Septima P. Clark Papers, ca. 1910-ca. 1990

Septima P. Clark's 1964 black and white passport photo.
This collection contains material relating to the life and work of Septima P. Clark. The biographical papers include tributes, clippings, certificates, awards, family correspondence and transcripts of various oral history interviews in which Clark discusses her parents; husband; growing up and race relations in Charleston, South Carolina; her work in Citizenship Schools; her work at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and in the civil rights movement with people like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Stokely Carmichael, Dorothy Cotton, Ella Baker, Jesse Jackson, Andrew Young, Hosea Williams, Ralph David Abernathy and others. There are a few references to the Charleston South Carolina Hospital Worker's strike in 1969. A series on her works includes a photocopy of her autobiography Echo in My Soul, with related papers; various versions of talks and essays on civil rights, race and racism, non-violence, God and religion, American youth, tributes to individuals and other topics.
Her correspondence includes numerous local and state black and white politicians; a partial letter to Ella Gerber regarding Porgy and Bess, a significant series of letters with writer Josephine Carson (Rider), and from Spelman College professor Vincent Harding, with some of his articles. Presidential materials include a photocopy of a Jimmy Carter letter; a letter from Gerald Ford; and an invitation to inauguration of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew.
A series documenting her affiliations begins with a her association with Charleston schools, and contains correspondence regarding losing of her job in 1956 as a teacher for being a member of the NAACP; her service (1975-1978) on the Charleston County School Board; and other connections with various educational endeavors. The series also includes papers regarding her association with the Highlander Folk Center; papers regarding her work with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, with material on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; papers regarding the Penn Community Center and Clark’s relationship with it; publications, program materials and correspondence regarding Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and local Charleston Chapter, Gamma Xi Omega; materials regarding various women’s groups with which she was affiliated; materials regarding various civil rights, African American and political groups and causes for which she worked; a list of grievances regarding the Charleston Hospital Worker’s strike, brochures from various African American political campaigns, groups to free jailed African Americans; the US Commission on Civil Rights, State Advisory Committee of SC; Neighborhood Legal Assistance and other similar groups.
Her church papers include materials regarding Old Bethel Methodist Church, Charleston, SC, and other various Methodist groups, and her papers documenting her relationship with arts groups contain a nearly complete script of Sea Island Song by Alice Childress. Other materials documenting Clark's association with social, health care and literary-related agencies include papers regarding the Septima Clark Day Care Center, and papers dealing with the handicapped. Her relationships with various schools cover institutions such as College Seven, University of California-Santa Cruz, Benedict College and Hampton University, including student papers submitted at Hampton regarding Saxon Elementary School, Columbia, SC, and materials documenting unrest at Allen University, Columbia, SC, and at Voorhees College, Denmark, SC. Photographs show Septima Clark, Poinsette and Clark family members, various functions, programs and events participated in by Clark and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, including teaching programs at various spots and the Charleston Hospital Workers’ strike.
This collection was digitized and made freely available online through the generous support of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.


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SCDOT Photographs - Properties in the Right-of-Way

Black and white photo from 1967 featuring the Little Italy restaurant.

This collection from Historic Charleston Foundation consists of B&W photographs of buildings and other properties located in Charleston County that were destroyed, relocated, or otherwise modified because they were in the right-of-way of where roads were being constructed or widened. Building and dwelling types include houses, apartment buildings, freedman’s cottages, mobile homes, commercial and industrial buildings, churches, schools, gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores and corner markets, garages, sheds, outhouses, and other outbuildings.

Roads include Interstate 26 (I-26), Route 171 (Folly Road/St. Andrews Boulevard), Route 17 (a portion of which is known as Savannah Highway), State Road 894 (Azalea Drive), State Road 31 (Reynolds Avenue), and State Road 13 (Remount Road). It is notable that some photographs in the U.S. Route 17 and I-26 groups show the area affected by the construction of the Crosstown and the Silas Pearman Bridge (a/k/a Cooper River Bridge).

Many photographs depict Charleston County street scenes in the 1960s, showing people and pedestrians, cars, billboards, signage for businesses (including gas prices), etc., as well as the architectural styles of commercial buildings and residences throughout the county.  Additionally, residents of several dwellings appear in many of the photographs.

Only a portion of specific addresses and/or locations are identified. However, each photograph contains the name of the property owner which may be useful in a keyword search of the collection. Addresses may also be determined by looking up the property owner’s name in city directories, but note that the property owner and resident may not be the same person. There may be multiple views of the same structure, which will be evident by comparing the property owner’s name, tract number, and station notes. Of note, addresses have been identified for the buildings and properties affected by the construction of both the Crosstown (U.S. Route 17) and I-26 in the area located within Charleston city limits in the upper part of the peninsula). Those addresses were determined by the 1951 Sanborn Map of Charleston, volumes 1 and 2.

Some photographs are marked in ink showing the area to be affected by the right-of-way. Most photographs also feature SC Department of Transportation surveyors indicating the location and direction of the future roadway by their stance or by their use of surveying range poles.

The collection is organized by road, then by docket number, within which most are either in chronological order or organized by tract number. The reverse side (verso) of each photo includes Docket (Dkt.) number, Route, County, Property Owner, Tract, Station, and Date. (See below for explanation.) Many also have a brief surveyor’s note related to the right-of-way status. Samples of the reverse side of photos are also included. Original photographs are 5" x 7".


The following is a brief guide to understanding the station description:

  • +: Plus sign
  • ±: Plus or minus
  • Rt: Right side of the road
  • Lt: Left side of the road
  • CL: Center line of the road
  • R/W: Right-of-way
  • S.B.: Southbound
  • N.B.: Northbound
  • ∆: Triangular area of land or a median

The stationing of roads is done in survey feet, not inches. Surveyors use feet, tenths, and hundredths of a foot. For example, the beginning of a road would be 0+00 (zero feet) and for every 100 feet, the number increases to 1+00, 2+00, etc. Therefore, if a station is 42+00 Rt, it is 4,200 ft. from the beginning of the road on the right side. (Note that right and left are related to the stations as they increase.) The beginning stations are usually at the start of a subdivision or at the “T-intersection” of roads. (Explanations provided by Roy T. Adams, Surveyor, SC Dept. of Transportation.)

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Samuel Lord Hyde Photographs

Photo of two headstones - John Frierson and Rachel Frierson

Samuel Hyde was a photographer and amateur historian who lived in Charleston and in Summerville, S.C. He was the "chief cemetery investigator" for the South Carolina Public Service Authority during the creation of Lake Moultrie. This collection contains 2 groups of his photographs - 25 prints from the South Carolina Inter-State and West Indian Exposition taken in 1901-1902 when Hyde was a teenager., and approximately 100 images taken in 1939 in the area of Lake Moultrie during its construction.


The photographs of the Exposition depict buildings designed by Bradford Gilbert, a New York architect, and sculptures created by Louis C. Gudebrod, Charles Lopez, Carl Tefft, and Elsie Ward. The buildings in the photographs were located in present-day Hampton Park, and were temporary, made with wood frames covered with stucco and plaster mixed with jute. These buildings were destroyed after the Exposition.


The photographs from the vicinity of Lake Moultrie were taken in 1939 when Hyde was charged with cataloging and researching the graves that were moved prior to the lake's creation.. The subjects of these photographs include cabins, churches, cemeteries, the Santee Canal, and the construction of Lake Moultrie. At least ten different cabins appear to be represented, and they seem to contain one or two rooms. Some have clay chimneys and clapboard roofs. During construction of the lake, approximately 500 black families were relocated. It is likely that these cabins were located in the area now covered by Lake Moultrie.

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Roy S. MacElwee Collection

Black and white photo of a waterfront drive in Chicago, IL

Roy S. MacElwee was a planner who specialized in port development. He created a plan for the waterfront of Charleston in 1929. This collection is an oversized scrapbook of photographs and clippings about the design of waterfronts for cities worldwide. It includes 20 professionally made 8x10 photographs and several dozen pages of clippings, and an article on his plan for Charleston. Though most of the land was eventually reclaimed, no grand boulevard extends north of the Ashley River bridge today and MacElwee's vision of building "one of the most famous water front driveways in the world" was never realized.

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Photos from the Records of The Historic Preservation Planner, BCD-COG

Black and white photo of an old rectory outbuilding circa 1855 in Pinopolis, SC.

These photos are from the collection, The Records of the Historic Preservation Planner, Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments (BCDCOG), 1970 - 1981. A large portion of this collection is comprised of the research materials collected for the publication, Historic Preservation Plan Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Region, with the rest being non-survey regional research materials, general business files of the BCDCOG historic preservation department, and topical and miscellaneous files. The majority of the photographs that appear here were taken and compiled by Elias Ball Bull - the tri-county region’s first historic preservation planner – who initiated the process for several hundred of the properties to be included in the National Register of Historic Places. These are the original photos filed with the register nominations; some appear on the National Register website, however, many have been replaced with current images or were not included on the National Register.

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Phosphate, Farms, and Family - The Donner Collection

Black and white photo of a group of unidentified African American children

This collection of 548 photographs comes from two albums of family photographs created by Conrad Munro Donner (1844 - 1916), a peripatetic engineer from the Hamburg-Altona area near the border between Denmark and Germany who had an active interest in photography. Self-taught, the bulk of his images reflect his experience of lowcountry rural life in Beaufort County, SC near the turn of the 20th century.


Conrad and his brother, Leonard Donner, moved to Beaufort in 1889 as mining engineers for the Pacific Guano Mining Company. Several factors led to the decline of the Beaufort area phosphate industry in the mid 1890s and the brothers decided to try farming for a living.  Around 1900 they purchased Hall's Island to go into the "White Asparagus" business. The Donner brothers remained on Hall's Island until their deaths within weeks of each other in August 1916. They are buried in the St. Helena Episcopal Churchyard in Beaufort, SC.


Few images of phosphate mining operations in Beaufort County are known to exist. The 35 images that Conrad Donner took of the Pacific Guano Company, a phosphate mining company operating on Chisolm Island, are especially important as they show key aspects of an industry crucial to the post-Civil War economy of Beaufort. Activities on Hall's Island are well documented through images of farm life, often including photographs of African American laborers hard at work, and photographs of family hunting and fishing trips. Conrad Donner took images on Chisolm Island, Halls Island, and Yemassee, SC; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Rye, New York, and Hamburg-Altona, Germany.


Professor Christopher Donner of Miami [ nephew of Conrad and Leonard Donner] and Dr. Christopher and Ann Donner of Cape Cod, Massachusetts donated the two albums to the Beaufort County Library in 2001.

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Lowcountry Tourism

Color painting of the Cooper River Bridge from

This growing collection features historic pamphlets highlighting some of the attractions of Charleston, South Carolina and the lowcountry.

This collection currently includes an illustrated pamphlet that gives a brief history of the Dock Street Theatre in Charleston, South Carolina and provides rich physical details about the building, including photographs, floor plans and cross sections.

Also included is the Tourist's Guide of Charleston, 1940, a colorful booklet highlighting some of Charleston's well known attractions. Another pamphlet, printed by the Southern Railway System in 1926, features the latest lodging and sightseeing options in Charleston, Summerville, and Savannah. Two pamphlets (from 1893 and 1909) about the Summerville resort The Pine Forest Inn advertise the Inn's luxurious accomodations and the health benefits of a winter vacation in Summerville, South Carolina.

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Keystone View Company Lantern Slides, 1892-1912

Black and white photo of the Sphinx and the Second Pyramid, Gizeh, Egypt.

These lantern slides were produced for classroom use by the highly successful Education Department of the Keystone View Company. The slides cover a wide range of subject matter including scenes of industry, places of architectural or historical significance and places of natural beauty.

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