Addition, 1891-1960, to the Papers of Alexander| Manuscripts Gifts 2006 | Front Page 2006 | Previous Issues | Friends of the Library |
Samuel Salley, Jr.
Eighty-seven manuscripts, 3 January 1891-2 November 1960, added to the South Caroliniana Library’s holdings of the papers of Alexander Samuel Salley, Jr. (1871-1961), relate primarily to his work as state historian of the Historical Commission of South Carolina. | Manuscripts Gifts 2006 | Previous Issues | Endowments | Friends of the Library |
While most of the letters included herein are brief, they represent an interesting cross-section of the notable personalities with whom Salley corresponded during a long and storied career - William Watts Ball, John Spencer Bassett, Johnson Hagood, Fairfax Harrison, Henry Hartzog, Bessie Rowland James, Marquis James, Theo[dore] D. Jervey, Olin D. Johnston, Henry P. Kendall, Harriette Kershaw Leiding, J.M. Lesesne, Dumas Malone, Burnett Maybank, Edward McCrady, Coyler Meriwether, Rosewell Page, Victor Hugo Paltsits, Ulrich B. Phillips, Josephine Pinckney, James Henry Rice, F.W. Ruckstull, Herbert Ravenel Sass, Henry Worcester Smith, C.P. Sumerall, David Duncan Wallace, and Ransome Williams.
Among the items of interest is a letter of 3 January 1891 from naturalist James Henry Rice, Jr., expressing a certain disdain for contemporary writers. “Young men as a rule who write copy the style of some successful author without question and thus launch their frail ventures upon the great sea - full already of wrecks and dismantled hulks of ill-starred ships. This is foolish; this is wrong; this is fatal. Enduring fame can only be accomplished by a steady aim pursued through cheerless days and nights of labor - spurning ease with an eye single to the one goal - however far it may lie before you.” Rice then goes on to lash out against prohibitionists. “What the devil do I care about men drinking mean whiskey? It is a sublime act compared to some of the darker stains that defile humanity; for drinking does not defile. No truthful man dare affirm that...moral defilement must come from within.”
Sculptor F.W. Ruckstull wrote to Salley on 22 January 1931 concerning the fact that souvenir hunters were removing letters from his newly-erected Wade Hampton statue on the grounds of the South Carolina statehouse. Ruckstull strongly condemns these “morons” and recommends that the statue be promptly repaired. “This repairing should be done at once by the State - in its own interest. Because, you know as well as I do, that the South has the reputation of being ‘slip-shod’ and ‘run-down-at-the heel.’ And to leave the Monument of one of the greatest men South Carolina has engendered defaced - for a day longer than is needful to repair it - will only emphasize the credit-destroying reputation which hampers more or less the entire South, much to my regret, since my heart has been with the Southern people since my early manhood.”
Another letter, 8 August 1931, from historian and writer Fairfax Harrison sheds light on the etymology of our state’s name, facts that are now largely forgotten. “As to the introduction of the word South before the word Carolina,” Harrison writes, “whenever it appears, I am embarrassed, for I gave my word last spring to two noble old time gents in Charleston, to whom I outlined my plans, that I would describe their ancestors province as Carolina. What they said on the subject confirmed the Virginia tradition in which I was brought up, that the difference between the two Carolinas before the Revolution was that one was Carolina and the other North.”