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Samuel Melancthon Derrick Papers

One and one-quarter linear feet of papers, 1924-1973, of Samuel Melancthon Derrick (1896-1969) manifest the ways in which this Chapin native distinguished himself during a long and productive career at the University of South Carolina, starting out as an associate professor of rural social economics in 1923 and by 1960 retiring as head of the School of Business Administration, which he had served as dean since 1946. A large segment of the collection is devoted to correspondence and reports which show Derrick's leadership role in University matters during several of the administrations under which he served, beginning with that of Davison M. Douglas in the late 1920s but centering chiefly upon his work on Donald Russell's Special Reorganization Committee in 1952. One file, 1957, documents the establishment of the Davison McDowell Douglas Memorial through the University South Caroliniana Society.

The other most sizable unit in the collection is made up of typescripts of Derrick's various articles and essays, and of his occasional speeches and addresses. The former include "Dr. John de la Howe Industrial School" (1924), "Rice in Colonial South Carolina" (1928), "The Influence of Occupation Upon the Personality of the Farmer" (1928), "Sales Taxes for State Purposes" (1932), "The Dutch Fork" (1935), and "The Future of Capitalism in American Economic Life" (undated). These titles are among those in his speech files: "Education and Present Economic Conditions" (1933), "Social Sciences in Schools" (1936), "Unemployment Compensation" (1941), "Charleston in Wartime" (1943), "Outlook for Business" (1945), "Problems of State Government" (1946), "The Shifting Scene in South Carolina Agriculture" (1947), "Economic Factors Affecting the Financing of Education in South Carolina" (1955), and "Jacob Nunez Cardozo" (1956). There are also memorial resolutions on George McCutchen (1876-1951), Josiah Morse (1879-1946), and Robert Lee Meriwether (1890-1958).

Five files relate to the writing and publication of Derrick's Centennial History of South Carolina Railroad, issued by The State Company in 1930. Letters and notes reveal the role in this project of Professor Yates Snowden, who suggested that Derrick undertake the work and then assisted him throughout its production. Writing to "My dear Melancthon," 16 September 1930, Snowden remarked upon the special significance of a letter he was enclosing, a copy of one written from W.J. Magrath to his brother, A.G. Magrath, at the time the latter was governor of South Carolina (1864-1865)--"It is an amazing production, especially the moderate view of what he calls Sherman's Raid; & the belittling of Sherman's ravages; & his apparent hope for eventual success!!!...the References to the S.C. RR, are so interesting that I thought you might work them into the proofs of our very fine war chapter!" "I am sending you this by Special Delivery," he continues, "thinking that you may agree with me as to its importance in your magnum opus."

A small unit of correspondence between Derrick and Marion A. Wright (1894-1983) shows Wright's attempt to enlist Derrick as director of a proposed human relations research project in Beaufort County, for which grant funding was being sought under the auspices of Penn Community Services. "Ever since this matter was first broached," Wright wrote Derrick on 25 April 1961, "I have had you in mind as being the logical director of the project. All of your professional life prepares you to perform this job better than anyone I know." He added, "I also feel that, as imposing as your achievements have been, there would be nothing in your past to match in significance the work which we have suggested you undertake."

In his reply of 15 May 1961 declining to entertain the offer and stating that he did not feel that he "should assume new and difficult responsibilities at this time in life," he reflected upon his career and indicated the new direction of the School of Business Administration--"[A]s Professor of Economics I feel that in the next few years I can be of greater service here. We have underway a new program to offer the Doctorate in Economics--a program I have been interested in for some years. I am conceited enough to think that I can be of considerable help with this new program."

In his next letter, 29 May 1961, Wright then asked Derrick to serve the project in an advisory capacity. By way of persuasion, Wright argued that both Josiah Morse and Patterson Wardlaw long identified the University with liberal causes. "I may do the University an injustice," he added, "but I have not been aware in recent years of any present such identification. It should be so identified." He concluded--"Your membership on the advisory committee will be a token of the University's concern, not with desegregation, but with the development and exploitation of facts which reveal the extent to which discrimination exists in South Carolina and its cost to all the people."

On 5 June 1961 Derrick accepted Wright's invitation to serve as an adviser of the research project. Along with this correspondence is a copy of a paper entitled "Human Relations Programming in South Carolina: A report of three consultations on human relations concerns in South Carolina held at the Penn Community Center, May - August, 1960."

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