04 June 2023

Olivia Santos' "Favorites" Display: Part Two

Before Olivia moves, I asked her to create another Favorites display of materials she has discovered in the Research Room during her stay.  She told me that she used the marine life cloth as background because it was the liveliest one that I have stockpiled here - and that most of the book covers of her favorites were not particularly lively. She was looking for some contrast to catch the eyes of our in-room researchers and you readers of Connections. Here are the explanations of why she choose what she choose. -- gmc 

June is finally here, and it is once again time to test my Midwestern blood against the heat and humidity of a South Carolina summer. I’d like to say I’ve gotten used to it, but to tell you the truth I don’t think I ever will. However, I will definitely miss those warm winters as I pack up and head back to Illinois.

With my partner getting out of the Navy and starting school, we are moving back to the Midwest come July (or at least that’s the plan). Grace and I are both sad that I’m leaving, and I have been lucky to meet so many lovely folks during my time here, both within the BDC and outside of it. So, as a follow-up to my December [2022] post about my favorite books in our collection, this post will be a part two that includes my favorites, as well as materials we have that I simply think are interesting and worth talking about with you all.

I actually did have some sort of planning in terms of organization this time, although Shelf 1 is the only shelf that doesn’t have much of a theme beyond ‘general history that I find interesting.’ I chose to include The Death Care Industry: African American Cemeteries and Funeral Homes by Roberta Hughes Wright and Wilbur B. Hughes III (2007) and Carolina’s Lost Colony: Stuarts Town and the Struggle for Survival in Early South Carolina by Peter N. Moore (2022).

The Death Care Industry, being over 600 pages long, has a lot to say. Focusing on a variety of locations in South Carolina and beyond, the book discusses specific cemeteries that many locals are familiar with, such as Beaufort National Cemetery and Coffin Point Cemetery. Besides discussing the general history, this book goes a step further by highlighting burial practices, folktales, cemetery preservation and restoration, as well as discussing the impact slavery has had on these industries. Overall, this book has a wide scope with helpful and informational content. We often get questions about cemeteries with folks doing genealogical research, so I like to refer back to this book every once in a while. It may be weird to some people that this was my first pick for my ‘favorites’ list, as it can be a bit of a morbid topic, but I’ve always been fascinated by the death care industry and cemeteries as a whole, and this book continued to pique my interest. The BDC currently houses the only copy of this book within the Beaufort County Library system and SCLENDS.

Carolina’s Lost Colony is one of our newer books, coming to the research room right around the time of the Stuarts Town symposium hosted at USCB back in February, although there are now multiple copies available for checkout within the SCLENDS consortium. Examining the Scottish and Yamasee habitation of Port Royal in the 17th century, this book gives a great run down of early colonial history in South Carolina among both its native peoples and the colonizers who later came to this land. We were waiting for this book to hit our shelves for a while in anticipation of the symposium, which brought in a lot of people also interested in the topic and the dig being done to find evidence of Stuarts Town’s location. Carolina’s Lost Colony is also special to me in the sense that one of the archeologists working on the Stuarts Town dig, who also spoke at the symposium, allowed me to come with her on a dig back in March to learn the ropes and help out with her graduate school research out at Mackey Point Plantation.

If you’re interested in learning more about her work, check out her profile on the University of Michigan’s website.

Shelf 2 is dedicated to school annuals. Yearbooks might seem like a random choice, but to me they are some of the most interesting materials we have in our collection. Many people may not realize this, but a majority of our collection has been donated to us by various persons and organizations over the years. We do buy plenty of our own books, of course, but yearbooks are special in that they can only be procured by donation; the schools do not send us a free copy every year or anything like that. So, I decided to showcase our oldest and most recent annuals from Beaufort High School: 1921, 1937, and 2007. Many of our yearbooks contain signatures, handwritten notes, drawings, and the like, which adds a personal touch to these materials and gives those of the modern age a better sense of the lives and times of these teenagers that were sitting in classrooms over 15 years ago as well as over 100 years ago. Naturally, we are the only institution within the consortium or library system that houses these materials.

Shelf 3 features stories of inspiring women, particularly during the Civil War era: The Journals of Charlotte Forten Grimke by Charlotte L. Forten (1988) and A Woman Doctor’s Civil War: The Diary of Esther Hill Hawks by Esther Hill Hawks (1984).

Taking place over the course of ten years before and during the height of the Civil War, Charlotte Forten’s journals serve as a snapshot of America’s past. A Black woman growing up in a prominent anti-slavery household in Philadelphia, she spent much of her life during the years this journal was written teaching freed people in South Carolina, particularly at the Penn School as its first Black teacher. The contents of her journals are similar to a book I featured in my last ‘favorite things’ post in December: A Black Woman’s Civil War Memoirs by Susie King Taylor (1988). But while Taylor only touches on the discrimination and racism she experienced minutely towards the end of her book, Grimke expands on the subject and her own personal experiences much more. Oftentimes, the accounts we have of this time period lean heavily toward the stories of the white men in high society. It’s not only valuable to have Grimke’s own personal accounts for history’s sake, but also because she provides a point of view that is rare from this time period, as she was both Black and a woman. And if you ever come into the research room asking for materials on Reconstruction, more than likely I’ll end up bringing out both Grimke’s and Hawks’ books.

Unlike Grimke, Esther Hill Hawks was a white woman who came to the South as a physician during the Civil War. Written between 1862 and 1866, her diaries cover her times in the sea islands, as well as in Charleston and Florida. Like Grimke, she also taught freedmen, and talks in great detail about her travels to educate and treat folks affected by the Civil War. Grimke and Hawks break from the status quo for women of the time period by advocating for and supporting those being oppressed by the institution of slavery that was so prevalent during this time, and as a result cared for and educated countless folks who otherwise would have continued to be ignored.

Both books can be found throughout the SCLENDS consortium or are available inside the BDC.

Shelf 4 showcases some of the collections of stories and legends I’ve come across in our collection: More Tales of the South Carolina Lowcountry by Nancy Rhyne (1984), Gullah Animal Tales from Daufuskie Island, South Carolina by Albert H. Stoddard (1995) and Betty Stringfellow’s Stories and Legends of John’s Island, South Carolina by Elizabeth H. Stringfellow (2004). From ghost stories to tales and legends, all three books are a bit more lighthearted than the others featured in this case. Many are oral histories that have been passed down among families and communities that have finally been written down, although occasionally with a supernatural twist. I find books like these a nice break in the sometimes dense and technical language our books can have, taking a more lighthearted approach to real world people and events (or not real). I also think stories and legends are a great way to get a closer look at a community or culture, such as how Gullah Animal Tales features the stories in their native Gullah tongue, as well as translations in standard English. Betty Stringfellow’s book is only available for viewing here at the BDC, but Gullah Animal Tales and More Tales of the South Carolina Lowcountry are available for checkout in a variety of locations within our library system and SCLENDS.

This is Grace again. I will offer that should you like "To Read About the Lowcountry" (column 2; line 5) for the Library system's "All Together Now" Summer Reading Program 2023 that most of the titles Olivia has written about would be excellent choices. I don't think that "reading" a high school annual would qualify - but hey, that's just a personal opinion.  

PS: You can read all about the Summer Reading Program on the Library's website and download a game card to participate. You could also double-down - read one book and count it towards both the Library's official SRP 2023 and use it for the American Historical Association's 2023 Summer Reading Challenge as well. I am. I think getting to "use" something more than once is a highly efficient way to read or create. 

Summer Reading Programs for You!

2023 is a year for Summer Reading Program options. In fact, I am going to tell you about 2 SRPs in this post. 

1) As is customary, the Beaufort County Library is sponsoring a Summer Reading Program this year. It runs two months: June 1 through July 31. You're always invited to participate! There's no registration. You can either pick up a paper game board at your favorite Branch Library or download and print one yourself.  The Adult readers SRP has been around BCL for about a decade or so now. Whatever you want to read is fine for the purposes of participation. Plus there are some family programs and even two local history programs geared towards adults to pick from to help check off blocks on the game boards. So I recommend that you participate in the Library's traditional SRP. I will. 

But let's say that you are of a particularly history-related bent of mind. (I'd say that that conclusion isn't much of a stretch since you're reading my local history related blog at the moment.) Well, as it turns out the American Historical Association is in its 2nd year running its own Summer Reading Challenge. (I missed it last year). It's also easy-peasy: Read one history non-fiction "item" per month (yes, journal articles or even a book chapter each count as 1 item) in June, July and August. You get a bit longer to finish the AHA SRC: It begins June 1 but runs about 5 weeks longer that the Library's customary SRP. In other words, you have until Labor Day, Monday, September 4, 2023 to get the reading all done. You can use the Bingo card pictured here to guide you to select three items in a row or column. If you're like me, the challenge is limiting myself to only 3 items. 
Just based on book recommendation flyers I've made in the past 3 or so years, I can offer you lots of local history titles to consider. Here are three flyers to get you started: 

On May 2nd we offered the Jackpot program with Jason Ryan. I distributed copies of this flyer at that local history program. If you enjoy true crime stories, the Library has a number of titles to share. (Carnival of Blood is by far my favorite title for a true crime book). 

At the "Liberty Trail" presentation with Bill Davies, I distributed copies of some recommended reading about the course of the American Revolution in South Carolina. Just by reading the three American Revolution related chapters in Dr. Rowland's The History of Beaufort County, South Carolina, 1514-1860 you could complete the AHA SRC. 

I had copies of this flyer available for attendees at "Dueling in Beaufort District" with Neil Baxley on May 24th. 

BTW: The items with +hoopla means that the SCLENDS consortium has printed copies and that there is an electronic copy and/or audio book of the title on the Library's Hoopla digital collection. If you have a Beaufort County Library card, you can easily set up an account at start borrowing e-books, audio books, listening to music, watching television shows or movies. The details are found on the Library's Hoopla landing page.

In case you're wondering, I always try to have flyers or displays relating to the local history topic du jour at all BDC sponsored programs. So expect another post after Professor Hollis' June 24th presentation and yet another after Nathan Betcher's talk about Reconstruction Era politics on July 12th. I even have some suggestions for my August 22nd presentation about the Hurricane of 1893 to share.

And hot off the Grace Press is a list of recommended materials about the history of Northern Beaufort County that I created in honor of Lobeco Branch Library's 20th birthday. 

In other words, there are boocoodles of local history titles to read and enjoy over the next several months. 

At the end of the summer, AHA Reads runs through Labor Day, we might be able to do an online discussion of what we've individually and collectively read for the AHA Summer Reading Challenge 2023. Let me know if you're interested: 843-255-6468 or bdc@bcgov.net.  

01 June 2023

BDC's Overview for June 2023

Here's what the BDC has planned for June 2023: The BDC is doing its bit for the BCL's 2023 Summer Reading Program "All Together Now" that runs from June 1 - July 31 this year. The BDC has one local history program in June at Bluffton Branch and one in July at Beaufort Branch under the SRP masthead.

On Saturday, June 24, 2023 we gather at Bluffton Branch to explore the African Presence in Colonial Lowcountry with retired Professor Meldon Hollis, Jr. If you'd like to confirm a seat, call Debra at 843-255-6503 between now and June 23rd to secure a reservation. Because the Bluffton Branch's main meeting area can seat up to 120 people, odds are there will be seats available the day of the program in case you find yourself free that morning. We always seat up to room capacity if folks are waiting.

Saturday, June 24, 2023 - "African Presence in the Lowcountry" with Meldon Hollis, Professor of African American History | 10 AM - Noon | BDC@ Bluffton Branch Library, 120 Palmetto Way. | Debra is already taking registration at 843-255-6503 if you'd like to pre-register. 

Looking ahead into July, please mark your calendars to attend: 

Based on years worth of experience with local history program turnout during the summer months, our "All Together Now" related program about Reconstruction Era politics in Beaufort and the state around the monumental Election of 1876 is a first come, first seated event at the Beaufort Branch Meeting Room.  It's a very important but little explored through public history programs topic.  I have no doubts that National Park Service Historian Nathan Betcher will provide us with an informative and entertaining presentation. 

I will be out of the office a few days this month for some R-and-R while Olivia is still here to cover the Research Room for me. And because I will be out of the office on some Fridays and Wednesdays, there will be fewer Black History Note and Finding Aid Fridays posts on the BDC's Facebook page during June.

Olivia and I will try to get as many behind-the-scenes tasks completed as possible before she leaves the area. When I return to the status of a one person shop, I will likely have to spend the majority of my time on direct customer service. Once I got Olivia trained, she's been handling most of that inside the Research Room - leaving me to do the supervision of docent projects, the vertical file projects, coordinating and planning the local history series, library and archival management "stuff." I am going to definitely miss her.

I've been trying to cope with a perfect storm of labor challenges since October 2019 and what became a permanent loss of staff with the elimination of the former Preservation Associate Library 4 position during the County's elimination of open staff positions in 2021. Library Administration has requested a return of the position Olivia currently occupies to its pre-Covid status but that is dependent on the County Council's approved budget. It is justified because what my assistants have to do up here in the special local history collections and archives unit is far different and requires a lot more training and a broader skill set than what a regular Circulation 1 person stationed at a Branch Library's circulation desk has to do. I'm taking a wait-and-see attitude on this.

The SCLENDS SIRSI/DYNEX software that supports the library's cataloging and circulation systems is scheduled to go live on June 22nd. Geez, Louise, I do so hope that that goes live without any hiccups or disasters for the BCL system and/or the BDC. Library staff have been doing training since April to try to be ready. Once that happens I have only about 125 online bibliographies to revise to edit links from the bibliography to the former SCLENDS Evergreen based catalog.

I am grateful that the BDC inventory that began way back in 9 March 2022 in almost done - just in case something does go awry. I am fairly confident that the BDC can go manual for internal operations relating to customer service for a week or two or perhaps even more if necessary. I don't think that the other units of the Library system will be able to stay manual as long as the BDC can which is more a function of the BDC's collection size, my years of experience knowing and building this collection, and the far, far fewer number of daily customers with whom we deal. In other words, everyone will be relieved if the switch from Evergreen to SIRSI/DYNIX goes as smoothly as we have been told by the company that it will. Keep your fingers - and toes - crossed for all of SCLENDS.

As you may be aware, the BDC "goes on the road" in a variety of ways. There are the local history programs we host but there are also other tasks that relate to the Branch Libraries: selection of materials for their local history sections, creating pamphlets and flyers about local history services and resources, some community engagements and an occasional display of BDC "stuff" at other locations.

The key for whether I agree or not to a request is directly dependent on if I have help in the Research Room, how many other tasks and projects are requiring my attention, and on how far in advance I am asked to do so. For example, Lobeco Branch Manager Chantal Gunn asked me months ago to see if I had enough "BDC stuff" to fill her lobby 6' X 6' display case for the branch's 20th anniversary coming up this month - and I do - and I had Olivia here to help me so I knew that I wouldn't have to be doing as much direct customer service as I have to do when I don't have a competent assistant to handle the front room, the docents were working the digital projects at a steady pace, the inventory was proceeding, etc., and Chantal gave me sufficient notice to "git 'er done." You'll see those results on the BDC's Facebook page on or after their party on June 3rd or in person if you attend the event.
Please remember that access to the BDC Research Room remains by advance appointment only. It's always a good idea to contact us at least a few days before you would like to use our facility to get the best chance of getting your preferred date and research slot. Contact us: 843-255-6468 or bdc@bcgov.net.

26 May 2023

Remembering the Civil War Era Dead from Different Perspectives

Historian Archie Vernon Huff, Jr. includes three inscriptions from monuments erected in South Carolina after the Civil War in his textbook and asks students to read them carefully to identify which group or individual is memoralized. Based on your knowledge of South Carolina's state history and following the BDC's local history related posts over the years, can you figure it out?  

1) These were men

Whom Power could not corrupt,

Whom Death could not terrify, 

Whom defeat could not dishonor; 

And let their virtues plead for just judgment 

Of the cause in which they perished.

2) Unawed by Opinion

Unseduced by Flattery: 

He confronted Life with antique Courage:

And death With Christian Hope: 

In the great Civil War

He withstood his People for his Country: 

But his People did Homage to the Man

Who held his Conscience higher than their Praise.

3) Immortality to Hundreds of the Defenders of American Liberty Against the Great Rebellion. 


The first quote is from the United States Memorial at the Beaufort National Cemetery. 

The BDC has the only known sketch of the monument's design before its installation. Our sketch has the following texts: "Monument to be erected at the National Cemetery of Beaufort, S.C., under the supervision of Mrs. L.H. Potter of Charleston, S.C., to the memory of the soldiers, who died at the "Racecourse," near Charleston, S.C., and are now removed to Beaufort, S.C., May 2nd, 1868" on the right near the bottom of the monument sketch. On the left is a description for the back side of the proposed monument: " On the reverse side a tablet containing the names of 176 soldiers, who died at the hospital at the "Racecourse" near Charleston, S.C. Unionist Eliza Potter was a nurse who bought medical supplies with her own money to help captured Union troops in Confederate prisoner of war camps.   

The second quote was placed on the Monument to the Confederate Dead in front of the South Carolina State House in Columbia erected in 1879. Episode 4 of the Historically Complex podcast features the history of this monument and the Tillman Era.  

The third inscription appears on the tombstone of James Louis Petigru in the St. Michael's Episcopal Churchyard in Charleston. I have not investigated whether Petigru knew or interacted with Mr. and Mrs. Lorenzo Potter. 

SOURCE: The History of South Carolina in the Building of the Nation by Archie Vernon Huff, Jr. Teacher's Manual by Hazel Wiggins Harris (Alester G. Furman III, 1991), p. 304. This was a textbook used by the Beaufort County Schools in the 1990s. 

Reminder: All units of the Beaufort County Library system will be closed on Monday, May 29, 2023 to observe Memorial Day.

17 May 2023

New (and New to Us) Materials in the BDC Research Room, January - April 2023

I began this series in 2018 more or less to help check off a box on the Library's then strategic plan involving communications: letting the public know what we had that might help them with their research. It has evolved into more a matter of transparency in light of all the scrutiny that library collections and librarians are under at the present. Given that the term "Collection" is in our title and is our primary mission, I hope that these posts demonstrate that I as a degreed librarian and certified archivist give a lot of thought about what materials I select either by purchase or by donation and am very comfortable in explaining why I chose what I chose and how what I chose helps the BDC provide a reputable research collection of permanent value that records the history of this area to our researchers. 

Here's what's been selected for the Beaufort District Collection during the first quarter of 2023: 

Smokin' Joe: The Life of Joe Frazier (ECCO, 2019) was a gift from the Beaufort Friends of the Library. Some of the best "stuff" comes through them to the BDC. I love the cover review authored by Richard Ford: 
Joe Frazier neither floated like a butterfly nor stung like a bee; he just beat the crap out of people -- including Muhammad Ali. He was an old-school thunderer and the heavyweight champ, and Mark Kram, Jr., much, much more than splendidly gets to the strange anomaly that was Smokin' Joe: you'd have thought the guy didn't get no respect. Only he did. Lots. He had a chin of molybdenium, a soft but steely heart, but was still somehow so easily bruised. His life is a story worth reading.
There are more antebellum ties between more northern parts of the East Coast of the United States and South Carolina than one might expect. Migration to South Carolina: Movement from New England and Mid-Atlantic States, 1850 Census abstracted by Margaret Peckham Motes (Clearfield Publishing, 2004, 2006) is a listing of 2694 persons of former northern residency who relocated to the Palmetto State in the mid-19th century.  The Name, Place from whence the person immigrated, and the Occupation indexes are helpful. 

I reached out to John Milner Architects for a print copy of the latest Beaufort Preservation Manual.  Though I was
 delighted that the latest iteration was posted online through the City of Beaufort's website, I was concerned about what would happen when the City of Beaufort inevitably takes it down. Local history librarians and archivists have to take a long-term view. So I asked the company for a printed copy of the Beaufort Preservation Manual (2022) for permanent retention in the archives to join previous editions of the Beaufort Preservation Manual already here in the Research Room. Beaufort District Collection. They graciously provided us one. 

Growing Up Gullah in the Lowcountry by Josie Olsvig  (Palmetto Publishing Group, 2020) is a children's book. The author tells the story of Gullah culture, particularly in the Charleston area, through granddaughter Veronica's retelling of what she learned from her grandmother. Gullah words, historic sites around Charleston and vignettes of mid-20th century daily life are featured. 

Hurricane Jim Crow: How the Great Sea Island Storm of 1893 Shaped the Lowcountry South
by Caroline Grego (University of North Carolina Press, 2022) uses the Storm of 1893 Death List I compiled from surviving Beaufort County Coroner Inquisitions records as the catalyst upon which the author examined the totality of the hurricane's impact on the area's economy and its political and social conditions. Grego also used some BCL photographs of the aftermath of the storm in her book. BTW: I will be giving my "Tide of Death" southern Beaufort County emphasis presentation at the Hilton Head Branch Library on Tuesday, August 22, 2023 at 1 PM - in case you'd like to make a note on your calendar. 

The fact that the Friends of the Beaufort Library book sale chair, Deb, lets me have first dibs on local history and/or South Carolina items that come to her led to the addition of two Penn Center related items that we did not formerly have: Penn Center Celebrates [the] 50th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, A Milestone in American Civil Rights History (2004) and 150th Anniversary of Penn Center: April 28th, 2012 from their respective 1862 Circle Gala celebrations.   

In the Affairs of the World: Women, Patriarchy, and Power in Colonial South Carolina by Cara Anzilotti (Greenwood Press, 2002) was a gift from the area chapter of the Colonial Dames. Carolina settlers imported English culture to the lowcountry and sought to preserve their "dominance in the face of demographic and racial disruption, empowering the women within the planter class became essential to the maintenance of the traditional social order... [women] were openly acknowledged by all as indispensable to the success of the plantation venture." (p. 5) The book examines the experience of landowning women in the colony and concludes that "they accepted the sexual hierarchy of planter society" seeing themselves even as widows as simply temporary caretakers of the familial properties until their children could inherit and take over operations. 

Peter N. Moore explains in Carolina's Lost Colony: Stuarts Town and the Struggle for Survival in Early South Carolina (University of South Carolina Press, 2022) how "two strange bedfellows [i.e. Yamasee Indians and Scot Presbyterian refugees] converged on Port Royal, South Carolina" to transform "a sleepy backwater of sparsely peopled Indian towns into a bustling regional power center." (back cover blurb.) We bought copies for the local history sections at the Branch Libraries as well. 

Genealogy Standards, 2nd Edition Revised and published by the Board of Certification of Genealogists (2019, 2021) modifies 4 previous standards and adds 7 new standards related to DNA evidence.  It begins with an overview of the Genealogy Proof Standard followed by chapters about standards for documenting, standards for researching, standards for writing, standards for genealogical educators, and standards for continuing education. The Appendices include The Genealogist's Code of Ethics, information about the Board for Certification of Genealogists, a list of recommended readings, and a glossary.  This title will be housed in the public area of the Research Room. 

James Montgomery: Abolitionist Warrior
by Robert C. Conner (Casemate, 2022) is the first published biography of a controversial mid-19th century figure. Before he found himself in Beaufort, he had been a close associate of John Brown, a Free Stater, and well acquainted with other abolitionists such as T.W. Higginson, Harriet Tubman, Robert G. Shaw. He commanded the 1863 Combahee River Raid, a brigade assaulting Fort Wagner, and fought at the Battle of Olustee in Florida with his Black troops in the 2nd South Carolina Volunteers. "Montgomery's willingness to resort to violence in peacetime and defy legal authority, and his occasional executions of both deserters and prisoners, raise serious questions both of morality and realpolitik." (p. 4) [BTW: As of this writing, the Combahee Ferry Historic District exhibit is still at St. Helena Branch Library.] We bought copies for the local history sections at the Branch Libraries as well. So far the BCL is the only member of the SCLENDS consortium to buy this important book to share. 

Twenty Dollars and Change: Harriet Tubman and the Ongoing Fight for Racial Justice and Democracy by Clarence Lusane (City Lights Books, 2022) "writes from a basic premise: Racist historical narratives and pervasive social inequities are inextricably linked -- changing one can transform the other. Taking up the debate over the future of the twenty-dollar bill, Lusane uses the question of Harriet Tubman vs. Andrew Jackson as a lens through which to view our national's ongoing reckoning with the legacies of slavery and foundational white supremacy." (back cover blurb) So far the BDC is the only member of the SCLENDS consortium to buy this title. If you were to review the Harriet Tubman and the Combahee River Raid, 1863, you would see that I included links to articles about the $20 bill controversy because some of the reasoning given in favor of switching from Andrew Jackson to Harriet Tubman is based on her liberation of enslaved people - the largest number of whom were liberated through the Combahee River Raid. 

We received a copy of the 1950 Beaufortonian, the yearbook for Beaufort High School, from Ms. Elaine Stacey. BTW: The BDC still needs a copy of the 1959 Beaufortonian to complete the 1950s if you have one to donate. 

We added a half dozen posters of local events, too. 

10 May 2023

More Local History Programs in May 2023 ... and beyond

Updated 22 May 2023 - gmc. 

Although we were gobsmacked at the speed by which the registration for Jackpot closed and thankful that so many were interested in scandal and true crime, there are two other opportunities this month to learn more about Beaufort District through a BDC sponsored local history program. 

We turn our attention back more than 200 years to "The Liberty Trail in Beaufort District" with Bill Davies. At the present time, he is Vice-Chair of South Carolina's 250th Committee and President of the South Carolina Historical Society. 

A graduate of The Citadel, he was a US Army JAG attorney for 5 years and a member of the Nelson Mullins Riley and Scarborough Law Firm for 37 years.  His Board credentials related to the history and cultural heritage fields are long. He is on the boards of the Liberty Trail, SC Archives and History Foundation, Santa Elena Advisory Board at Coastal Discovery Museum, Friends of Honey Hill Battlefield, Palmetto State Military History Foundation and others. He is a member of the SC Battleground Preservation Trust, Sons of the American Revolution,  the Old Edgefield District Genealogical Society, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the American Battlefield Trust, the American Friends of Lafayette, the Blue and Gray Educational Society, the Military Order of the Stars and Bars, the Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage, the SC Military History Club, the Anglo Zulu War Historical Society, the Historical Societies for Beaufort, Colleton, Edgefield, Greenwood, and Kershaw Counties among others.

Please check the Beaufort County Historical Society's website for any remaining seats. Everyone with a ticket can enjoy the free lecture being held in the Fellowship Hall of First Presbyterian Church, 1201 North Street in downtown Beaufort.  As a reminder: Only members of the BCHS can vote during the business portion of the meeting. 

Our final local history program this month covers the late 18th up through the late 19th century. 

Settling matters of honor according to accepted practice was an important part of being a gentleman in the 18th and 19th centuries. The practice involved issuing a challenge to fight another male person of equal social rank according to a prescribed process for an alleged slight or slander to one’s self or family member. 

Come learn about some of the little known duels held in Beaufort District South Carolina from law enforcement professional and historian Neil Baxley in a BDC@ The Branches local history program being held at the Bluffton Branch Library on Wednesday, May 24, 2023. We've changed this into a "First Come; First Seated; Doors open 30 minutes before Program start time" local history learning opportunity. 

But wait there's more local history programs coming up in June, July and August that you may want to attend. 

Saturday, June 24, 2023 - "African Presence in the Lowcountry" with Meldon Hollis, Professor of African American History | 10 AM - Noon | BDC@ Bluffton Branch Library, 120 Palmetto Way. | Debra is already taking registration at 843-255-6503 but with 120 seats available registration is not necessary.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023 - "Waving the Red Shirts of Redemption: Reconstruction Era Politics and the South Carolina Election of 1876" with Nathan Betcher, Historian for the National Park Service | 2:00 - 3:30 PM | BDC@ Beaufort Branch Library, 311 Scott Street | First come; first seated; No registration process. Doors open 30 minutes before program start time.  

Tuesday, August 22, 2023 - "Tide of Death: The Hurricane of 1893" with Grace Cordial | 1:00 PM | BDC@ Hilton Head Island Branch Library, 11 Beach City Road | First come; first seated; No registration process. Doors open 30 minutes before program start time.  

Join us for one - or more - or even better yet, all these upcoming free local history programs!

03 May 2023

BDC Facebook Posts in April 2023

I am going to let my Facebook Post of April 1, 2023 set the stage for what I tried to accomplish on the social media platform last month.

April 1, 2023 - Overview: BDC's Monthly Overview for April 2023: April is another busy month in the BDC.

I'm helping out at Lobeco Branch until 5 pm today. Staff shortages within the Library system is an ongoing challenge - No fooling.
I will be at the "Breathing Democracy into Spaces: 1st SC Volunteers of African Descent Symposium" on Saturday, April 8th.
April is National Poetry Month and we celebrate National Library Week and Preservation Week before month's end. Accordingly, I will do my best to highlight these three themes this month.
Join us on Monday, April 17th for the "What's in Your Attic?" program with South Carolina Historical Society's Virginia Ellison - no sign up needed - in honor of Preservation Week.
The next day registration will open for the Operation Jackpot local history program with author Jason Ryan.
I am thrilled that this year the long-delayed "Beloved BDC Docents" get together (originally planned for April 2020) will happen. The docents seldom cross paths with each other, yet their individual projects are critical to the BDC's goal of preparing materials for access.

Just so you know: I won't be writing a "Uniquely BDC" post on Monday, April 3rd nor a "Finding Aid Friday" post on April 7th because I won't be in the office either day. In fact, if you come to any part of the Library system on Good Friday, April 7, 2023 you'll be alone. It's a County holiday and all units of the Library will be closed.

"Uniquely BDC" posts: 

April 10, 2023 "Uniquely BDC: Materials Monday" is a continuation of yesterday's post.

The only library sharing copies of The Palmetto Poet: Samuel Henry Rodgers a book edited by Walter Ioor Rodgers, Sr. of poems found in Rodgers' diaries, those published in newspapers or found among his personal papers, along with some newspaper editorials is the Beaufort County Library. The BDC has a copy for permanent retention plus there are a few copies in the local history sections at the Branch Libraries for you to check out. No other SCLENDS library system has this book of poems.
Furthermore, the only place in SCLENDS with copies of the Palmetto Post newspaper on microfilm is the Beaufort County Library. The only place in Beaufort County Library with some original issues of the Palmetto Post (courtesy of a donor) and a decent microfilm reader/printer to review the Palmetto Post microfilm is the BDC Research Room.
A little about the Palmetto Poet: Samuel Henry Rodgers (1845 - 1919) spent his early years in Charleston. He served in the 23rd South Carolina Regiment in Charleston, at the Battle of Gettysburg, and returned to South Carolina to participate in the defense of Charleston. He was awarded the Confederate Gold Medal by the Sons of the Confederate Veterans. His journalism career began with the Charleston News and Courier. In 1878 he moved his young family to Beaufort in order to found a newspaper called the Beaufort Crescent. Three years later he moved to Port Royal to found the Palmetto Post. He moved back to Beaufort in 1904. Two years later the Palmetto Post was consolidated with the Beaufort Gazette as Rodgers was a part owner of the Beaufort Gazette Publishing Company. Rodgers remained a Beaufort resident until his death on 12 December 1919. His body is interred in the St. Helena's Episcopal Churchyard.

April 17, 2023 - "Uniquely BDC: Materials Monday" Publications by K-12 students tend to be held only in local collections. For example, the Beaufort County School District and the Port Royal Sound Foundation series called River of Words: Musings on Port Royal Sound through Poetry and Art is held only by the Beaufort County Library.

The BDC Research Room has a permanent copy of each volume for the years 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020, and 2022. We share additional copies 2022 volume through the local history sections at the BCL Branch Libraries. We would be happy to accept donations for 2019 and 2021 if someone happens to have a clean copy.
Mark my words: The only place where students included in the volumes will find their work today, tomorrow, indeed 20 or 50 or even 100 years from now - will be in the Beaufort District Collection of the Beaufort County Library. It is our mission to acquire, preserve and make accessible local history materials from today for present and future researchers.

April 24, 2023"Materials Monday: Uniquely BDC in National Poetry Month": The Research Room is the only place that you'll find In Some Time's Rain: Poems from Beaufort Community AIM Project, edited by Linda Shillman (1979). From the verso of the title page: "The poems in this anthology were written by the members of the creative workshop taught by Shaun Farragher, poet in residence with the Beaufort Arts-In-Motion project." AIM was sponsored by the SC Arts Commission and funded through the Emergency School Aid Act. The local project was one of only 15 Special Arts Projects in the US.

Poets included Edna Pudas, Augusta Vella, JoAnn Atwood, Aileen McGinty, love lee, Bluette Linda Jones, Walter Dennis, Carol Tilton, Zoe Farragher, Linda Shillman, and Shaun Farragher. Walter Dennis would continue to write poems. We have 23 of his books of poetry here in the Research Room - most of which are "Uniquely BDC" eligible titles.

"Black History Note" Wednesdays posts: 

April 5, 2023 "Black History Note in National Poetry Month:" [A poem] "Forgotten Moments" by Ronald Daise

Only few remember.
A history of a people has been hushed, been stilled -
Yet only few weep.
Only few sing the old songs
Or recall precious moments.
Time, progress and shortsightedness are silencing a heritage!
Precious memories, though,
Are like the lyrics of old slave songs.
They should not be
Stored up
In the minds of
A few.
They should linger --
From generation to generation --
Lending meaning to the past,
Nurturing strength and hope
For the future.  
From: Reminiscences of Sea Island Heritage: Legacy of Freedmen on St. Helena Island by Ronald Daise (Sandlapper Publishing, 1987). There are plenty of copies of this title available within SCLENDS.

April 12, 2023 - "Black History Note in National Poetry Month:" Mama’s Pearls by Patricia Bee is a book of poetry that captures the essence of Gullah culture. The author is a native of Beaufort and wrote this book of poetry to serve as a manual for living and to honor her ancestors. Almost every poem is accompanied by historical photos of African American adults and children as well as a bible verse. 

April 19, 2023 - "Black History Note in National Poetry Month:" Amy Jenkins Bassett wrote Mulberry Wine: A Selection of Poems about Growing Up in the South (2010) sponsored by the Beaufort Three-Century Project. Bassett was bred, born and reared in Beaufort, SC but left to finish high school and go to college. Like many Beaufort natives, she worked her way back to her hometown - and found it quite changed. She was inspired to write a poem about what she observed.
So much fertile, tree-strewn land
was carelessly dug up
Became unearthed sand
or red, wet clay tracks
Under unsightly stacks
Of cut down timber
Felled too soon
With an ear-splitting boom
To make room
For new dwellers
Big city fleers
Come to stake claim
in our domain.
Old cotton fields
And indigo patches
Were forced to yield
To concrete covers
Foundations for lovers
Of modern edifices
No matter the sacrifices
Of the old settlers
Or the histories erased
What mattered was
New townsmen
Had to be placed.
The foliage withered
The fauna scattered -
Became stealthy runners
Who sought hasty refuge
From the rapid deluge
Of crafty newcomers.
The villagers were distraught
But it was for naught
Immigrants poured in
With money to spend
The landscape quickly changed
Appeared unfamiliar,
Evolved into estranged
Separate razed lots
Eagerly bought
By greedy developers
With deep money pots.
Gates went up
Guard houses were erected
To shield the privileged
Who had to be protected.
Exclusion tactics were detected
But couldn't be proved
By those who were moved
Without a thought
From land often stolen
Or too cheaply bought.
This then became the new Beaufort
A pristine seaside haven
For the tourist
Or cunning maven
Clamoring for change
On a new range.
So much for the acres
Of my grandfather's time
So many dispersed
For love of a dime. (pp. 65 - 67).
I could also have used this entry in the "Uniquely BDC" series as the only copies of this title are held in the BCL.

"Finding Aid Friday" posts: 

April 14, 2023"Finding Aid Friday:" A notice for the upcoming "Ribaut Road Revisioning" Public Symposium next week reminded me to remind you that the Research Room has a Properties in the Right of Way, SCDOT Photograph Collection, 1960, 1969, 2003 that we got via transfer from the South Carolina Department of Archives and History twenty years ago. The 63 photographs and 1 letter refer to widening projects in the 1960s along SC 281 (Ribaut Road) and US Highway 21.

Be sure to make an appointment in advance as we are equally mean to everyone regardless from whence and how far you have come before getting to our Research Room door. No appointment; no access. Call 843-255-6468 or email bdc@bcgov.net to make the necessary arrangements.

April 21, 2023 - "Finding Aid Friday:" I was pleased to be an invited guest at a Clover Club meeting a few weeks ago. I try to go every 2 to 3 years to express appreciation for their support of the BDC and of the Library through the years. At that time, a member donated a copy of the Club's constitution to us that we have added to the Club's records. The Historical Note of the Clover Club of Beaufort South Carolina, 1891 - Finding Aid explains the close ties between the Club and library services over the past 130 or so years.

April 28, 2023 - "Finding Aid Friday:" Olivia and I revisited the Beaufort County Library, 1914 - Finding Aid. We have received some additions since it was first posted in 2018. The latest revision of the document reflects those accretions to the Library system's records stored and preserved in the Research Room.

In honor of National Library Week: 

April 24, 2023Traditionally the American Library Association's State of America's Libraries Report is released on the Monday of National Library Week. This year is no exception. Read the report . It includes a section about the Top Ten Frequently Challenged Books of 2022. ALA's stand on "The Right to Read" is clear. Read it for yourself. Today also happens to be "Right to Read Day". To learn more those about organizations fighting against banning books and censorship.

April 25, 2023 - ALA President Lessa Kanani'opua Pelayo-Lozada sent out a letter of encouragement to library workers to remind us that we are doing good work in spite of considerable challenges. National Library Workers Day is a day to recognize and highlight the critical role library workers play in keeping Beaufort County Library and libraries across the country up and running and serving our communities.

The BDC has 9 people actively involved in our public facing and behind-the-scenes work. Indeed, I am very grateful for the unpaid assistance of Deborah, Joe, Kathy, Laura, Peggy, and Nancy; the quite likely underpaid assistance of Val and the definitely underpaid assistance of Olivia who together provide invaluable time, effort, and energy to the BDC by helping me bring history to life in ways large and small. I am #9: I am overworked trying to keep the other 8 straight :) - truly I would be lost without them. Bottom line folks: There's more to the story but libraries work because we do.

April 26, 2023 -  "Black History Note on National Library Outreach Day (formerly National Bookmobile Day): Today celebrates all forms of library outreach and the dedicated library professionals who meet their patrons where they are. We honor Mrs. Wilhelmina Barnwell and Mrs. Ethel Bailey who started bookmobile services on St. Helena Island by loading up their car trucks with books so that Black islanders would have access to library materials.

Former bookmobile staff include Mrs. Olive Fordham, Mrs. Maisie Pugh, Mrs. Agnes Sherman, Natalie Lane, Rosa Cummings, Paul Sayers, Jeanette Parker, Sharon Mosley, and Amanda Brewer (who still oversees current bookmobile operations in her position as Library Director). Current BCL bookmobile staff riding the roads with materials to share are Lyndsay Malphrus, Tracye Blue, Andrew Newell, and Lakota Stevens.

PS: You can read about the history of bookmobile services provided by the the library from the 1950s to the present in "Connections."

JSYK: Better connection with the public is part of the Library system's latest strategic plan. For the record, the BDC has always been out among the historic/heritage communities. Even though the BDC is the smallest public service unit of the Library system, the BDC has participated in 7 outreach activities in the past 12 months: WAHHI; several historic marker installations; Stuarts Town events; Institute for the Study of the Reconstruction Era events and I prepared and delivered a presentation at Coastal Discovery Museum in addition to keeping the Research Room open for in-person researchers and coordinating 3 series of local history programs.

April 27, 2023 - The BDC is part of the Library team and sometimes we share brochures or flyers to distribute at Branch programs. There are two such instances this week. Lobeco Branch is hosting an Heirs Property Law Talk on Saturday. I sent Chantal, the Lobeco Branch Manager a digital copy of the BDC's Heirs Property brochure to distribute as she sees fit.

Also on Saturday, the St. Helena Branch Library is hosting a sweetgrass basket demonstration. I sent Candy, the St. Helena Branch Manager, a digital copy of the BDC's flyer about sweetgrass baskets books.
Check out the Library's calendar for details about the programs.

April 27, 2023 - Here for you for more than a century. There's more to the story of the Beaufort County Library than you might think....

April 28, 2023 - See the dated entry under "Finding Aid Friday" above. 

April 29, 2023Fun Facts for the Final Day of National Library Week: Statistics from 100 years ago for our predecessor institution, the Beaufort Township Library, as given in the records preserved here in the BDC Research Room. Reminder: Access to the BDC Research Room is by advance appointment only. Contact us to make the necessary arrangements: bdc@bcgov.net or 843-255-6468. We respond during our customary business hours.

Just Because Posts: 

April 9, 2023In what has become something of a tradition, I share "At Easter Dawn" by Samuel Henry Rodgers (1845 - 1919). Rodgers wrote the poem and printed it in his newspaper, the local Palmetto Post newspaper for the first time in 1905:

At Easter Dawn
Sweetly the birds are singing
At Easter dawn;
Sweetly the bells are ringing;
On Easter morn.
And the words that they say,
On this Easter day,
Are, "Christ the Lord is risen."
Birds! forget not your singing
At Easter dawn;
Bells! be ye ever ringing
On Easter morn.
In the spring of the year,
When Easter is here,
Sing, "Christ the Lord has risen."
Buds! ye will soon be flowers
Cheery and white;
Snowstorms are changing to showers,
Darkness to light.
With the awakening of spring,
Oh, sweetly sing,
"Lo! Christ the Lord has risen."
Easter buds were growing
Ages ago!
Easter lilies were blowing
By the water's flow.
All nature was glad,
Not a creature was sad,
For Christ the Lord had risen.

April 13, 2023 - Beloved docent Kathy Mitchell has completed indexing the obituaries in the Beaufort Gazette for the year 1991: She added 939 new entries to the Library's Online Obituary Index (OOI). Due to her work and the work of her predecessors that began with Virginia Adams in the early 1990s, there are now almost 30,000 entries in the OOI. Ms. Virginia, mother of BCL's own Dennis Adams, worked the project until her eyes no longer worked. Her mantel was picked up and carried forth by other beloved BDC Docents: Carol, Merle, Laura, Jan, Nelson and most recently, Kathy. I thank each and every one of you, Beloved Docents, past and present, living and dead, for your dedication and persistence in competently performing your volunteer duties in the BDC. Together we bring history to life in ways large and small.

April 19, 2023 250 years ago today: "The shot heard around the world:" The Battles of Lexington and Concord signal the official start of the American Revolution. The BDC has a number of materials related to the American Revolution in our area.

April 20, 2023In honor of National Volunteer Week: The BDC Research Room is very lucky to have 6 talented volunteer "Points of Lights" at the moment. Their names are Deborah, Joe, Kathy, Laura, Peggy, and Nancy. Each has a project that contributes to the BDC's goals and mission to provide access to research materials about local history. In ways large and small, they help us spread light onto the long and storied history of Beaufort District, its peoples, its places, and its challenges through time. I don't know what I would do without them. Let's give three cheers for these dedicated, loyal, and skilled Beaufort County Library volunteers: Hip! Hip! Hooray! Hip! Hip! Hooray! Hip! Hip! Hooray! Thank you, Beloved BDC docents.

April 23, 2023Happy Birthday, Will Shakespeare (1564-1616)! Alas a Shakespeare Folio would not meet our collection development policy. But we do have a vertical file about an author who questioned your authorship of it for me to highlight today!

Charlton Ogburn (died 19 October 1998 in Beaufort, South Carolina) was an American journalist and author, most notably of memoirs and non-fiction works. After a stint in the Army, he joined the State Department specializing in Southeast Asian affairs. He wrote over a dozen books and numerous magazine articles. (One of his books was made into the movie Merrills' Marauders in 1962.)
He and his second wife Vera retired to Beaufort in 1982. In 1984 he became the best known advocate of the Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare authorship with the publication of The Mysterious William Shakespeare. The book lead to the revival of public interest in the theory in the 1980s - and to indigestion among many English professors throughout the world.
In the vertical files, we have an email from the Shakesper [sic]: The Global Electronic Shakespeare Conference listserv dated October 22 1998 08:27:46 - "I thought the list might like to know that Charlton Ogburn died this past Monday. I know the authorship question is taboo, but Ogburn was a delightful old coot and he provided much in the way of ridiculous claims for us all to refute for so many years, as did his parents before him."
You are welcomed to contact us to set up an appointment to come see the contents of the vertical file: 843-255-6468 or bdc@bcgov.net.
By the way, you can find Ogburn's The Mysterious William Shakespeare (1984) on Internet Archive - all 900+ pages of it in case you'd like to evaluate his theory and evidence presented yourself.
Note: The BDC has traditionally celebrated National Library Week in a virtual way. I shall do so again this year.

April 28, 2023 - In honor of National Historic Marker Day, revisit the Marker Mania Challenge of the Beaufort County Historical Society during the COVID era of 2020.

BDC Programs & Community Events Related Posts: 

Posts about the Author Book Talk about Jackpot with Jason Ryan happened on April 2 and April 18. Registration closed with record speed - barely 2 hours from open to full.  

Posts and photos about the "Breathing Democracy into Spaces: 1st South Carolina Volunteers of African Descent Symposium" happened on April 8 and April 10. 

Posts and photos about the "What's in Your Attic with Virginia & Grace" program happened on April 6, April 11, April 16, and April 17.

Schedule Adjustments: about the Easter holiday were made on April 4 and April 6.

According to my count, then, I made 7 National Poetry Month related posts; 9 National Library Week related posts; and 4 Preservation Week related posts. I think that I met my self-imposed goal of adequately highlighting the April themes.