Fall 1997
Caroliniana Columns

Looking Forward, Over Our Shoulder!

by Harvey S. Teal

As the University South Caroliniana Society approaches it sixty-second year, a mature status is being achieved. As we consider future plans, directions and programs, a backward glance seems in order. By "Looking Forward, Over Our Shoulder!" the Society seeks to gain an historical perspective. Since we are dedicated to the preservation of our state's history and heritage, it is incumbent upon us to always know and appreciate from whence we came.
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President Harvey Teal and Lewis P. Jones examine the collections on display in the Manuscripts Division during the annual meeting.
Today, as we consider our past, we see a society numbering 2,500 members with an endowment valued at more than a million dollars. We see a collection at the South Caroliniana library, built largely with our dues and contributions, that has no equal in the United States. Each year through our endowment the Society continues to contribute thirty to fifty thousand dollars to acquire more South Carolina manuscripts, books, pamphlets, newspapers, photographs, sheet music and other Caroliniana.

As we examine the Society membership we find an exceptional record of yearly contributions of Caroliniana to the library. In the past we have developed a membership that emphasized the contribution of material (Caroliniana) more than money to the endowment. We certainly do not need to lessen our efforts to acquire Caroliniana, but due to three factors we need to contribute more money to our endowment: we have developed a Caroliniana collection that has grown in geometric proportions over the years; our collections are getting older and require more conservation; and some conservation practices of the past, quite appropriate at the time, have been superseded by much more archivally sound ones.

Today, we have an exhibit case in the reading room of the Book Division containing a scrapbook of William Gilmore Simms in the The Charlest Carroll Simms Collection and J. Rion McKissick's copy of Frederick Dalcho's Historical Account of the Protestant Episcopal Church in South Carolina both of which have been conserved at a cost of approximately $5,000. If you were not at the annual reception and dinner and have not seen this exhibit, we invite you to visit the library to do so. Actually, to conserve an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of manuscript paper costs on the average a minimum of $1.00. When you consider the volume of our collection, our conservation needs come into sharper focus. The Society has supported the efforts of the library to secure grants to process, rehouse and conserve our collections. A recent grant offers a match of $10,000 in federal funds for an equal amount of private support for conservation expenditures. (See article on the recent grants awarded to the library.)

There are many individuals who are not members of our Society who should be sharing in our efforts to preserve the history and heritage or our state. You will find a form in this issue for nominating individuals for membership in the Society. For those who are nominated, we will send them an invitation and a brochure containing information about the Society. As your president, I encourage you to extend our outreach and involve others in this most noble of efforts, the preservation of our history and heritage.

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