The South is a known hub of literary greatness and South Carolina writers have made their fair share of contributions. Some of the nation’s finest authors penned their volumes here and continue to be a presence thanks to efforts to preserve their homes or create lasting tributes through the establishment of literary centers and museums. See the places where they lived and wrote—and in some cases, view their original manuscripts—when you visit these sites that exist today in tribute to some of South Carolina’s most storied bards.
James Dickey Library
James Dickey (1923-1997)
Poet and novelist
Dickey was an English professor and writer-in-residence at the University of South Carolina in Columbia until his death. He gained widespread notoriety after his first novel, “Deliverance,” was made into a major motion picture. Dickey was also a prolific poet with several volumes to his credit, including “Zodiac” and “The Eagle’s Mile.” The Donald J. and Ellen Greiner Collection of James Dickey includes manuscripts, photographs and more. Contact the library for access information.
Pat Conroy Literary Center
Pat Conroy (1945-2016)
Conroy authored 11 works, with four adapted into film: “The Prince of Tides,” “The Lords of Discipline,” “The Great Santini” and “The Water is Wide.” His beloved adopted hometown of Beaufort was the setting for many of his novels. The Pat Conroy Center was dedicated in 2017 and supports and promotes the literary arts community through readings, classes, lectures and more. Visitors can tour the center to learn more about the author, view memorabilia and more. Please call the center for information.
Dr. Benjamin E. Mays Historical Preservation Site
Dr. Benjamin E. Mays (1894-1984)
Author, activist, minister, civil rights leader
A prolific scholar, Dr. Benjamin E. Mays wrote nine books, including the autobiography “Born to Rebel,” which chronicled his hard-won successes in a racially charged society. He was born in Epworth, SC, to parents who were formerly enslaved. As a student at Morehouse College, he was mentored by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and went on to become president of the school in 1940. Dr. Mays was a trusted advisor to several U.S. presidents and was considered one of the greatest intellects of our time. Visitors to the historical site in Greenwood will see Dr. Mays' birth home with period furnishings and a museum that houses photographs, a wall narrative of his life, book collection, writings, films, speeches and personal memorabilia.
DuBose Heyward House
DuBose Heyward (1885-1940)
The home of DuBose Heyward can be seen at 76 Church St., Charleston, which now exists as the wing of a larger home. Heyward and his playwright wife, Dorothy, adapted his most well-known novel into the opera “Porgy and Bess” in 1935 and it went on to become an American classic. You can see Heyward’s manuscripts for “Porgy” at the Charleston Library Society on Meeting Street.
Harvin-Clarendon County Public Library
Peggy Parish (1927-1988)
Parish was the author of the wildly popular “Amelia Bedelia” series and wrote more than 30 books. Born and raised in Manning, she graduated from the University of South Carolina and taught school in Oklahoma, Kentucky and New York before returning to her home state. During her lifetime, she sold millions of copies of her books. The Harvin-Clarendon County Public Library celebrates her birthday each July with readings and a party. On the grounds, visitors will find a life-sized bronze sculpture of Amelia Bedelia—a favorite selfie station for Parish’s many fans. A few doors down at the Clarendon County Archives and History Center, the author’s typewriter is on display as well a selection of her books.
Hampton Plantation State Historic Site
Archibald Rutledge (1883-1973)
Poet, essayist, short story writer
South Carolina’s first poet laureate was the last private owner of Hampton Plantation, which has been designated a National Historic Landmark. He wrote more than 50 books, including “An American Hunter,” “Old Plantation Days” and “Wild Life of the South.” He was named Poet Laureate of South Carolina in 1934 and gleaned inspiration from his hunting and outdoors experiences at Hampton, where he is buried.