Documents Methodist

Methodist Churches – on a map!

Today, I finally got around to posting a collection of maps from the Methodist collection.  These are maps of the churches that were in the South Carolina Conference in 1895.  The presiding elders, as we called district superintendents back then, had these map books to help them find each of the local churches in their districts.  Note that the railroads are clearly marked – often that would have been the way a presiding elder traveled around his district to hold quarterly conferences in the various churches.  

I uploaded these maps to Flickr – where we post a lot of our digital images now – and I made a slideshow of the maps of the districts – from Chester to Sumter.  The county lines are different than they were back in 1895 – South Carolina continued to add counties up to the constitutional limit of 46.  

I hope you enjoy checking out the maps.  Soon I'll add them to the college website as well.  

Faculty Photographs

Faculty, 1960

Here's another group photo from the 1960 Bohemian of some faculty of that era.

See if you can identify any of them.  This appears to be in the Wightman Hall dining room or canteen.  Note the cigarettes to go with the coffee!


Faculty Photographs

Name this member of the Class of 1960

At graduation this year, the class of 1960 will hold its fifty-year reunion.

Here are some photos from the 1960 Bohemian – today, I'm putting up a few pictures of faculty members and staff members. See if you know who some of them are.

This administrator was already working at the college when he earned his degree, with Phi Beta Kappa honors, in 1960.  (Some suggested he got good grades because he signed his professors' paychecks, but he was in fact a very good student.) 



Edward C. Jones, the architect of Main Building

Kensington I paid a visit to Kensington Mansion in Eastover, in the lower part of Richland County last Tuesday with a group of Methodist travelers from St. James and Bethel United Methodist churches here in Spartanburg.  Seeing Kensington, which is an enormous brick house near the Wateree River, reminded me of Edward C. Jones, who designed the house, Main Building, and many other homes, churches, and public buildings in South Carolina and Tennessee.

Whatever you can say about some of the decisions of
Wofford’s founding Board of Trustees, it would be hard to criticize their
selection of Edward C. Jones to design Main Building.  They picked Jones, a Charleston architect,
just as he was rising in reputation. 

Jones was born in Charleston in 1822.  His parents were not wealthy, and in fact,
one biography notes that their financial troubles forced him to become
self-sufficient at an early age.  His
guardian, who was his half-brother, did not want him to become an architect,
which he felt called to do after a pair of fires in Charleston in the 1830s, because
he felt that architects were merely mechanics, not artists.  The growing professionalization of architecture
by the 1840s, however, made Jones’ move more respectable.  He studied by reading and serving as an
apprentice to John Long.  His first solo
work was the Glebe Street Presbyterian Church, in the new Harleston Village
section of Charleston.  The antebellum
growth of the Holy City northward along the peninsula between the Ashley and
Cooper rivers brought a boom in new construction, and the residents of these
newer neighborhoods wanted churches to attend.
In the 1840s, Jones designed or remodeled three Presbyterian
churches.  His success launched his
career, he received commissions to design a number of other public buildings,
such as Roper Hospital, the South Carolina Railroad Terminal, and Magnolia

In the 1850s, Jones began to design in the Italianate, or
Tuscan Villa, style.  This allowed him
more flexibility than strictly Greek, Roman, or Gothic styles, which also
allowed the buildings being designed to be more adaptive to their environment
and planned use.  No doubt Jones came to
the attention of Rev. William Wightman, the chair of the Wofford board of
trustees, and Jones was contracted to design Wofford’s Main Building.  We still have his drawings and instructions in
the archives. 

HolyCross Also in the 1850s, Jones and his partner (and former
apprentice) Francis Lee designed the main building of Furman University’s
Greenville campus, courthouses and jails in other counties, the Episcopal
Church of the Holy Cross in Stateburg, Kensington Mansion in Eastover, lower
Richland County, and many other homes.  Also
in the 1850s, it appears that he designed some churches in western North
Carolina – probably those frequented by Charlestonians during their summer

His years in South Carolina were short, though quite
productive.  Active in Charleston from
about 1847 to the outbreak of the Civil War, Jones worked in York during the
war, and afterward, he landed in Memphis, just in time to take advantage of the
city’s postwar growth. 

BealeStBaptist For years, we at Wofford knew nothing of Jones’ post-Civil
War career.  Only as we began working on
the college sesquicentennial did research unearth Jones’s second career.  On a trip to Memphis in 2004, I sought out a
number of Jones’ buildings. 

There he
worked in a few newer styles, largely building churches and homes.  One of his churches, Beale Street Baptist, built shortly after the Civil War, was the first brick church built by blacks for blacks in the mid-South.  I believe the front is in the style often called “Romanesque Revival.”  Late in his life he worked on an early
skyscraper in Memphis – the Porter Building, which still stands.  One of his Memphis churches later became Clayborn Temple, the site of Dr. Martin Luther King’s last address.  

PorterBldgPhotos, from top to bottom, Kensington Mansion, Richland County, SC; the Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross in Stateburg, Sumter County, SC; Beale Street Baptist Church, Memphis, TN; the Porter Building, Memphis, TN.  All photos taken by yours truly. 

Documents Methodist

Odd Items in Collections

Some time ago, Dr. Melvin Medlock and The Honorable Travis Medlock came to the archives to donate the papers of their father, the Rev. Dr. Melvin K. Medlock.  Rev. Medlock was a leading minister in the Annual Conference during the middle years of the 20th century.  This week, Travis Medlock visited to help me decide if a few items did or did not belong in the collection – items of a personal or confidential nature.  In looking through the papers, which are fairly extensive for an archives of this size, he found a letter which Rev. Medlock composed to the bishop of the time, Paul Hardin, Jr.

It seems as though Rev. Medlock was not pleased to be moved by the bishop from his appointment to a new church, and the church itself was unhappy.  Rev. Medlock expressed his displeasure by writing the letter, below, to the bishop.  I don’t know for sure if the letter was ever sent, and if it was in this form.

Perhaps it’s not obvious from the image, but this is a long piece of tissue paper – the kind that comes on rolls.

Now how am I supposed to preserve this?


Wofford’s Fitting School

Wofford Collage's Fitting School

This item came across my desk – it was written long ago by Professor W. C. Herbert, who was the headmaster of the Fitting School and also the registrar at Wofford.

A hundred years ago, when Wofford College was founded, boys who went to college got their preparation in academies. And with some 2600 of these popular institutions in the South, colleges should have had plenty of well prepared freshmen. But most of these academies were not as good as our grandparents liked to think they were, and colleges had their own preparatory departments.
For 33 years Wofford's regular students and preparatory boys sat in the same classrooms and had the same instructors. Then, in 1887, the faculty recommended to the trustees that the two groups be separated.
On the crest of the hill west of the present site of the Spartan Mill there were three buildings that once housed the Spartanburg Female College. Into this ready-made plant the preparatory boys were moved. And thus began the Wofford College Fitting School, or, as the boys named it, the Fighters' Hole.
The Fitting School was blessed in the beginning with two excellent headmasters in succession, both serving long; terms. 'The first was Arthur Gaillard Rembert. What a scholar! What a teacher! What a dynamo of intel¬lectual energy! Dr. Rembert directed the Fitting School from 1887 to 1897. Somewhere along the way, either in the preparatory school or the college, the students nicknamed him "Knotty", There were and are few teachers the equal of "Knotty" Rembert.
Arthur Mason DuPre became headmaster in 1897, after teaching two years under Dr. Rembert. Fortunately we do not have to decide which was the better schoolmaster – the brilliant-minded, quick-moving scholar or the deliberate, careful man of firm convictions. Few pupils or teachers ever questioned the decisions of Prof. DuPre.
As a disciplinarian ha was unsurpassed. Unhurried, he looked through the culprit and seemed to read his inmost thoughts. Hence, the nickname "Bad Eye" when he was not spoken of as "Old Mase."
These two teachers established the fame of the Fitting School.
In 1895 the school was moved to the campus, occupying Alumni Hall, then a 4-story building – the middle one of the three facing Church Street. After a fire in l901, Alumni Hall was reduced to two stories and two other buildings were added to the plant.
In 1912, Dr. DuPre went over to the College, as Dr. Rembert had done in 1897, and there followed six years of short administrations. A. W, Horton and J. M, Steadman, Jr. were co-masters in 1912-14. Mr. Horton remained for two years longer and was followed by Mr. F. P. White, who died before the end of his second year.
By the fall of 1918 we were deep in World War I. Military training was popular. So, when the writer (W. C. Herbert) took over in that year, an ROTC organization was set up, and for the next six years the Fitting School was a military school.
At one time in this period the enrollment almost equaled that of the College, which brought the comment that there was a possibility that the tail might wag the dog.
But academies had served their day, High schools were improving, and the College needed dormitory space. The Wofford College Fitting School closed in 1924.
Carlisle Fitting School was largely a town of Bamberg enterprise, While it was authorized by the South Carolina Conference, in 1892, as a preparatory school for Wofford College, gifts to the undertaking were largely local. Probably that was the chief reason for Carlisle’s enrolling girls as well as boys. And for the sake of economy it began vary early to prepare students for Wofford’s sophomore class.
But Carlisle was unfortunate in that its leadership changed so often. Of its nine headmasters, in its forty years under the church and Wofford College trustees. J.C. Guilds was the only one to serve as headmaster longer than five years.
Guilds had gone to Carlisle as a teacher, after his graduation from Wofford in 1906. He was elected headmaster in 1909, according to Wallace's History of Wofford College. No doubt that is true, but the Conference minutes state that the enrollment was so low that the school did not open in the fall of that year. However, Dr. Guilds' administration was a most successful one.
He had taken over the administration of a school at the point of failure. After eleven years, he left it with 10 teachers and 225 students. In 1920, he became president of Columbia College
In the next eight years there were three headmasters: Duncan, Hagood, and Gault.
Then, in 1928, Mr. James F. Risher was elected. But the need for preparatory schools had passed, and Carlisle in that year ceased to be affiliated with Wofford College. Four years later South Carolina Methodism leased, and later sold, the plant to Col. Risher. Today it is the widely known Carlisle Military School.
Before there was a Wofford College the Methodists had built a school in Abbeville District called, at the period that concerns us, the Cokesbury Conference School. That was in 1833.
In 1893, the church placed Cokesbury under the control of the Board of Trustees of Wofford College, and at the conference of the following year, discussed “raising” it to the level of a fitting school. Evidently there was little enthusiasm for a third preparatory school, for the Conference of 1896 appointed a separate board of trustees, thus severing Cokesbury’s relationship with Wofford College.
Twenty-one years later, in 1917, the school was closed and the plant was turned over to the community for the use of public schools.
And so ends Wofford College’s participation in the unique academy movement.


From the literary societies

I don't keep an eye on ebay quite as much as I should, but a few weeks ago, a friend mentioned an item he had seen on ebay that had a Wofford connection. I looked at it and decided it was definitely something we wanted for the collection.
Of course, you all know how ebay works. You bid on an item and the highest bidder wins. I did end up in a slight bidding war for this document, but ultimately, I won. Fortunately, the bidding never got too extreme or I would have given up. (I haven't put in to be reimbursed for the purchase yet.)
This is from an 1871 Preston Literary Society Annual Celebration. The Preston was the younger of the two societies, founded around 1858. The societies, as I've written before, were debating and speaking clubs. The event described in this program would have been one of the highlights of the society's year. I think General Preston was probably a relative of the society's namesake, Senator William C. Preston, and in this case, the "president" was literally the one who presided over the featured debate. The diplomas conferred after the debate would have been the ones granted by the society to its senior members, not the ones granted by the college to those who had earned a degree.


African-American History Documents

See it while you still can!

This is the final week for the "African-American Experience from Slavery to Freedom" exhibit here in the library.  The exhibit, which has been in the gallery since early February, has brought together documents from special collections, the Littlejohn Collection, the college archives, and the Methodist archives.  We've tried to show some books, papers, letters, and photographs that tell us something about the experience of slavery and life after emancipation.  

I've previously blogged about some of the items in the collection.  Those items would include the Letter from George Washington Carver to Dr. Henry Nelson Snyder, which gives evidence that the noted African-American educator spoke at Wofford during the height of the era of segregation.  There's no evidence in the local press of this talk, so it's hard to know how the community or campus reacted other than what's said in the two letters.  

An important development in the years after Emancipation was the growth of black churches.  Silver Hill Methodist Church, in Spartanburg, was an early black Methodist church, and we've put up a picture of their founding minister, Rev. James Rosemond.  In an earlier post, I shared other images – one in particular of a receipt for the purchase of a slave by Wofford Professor James Carlisle.  

As part of the exhibit, we hosted three well-attended lectures, one by Dr. Phil Racine, one by Dr. Denise Frazier, and one by Dr. Tracy Revels.  I hope these will be available for us to share with a wider audience soon.  

Special Collections Librarian Luke Meagher, Dean of the Library Oakley Coburn, and I all put a lot of thought and planning into the exhibit, and college photographer Mark Olencki turned the images into very attractive posters during a very hectic month.  If you're around this week, come by and see it before the images disappear back into special collections.  
Documents Students

A letter from 1862

Here is a transcript of a letter sent by a Wofford freshman in 1862.  The original letter is below.

College Oct the 20th, 1862

Dear Sister,

For the
first time since my arrival in Spartanburg, have I the opportunity of writing
you: I never was kept so busy in my life as I
am with the duties required in the College, and it is very hard for anyone,
after playing as long as I have to go to real, hard
studying; nevertheless I do it cheerfully, as I know is all
for my good. I will [not legible]
of the
Freshman Class to you, so that you may know what I have to do; they are as
follows: Homer's Iliad,
Arnold’s Greek Prose Composition, Sophocles’
Greek Grammar, Folsom's Livy, & Andrews Latin Grammar; these we recite in the forenoon, afternoon we only
say one lesson in the Algebra, which takes up the whole time; on Latin days we
take up the morning in debating; Sundays the morning at church, evening in going to Sabbath school & reciting 2
or 3 chapters in the Bible, and explaining them, and on every evening in the
week some one of the boys declaim, this is done though alphabetically, so that
it does not come very often; but, too often for me,
even, at that rate: so you see, we must be kept pretty
busy, in getting these lessons so as to make good recitations. Well Tooter, I
am very well pleased up here, but nothing like at home: how true the old maxim,
"that where thy treasure is, there wilt thine
heart be also;" we are boarding with truly, a very
nice lady, she does all in her power to
us, in every respect; she tells us to just feel & make ourselves perfectly
home, that she likes to see us do so, I never
felt more at home in a strangers
in my life than I do here.

I was
very sorry indeed to learn from one of Uncle
letters to Junior, that poor Billy was actually killed, (I had began thinking
it a mistake before that, as I had seen nor heard nothing more of it in the
papers), also to hear that Larry Flagler poor fellow, he & Sid, Chandler
were wounded, & Sid taken prisoner; oh what a great pity; I hope though
that they may not be badly hurt, and that
Sid may soon recover from his wound, and be able to return home, on parole or
exchange. I suppose you have heard of our last
great victory, in the West; o, we did give the Yank's soot there if report is
correct, which I hope is, for I glory in hearing of them being cut up in that

Well Sister, I suppose this much of my nonsense
will tire your patience, so I will stop for the present. Remind me to all
inquiring friends, and believe me to be, your affectionate brother, J. A.

P. S.
Write soon, & direct your letters; as I neglected to state to Mother, to
SC. Box 123, which is the box of the lady that
I board with, she gave me permission to have them directed there; by so doing I
will get them with much less trouble.

J. A. McCrea

This is a family letter donated to the Wofford College Archives by Donna J. McCrea

 J. A. McCrea is something of a mystery, as he does not appear in the college's records.  However, the records were not carefully kept during the middle of the Civil War.  We do know that the college barely remained open after 1863, as most college-age students left to join the Confederate army.  Only the preparatory department remained open.  I have no doubt, however, that he was enrolled, as the curriculum he describes matches what students studied in those early years, and they all boarded, as he describes, with families in the village.  

Click for larger images that should appear in another window.  


Buildings Photographs

A picture mystery

Here's a photo from the archives' collection of campus aerial photos.  

Can you guess the date of the photo?  Click on the photo for a larger image in a pop-up window.


Let me have your guesses – I'll give the answer in a few days.