Brushes with History Students

Students and Politics

A few weeks back, a researcher asked me if we had any records about black student activism at Wofford in the late 1960s.  I didn't turn up a lot of information, but I found a few news clippings tha I shared.  

I found this one especially interesting.  Some Wofford students visited a neighboring college to hear South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond – who may well have been at the height of his political power and influence in this era.  The clipping tells the rest of the story.

The clipping was from the Old Gold and Black, Wofford's student newspaper.


Documents Faculty

The Chronicles of Zerrachaboam

A recent e-mail message led to a new acquisition this week for the archives – a typed copy of The Chronicles of Zerrachaboam, a piece of political satire written in 1954 by the late Professor Lewis P. Jones.  

JonesLP Dr. Jones was a scholar of many things, particularly South Carolina history, and even more particularly the late 19th century – an era he chronicled in his doctoral dissertation.  During the 1890s, some anonymous observers had written, in language reminiscent of the King James Old Testament, a political commentary on South Carolina under the rule of Benjamin Tillman.  They were styled the "Chronicles of Zerrachaboam."  Dr. Jones would have been quite familiar with these writings, and when the opportunity presented itself again in South Carolina, he chose to write "Zerrachaboam II."  His subject: The 1954 U. S. Senate race between Strom Thurmond and Edgar Brown.  

When Senator Burnet Maybank died just before the 1954 Democratic Primary (the only election that mattered in those days), the state Democratic Party was left in a dilemma.  They had to replace Maybank on the ballot, but they didn't have time to call a special primary.  They chose to nominate longtime state senator Edgar Brown, known around the state as the Bishop from Barnwell.  Strom Thurmond, a former governor and Dixiecrat candidate for president, saw his chance to run against the Barnwell Ring – he'd beaten them before in his 1946 governor's race.  Several other notable characters played a role – Governor James F. Byrnes, Senator Olin D. Johnston, and others.  Thurmond, of course, went on to win what was, until November 2010, the only write-in candidacy for the Senate.  Just this year, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski won a write-in contest, giving the 1954 SC Senate race a little bit of historical publicity as well.  

The situation was ripe for commentary, and so Dr. Jones wrote about it in these chronicles.  Click for a larger version.  


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Brushes with History Documents

The Archives – an old curiosity shop

There's a lot of serendipity in archives.  You just never know what you might find when you visit or talk to an archivist.  Things that you never expected will appear from the stacks, the vaults, or the file cabinets.  

Today, for example, Dr. Anne Rodrick from our history department mentioned on Facebook that today was Charles Dickens' birthday.  It happens that the Wofford archives has, in the safe, a lock of Charles Dickens' hair.  

How'd we get this artifact?  The booklet's cover notes that it was given to us by David Gibson of the Class of 1941.  Why and how that gift was made is lost to history.  

Nevertheless, if you toss out an odd fact in front of a historian, a librarian, or an archivist, you never know what you might get in response.  We like to share!  

So, here it is:


Note that this was taken with an iPhone camera, which may account for the lower resolution.  

Methodist Photographs

Methodist Ministers, the 1932 edition

Today I completed work on a photo gallery with short biographies of Methodist ministers who were serving in South Carolina in 1932.  My student assistants and I have digitized the photos from Builders: Sketches of Methodist Preachers in South Carolina, edited by E. O. Watson in 1932.

The photos are available in Flickr – and can be viewed, searched, and even downloaded for Methodist churches who are looking for pictures of their former ministers.

This collection supplements three other ministerial photo collections – photo directories from 1901 and 1914 and a minister’s personal photo album, all of which are available online.


Here’s a slide show of some of those images


Documents Sports

Wofford’s Mascot

I had a question recently from an alum about the college’s mascot – specifically, could I share some pictures of different mascots through the years. 

According to some research undertaken by my predecessor, Herbert Hucks, the first time the college’s teams were called the “Terriers” in print was in a November 1914 article in the Wofford College Journal.  In 1909, an image of a small dog appeared in the Bohemian in a cartoon on the gymnasium team’s yearbook page. 

The 1911 and 1912 Bohemians also featured more elaborate drawings of dogs that appear to be terriers, and the 1912 volume identifies the dog as “our mascot.” 

It’s not easy to find a lot of images of the mascot until after World War II.  This image appears to be common from the late 1940s to the early 1970s. It was in a 1965 Old Gold and Black.  


Several different types of terrier show up in various publications, Terrier Club newsletters, and the like in the 1970s to the 1990s.  Here are a few:



In looking over the various images the college has used, I also found photos and stories about several specific mascots – dogs named Jocko, Baron Ben, Spike, and Blitz, among others.  I'll work on something about those in the future.  

Alumni Oral History

Patterson Oral Interview Part 5

This is the final segment of the D. F. Patterson oral interview – it runs about 10 minutes. In it, he talks about some of the college's fund-raising experiences from his time on the board in the 1950s and 1960s as well as his optimism for the college's future.  This tape was recorded in 1980.  

Alumni Oral History

D. F. Patterson Alumni Memories Part 4

This is the fourth segment of former board chairman D. F. Patterson's 1980 oral history interview. In this portion, he talks about President Snyder, fraternities, and some trustee issues from his time on the board. Running time is about 6 minutes.


Part 3 of D. F. Patterson’s alumni memories

In this segment, which runs about six and a half minutes, Mr. Patterson talks about courses and faculty members, his graduation in 1929 and those of his brothers, and how Wofford changed during the time that he, his brothers and sons attended Wofford.

Documents Students

Fraternity Houses – from the “Old Bull Session”

I used to think the Old Black and Blue was a fairly recent innovation, but I've discovered the students enjoyed putting out a spring spoof edition of the Old Gold and Black for some time.  In one of the oral history tapes I posted recently, D. F. Patterson talked about an article in one of these issues – from 1928 – where students scandalously paired a faculty member with a professor's daughter.  We happen to have that issue of the student newspaper, and I read the article with some amusement.  The editor, according to Mr. Patterson, got sent home for a while over the issue.  

But even more amusing was the front page article about a new and fancy Fraternity Row for the campus, complete with lake and dancing pavilion.  Here's the article

Plans for Fraternity Row Completed

$50,000 houses to be built on beautiful site on campus

Lake in front

Converse girls permitted to make extended visits to frat houses, says Miss Gee

Plans for a fraternity row on the campus were announced today by Mr. W. C. Herbert, head of the faculty committee, which has gone very fully into the matters with the Pan-Hellenic Committee.  Mr. Herbert states that he is determined that Wofford’s fraternity row shall be second to none in the South, and gives many interesting details of the plans as they are developed thus far.

The row of handsome fraternity houses will be In the rear of the campus, facing the C & O railroad tracks.  From this eminence is obtained a view scarcely equaled in the city, with the panorama of endless box cars, pulled by puffing engines, which belch forth clouds of vari-colored smoke, and rain down showers of delightful cinders.

The gorge between the railroad tracks and the houses will be converted into a sparkling lake.  Mr. Davis, treasurer of the college, has consented to supply the water for the lake.  A dance pavilion will be built out over the lake, which at night will be brilliantly lighted.  The college will furnish the electricity.

No fraternity will be permitted to build a house costing less than $50,000.  President Snyder insisted upon this figure, since he did not wish any of the fraternity houses to be inferior in beauty or cost to the other buildings already on the campus.  The present furnace in Main Building will also heat the fraternity houses.  This furnace has been found especially effective in heating the college chapel on annual occasions for several years. 

The fraternity row is expected to give much life and color to the campus and the previously dull and uneventful life of the boys will be gladdened by the presence of Converse girls at frequent dance and bridge parties.  Mrs. A. M. DuPre was active in securing the consent of Miss Gee for the Converse girls to visit the fraternity houses whenever they wish, without permission.  They must always be back at Converse in time for breakfast, however. 

Well, some of the comments in this article would have been quite shocking to a student in 1928, particularly the implication that the dean of women would have permitted Converse students to stick around at the fraternity houses all night, or that dancing would have been permitted or bridge games allowed on campus.  And each of those houses, at $50,000, would have cost more than the Andrews Fieldhouse that was then under construction.  

Still, the debate over fraternity houses and student life makes for an amusing subject to joke about, then and now.