SOUTH CAROLINIANA LIBRARY
UNIVERSITY SOUTH CAROLINIANA SOCIETY
MANUSCRIPTS DIVISION 2001
| 2001 Gifts to Manuscripts | Front Page | Previous Issues | Manuscripts Division | Newsletters |
| USCAN | South Caroliniana Library | USC | Search USC web |
Edward Terry Hendrie Shaffer Papers, 1894-1997
| Top | 2001 Gifts to Manuscripts | Front Page | Manuscripts Division | Newsletters |
This major addition of eighty-two items to the papers of the late E.T.H. Shaffer (1880-1945) further documents the life and career of the Walterboro businessman and farmer who later distinguished himself as an historical and economic researcher and writer.
The bulk of the new unit resides in two volumes. The larger of these, a scrapbook consisting of material dating between 1894 and 1945, contains the record of Shaffer's short published writings, his speaking engagements and other commitments of his public life, along with the responses he received by letter and in the press to his various presentations.
In his first appearance in The Atlantic Monthly ("A New South-The Boll Weevil Era," January 1922) Shaffer stated that the boll weevil rendered cotton "for all time to come, too precarious a crop for the only basis of credit...a diversified South will receive more per pound for what cotton is produced than was ever known in the days of the bumper crops." This essay elicited regional and national response. Brooklyn lawyer Ernest C. Brower, in a letter of 3 January 1922, called him a "brilliant writer." "I want to congratulate you first on getting in the Atlantic as it is generally deemed to be something of an achievement," his friend attorney J. Waties Waring wrote from Charleston on 7 January 1922. "Your article is readable and interesting all through and your style still bears traces of what you acquired from me in the great opportunity you had in meeting and associating with me in your college days." Waring goes on to say-"I believe that your views are correct as to the ultimate relief from the one crop basis that the South has been resting on. I confess that there is some doubt in my mind, however, whether you and I will see the full fruit of this come to pass. I am very much afraid that our people, particularly our farming people, are going to be terribly slow to move and that a great many years will elapse before we are ready to raise the weavil monument."
The Greenville News reproduced his next Atlantic Monthly essay ("A New South-The Textile Development") on 8 October 1922, calling it "the fairest and most intelligent article that has been written about this section of the South." His third essay for The Atlantic Monthly ("The New South-The Negro Migration," September 1923) which was reprinted in The State on 9 September, generated a great deal of comment. G.A. Cardwell, agricultural and industrial agent of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Company in Wilmington, stated in a letter of 15 September-"I consider this one of the most enlightening and complete discussions of the negro migrant question that I have read." And Charleston businessman Henry F. Welch wrote on 18 September to say-"This is the most sensible writing on the subject that we have read."
Columbia editor Ambrose E. Gonzales, however, took issue with what he considered Shaffer's "whip and lash" characterization of Southern slave owners and ran a lengthy refutation entitled "South Carolina Masters" in The State on 16 December, in which he cited "countless tender memories of those who, while slaveholders, were never slave-drivers-men and women and children whose lives were ruled by the self-imposed maxim, Noblesse Oblige!" Additional objections were voiced by James Henry Rice, Judge W.C. Benet, and editors of the Greenwood Index-Journal and the Spartanburg Journal. Strong disagreement with what he called "Mr. Shaffer's harvest of theories" came from an altogether different quarter: Herbert J. Seligman, director of publicity for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. In a lengthy letter to the editor of The Atlantic Monthly of 2 October 1923 Seligman, in the third of five points of dispute, wrote-"As to the Negro's being 'content to jog along in a shiftless, servile status but a step removed from actual bondage,' the thousands coming North because their children are denied education, themselves denied justice in the courts, decent treatment in public places, safety of life and property from the mob, could, and do, tell a different story. The Negro has not been content with the position into which the South has forced him. That is one of the main reasons given for their departure by migrants from the South, as you and Mr. Shaffer can verify by consulting the reports of the U.S. Department of Labor."
Shaffer's article "Southern Gates to the Sea" (published in the April 1925 issue of The Forum and reprinted in The State on 4 April 1925) argued that Southern seaports were equipped to furnish in peace the service they had rendered in World War I: ice-free gateways for the Middle West. Washington attorney Matthew Hale, writing to Forum editor Henry Goddard Leach, 31 March 1925, identified himself as former president of the South Atlantic Maritime Corporation and vouched for the accuracy and importance of Shaffer's essay and observed-"To me it has always seemed that those of us who live in the North are under a very deep moral obligation to assist our Southern friends in removing barriers which have stood in the way of their commercial development and which were the direct outgrowth of the economic conditions which were forced upon them immediately after the Civil War."
Shaffer also received wide response to the book reviews and miscellaneous pieces he contributed to The State, the Charleston News and Courier, the Greenville Piedmont, and other newspapers between 1922 and 1933. On 13 May 1923, writing from "Oak Retreat," Hendersonville, N.C., Jane Screven Heyward, the mother of DuBose Heyward, mentions reading Shaffer's "delightful article in the State yesterday" ("Little Journeys at Home"-this one about the Beaufort area) and goes on to inform him of her eight-engagement tour the previous month, to mention that "DuBose has two poems in the literary Digest for this week," and to remark-"Such a busy woman as I have been, and now I am here in Hendersonville, boarding and resting until June first when DuBose will come up, and together we will migrate out to Orienta, where we are hoping to see you all."
Ambrose Gonzales also wrote Shaffer in response to his "Little Journeys" piece on Beaufort. On 16 May 1923 Gonzales revealed-"Although I have never visited Bluffton, I spent four years at old Grahamville as Agent and Telegrapher for the Charleston and Savannah Railway. At that time- 1874-78-the Black Belt was very lawless. The country was over-run by negro turpentine hands from North Carolina, and there were many bad white men in the flat woods. Old General John B. Howard was murdered one night at Honey Hill as he was driving from Grahamville to his distant home on the salt water. Just as he reached the breastworks at the top of the hills, a negro slipped behind him and blew his head off for a dollar or two and the few provisions the old Confederate was taking home."
On 24 May 1930 Charleston News and Courier editor W.W. Ball wrote at length to discuss Shaffer's essay "The People of the Mills in the New South," which the Yale Review had published that January. In his letter Ball addresses such issues as the laborers' working hours, home ownership, wage and living conditions; the organization and role of trade unions; and the need for "intelligent cooperation among the mill managers." "The curious segregation of the mill village populations has been a pathetic and interesting matter of observation to me for thirty-five years," he states. "When the first mill in Laurens was built a quarter of a mile from the town cemetery, it was necessary for the company to provide a separate grave-yard." He goes on to reveal-"The Episcopal church, my church, had about six families in it and one mill family. Especial efforts were made to attach these people to the congregation but it was an uphill labor. These mill people were not mountaineers, I think you greatly overestimate the mountain element in the South Carolina mills. While the undoubted disposition of townspeople was to drift from the mill people, the drift on the part of the mill people was equally strong. It existed from the very start and whatever fault there was, was equally divided."
Additional letters from prominent persons within and beyond South Carolina are contained in the 1894-1945 scrapbook. In a letter of 29 October [1923?] written from Baltimore, H.L. Mencken replies to Shaffer's inquiry regarding publication of a proposed article and remarks-"A week or two ago Mr. [James Henry] Rice sent me a very interesting article on the Negro in South Carolina, but it was too long for the American Mercury. I believe that the whole Southern question will have to be discussed state by state; the facts differ from place to place."
There are two communications from DuBose Heyward. In one, written on 7 December [1923?], Heyward solicits from Shaffer on behalf of a Garden Clubs of America project an article on gardens in the Walterboro section, and concludes by saying-"By the way, I am in the final agony of a novel bearing upon negro life in Charleston slums. I think it safe to predict that, in certain quarters, I will find myself furled into that limbo to which your flirtation with the same question recently consigned you. It will be good to know that there will be cheery company awaiting me." A telegram from Heyward to Shaffer, sent in September 1928, invites Shaffer and his wife to "have supper with us tuesday night seven oclock to meet Julia Peterkin."
A letter written to British author John Galsworthy on 22 December 1925 regarding the writer's portrayal of a Carolinian in his 1925 novel The Silver Spoon brought a substantial reply from the novelist. "It is always a mistake I suppose," Galsworthy wrote Shaffer on 27 January 1926, "en voyage" in California, "to underline peculiarities when they glare out of a totally different setting, and especially American peculiarities, because Americans react so very rapidly to any-shall I say?-asperations." He goes on to say-"Two or three people have told me that Southerners do not say 'Yes, Ma'am', yet I have heard several Southerners of the best families say it, with my own ears. I am told too that a Southerner should say 'reckon' and not 'guess'."
His old College of Charleston classmate Ludwig Lewisohn wrote Shaffer from Paris on 23 November 1930 to say how "infinitely pleased and touched" he was "by your warm remembrance of my parents to whose untimely passing my heart has never become reconciled." "It gives me a real satisfaction to learn that you are so actively on the side of the good causes," he declared, "and your letter most happily illustrates again what I am always telling my European friends: that we have in America today a minority-and where in the world have the humane and intelligent not been a minority?-that matches the same class in any country both for numbers and for vision." He concluded-"I think of Charleston and the old days there and the old friends with a real tenderness. I have never quite lost touch with Harris and della Torre and the Graesers and Yates Snowden, though I am a rotten correspondent. And some day, not too far off, I hope with my wife to revisit those scenes and see those friends."
Other correspondents include Irving Bacheller, A.P. Bourland, David R. Coker, Samuel Gompers, Gilbert Grosvenor, Henry C. Hammond, Elizabeth W. Hard, McDavid Horton, Alfred Huger, Oscar L. Keith, Elizabeth G. Kimball, Henry G. Leach, Mary Arnold (Mrs. Ludwig) Lewisohn, W. Somerset Maugham, S.S. McClure, John B. McLaurin, Thomas S. McMillan, E.H. Pringle, Harrison Randolph, John A. Russell, Herbert Ravenel Sass, Ellery Sedgwick, Alfred E. Smith, William Howard Taft, T.R. Waring, and J.D. Woodside. One page of signatures, dating between 1894 and 1898 and probably signifying a boyhood collection, contains the autographs of such personages as Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Grover Cleveland, Wade Hampton, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, and Ben Tillman.
Shaffer was a popular speaker on a variety of economic and historical topics and this scrapbook contains copies of several of his speeches, including the following: "Publicity," delivered at the annual convention of the South Atlantic Coastal Highway Association in Savannah on 19 April 1923; "Cotton as a Factor in Exports," presented at the Thirteenth National Foreign Trade Convention held in Charleston in April 1926; and "Orderly Marketing,"given at a meeting of the South Carolina Produce Association in Meggetts in October 1926. He delivered the main addresses, respectively, for the celebration of the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Gen. William Moultrie, held in Charleston on 23 November 1930; and for the celebration in Beaufort on 22 February 1932 of the Bicentennial of George Washington's birthday.
Credited with the rediscovery of the grave site of the South Carolina patriot-martyr Col. Isaac Hayne in Colleton County, Shaffer became secretary of the Hayne Monument Commission and presided over ceremonies on 19 November 1924 when the Hayne monument was dedicated near the "Burnt Church," fifteen miles southeast of Walterboro. W.W. Ball, responding to the invitation to attend the unveiling of the monument, wrote Shaffer on 1 November 1929-"While I am sorry that Isaac Hayne was hanged, I also have a sneaking admiration for Lord Rawdon. When the Duke of Richmond, Whig leader in the Lords, reflected on him in respect of the Hayne incident, he promptly challenged the Duke who, I believe, gave him satisfaction without going on the duelling ground. Rawdon seems to have been an Irish gentleman and soldier of positive attraction. Of course it is regrettable that the Whigs couldn't hang him, and if they had he would have taken his medicine gracefully. Nevertheless, it is the decent thing that South Carolina build a monument to Hayne, and he deserves the tribute." Ball goes on to tell Shaffer that he would look out for his forthcoming Yale Review study of labor and capital in the Southern textile area-"...not unlikely, I shall throw some of the stones or, at any rate, stand by, like Saul of Tarsus, consenting. However, I shall also be one of the first subscribers to a monument to you, for I find it good policy to stone all martyrs and then to be glibly on hand at the presentation of the crown."
The 1894-1945 scrapbook also contains some information and memorabilia pertaining to Jane Terry Shaffer (Mrs. J. Blanding Holman) and Edward T.H. "Eddie" Shaffer, Jr., children of E.T.H. and Clara Speights Barr Shaffer.
The other volume in this gift is a looseleaf notebook, 1940-1942, which constitutes a record of two trips which Mr. and Mrs. Shaffer made between 1940 and 1942 sponsored by South Carolinians, Inc., and promoted by South Carolina Magazine through its editor, A.F. Funderburk, Jr. Comprised chiefly of clippings, the notebook deals with the 3500-mile drive that the Shaffers made in November 1940 on U.S. Highway 15 from Toronto to Jacksonville for the purpose of "familiarizing our readers with places of interest from Canada to Florida," with the goal of recommending that "in choosing a vacation this summer deepest consideration be given our northern neighbors." Shaffer's article on this venture, entitled "Maple Leaf and Orange Blossom," appeared in the March 1941 issue of South Carolina Magazine. Cards, notes, and letters reflect specific contacts which Shaffer established with various officials and businessmen in Raleigh, N.C.; Williamsport, Pa.; Corning, N.Y.; Hamilton, Canada; and Frederick, Md.
The notebook also further documents the cross-country tour the Shaffers made during the fall and winter of 1941-1942, which took them as far west and north as British Columbia. "As on his previous tours, sponsored by South Carolinians, Inc.," a reporter wrote in The State on 3 October 1941, "Mr. Shaffer will engage in reciprocal publicity, telling the story of South Carolina, so that this state may take its rightful place on the tourist map of America." The article further stated that he would also gather information on other sections for home papers and for the South Carolina Magazine. Included in the notebook are samples of the press coverage that Shaffer garnered in such cities as Atlanta, Montgomery, New Orleans, Houston, San Antonio, El Paso, Tucson, Phoenix, and Los Angeles.
Featured among the fifty-six photographs in the collection are pictures of various historic lowcountry plantation homes, gardens, and fields, including "Belle Isle," near Georgetown on the Santee River; the William Seabrook home on Edisto Island; and "The Grove" on the Edisto River in Colleton County. Other period photographs show the "new" Bethel Methodist Church (built in 1928) and the EsDorn Hospital in Walterboro, Upton Court in Camden, and road scenes in Stateburg (Sumter County) and on the Isle of Palms (Charleston County). A view of "'Redcliffe'-The Palace of King Cotton" (Aiken County) is identified on the back-in the hand of its owner-as "Property of John Shaw Billings." Another picture portrays Shaffer and his family standing outside their home in Walterboro.
The unique contributions of E.T.H. Shaffer are highlighted here in two sets of resolutions which were adopted upon his death respectively by his alma mater, the College of Charleston, and by the South Carolina Power Company, of which he had been a director. In the former, adopted by the college's board of trustees in December 1945, Shaffer is described as "an honor graduate..., class of 1902, [who], during his residence as a student, formed many friendships here that deepened through the years and he felt an affection for this city which was warmly reciprocated." The resolution goes on to state-"It was the pleasure and privilege of the College trustees to be closely associated with Mr. Shaffer as a fellow member for more than twenty years and to enjoy the benefit of his sound counsel and inspiring participation in this body's deliberations." The other resolution, adopted by the South Carolina Power Company on 16 January 1946, characterized Shaffer as "a charming conversationalist, a good companion, an able writer" who would "be remembered with respect not only in Walterboro,...but throughout Coastal Carolina, where he lived, worked, planned and played, loved and was loved."
| USCAN | South Caroliniana Library | USC | Search USC web |
This page copyright © 2001, The Board of Trustees of the University of South Carolina.