One hundred fifty-seven manuscripts, 1910-1945, added to the South Caroliniana Library’s holdings of Kay family papers consist mainly of personal correspondence of family members living in the area of Honea Path (Anderson County, S.C.) as well as that of Albert and Laura Dodson Kay, of Bradenton, Fla., and the Dodson family of Nebraska.
Letters pertaining to the Kay family’s cotton farming illustrate the hardships faced by cotton farmers in the 1920s and 1930s following arrival of the boll weevil into South Carolina by 1921, with mention of declining prices, weather conditions, and disappointing harvest seasons. Similar information regarding wheat farming is found in the Dodson family letters.
A letter from C.M. Kay, 9 September 1934, includes a detailed description of the strike at Chiquola Mills in Honea Path. The incident ended in several deaths and injuries, and the letter describes the mass funeral for the victims that over ten thousand people attended. After the strike, the letter reveals, one hundred thirty militia men were stationed at the mill. The letter also describes Kay’s work as a Special Duty officer at the mill and his resigna¬tion following the riot. A 20 August 1913 letter to Devona Robinson from Anderson College discusses their attempt to recruit female students.
Other correspondence includes World War II letters from Kay family service members—Frank Parker Kay, William Kay, C.C. “Cam” Kay, Henry Wayne Kay, and Charles Robinson—among them a 27 February 1945 letter which contains information regarding a midnight curfew for establishments serving beer and liquor until the end of the war in Germany. Letters from Delta Easton describe her sons’ experiences in medical school in the late 1930s and the opening of their osteopath practices in Leadville, Neb., and Missouri in 1940. There is also reference to her husband’s work in the Leadville mines.