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Henry P. Kendall Collection Finds New Home at the South Caroliniana Library
When the University of South Carolina formally received the Henry P. Kendall Collection of maps, books, pamphlets, manuscripts, and newspapers on October 29, 1961, it marked the most extensive and important research collection received by the University Libraries to that point. The occasion was also the second time that Henry P. Kendall's map collection had been exhibited at the South Caroliniana Library. The first public display, in what was then known as College Library Hall, was held in 1930. University of Michigan cartographer Louis Karpinski, Mr. Kendall's friend and fellow collector, compiled a catalogue of the collection entitled Early Maps of Carolina and Adjoining Regions: Together with Early Prints of Charleston from the Collection of Henry P. Kendall. Mr. Kendall continued to collect Caroliniana until his death in 1959.
An image of a woodpecker from the 1771 edition of The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands; Containing the Figures of Birds, Beasts, Fishes, Serpents, Insects, and Plants..., by Mark Catesby (1683-1749).
Not long after Mr. Kendall's death, his widow acquired the William Gilmore Simms Collection of the papers of Henry and John Laurens from the Long Island Historical Society when it was determined that the collection did not fall within the scope of that organization's collecting policy. In subsequent years, Mrs. Kendall and her sons Henry and John acquired additional letters of Henry and John Laurens and also added significant books, pamphlets, and manuscripts of South Carolina interest. Two of the more recent acquisitions include a 1779 letter of John Adams to Henry Laurens and a 1780 letter of the Marquis de LaFayette to John Laurens. However, the Laurens Papers were not included with Mr. Kendall's gift to the University of South Carolina, and the family also retained some printed and manuscript Caroliniana.
Blue Grosbeak on Sweet Flowering Bay.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology microfilmed the Laurens Papers in 1961 and made copies available to the South Caroliniana Library and the Henry Laurens Project. The Kendall Whaling Museum in Sharon, Massachusetts, housed the originals to which the editors of the Laurens Papers Project have been allowed access. Dr. James Taylor, one of the current co-editors, has made six trips to this museum over a period of almost twenty years.
"The green lizard of Carolina." (Lacertus viridis).
The history of collections is often fascinating and intriguing. During his lifetime, William Gilmore Simms was a prolific writer, but he was also a collector of books and historical documents. When his Woodlands plantation home burned for the second time in the final months of the Civil War, Simms lost the bulk of his library which he estimated at 10,000 volumes. Fortunately, his Revolutionary War document collection was not at Woodlands. Simms had apparently acquired an extensive collection of documents by the mid-1840s. In a letter dated February 11, 1845, to Evert A. Duyckinck, Simms noted that he possessed manuscripts of Henry and John Laurens, John Rutledge, Horatio Gates, William Heath, Arthur Lee, and Patrick Henry. With his home destroyed and his health impaired, Simms continued writing and sought to restore his home and agricultural holdings. In order to begin rebuilding at Woodlands, Simms sought assistance from Duyckinck and John Jacob Bochee to dispose of his large collection of Revolutionary War documents. The Long Island Historical Society paid Simms $1,500 for the collection in 1867.
The Long Island Historical Society maintained custody of the collection for over ninety years until 1959 at which time Mrs. Kendall acquired it. Mr. and Mrs. Kendall initially became acquainted with South Carolina when the Kendall Company purchased the Wateree Mill in Camden in 1916. The Kendalls acquired a home, The Sycamores, there in 1924.
And in the year 2001, the Henry W. Kendall Collection of Laurens Papers and the remainder of the Kendall Collection of Early Caroliniana will return to South Carolina through the generosity of the Kendall family and, in large measure, as a result of the cordial working relationship established over many years between Stuart Frank, the curator of the Kendall Whaling Museum, and those associated with the Laurens Papers Project in South Carolina including James Taylor, George Rogers Jr., and others.
A selection of manuscripts from the Kendall Collection.
Although many of the letters of Henry Laurens have been published in The Papers of Henry Laurens, it is gratifying that the South Caroliniana Library is receiving a collection that features approximately 350 original letters of Henry and John Laurens; Henry Laurens' letter book (August 19, 1783 - July 6, 1785); and letters of such Revolutionary War-era figures as Baron deKalb, Lachlan McIntosh, Richard Henry Lee, Rawlins Lowndes, John Jay, John Lewis Gervais, John Rutledge, and William Moultrie. Many other contemporaries also are among the correspondents. In addition to correspondence, the collection contains papers concerning affairs of Congress, relations with various Indian tribes, and petitions and memorials.
Dung beetles and blooming lilly.
The Kendall Collection of the papers of Henry Laurens represents a major documentation of the Revolutionary War generation and of South Carolina's role in the events of that time. The Kendall Book Collection includes eighteenth- and nineteenth-century pamphlets and documents, a bound volume of the South Carolina Gazette (1737), and a third edition (1771) of Mark Catesby's Natural History of South Carolina. --Dr. Allen H. Stokes, Jr.
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