Caroliniana Columns
Newsletter of the University South Caroliniana Society
Spring 1999

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SCL Mourns the Passing of Former Staff Members

by Henry G. Fulmer
Friends of the South Caroliniana Library were saddened over the past year by the deaths of four former staff members: Clara Mae Jacobs, Loulie Latimer Owens Pettigrew, Candita P. Reilly, and Eleanor M. Richardson. At no other point in its history has the library lost so many former staffers within so short a time, staffers whose combined years of service exceeded the number of years the library has existed. When added together, their years of service span three-quarters of a century, and in two instances their work began under Dr. Robert L. Meriwether, the library's founder and its first director.

Clara Mae Jacobs, who retired in 1972 as head of the Manuscripts Division, came to work at the library in 1948. In addition to her other duties as its first full-time manuscripts cataloger, Mrs. Jacobs was responsible for compiling several of the library's calendars to manuscript collections and for preparing narrative descriptions for the University South Caroliniana Society's annual
Clara Mae Jacobs...came to work at the library in 1948. Along with her work at the South Caroliniana, Mrs. Jacobs assisted R.L. Meriwether in editing the first volume of The Papers of John C. Calhoun
report of gifts. She also assisted R.L. Meriwether in editing the first volume of The Papers of John C. Calhoun. Following Dr. Meriwether's death in 1958, Mrs. Jacobs continued for several years as editorial assistant to Dr. W. Edwin Hemphill.

Apart from her work at the library, Mrs. Jacobs was an active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Daughters of the American Colonists, and the United Daughters of the Confederacy. She died on March 19, 1998.

Loulie Latimer Owens, who died January 15, 1998, served as assistant manuscripts librarian at the library from 1971 to 1976. One of the co-founders of the South Carolina Baptist Historical Society in 1947, she worked as special collections librarian at Furman University, 1961-1968; as a member of the South Carolina Tricentennial Commission research staff, 1968-1970; and as curator of exhibits at Midlands Exposition Park, Columbia, prior to her employment at the University of South Carolina.
A co-founder of the South Carolina Baptist Historical Society, Loulie Latimer Owens served as assistant manuscripts librarian from 1971 to 1976.
In 1975, while on the South Caroliniana Library staff, Loulie Owens was awarded an honorary doctor of letters degree by Furman University, her alma mater. She went on to serve as a member of the Furman board of trustees, 1976-1981.
A tireless advocate of Baptist history, she was a six-term member of the Historical Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and president of the Southern Baptist Historical Society. Loulie Owens wrote both books and articles, but is perhaps best remembered for her 1971 publication Saints of Clay: The Shaping of South Carolina Baptists.

Candita P. Reilly, who died on September 7, 1998, worked as secretary to former library director E.L. Inabinett from 1975 until her retirement in 1981. A world traveler early in her life, she worked in the University's housing office prior to her employment at the South Caroliniana Library. Here she was responsible for maintaining the records of the University South Caroliniana Society, including mailing dues notices and nomination letters. As secretary, she was often the initial staff person to greet library visitors and researchers.

During Mrs. Reilly's years as secretary, her daughter, Molly Reilly Westmoreland, who later became a librarian, worked as a student assistant in the Manuscripts Division.
From 1975 to 1981, Candita Reilly was often the initial staff person to greet library visitors.

Eleanor M. Richardson, former head of the Books Division, died on September 26, 1998. A graduate of Winthrop College, she also held a Bachelor of Library Science degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. First hired as a part-time staff member in the early 1950s, Mrs. Richardson worked in cataloging before becoming reference librarian in 1974, a position she held for twenty years until retiring in 1994. Throughout her early years, she was responsible for cataloging much of the library's book, map, and music holdings. As reference librarian, she also oversaw its visual images collection. Mrs. Richardson was a tenured member of the University's library faculty and upon her retirement was named Librarian Emeritus.

Named Librarian Emeritus, Eleanor Richardson came to the South Caroliniana in the early 1950s. She worked at the library until her retirement in 1994.
A violinist and ardent supporter of the performing arts, Eleanor Richardson was a founding member of the Columbia Festival Orchestra (now the South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra). She performed on a frequent basis with other orchestras in the region, including the Augusta Symphony, the Greenville Symphony, and the Charleston Symphony.

These former staffers laid the foundation upon which today's staff continues to build. And in many instances, they were responsible for the "hands on" instruction of those who succeeded them. They shall be remembered for their special contributions to the life and work of the South Caroliniana Library, and for their impact upon the lives of those who knew them.

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