Fall 1997
Caroliniana Columns

Afternoon Annual Meeting
A Great Success

by Allen Stokes

Dr. Carol Bleser
addresses Society
at the 61st Annual
Meeting of the
University South
Caroliniana Society.
Dr. Carol Bleser - 7.1 K
The University South Caroliniana Society held its 61st annual meeting on Saturday, May 17, 1997. Members attended a reception at the library on the university's historic Horseshoe. The exhibit of manuscripts and printed and pictorial material acquired by the South Caroliniana Library in 1996 through gifts of the membership and by the use of dues and other income highlighted the reception.

Among the collections on exhibit are the papers of Modjeska Simkins and Townsend Mikell and an extensive collection of early photographs of Harbison Agricultural College. On exhibit in the Book Division Reading Room are J. Rion McKissick's copy of Dalcho's Historical Account of the Protestant Episcopal Church in South Carolina which has been conserved with funds from the Arthur Elliott Holman, Jr. Preservation and Acquisition Endowment, and a scrapbook of William Gilmore Simms which has been restored through a fund established by Simms' descendants. The exhibit of materials at the annual meeting will remain on display through the autumn.

simkins.jpg - 15.2 K
The family of Modjeska Monteith Simkins poses with her portrait on display in the Manuscripts Reading Room. Mrs. Simkins' papers are open for research at the Modern Political Collections division of the library.

Following the exhibit and reception, the meeting adjourned to the Russell House for the luncheon and business session presided over by President Harvey Teal. Dr. Constance Schulz, Mrs. Patsie McLeod, and Mr. Wade Fairey were recognized for their service on the Society's Executive Council and their successors elected: Col. Frank Babbitt, of Liberty Hill, vice-president; and Dr. Charles Lesser, of Columbia and Mrs. Ann Bowen, of Greenwood, as council members. President Teal reviewed the initiatives taken by the Executive Council over the past year. Council has studied the geographical distribution of membership in the Society and is formulating plans to promote membership during the current year. Publications have included a membership directory and the initial issue of a newsletter.
smkport.jpg - 7.9 K
Modjeska M. Simkins


Papers, (1913-1992)
now open.

President Teal announced that the Executive Council had received numerous suggestions for an official name for the USCS Newsletter. At its April meeting the council selected Caroliniana Columns which was submitted by Mrs. Marshall Mays, Dr. John Hammond Moore, and Mr. Del Roberts.
The Secretary-Treasurer reported that in 1996 the Society received $23,480 in dues and endowment contributions and $36,548 in interest and dividend income. The fund's balance at the end of the year was $561,957, an increase of $31,750 since 1995. The market value stood at $1,172,656, an increase of $96,210. The Secretary-Treasurer spent $43,785 of accumulated dues and investment income to acquire printed, pictorial, and manuscript Caroliniana for the library. The Society continued its financial support of two nationally recognized editorial projects at the University of South Carolina - The Papers of Henry Laurens and The Papers of John C. Calhoun - with a contributions of $1,500 to each.
Lewis P. Jones
(right) with Dr. William
Bagwell, first recipient
of the Lewis P. Jones
Research Fellowship
in South
Carolina History.
bagwell.gif - 32.5 K
Dr. William F. Bagwell, who has been conducting research at the South Caroliniana Library this summer, was recognized as the first recipient of the Lewis P. Jones Research Fellowship in South Carolina History. The 61st annual meeting was also an occasion for honoring Elliott Holman III and Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Elliott Holman, Jr. On the occasion of his father's 80th birthday, Elliott Holman established the Arthur Elliott Holman, Jr. Preservation and Acquisition Endowment. This generous gift will enable the South Caroliniana Library to acquire and conserve materials in the areas of Mr. Holman's interests which include the Episcopal church, music and the arts, and the history of Anderson County and the state.
holman.gif - 41.6 K
A. Elliott Holman III with parents Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Elliott Holman, Jr. At the 61st Annual Meeting, the Society recognized A. E. Holman III for the establishment of the Arthur Elliott Holman, Jr., Preservation and Acquisition Endowment.
The speaker for the 61st annual meeting was Dr. Carol K. Bleser, the Kathryn and Calhoun Lemon Distinguished Professor of United States History at Clemson University. Her address entitled "Treasures from the South Caroliniana Library: The Letters of a Planter's Daughter" was based upon the correspondence of Maria Bryan which is in the library's collection of papers of the Hammond, Bryan, and Cumming families. Although she died at the age of thirty-six in January 1844, for almost two decades, Maria Bryan corresponded regularly with her family, principally with her sister Julia who married Augusta lawyer Henry Harford Cumming. Maria's letters depict life in a slave-holding family whose plantation was located in a remote frontier community seventy-five miles from Augusta. In Maria Bryan, Dr. Bleser discovered a "woman of remarkable education and taste." Her correspondence reveals that while "supported by the labor of her family's slaves and benefited by her rank and privilege, she "works at housekeeping, tends the sick at home and in the neighborhood...cuts out and sews clothing of the family's slaves...tutors her younger siblings, grades papers for teachers at the local academy, entertains a continuous procession of visiting ministers, teachers, relatives, and friends, regularly attends church and revivals, makes countless social calls to friends and acquaintances in nearby towns, and still finds time to copiously devour novels, biographies, and autobiographies." When the eventual donor of the collection discovered the letters of his great-great-aunt in the family archives at Redcliffe in the 1930s, John Shaw Bilings became so intrigued with her correspondence and with the person who wrote the letters that on many a night he hurried home from his office at Time Inc. to study the letters of Maria Bryan. Dr. Bleser's edition of Maria Bryan's correspondence has been published by the University of Georgia Press and is entitled Tokens of Affection: The Letters of a Planter's Daughter in the Old South.

The 62nd annual meeting of the University South Caroliniana Society is scheduled for May 16, 1998. The speaker will be Dr. Christine Heyrman, author of The Southern Cross: the Beginnings of the Bible Belt (New York: Knopf, 1997).

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