Books Students Uncategorized

130 years of student publications

In January 1889, a group of students from the two literary societies got together to launch the Wofford College Journal.

The Journal, which continues publishing as a section of the Bohemian, our yearbook, is the oldest of the three student publications, and has for most of those 130 years been the student literary magazine.

When the Journal first started publishing, it was more than just a literary publication.  With no newspaper on campus, and no alumni magazine, it served those functions as well.  In the twenty-six years between the founding of the Journal and the first issue of the Old Gold and Black, I rely on the accounts of student life in the Journal to know what was happening on campus.  Moreover, since we have only a few issues of the OG&B between 1915 and 1930, researchers rely on it for those years, too.

So what was in that January 1889 Journal?  The editors began with a statement:  “The Wofford College Journal, in making its entrance into life, does not come with aspirations to fame, nor to a place among the leading literary journals of the day.  It was conceived of an honest purpose among the young men of the College to further their own development, and to give to the public the matter of the best literary character they are capable of.

On that same page, the editor in chief, Ellison D. Smith (later a 6-term United States Senator from South Carolina) published a piece by his older brother, Rev. A. Coke Smith, later a Methodist bishop, entitled a “plea for liberal culture.”   The essay, in words that might ring familiar today, began “The mercenary spirit so characteristic of this age is affecting detrimentally our educational interests.  Nothing is allowed as worthy of pursuit which will not bring its speedy return in gold or glory.”  He continued “one by one the different branches of the old College curriculum are brought into question and too often either entirely surrendered or so crippled as to be of little use.  The spirit of hurry which possesses the American mind… cannot take time to lay the foundation of a broad culture in the study of ancient and modern classics, and the sciences.  Boys must hurry through school and college and be in business at twenty, or the opportunity to make a fortune may be lost.”

It is interesting, actually, that three pieces in this first Journal were by faculty members: The aforementioned A. Coke Smith, a piece entitled “An Aspect of the German Novel” by Professor J. H. Marshall, and a retrospective on the class of ’67 (that would be 1867) by Professor Daniel DuPre.

The remainder of the issue included a news article about alumni fundraising, a series of alumni notes that would remind any reader today of Wofford Today, some news notes, a reference to a bill pending in Congress, and reviews of some other literary magazines.  This general format, literary articles, opinion pieces, alumni notes, and campus news, would be the pattern for much of the next generation.  But it’s interesting to look back to student and faculty writing of 130 years ago this winter and see that some things remain constant even in a very different age.


The Campus Club Cookbook

Recently a friend asked me if I had a copy of the Campus Club cookbook.  The archives has a couple of copies, so I asked my student assistant to scan a copy and have added it to our digital repository.

What is the Campus Club?  I don’t think it has existed for a number of years, but it was, for a generation or more, the organization of faculty wives.  This makes more sense when you recall that through the 1970s, the faculty was almost all male.  The campus club planned a number of social events throughout the school year.  In 1979, they published a cookbook.  Printed and bound by nearby Altman Printing, the club had some 1,000 copies to give out.

If you want to read our copy online, you can follow this link:

Campus Club Cookbook


Books Faculty

Madame Gagarine

Madame Marie Gagarine was one of those characters who frequently inhabits college campuses.  She arrived at Wofford as a cold war Russian emigre and soon became part of the Wofford community.

Madame Gagarine was also reportedly the first woman to teach courses at Wofford, as she taught some Russian as well as French courses.  I’ve heard more than a few stories about her from many of our now-retired faculty.  Her life spanned much of the 20th century, and she recounted her fascinating story in the late 1960s in her memoir From Stolnoy to Spartanburg: The Two Worlds of a Former Russian Princess.

I remember reading the book as parallel reading in Dr. Ross Bayard’s Europe from 1914-1935 class some twenty years ago.  We recently acquired a new copy, so I asked one of my student assistants to scan the book, and we’re making a digital edition available on our digital repository.  You can find it here.

Along with her memories of life in tsarist Russia and her stories of surviving the Russian Revolution, she also writes of her love for her country and her adopted country as well.  It’s worth a read to learn a little more about one of the characters that has shaped life at Wofford.

Alumni Books Faculty


I really can’t imagine how David Duncan Wallace wrote all of the things he published.

David Duncan WallaceWallace, who was arguably the foremost South Carolina historian of his day, generally taught a full load of courses, which in his day was five classes.  In the early 1920s, for example, he was teaching two sections of a course in European history, and in alternate years was teaching American and British history.  Additionally, he taught a political science course and an economics course.  Later, when a sociology-political science professor joined the faculty, he expanded to offer a fourth year of modern history as well as a second economics course.

Since Wofford in the 1920s and 1930s was offering master of arts degrees, Wallace also had to teach graduate courses and supervise master’s research.  The faculty was much smaller, and most professors had to serve on multiple faculty committees.

With all of this, how could he possibly find time to research and write as many books, articles, and lectures as he did?  I guess his commute from his home to his office may have helped – he lived in the campus house that Dean Roberta Bigger now occupies.  And I guess without having to worry about watching Mad Men or American Idol, he had lots of time to read.

Wallace held deep affection for both Wofford and South Carolina.  His great-grandfather, David Duncan, was on the college’s original faculty, and his father graduated from Wofford in 1871.  He himself was an 1894 graduate of the college, and after taking his PhD in history at Vanderbilt and teaching at the Carlisle Fitting School in Bamberg, SC, he became the head of Wofford’s Department of History and Economics.  He held the chair of history until his retirement in 1947, at which time he was asked to write the centennial history of the college.

In addition to the college’s history, Wallace wrote several books about South Carolina.  His Civil Government of South Carolina was published in 1905, and Civil Government of the United States in 1906.  A combined version of these books appeared in the 1930s.  He also wrote A Life of Henry Laurens about one of South Carolina’s founding fathers.  In the 1910s, he wrote The Government of England: National, Local, and Imperial.  No doubt these books all came out of his Wofford courses.  His Constitutional History of South Carolina came from his doctoral dissertation.  But his magnum opus, the work that will undoubtedly never be supplanted, was his 3-volume History of South Carolina.  He took four years’ leave from the faculty to prepare this monumental narrative history of the state.  A fourth volume, the biographical book, paid for the cost of the book.  The History of South Carolina remains an invaluable resource today simply because it was so comprehensive in its coverage of the state’s first 250 years.

As if this wasn’t enough, Dunc Wallace wrote at least two book manuscripts that were never published.  He was commissioned to write a history of William Gregg and the Graniteville Company, and a biography of Martin W. Gary, both of which were never published.  He became something of an expert on the state’s constitutional history, even pointing out in the 1920s some of the flaws in the constitution of 1895, a constitution that is still in largely in effect.  He was part of the first generation of PhD historians in the United States, and his scholarship was rigorous, though it does reflect the prevailing attitudes toward race and region of his day.

History of South CarolinaTwo of Wallace’s students, Charles Cauthen and Lewis Jones, succeeded him in the Wofford history department, and other students went on to earn graduate degrees in history and teach elsewhere.  As a professional historian, I am myself only one step removed from Wallace, for I studied South Carolina history under Lewis Jones.  I may actually be the last person who is able to make that claim, as I was the youngest person in Dr. Jones’ last South Carolina history class at Wofford.

For his books and his students, and for his public work on behalf of South Carolina’s history, Wallace deserves to be remembered.


Book signings during Homecoming

For those of you who will be on campus during Homecoming this weekend, I’ll be at Ben Wofford Books tomorrow morning from about 10:45 to 12 to sign copies of my recent book, Wofford College.  This is a pictorial history of the college in Arcadia Publishing’s Campus History series, and it’s the book I was working on last winter.  It’s a 128-page paperback with about 200 pictures from the college archives.  It’s a must-have for any Wofford friend.

I’m also planning to be at the bookstore’s area at Gibbs Stadium during the football game.  Come by, get a copy, and I’ll be happy to sign it for you if you want.



My excuse this time

This has been a particularly bad summer for blogging.  I got overwhelmed with a variety of projects, and perhaps more importantly, I was having some trouble with the blog software.  Nonetheless, with the semester underway and my workload (somewhat) under control, I'm committed to resuming the old schedule.  I'll try to post twice a week this fall.  I have a few recent gifts that I'll try to share and we'll see about tracking down some faculty stories.  The Class of 1960 deserves a little semi-centennial recap before they visit at Homecoming as well.  Oh, and I wrote a book, so I'll share some about what's happening with that.  

Books Documents

Builders and Connections

The blog software I use has been acting funny lately, which is why I haven’t posted much lately. However, serendipity struck today, prompting me to find a workaround to share something from the 1934 Southern Christian Advocate.

You see, my student assistant, John Bumgardner, finished scanning a book yesterday – a 1932 pictorial directory of Methodist ministers in South Carolina. I’ll be working to put the scans online over the next few weeks – first the pictures, then later, the full biographies. The pictures will complement three earlier volumes we’ve posted online, and will help local churches locate pictures of some of their former ministers.

But here’s where it gets interesting. This morning, John was looking up an obituary for a researcher and stumbled across an article in the Advocate about the publication of Builders. The article was by Herbert Hucks, then a senior at Wofford and later the college and Methodist Conference archivist. I worked for him while I was a student in the early 1990s. An amazing find on the day after completing a scanning project. Here’s some of what Mr. Hucks had to say:

Recently, a book was printed under the name of “Builders” in which the lives of the Methodistministers of our State were sketched. Perhaps there are other builders – students in high school, college, and in life – who desire to build up our state- even though it be merely in dreams. That phase of dreams is entirely worth developing- because some dreams come true, if continually thought about and if they provoke constructive thought.

The present college student has the chance thrust – yes actually pushed – on him to build and dream for others and himself. In the summer of 1932, President Frank P. Graham of the University of North Carolina, said “Let us pause awhile, dream dreams that will rebuild this old South of ours – this South that gave to the entire nation principles of rugged honesty, of of courage, culture and honor.” Is that not enough to force every young South Carolinian and especially the college student, to dream of a better state?

An interesting discovery from a long-ago newspaper, but again, one of those examples of how serendipity always plays a role in what one might find in the library or archives.


Whatever happened to the archivist?

OK, I'm sorry!  

I didn't intend to take a 3-month hiatus from blogging.  With the talks I gave in the fall to two churches, a genealogical society, a historical society, and I'm not sure who else, along with the processing and writing in the early winter, and the book project I was working on in the spring, the blog sort of got pushed to the back burner.  

A book, you say?  Yes – I have been working on a book in Arcadia Publishing's Campus History series.  On Wofford (yeah, I guess that was fairly obvious.)  I submitted the manuscript on Monday afternoon, so it's on its way to being proofread, produced, and published.  

Some years ago, I got a request from Arcadia Publishing to consider writing a Wofford book for their series.  At that point, our book, Wofford: Shining With Untarnished Honor had just been published by The Hub City Writers Project, and it was not a good time to prepare another one.  However, five years after that book was published, and with a different focus, the time seemed right to me to pursue another project.  

Some people have asked me why we needed another Wofford book now and how this one is different.  It's different in several ways.  The anthology of 2005 was more about writing, presenting attractive images, and sharing some of the documents of the college.  The book I've written this winter is more focused on vintage photographs.  It highlights the collection in the archives more than anything else.  

Another reason to pursue another Wofford book was that many of our neighboring institutions have books in the Campus History series.  On the shelf at our neighborhood bookstore, I've seen books about most South Carolina colleges, and Wofford is a pretty glaring omission from that collection.  

So, I pulled together 206 images, many that have only recently become available and others that have never been published until now.  Some of them highlight different collections in the archives, others come from yearbooks, and others came from the collection of the Communications Office.  Each chapter has about 40 images from different eras, from the 19th century to the fall of 2009, but the book focuses more heavily on the pre-1972 era.  I wrote picture captions for all of the pictures as well as short chapter introductions and a 4-page general summary of the college's history.  

With that out of the way, I'm going to try to get back to a regular schedule of writing twice a week.  Interim is over and the spring term begins next week, my student assistants will be back and ready to help me re-shelve and re-file all of the books and folders I pulled for the book, to help me file all of the things that have arrived in the past few months, and to help me answer some of the reference questions that have been set aside.  I've been looking for minister photos this week for a church in Greenville County, and next week, we'll be copying a handful of Methodist obituaries for people.  And, next week, we'll also be opening an exhibit on African American life in the South Carolina Upcountry based on materials in archives and special collections at Wofford.  

I've got a list of topics for the next few weeks – including a few legendary professors and noteworthy alumni – and maybe I'll try to give you a sneak peek of some of the pictures that will be in my new book.  And as I get back into processing the college's records, and perhaps start thinking about collecting some oral history, I'll be sharing things I learn here.