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Ernest F. Hollings Papers

Activity over the past year has focused upon processing Senator Hollings' gubernatorial and early campaign papers and planning for the transfer of his non-current Senate records. Hollings' gubernatorial papers are divided between the South Caroliniana Library and the South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Through an unprecedented arrangement with the Archives, their holdings of Hollings' gubernatorial papers, which had not been processed, were transferred to Modern Political Collections for processing. The division has now completed processing both sets of records and is currently preparing a single finding aid.

Campaign records from 1962 and 1966 have also been arranged and described. The 1962 Senate race pitted the popular young governor against the powerful veteran, Olin D. Johnston. Excellent documentation includes correspondence plotting campaign strategy and opposition research. Johnston retained his seat, defeating Hollings with a significant majority of the vote in the Democratic primary.

Olin Johnston died in 1965, and his Senate seat was filled by Governor Donald Russell until a special election could be held the following year. That Democratic primary saw a tough race between Russell and Hollings. The two men had faced each other before, in Hollings' victorious 1958 campaign for governor. As before, Hollings emerged victorious and in the general election won a close race against Republican nominee Marshall Parker, an Oconee dairyman and state senator.

Hollings' early interest in the vacated Johnston seat, campaign strategy, and the political climate in South Carolina are discussed with great candor in correspondence files, 1964-1966. Most of the letters deal with the Democratic primary rather than the general election. Of particular interest are numerous responses to an inquiry distributed to Hollings' supporters early in 1966 that posed the question of his challenge to Donald Russell and sought their evaluation of his chances. Responses from virtually every county across the state give insight into the political climate of the time. Comments are not limited to the upcoming Senate race, but cover the whole spectrum of South Carolina politics in the mid-1960s.

It is expected that these gubernatorial and campaign records, along with additional campaign records, 1950-1968, will be opened to researchers later this year.

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