22 September 2019

Bernie and Pat: a Bromance

The Beaufort District Collection and the Beaufort Branch Library are teaming up to bring author Bernie Schein to share his cherished memories about his friend, Pat Conroy on October 1, 2019.
The Author Book Talk is first come, first seated so we'll open the doors to the Beaufort Branch Meeting Room at 1:30pm for anyone interested in learning more about the sometimes stormy relationship between the two outsiders who first stumbled into each other's lives in early 1960s Beaufort - and fell into a friendship that extended beyond Pat's death in 2016.

Watch Bernie talk about his book, a labor of love, in this YouTube video.

After reading Margaret Evans's book review in the Lowcountry Weekly, I'm sure that you'll want to read the book yourself - and won't want to miss out on this free opportunity to ask questions of the man who wrote the book on the subject of this particular bromance. In fact, she convinced me to read the whole thing - rather than the usual cursory scanning that I do while picking out new materials for the BDC. Randomly turning pages, I fell upon page 97 - and laughed out loud - and it didn't even have anything to do directly with Pat.

In other words, the book is a treat - and a treat to which one should treat one's self  - and if you want to put a cherry on the top on that treat -- come to the Beaufort Branch Library on Tuesday, October 1 at 2:00 pm for the Author Book Talk.

Looking ahead:

18 September 2019

William Carney, An Exemplary Soldier

Those customers who came to Dave Smoot's lecture about Civil War Hospitals learned about some of the structures, patients and medical workers. Among the patients was Sergeant William Carney,
formerly of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment.
Look closely at his chest. What do you see?

Carney received the Congressional Medal of honor due to his "most distinguished gallantry in action" at Fort Wagner, July 18, 1863. He was shot in the thigh, but managed to crawl uphill on his knees, "bearing the Union flag and urging his troops to follow." He was the first African-American soldier to earn the honor. He recuperated from his wound in Beaufort and returned to service.

To learn more about this American hero, his service, and the battle of Fort Wagner, we recommend these materials:

Battery Wagner: The Siege, the Men who Fought, and the Casualties by Timothy Bardshaw (Palmetto Historical Works, 1993).
Blue-eyed Child of Fortune: The Civil War Letters of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw edited by Russell Duncan (University of Georgia Press, 1999).

Gate of Hell: Campaign for Charleston Harbor, 1863 by Stephen R. Wise (University of South Carolina Press, 1994).

Swamp Angels: A Biographical Study of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment: True Facts about the Black Defenders of the Civil War by Robert Ewell Greene (BoMark/Greene Publishing Group, 1990).

The Massachusetts 54th Colored Infantry [DVD] by Jacqueline Shearer. (WGBH Boston Video, 2006).

The Assault on Fort Wagner, July 18, 1863: The Memorable Charge of the Fifty-Fourth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers, written for 'The Springfield Republican' by Luis F. Emilio (Rand Avery, 1887).

The National Archives has a web page devoted to more information about "Black Soldiers in the U.S. Military in the Civil War."

The BDC has a pathfinder to "Black Soldiers and Sailors during the Civil War: Selected Links and Materials" posted in our BDC WordPress blog of Links, Lists, and Finding Aids.

13 September 2019

"Indigo" with Peggy Pickett is Full but ...

We are delighted that so many people intend to come to the Library on Tuesday for Peggy Pickett's talk about the history of Indigo in South Carolina that we are "sold out." When we started this collaboration with the Beaufort History Museum, we had no idea that we would have such success!

If you want to take a chance that there will be a no-show, all reservations become null and void at 1:55 pm on Tuesday, September 17th. Should there be a seat unoccupied at that time, the ushers will seat walk-in customers. Just so you know, sometimes folks who reserved seats in advance are unable to make the lectures. Sometimes we have a full contingent of reservation holders show up.

01 September 2019

Local History Programs in September 2019

The Beaufort District Collection has some very popular golden oldie programs that get reprised on a fairly regular basis but those are not all we do. We offer programs on new topics as well. September 2019 is a prime example of new programs: one is about the Civil War era and the other is about the Colonial era.
In late 1861, Northern troops, in a seaborne assault, secured Beaufort and the surrounding area for the Union. It was quickly realized that the medical means brought along fell far short of meeting the  needs of the troops.  Necessity being the mother of invention, homes abandoned by their owners were commandeered as hospitals. Look closely at the map. The structures in red are homes (mostly) converted to hospitals. "Sorrow by the Sea" is the story of the medical side of the Civil War in Beaufort. This program is open to all on a first come, first seated basis.

"Sorrow by the Sea: Civil War Hospitals of Beaufort"
with Dave Smoot

Wednesday, September 11, 2019
5:30 PM
BDC@ Beaufort Branch Meeting Room, 311 Scott Street
First come; First seated

Six days later author Peggy Picket discusses the role of indigo as an economic foundation for the prosperity of the lowcountry during the colonial period. Explore the history of indigo in South Carolina and discover how it affected the sea islands around Beaufort in the season #4 opening lecture of the very popular Beaufort History Museum/Beaufort County Library Local History series. 
Please note: All BHM/BCL local history series lectures require advance registration.

In 1744 Eliza Lucas Pinckney sent a sample of indigo she had developed on her father’s plantation to England where it was said to be as good as the indigo produced by the French in their island colonies in the West Indies.  Indigo soon became a valuable export for Carolina planters. 
Pickett by Kellie McCann

"Indigo" with Peggy Pickett

Tuesday, September 17, 2019
2:00 PM
BHM/BCL Local History series
Beaufort Branch Meeting Room, 311 Scott Street
Registration is required and opens Tuesday, September 3rd. 

Sign up through the Museum's website to attend this lecture: www.beauforthistorymuseum.org/wildapricot/events-3463469. Registration opens 2 weeks in advance of the program date and will close when capacity is reached.

Update: 11 September 2019 - All seats for this session have been reserved. Capacity is met. Registration has closed. 

We hope that you can join us for one or both of these upcoming local history programs. 


Please be vigilant and monitor the Beaufort County Emergency Management Division's notifications regarding Hurricane Dorian.  Hurricanes can be fickle forces of nature. If it heads this way, the Library may not re-open as previously scheduled.

29 August 2019

Civil War Hospitals in Beaufort

In late 1861, Northern troops, in a seaborne assault, secured Beaufort and the surrounding area for the Union. It was quickly realized that the medical means brought along fell far short of meeting the  needs of the troops.  Necessity being the mother of invention, homes abandoned by their owners were commandeered as hospitals.
Courtesy of the Library of Congress. The buildings in red indicate Union hospitals.

Thousands of soldiers and freed slaves, called, "contrabands" were treated in these hospitals. Some survived; some did not. Thus, "Sorrow by the Sea" is the story of the medical side of the Civil War in Beaufort.

Dave Smoot, who has been a Civil War Surgeon re-enactor for more years than he'd like to say, will be the presenter. You may remember him as "Dr. Tooms" or "Dr. Meade" from other library programs that he's done for us. (He will not however be portraying a physician this time.)

This BDC@ Beaufort Branch local history program is open to all who would like to learn more about Beaufort's medical history.

"Sorrow by the Sea: Civil War Hospitals of Beaufort" with Dave Smoot
Wednesday, September 11, 2019 at 5:30 PM
 First come; first seated. Doors will open after 5:05 pm (We have to close down the Research Room first.)

Please note: All units of the Library system will be closed on Monday, September 2, 2019 for Labor Day. Regular hours will resume on Tuesday, September 3rd - unless Hurricane Dorian takes aim for coastal South Carolina. Please monitor the official notifications from the Beaufort County Emergency Management Division.

25 August 2019

Sea Island Hurricane Program August 28, 2019

Learn about what really happened in Beaufort County when a devastating hurricane hit 126 years ago. Beaufort District Collection Manager, Grace Cordial features special collections and archival materials about the great Sea Island Hurricane of 1893. And for those who've attended in the past, Cordial has some new testimonies and documents to share.

The program is free and seating is first come, first served. Doors will open at 5:05 PM.

Looking ahead: All units of the Beaufort County Library will be closed on Monday, September 2, 2019 for Labor Day. Regular hours will resume on Tuesday, September 3rd.

18 August 2019

August is Artist Appreciation Month

As Conscious Magazine states: "While the life of an artist is mostly one of solitude, their work is for others, and this is an important month to appreciate those American Artists who are creating or have created works of art intended to inspire humanity." Many artists currently live in Beaufort County these days, some drawn to the area as a result of its natural beauty and growing acclaim for being arts friendly.

The Beaufort Online website summarizes how Beaufort, SC became recognized as a center for the arts in the late 20th and early 21st centuries:

Beaufort has long been recognized as an arts community: we are home to prominent painters, photographers, writers, musicians, art galleries, performing arts centers and various art associations. In 2005, John Villani rated Beaufort as one of America’s top 100 art towns in his book The 100 Best Art Towns in America: A Guide to Galleries, Museums, Festivals, Lodging and Dining. In 2008, American Style Magazine rated Beaufort as the number 14 Small City Arts Destination. Southern Living Magazine listed Beaufort at number 12. Historic houses and gorgeous marsh river views have served as the subject for thousands of oil paintings. Being a college, military and retirement community, Beaufort is a melting pot of diversity when it comes to artistic influence. Art organizations include the Beaufort Art Association, the University of SC-Beaufort Performing Arts Center and ARTworks: Community Art Center, Theater, and Gallery.

A great many artists and the general public appreciate the art of Garden's Corner's Jonathan Green. Read more about this Beaufort County native painter, printmaker, and book illustrator in the South Carolina Encyclopedia. His work is well represented in the holdings of the Library. He's made something of a side career illustrating the books of others. For example, a re-issued children’s book Freedom Ship of Robert Smalls by Louise Meriwether (1971, 2018) contains his wonderfully vibrant paintings about one of the most important persons in Beaufort’s long and storied past. His book of postcards is on the bottom shelf of the Research Room display case.

The award-winning but publicity-shy Aldwyth of Hilton Head Island creates collages and assemblages. You can see examples of her work in a book we have in the Research Room Aldwyth work v./work n. (2009). We also a small vertical file about her work and career as well.

Capturing Life: The Art of Jack Williamson includes plates of his paintings from 1947 to 2002. After a career in business, he retired to Hilton Head Island around 1990. He includes many scenes from the local area.

Sam Doyle (1906 - 1985) was born and lived his entire life on St. Helena Island. He used cast-off materials at hand, like house paint, softened plywood and roofing tin, to paint his colorful and vibrant vision of Gullah life on the sea islands. The greater folk art world discovered his work in 1982. See our BDCBCL: Links, Lists & Finding Aids WordPress blog for more information about this important folk artist.

Ten percent of the watercolors in A Charleston Sketchbook, 1796-1806 by Charles Fraser (1782 - 1860) are of sites in Prince William's Parish, Beaufort District. His elder brother, Capt. Frederick Fraser owned the Fraser's Place Plantation near Old Sheldon Church. Odds are he painted some of them when he visited.

Art in South Carolina, 1670-1970 compiled and edited by Francis W. Bilodeau and Mrs. Thomas J. Tobias with E. Milby Burton (Columbia: South Carolina Tricentennial Commission, 1970) has Jacque Le Moyne's "Rene de Laudonniere and the Indian Chief Athone visits Ribaut's Column" (1564) gracing the cover. Sections are arranged chronologically and each is prefaced with an introduction about the art and artists featured.

Local artist Nancy Ricker Rhett's family ties to Beaufort District go back many generations. In addition to running a gallery on Bay Street in downtown Beaufort, she has illustrated a number of books that are available through the Library.

Diligent research into identifying the artist of one of the most famous paintings of the enslaved led Susan Shames to some ground-breaking conclusions. Read more about John Rose of Beaufort District and his "The Old Plantation" in our Connections blog. Better yet? Borrow her book and marvel at her research skills.

Gullah Woodburning Folk Art by Rev. Johnnie F. Simmons [2018], is a delightfully colorful little book (literally little, the book measures 5 inches by 4 inches) of his wood-burned depictions of Gullah culture and life on St. Helena Island.

Called "one of Beaufort's gifted sons whom she has lent to the outer world", James Reeve Stuart (1834-1915) had a long career as a portrait painter and artist. Read more about his life and work in our WordPress blog.

(Beaufort District Collection Archives)

We have other visual art related materials besides books. For example, in our Archives section we take care of at least four art related collections: the organizational records of the Beaufort Art Association; The Madame Murray sketches; the Wales Journal; and the Beaufort Chronicles Portfolio. 

The Beaufort Art Association (1957 -  present) recently donated their papers to the Beaufort District Collection. The collection has twelve scrapbooks, two guest books, two binders, ninety-three posters, newspaper clippings, association records, photographs, negatives, exhibit brochures (1976-2013), newsletters (1995-2011) and other miscellaneous material.  

(Murray Sketches, reproduction, Beaufort District Collection)
Mrs. Thomas Murray (nee Harriot Despaud) was better known as "Madame Murray". She was the mother of Ellen Murray who taught at Penn School and lived on St. Helena Island with her friend Laura Towne. Madame Murray created these sketches in 1863 while on a visit south to see her daughter.  The Madame Murray Sketch Collection contains reproductions of fifteen of her drawings. 

The Susan Wales Journal, 1887 - 1895, is a charming daily record of her time abroad in Europe. Most pages contain a small sketch or painting of people, places, things she encountered that day.  One of our beloved and dedicated volunteers, Laura Lewis, is hard at work transcribing the journal as we prepare it to be our ninth digital project with the Lowcountry Digital Library.

Beaufort Chronicles Portfolio was a partnership project between the USCB Art Department and the Beaufort Three-Century Project.  The partnership employed a semester-long course to create a limited edition fine art portfolio of 16 original prints based on Beaufort’s history.   The exhibition opening was held in conjunction with the January 17, 2010 Anniversary Event with an estimated 1,000 people viewing the project during the month-long exhibition in the USCB Gallery as it was also in situ during three of the 2010 Tricentennial Lecture Series events.  One of the limited edition portfolios is in the project archive for the Beaufort Three-Century Project.

We also have some Crosscup & West sketches of Beaufort in the late 19th century; numerous posters from local art exhibitions; and vertical files on some specific local artists, on local artists in general, some art installations from the recent past such as the Big Pig Gig and the River of Art, as well as some vertical file materials on the art associations such as the Hilton Head Island Art League. 

Many of our Branch Libraries contain art that was donated to or purchased by the Library Board of Trustees through the years. Be sure to keep your eyes open when you visit one of our locations. Truly, art is all around you in Beaufort County. Be inspired!