Spring 1997

Caroliniana Website a treasure for research

Recently, a Florida woman was searching the Internet for information about her father, Ernst Windmeier. Her search led her to the papers of United States Senator Olin D. Johnston held at the library's Modern Political Collections Division. The finding aid that was posted on the library's website listed her father's name as it appeared in legislation written by Johnston.

In 1955 Johnston authored a bill for the relief of Windmeier, a German-born American who had attended college in Germany prior to the outbreak of World War II. Windmeier was facing deportation to China following an accusation that he acted as a spy for the Nazis during the war.

The thick file contains a variety of documents, including Windmeier's 1955 plea to Johnston written on receipt of the deportation order, asking that if he was to be deported that he be sent to Germany - "if must be, I will rebuilt [sic] a home in Germany among people not unlike ourselves. To ask my family to join me in a land as unfamiliar as China is unthinkable." Due to Johnston's intervention, Windmeier was permitted to remain in the States with his American-born wife and children. He died of brain cancer in 1959, when our correspondent was only six years old.

The magic of the Internet helped our researcher locate documents which shed some light on the details of a poorly remembered piece of family history.

Among the many changes taking place at the library as we enter the computer age is the way in which we advertise our holdings to researchers across the globe by posting the descriptions of collections on the library's website. In addition to learning the library's hours of operation, location, and use procedures, drivers on the information super-highway can peruse the electronic finding aids to major holdings and, via electronic mail, contact the library with research queries. You can access the Library's home page at http://www.sc.edu/library/socar/

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