27 May 2018

BDC@ Hilton Head Branch Paradise Author Talk

Program reminder:



All units of the Beaufort County Library will be closed to commemorate Memorial Day on Monday, May 28, 2018. Regular hours resume on Tuesday, May 29th.

23 May 2018

All Things Gullah ... Just in time for the Festival

The term "Gullah" or "Geechee" describes a unique group of African Americans descended from enslaved Africans who settled along the Atlantic coast, often on sea islands, between what is now Wilmington, NC to Jacksonville, FL. Gullah is a broad culture embracing the political, social, economic, linguistic, and artistic life of native African-American Sea Islanders.

The Gullah people have made (and continue to make) a lasting impact on this area's local culture and history.  Therefore, the Beaufort District Collection is home to an extensive Gullah/Geechee historical collection of books, manuscripts, pamphlets, vertical files, videos, and more! As Wilbur Cross noted in his book Gullah Culture in America (Praeger, 2008), Beaufort County Library "has one of the South's largest collections of materials on the Gullah language and the sea island culture." Here are just a few highlights to whet your appetite to learn more about Gullah/Geechee sea island culture:
305.8961 CAM Gullah Cultural Legacies by Emory Campbell
305.8961 CRO Gullah Culture in America by Wilbur Cross
398 JOH Folk Culture on St. Helena Island, South Carolina by Guy B. Johnson
427.9757 TUR Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect by Lorenzo Dow Turner
641.59757 ROB Cooking the Gullah Way: morning, noon, and night by Sallie Ann Robinson
641.59757 SEG My Gullah Kitchen by Eva Segar
975 POL The Gullah People and Their African Heritage by William S. Pollitzer
975.799 GOD God's Gonna Trouble the Water [DVD] by Teresa Bruce

Sweet Grass Baskets courtesy of Teri Norris
Don’t forget to view these Beaufort County History Moments segments about Gullah Culture presented by Emory Campbell, former Director of Penn Center and past chairman of the Gullah-Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission, on YouTube: Gullah Language, Gullah Food, and Marsh Tackies.  (Beaufort County History Moments were a joint project of the Beaufort County Planning Department, Beaufort County Library, the County Channel, and Coastal Discovery Museum in 2011 - 2012.)
In addition to a vast array of book materials, we have some collections of newspaper and magazine clippings, culture reports, and other ephemeral materials in vertical files, among which are these:

Low Country Gullah Culture Special Resource Study
Festivals--Native Islander Gullah Celebration
Festivals--Gullah Festival
Gullah Culture, Pilot Study, 2000-2002. Ohio University, Southern Campus
Gullah Culture--Tours

Check out our list of links and materials on the topic of Gullah Culture in our Wordpress blog, too. 

The St. Helena Branch Library near Penn Center has a reference collection of Gullah/Geechee materials on site in addition to its BDC sponsored and managed local history section.
Several local organizations advocate and celebrate their Gullah roots. Additional information is available through Penn Center, the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition, and the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. And, of course, the 32nd annual Original Gullah Festival is being held May 25 - 27, 2018 at the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park in downtown Beaufort. This year's theme is: "Come Home to a Celebration of Reconstruction ... The Untold Story."

Enjoy your holiday weekend! Please remember that all parts of the Beaufort County Library will be closed on Monday, May 28th in observance of Memorial Day. Regular hours resume on Tuesday, May 29th. 

20 May 2018

New Materials in the BDC, January - April 2018

The Library's Strategic Plan has three priorities: Communications; Facilities; and Collections.

Given that the term "Collection" is in our title and is our primary mission, we give a lot of thought and put our money where our mouth is when it comes to strengthening our holdings. Stabilization in the Library's budget has facilitated purchase of new materials and in the case of this department even of some older but new-to-us materials that help us meet our core mission to acquire, preserve, maintain and make accessible a research collection of permanent value that records the history of this area. We have biographies and other nonfiction books, maps, video materials and archival collections about local history including Gullah traditions, natural history, archaeology, and genealogy as well as other topic relevant to Beaufort, Hampton, and Jasper Counties. With that in mind, we are always on the look out for appropriate materials to add to our holdings. Here is a list of the latest books to arrive in our Research Room to support your study of our area:  

A History of the 20th South Carolina Volunteer Infantry Regiment, 1861 - 1865 by James B. Clary joins the author's A History of the 15th South Carolina Volunteer Infantry Regiment, 1861 - 1865. Both are parts of the South Carolina Regimental Roster Set by Broadfoot Publishing. Clary spent countless hours compiling detailed information about the individual soldiers in these units. Other titles that we have in the Research Room from this series are:  No Prouder Fate: The Story of the 11th South Carolina Volunteer Infantry by Neil Baxley; And Were the Glory of Their Times - Artillery and And Were the Glory of Their Times - Cavalry both by Herbert O. Chambers, III; A History of the 3rd South Carolina Volunteer Infantry Battalion (James Battalion): 1861-1865 by Sam B. Davis; The 14th South Carolina Infantry Regiment of the Gregg-McGowan Brigade, Army of Northern Virginia by Robert K. Krick; A History of the Hampton Legion Infantry by O. Lee Sturkey; A History of the 13th South Carolina Infantry by Mike Wadsworth; and A History of the 3rd South Carolina Infantry Regiment: Lee's Reliables by Mac Wyckoff.

Making a Slave State: Political Development in Early South Carolina by Ryan A. Quintana which according to Seth Rockman, Brown University, "makes the social history of enslaved people central to the processes of state building and the political economy of capitalism. Indeed, the book's great value is its recognition of enslaved people as crucial historical actors whose everyday lives created the infrastructures of the state."


The BDC also collects some natural history materials. A Field Guide to Mushrooms of the Carolinas (A Southern Gateways Guide) includes hundreds of full-color photographs of Carolina mushrooms, information about mushroom edibility and toxicity thus filling a gap for regional information on southeastern fungi populations.  

(I'd probably grab this book if we were bombed by North Korea or there was a zombie outbreak. If one has to take to the woods, it would be a good idea to know which of the many wild mushrooms were edible.)


Paradise by Nell and Ora Smith recounts what it was like to live on Hilton Head Island from the 1960s into the 1990s as development forever changed a quiet coastal island into the premier resort destination it is today. We will host two book talks with the authors, one on May 31, 2018 at Hilton Head Branch Library and a reprise at Beaufort Branch on June 26, 2018.



According to the blurb on Amazon.com, The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy by Val D. Greenberg instructs the researcher in the timeless principles of genealogical research, while identifying the most current classes of records and research tools. This 4th edition provides a clear, comprehensive, and up-to-date account of American genealogy--no sound genealogical project is complete without it.

It joins complementary genealogical reference books The Red Book, The Source, and Black Roots in the Ready Reference section of our Research Room.



Deceit, Disappearance & Death on Hilton Head Island by Charlie Ryan with Pamela Martin Ovens recounts the mysterious circumstances surrounding the disappearance of prominent Hilton Head Islanders, John and Elizabeth Calvert, and the death of their accountant Dennis Gerwing after he was questioned about their disappearance in 2008. The authors gathered together existing documents via Freedom of Information Act requests to shed light on what remains an open investigation. (FYI: The BDC does not do programs on topics or events that are less than 30 years old.)

A New Plantation World: Sporting Estates in the South Carolina Lowcountry, 1900 - 1940 by Daniel J. Vivian explores the massive land transfer of property along the coast and the transformation of the term "plantation" from an agricultural pursuit based upon the labor of the enslaved into a term usually describing large acreage for sporting at leisure, predominantly by Northern owners. This book complements the very popular Northern Money, Southern Land: The Lowcountry Plantation Sketches of Chlotilde R. Martin edited by Robert B. Cuthbert and Stephen G. Hoffius. We hope to be able to bring Dr. Vivian down to Beaufort for a lecture about his book later this year.

Drop by the Research Room to see this books and ever so much more.

Please note: All units of the Beaufort County Library will be closed Mon., May 28, 2018 for Memorial Day.

13 May 2018

The Smiths Talk about Living in Paradise


Nelle Smith, a Clover Club member, former BDC volunteer, and co-star of the Filmtastic Fridays video series on Lulu Burgess Beaufort’s Facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/luluburgess/  and her daughter Ora will be doing two Author Book Talks about Paradise Memories of Hilton Head in the Early Days.

In 1963, John Smith was hired as the public relations man for Charles Fraser's Sea Pines Plantation Company and moved his family to the Carolina lowcountry. The women will share what it was like to live on Hilton Head as development forever changed a quiet coastal island with only a couple of thousand inhabitant into the premier resort destination it is today. 

David Lauderdale’s column on April 5th was about the book : http://www.islandpacket.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/david-lauderdale/article207505654.html. We’ll host a program at Hilton Head Branch on May 31st at 11 am and at Beaufort Branch about a month later. I am sure that both outings will be a hoot for any who comes to the programs.  Be sure to mark your calendars to join as at one (or both) programs!

06 May 2018

Celebrate Postcards This Week

Selected items from our own collections

National Postcard Week is an annual event begun in 1984 to promote the study and use of postcards for entertainment, education, and as artwork. It is held in the first full week of May. This year National Postcard Week runs from Sunday, May 6 through Saturday, May 12.  

Suggested activities to celebrate the occasion:

1) View Arnsberger Collection postcards online through our partnership with the Lowcountry Digital Library http://bit.ly/2q8VS3e

2) View some Palmetto Studios postcards in the Lucille Hasell Culp Collection online through our partnership with the Lowcountry Digital Library http://bit.ly/2HwnJ8W

3) Come see selected postcards from the Rev. Robert Peeples and staff curated postcard collections in our Research Room during our regular hours of operation

4) We're posting a very special postcard per day on our Facebook page during National Postcard Week, 2018 (again that is Sunday, May 6 - Saturday, May 12). http://on.fb.me/1dBlyx1

Please contact us for information about other postcards and local history materials we have: bdc@bcgov.net or call 843-255-6468.

01 May 2018

MayDay 2018



Preservation Week and MayDay activities highlight strategies to extend the usability of cultural heritage materials in daily life as well as in the wake of disaster. MayDay encourages cultural institutions to do one simple activity to protect the art, artifacts, records, and historic structures they hold in trust. The Beaufort District Collection has been participating in MayDay since 2008.

The Society of American Archivists (SAA) created the MayDay initiative in 2006 to better protect cultural heritage materials from disasters. Continuing in the tradition established by SAA and Heritage Preservation, the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (FAIC) took on the task in 2016 of encouraging libraries, museums, archives, historical societies, and preservation organizations to set aside May 1 to participate in MayDay. MayDay is a time when archivists and other cultural heritage professionals take personal and professional responsibility for doing something simple – something that can be accomplished in a day but that can have a significant impact on an individual’s or a repository’s ability to respond to emergency circumstances. By extension, we want to encourage our readers to make May 1 the day that you do just one thing to improve the status of your family treasures in case of an emergency event. 

Beaufort District is not immune to disasters: The earth moved beneath us in the 1886 Earthquake; Hurricanes frequent the area more often that the tourist brochures may indicate (ones in 1893, 1911, 1940, 1959, 2016 come immediately to mind); Fires consumed residential homes and commercial districts in 1863 Bluffton and 1907 Beaufort; Tornadoes have caused death and destruction locally in the past. Given that life happens on a daily basis and disaster is too often a part of life, then we must ready ourselves for the likelihood that today a disaster could befall us and try to prepare as best we can to mitigate the risks, survive the event and go on to thrive in its aftermath.


A great place to start is to learn all you can about preservation and risk mitigation. Here are just a few recommended web resources to get your started on the path towards protecting your own family treasures:
  • "Save Your Treasures the Right Way" by Heritage Preservation, provides advice on how to best cope with natural disasters.  
  • Because we live in a county with only Zone A hurricane evacuation codes, you will need to think ahead about what you'll need to take with you the next time we are under hurricane threat. The Georgia Archives created a wonderful checklist in its "Essential Records for Families" brochure.
  • A somewhat similar guide by FEMA "Emergency Financial First Aid Kit"  is on the Beaufort County Emergency Management Division website.
  • To educate yourself about how to better prepare yourself and your family, FEMA offers a host of resources on their "Are You Ready" website. 
  • Local Emergency management offices can help identify the hazards in your area and outline the local plans and recommendations for each. Be sure to share the hazard-specific information with family members and include pertinent materials in your family disaster plan.



Remember, all that is asked of you is to take one simple - completed in a day - step to increase your emergency preparedness and thereby protect your family treasures.

26 April 2018

Do You Know What You Have?

Again I share significant words of genealogical wisdom from Michael John Neill. He is ever so right that you must document what you find fully and understand the context of the document. (This applies to all types of documents, including images as well).


Do You Know What You Have?

For help in writing those citations, visit our Research Room to review the following bibliographical citation manuals:

SC  929.3 JON 2013 Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones, (Arlington, VA: National Genealogical Society, 2013.)

SC 907.12 MIL 2015 Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace by Elizabeth Shown Mills (Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing, 2015.) 

22 April 2018

It's All in How You Take Care of Things ...

It's Preservation Week! Join Amanda, Adam and me at Bluffton Branch on April 25th from 10 am until 1 pm. We'll be handing out free and good advice on how to take care of your family treasures. No fees; no reservations; just drop-by our table in the Bluffton Branch Lobby.

And if we don't know the answer to your question, we'll do some research for you and let you know later what we found out.

19 April 2018

Preservation Drop-In on April 25, BDC@ Bluffton Branch

As sincere and trained stewards of cultural heritage, Beaufort District Collection staff believe that memories and treasures should last a lifetime and be passed on to future generations, either within a family or via reputable institutions. And we want to help you preserve your own treasures.


In 2005 the cultural heritage community got an electrifying shock! Publication of The Heritage Health Index survey  that year revealed disquieting statistics about the dire state of preservation of cultural heritage in the United States. A key conclusion of the survey was that people at all levels of government and the private sector must take responsibility for the survival of these collections. And an essential first step is strengthening everyone’s awareness of the importance and scope of preservation needs. The American Library Association and partner organizations responded to the call for action with Preservation Week, seven days dedicated to heightening awareness of practical practices and techniques to insure that memories and treasures will last a lifetime and will be passed on to future generations in better condition because of those behaviors.  In accordance, the BDC has marked Preservation Week with local programs each year since.  

As the Library system’s special local history collection and archives, we preserve materials in the BDC each and every day. Our highest priority is to be good stewards of the cultural heritage materials entrusted to us for the community. Therefore we must be up-to-date on preservation thought, practices, and techniques. Part of being a good cultural heritage materials steward is sharing our knowledge about preservation practices with the community in order to empower you to better protect your own treasures. Preservation Week lets us share some general principles of preservation that can mitigate a host of potential problems.
In other words, Preservation Week inspires actions to preserve personal, family, and community collections in addition to library, museum, and archive collections. It also raises awareness of the role libraries and other cultural institutions play in providing ongoing preservation education and information. The Beaufort District Collection promotes Preservation Week to highlight what we can do, individually and together, to preserve our personal and shared collections.

For 2018 we're holding a "Preservation Drop-In" in the lobby of the Bluffton Branch Library at 120 Palmetto Way. Amanda and I will be on hand, 10 am to 1 pm on Wednesday, April 25th, to answer questions and distribute hand-outs to folks interested in learning how to better take care of their own family treasures. This year we have an extra special helper: Adam of the Bluffton Branch staff will answer questions about the equipment and services provided in the lab to help you you digitize family photographs or record family histories. He'll provide expertise and practical technical knowledge to help you make good decisions about digital approaches to the LOCKSS (which means "lots of copies keep stuff safe") strategy.
Like all BDC programs this is an opportunity to learn something on a specific topic offered at no charge to anyone interested in dropping by with their questions about how to take good care of their "stuff." Join us to learn what we can do, individually and together, to preserve our personal and shared collections.Together we can save our personal history for those who will come after us.

Please share far and wide!