28 May 2008

“You Never Know What You’ll Find While Cleaning”

As we prepare to begin renovation work on the 2nd floor of the Scott Street Library building, storage areas have to be cleared out. The Friends of Beaufort County Library discovered what appears to have once been the makings of a bulletin board from 1996 (perhaps 1997) about the Friends activities and opportunities for membership in the organization. Among the highlights was the following notice:

Acquisition of Civil War Photographs by Jeff Berg, SC Resources Librarian

“The Library is pleased to announce the recent acquisition for the South Carolina Room [that’s what the Beaufort District Collection used to be called!] of a collection of Civil War period photographs of the Beaufort area. This acquisition was made possible by the generous support of the Friends of the Beaufort County Library for $3000.00, the Beaufort Historical Society for $1000.00 and the Mary Sams Memorial Fund for $2000.00.
Thanks are also due to Dr. Stephen Wise, Director of the Parris Island Museum. Dr. Wise was first offered the set by Stephen J. Edwards of Charlotte, Vermont. Although they did not fit within the collection development plan for the Museum, Dr. Wise felt it was important that they become part of a local collection. He was instrumental in negotiating the sale of the collection, and has continued to assist in identification of the photographs.
The collection consists of 106 stereograph images dating from 1864-65. Most of the photographs were taken by Sam Cooley and his assistants. Mr. Cooley was a photographer for the Union Army and operated a studio in Beaufort during the war. This new acquisition makes a significant contribution to our existing Civil War photograph collection.
Included in the set are images of downtown Beaufort, Old Fort and Retreat Plantations, St. Helena, Morris and Folly Islands, and a few images of Jacksonville and St. Augustine, Florida. It includes many noteworthy photographs, such as views of the Freedmen and their homes, the Chapel of Ease before it burned in a forest fire, and Civil War fortifications.”

Comments from the current Beaufort District Collection manager, Grace Cordial:

• The 16 items found (14 clippings and 2 photographs) have been placed in the “forever” vertical file about the “Friends of the Beaufort County Library” folder in the Beaufort District Collection. Drop by to review the contents and relive the history of your group since 1979.
• We still rely upon gifts from the Beaufort County Historical Society, memorial funds, and the Friends of the Library to help fund special purchases and projects. This year contributions from the Friends and the Beaufort County Historical Society are helping us to match SHRAB grant funds for the arrangement and description work necessary to prepare the Lucille Hasell Culp Collection for use by the public.
• A number of our Civil War era images have been digitized for access by school groups and scholars. The Friends of the Library group bought the digitization equipment necessary to make the images available inside the Beaufort District Collection.
• The Friends of the Beaufort County Library bought the hurricane shutters for the BDC. Let’s hope that we do not have to use them this year! But, oh, it is ever so much better to have the hurricane shutters and not need them, than to need the hurricane shutters and not have them!

Thank you, Friends of the Beaufort County Library, for all your help throughout the years and librarians in charge. We appreciate your support in preserving the history of this wonderful place we all call home. – Grace Cordial

The Beaufort District Collection is a division of the Beaufort County Library, a department of Beaufort County Government of South Carolina.

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