We don’t talk much about Wofford’s third president – he’s sort of a representative of a very distant age in the life of the college. A hundred or more students live in a residence hall named for him, Dean of Students Roberta Bigger lives in his house, but he’s become something of an unknown figure around campus. Yet when he died, hundreds, if not thousands, attended his funeral, and he was eulogized as the most important South Carolinian of his day.
Writing styles change over time, of course, and so do educational styles. We forget this sometimes, in this day of the discussion section, of the “flipped classroom.” In late 19th and early 20th century South Carolina and Wofford, James Carlisle could evidently hold the attention of an audience, whether it was one of students or of members of the community. He had flocks of admirers.
Recently, one of my student assistants scanned two volumes relating to Dr. Carlisle – one, the Carlisle Memorial Volume, is a series of articles about Dr. Carlisle’s life and legacy. Many of the authors were his former students and some were his faculty colleagues. I’ve added the Carlisle Memorial Volume (click the title for the link) to our Digital Commons site so others can peruse it.
I’ve also added a copy of the Addresses of James H. Carlisle to our Digital Commons site so that others might get a flavor of his speaking and writing style.
Technology that Dr. Carlisle could never have imagined can make it possible to share his words with people who will never know him, but nothing has ever quite replaced the kind of faculty-student interaction that he exemplified, and that we still try to practice here on the city’s northern border.