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Edward Patterson "Ted" Riley Papers

Edward Patterson "Ted" Riley (b. 1900), has spent a lifetime in service to his community, state, and nation and remains a practicing attorney at age ninety-three.

A native of Barnwell, Riley graduated from Barnwell High School in 1922. During a three-year hiatus from high school, Riley worked as a soda jerk, logger, and semi-professional baseball player. After high school, Riley attended Furman University, where he was awarded an athletic scholarship, played both football and baseball, pledged Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and studied law. In 1926 he graduated as a member of the centennial class with the Bachelor of Law and Doctor of Jurisprudence degrees. He married Martha Dixon of Williston in 1927 and the union produced two sons--Edward P. Riley, Jr., and Richard W. Riley.

Riley practiced law from 1926 to 1930 with the firm of Blythe and Bonham in Greenville. In 1930 he was appointed judge of the Family Court in Greenville. He held this position until 1933 when he began work in the United States Attorney's office for the Western District of South Carolina as an Assistant United States Attorney. In 1942, with the country's entry into World War II, Riley joined the United States Navy. By war's end, he had risen to the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

Riley resumed his position in the United States Attorney's office in 1945 and in 1952, his final year with that office, was acting United States Attorney. In the early 1950s Riley opened his own law firm in Greenville and in 1952 was elected Greenville County Attorney, a position he held until his retirement in 1976. From 1958 until 1978, Riley served as Greenville County School Board Attorney, which involved him in the divisive school integration battles of the 1960s. Riley resigned in 1978 to assist his son Richard W. Riley in a successful gubernatorial bid.

An impressive record of community leadership includes terms as president of the Greenville Kiwanis Club, 1948; commander of the American Legion Post 3 in Greenville, 1950; president of the Greenville County Bar Association, 1951; and president of the South Carolina Bar Association, 1960-1964.

Always active in Democratic Party politics, Riley chaired the Greenville County Democratic Party Executive Committee from 1954 to 1955 and the South Carolina Democratic Party for two terms, from 1960 to 1964. Riley played an important role in John F. Kennedy's 1960 presidential election. Although South Carolina was considered a safe state for Richard Nixon, Kennedy narrowly carried the state in a surprise victory.

The collection consists of 2.5 linear feet of material, the bulk of which dates chiefly from 1952 to 1966 and documents Riley's long involvement with and leadership of the Democratic Party of Greenville County and South Carolina, the South Carolina Bar Association, and American Legion Post 3 of Greenville.

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