University South Caroliniana Society) who came to show their appreciation for the donors and for an exceptional gift that preserves our state's history, literature, and culture.
--Dr. Allen H. Stokes, Jr.
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