Researching SC History? Go to the State's Authority

By:Bob Gillespie


When it comes to South Carolina history, Walter Edgar wrote the book on it – literally.

“South Carolina: A History,” is Edgar’s epic tome that covers the state’s past like no other effort before or since. The former University of South Carolina professor, who retired in 2012 after a 44-year career, also wrote “Partisans and Redcoats: The Southern Campaign that Turned the Tide of the American Revolution” and (as editor-in-chief) “The South Carolina Encyclopedia.”

Nowadays, he educates listeners on a variety of SC-related topics with “Walter Edgar’s Journal” and “South Carolina from A to Z” heard on South Carolina Public Radio. Who better than to provide this list of the best libraries for those doing research on South Carolina history?

South Carolina Historical Society

100 Meeting St. (museum), 205 Calhoun St. (archives), Charleston; 843.723.3225

“The collection is housed at the College of Charleston. From the 17th century to the present day, this is the richest collection of material in the state: letters, diaries, maps, photographs and lots more.”

The South Caroliniana Library

910 Sumter St., Columbia; 803.777.3131

“The collection is housed at the University of South Carolina. Currently the historic Caroliniana Library, the oldest separate college library in the United States, is undergoing renovation; researchers need to go online to request materials ahead of time. Materials can be viewed in the Hollings Modern Political Collections area of the Thomas Cooper Library. Second only to the South Carolina Historical Society in its rich and varied holdings. The Modern Political Collections contain the papers of many 20th century state political figures.”

The South Carolina Department of Archives and History

8301 Parklane Road, Columbia; 803.896.6104

“From 17th century cattle brands and land grants to current legislative records, the State Archives is the official records keeper of the State of South Carolina.”

Wofford College’s Sandor Teszler Library

429 North Church St., Spartanburg; 864.597.4300

“This facility contains a sizable manuscript collection (especially about the Upstate), as well as records of the Methodist Church in South Carolina.”

Furman University’s James B. Duke Library

3300 Poinsett Highway, Greenville; 864.294.2191

“This library contains a sizable manuscript collection (especially about the Upstate). In addition, until 1992 the university was associated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention. The library contains valuable collections, both personal and organizational, related to Baptists in South Carolina.”

McCelvey Center (Historical Center of York County)

212 East Jefferson St., York; 803.684.3948

“Located in York, the center has excellent material about the Upstate and is especially rich in materials related to the American Revolution.”


“Local history collections in many county libraries – especially those in Charleston, Columbia (Richland County Library), Greenville and Spartanburg – are good starting points for local research about their counties.”

- Richland County Library (main library), 1401 Assembly St., Columbia; 803.799.9084

- Charleston County Public Library/The South Carolina Room, 68 Calhoun St., Charleston; 843.805.6956

- Greenville County Library (Hughes Main Library), 25 Heritage Green Place, Greenville; 864.242.5000

- Spartanburg County Library, 151 South Church St., Spartanburg; 864.596.3500

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