Caroliniana Columns
Newsletter of the University South Caroliniana Society
Autumn 1998

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Raindrops and Silent Drums:
Remarks by President Harvey S. Teal
at the 62nd Annual Meeting
of the USCS, 16 May 1998

In a manner that might be described as raindrops falling on a receptive host, the University South Caroliniana Society since its beginning sixty-one years ago, has showered the University with small gifts of money and South Carolina historical materials, materials in the form of manuscripts, books, pamphlets, maps, photographs, sheet music, picture postcards, and works of art on paper. As a rule, little or no "beating of drums" from the recipient or the donor accompanied these showers of "raindrops." Oh, on occasion one or two drumbeats or a few trumpet notes might be wafted aloft to float on academic and public relations breezes meandering across the USC campus at the time, but no marching bands, no drum and fife corps, no parades or firing of rockets heralded the falling of these "raindrops." As a Society we quietly went about the business of preserving South Carolina's history and heritage and had less concern about "beating the drum" to publicize what we were doing.

Recently, large monetary gifts to the University and associated publicity have caused us to pause, to take stock, to examine our record of giving and to make comparisons. Using today's prices, we assessed the total market value of the historical materials the Society since its inception in 1937 has given the University. We very quickly came to the conclusion that their monetary worth far exceeds the value of any single monetary gift the University has ever received from an individual or group. Since this accomplishment has occurred so gradually and almost silently, most society members and university staff are not aware it has happened. Consequently, as a means of calling attention to this achievement, I thought we should give, at the very least, a symbolic horn toot or two at this time or if you wish a more demonstrative expression to mark this occasion. During the next 10 seconds clap your hands, or as Dr. Meetze informs me, it would be appropriate to say amen, if the spirit so moves.

Having said this let me hasten to add that the true value of our "raindrops" is not monetary. Their value is historical. In the beginning these "raindrops" formed small brooks and rivulets, but soon merged into a tremendous stream of South Carolina historical materials flowing into the South Caroliniana Library. This process has now created a large enough critical mass of South Carolina historical materials to justify scholars and others from far and wide to come and use them. In reality, what the Library has become is an historical research laboratory. Behind those Caroliniana columns reside papers from most of our South Carolina "founding fathers" and state leaders, many paper from the nation's "founding fathers," and of equal importance, millions of manuscript papers from ordinary citizens. The stacks of the library literally bulge with thousands of first editions and one-of-a-kind South Carolina books and pamphlets. Tens of thousands of photographs of South Carolina faces and places from all corners of the state await the researcher. Either the original of a microfilm copy of almost every known South Carolina newspaper is available for use at the Library. The South Carolina map collection at the library is unmatched in the world. This is the worth; this is the value of what we have given the University. How can we price out history, our heritage, if you please, our collective memory of our state and the very underpinnings of our future? We hold this truth to be self-evident: these possessions are priceless!

As a Society member each of you should be extremely proud of your Society. Our private, non-profit organization and the University entered into a partnership sixty-one years ago dedicated to the preservation of South Carolina's history and heritage, and what we have accomplished together is a success story in every sense of the word. The University provides staff to service and facilities to house the "raindrops" we provide. However, it is incumbent upon both the University and the Society to have a clear understanding of the role each plays, the value we are to each other and the necessity to be concerned about the continued well being of each organization. Through a spirit of cooperation, together we have accomplished much, but we must remain focused and on guard against any factor that might impede the achievement of our mission.

Lest we get too complacent or enamored with our success, I must stress that much remains to be done. We must continue giving and soliciting the giving of historical materials to the South Caroliniana Library and we must continue contributing to our endowment. Over the next ten years in order to continue adding materials to our collection and to address conservation needs for our "raindrops" at the library, we need to increase our endowment from the present $1.4 million to $5 million. I challenge each of you to dig a little deeper and to encourage others to contribute to our endowment so that the Society and the Library may realize their true potential. I passionately believe we should be excited about what we are doing and should pursue our mission with dedication, persistence and zeal.

Our speaker will later discuss in some detail the evangelical movement in the South. I have honored that these by also couching these remarks in a somewhat evangelical tone. Rev. Meetze, if we were to remain completely in the evangelical mode, at the point, I should pass the collection plate and later extend an altar call, but I will do neither. Instead, I wish to do two things. First, I exhort every Society member to be a missionary dedicated tour great mission, the mission of being good stewards of our part. From the past we have individuals such as Mrs. Yates Snowden, J. Rion McKissick, Caroline Dick McKissick Belser Dial, and Professor A.L. Geissenhimmer who serve as examples for us to follow. There, of course, are hundreds more.

The second thing I wish to do is to now move forward in time to the present and recognize some current benefactors who understand that endowed funds generate lasting resources to develop our magnificent collection of South Caroliniana residing in the oldest free-standing academic library building in the country, and to conserve and preserve our holdings to ensure that they will be available and accessible to future generations of researchers.

I will ask them to come forward and be recognized for their generosity.

Dr. Robert K. Phillips, who teaches English at Lander University, established the Robert I. and Swannanoa Kenny Phillips Libraries Endowment to honor his parents and his family's long commitment to the University of South Carolina. Robert and his father Tigue are with us today.

Dr. Daniel Walker Hollis, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, authored the two-volume sesquicentennial history of the University of South Carolina and published many articles in the field of South Carolina history. He taught courses in S.C. and Southern History to undergraduate and graduate students and supervised many a thesis and doctoral dissertation. Dr. Hollis has established a bequest for the Daniel Walker Hollis Endowment for the Acquisition and Preservation of Materials on South Carolina History.

Mrs. Gladys Hungerpiller Ingram of Hartsville is a daughter of Professor John C. Hungerpiller, who had a long and distinguished career in public education in South Carolina. Professor Hungerpiller was also a poet and editor of a 1921 anthology entitled South Carolina Literature. Mrs. Ingram and her sister Mrs. Sloan Brittain helped their mother gather up Prof. Hungerpiller's papers for presentation to the South Caroliniana Library in 1978. Mrs. Ingram has made a bequest of one million dollars to the University, a half million dollars of which will establish the John C. Hungerpiller Library Research Fund to further the work of the South Caroliniana Library.

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