Organized in Charleston, South Carolina as the South-Carolina Society for Promoting and Improving Agricultural, and Other Rural Concerns, the society was incorporated in 1795 as the Agricultural Society of South Carolina. Photographs in this collection depict meetings and officers of the Agricultural Society, exhibits, farm scenes, farmers' markets, livestock, and other related subjects.
This collection of 106 Civil War period photographic stereopticon cards of the Beaufort area, St. Augustine, Florida, and Charleston are primarily from the Samuel A. Cooley studio. This collection was purchased from New Hampshire based collector, Stephen J. Edwards. There are a number of scenes depicting the homes and life of the freedmen, a rarity. Dr. Stephen Wise, the Parris Island Museum Director verified the authenticity of the images, noted how unusual it was to find an entire collection of local interest together, and introduced the images to the public on 7 December 1997 in a formal library program attended by 100 members of the community. Beaufort County Library Trustee funds and donations from the Friends of the Beaufort County Library and Beaufort County Historical Society secured the purchase of the images in November 1997.
L.A. Hall, Beaufort's postmaster, gave the Beaufort Township Library a collection of 36 stereopticon views of Beaufort taken "right after the War between the States" that he had received "from a friend in the north." Twenty-six of the images were taken in Beaufort by photographer E.W. Sinclair who worked for Samuel A. Cooley, self-described "Photographer, 10th Army Corps" during the Civil War and early Reconstruction periods. According to the Beaufort Times June 21, 1944, "The pictures are most interesting, including those homes which were used as hospitals, the old Magnolia hotel, which is no more, and many of the homes which still exist."
The stereopticon card "Cotton picking at the Yard - St. Helena Island Fall of 1879" was donated by a Mrs. Evans though the date of her donation is unknown.
Four stereopticon cards published by Rufus Morgan depict scenes near Columbia, SC. One stereopticon card of "Southern Scenery" near Asheville, NC was also published by Rufus Morgan. The provenance of the Rufus Morgan cards housed in the L.A. Hall Collection is unknown.
It appears that the Hall images and other donations of stereopticon cards were merged into one series at some point before February 1999.