20 June 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 while helping prepare a piece of their book sorting space for renovation as a storage area of the new BDC. Among the highlights discovered by the Friends Book Sorting crew 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.”

•A number of our Civil War era images have been digitized for access by school groups and scholars. Drop by to see the digitized images!

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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