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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Frank Fisher Notes, 1882-1902

Color print of page 1 of Frank Fisher's Notes, 1882-1902.

Frank R. Fisher's notes contain observations, drawings, and photographs relating to scientific studies, particularly astronomical observations made while Fisher was a resident in Charleston, S.C., during the 1880s. Fisher, a cashier at the South Carolina Railroad Company in Charleston, was an amateur scientist and inventor who occasionally worked in consultation with longtime College of Charleston professor Lewis R. Gibbes. Frank Fisher's notes also contain a lengthy analysis of the 1886 Charleston earthquake.

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John Henry Dick Collection

"Artist Naturalist" is how Dick described himself in his autobiographical book entitled Other Edens (1979). He established a reputation as one of the leading bird painters in the United States when he illustrated the Warblers of America (edited by Ludlow Griscom and Alexander Sprunt, Jr., 1957). He painted approximately 2,500 separate birds for the Pictorial Guide to the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent with a text by Salim Ali and S. Dillon Ripley (1983). He painted about 600 birds for the Birds of China by Rodolphe Meyer de Schauensee (1984). He used a variety of techniques to create ink drawings with striking compositions for numerous books and articles published between 1949 and 1984. He took approximately 8,000 photographs of professional quality while travelling in more than 50 countries to study and photograph birds and other animals in wilderness settings. He assembled one of the finest private collections of rare bird books and contributed them to the College of Charleston together with his papers and his wildlife preserve, Dixie Plantation.

The photographs consist of four separate groups: color slides (approx. 8,000), separate prints made largely from slides (approx. 1,000), scrapbooks with mainly color prints (18 vols.), and misc. photographs of family and friends (approx. 500). The slides are a comprehensive records of the wildlife he saw primarily during extended trips to Africa (10 trips from 1956-1985, particularly to Kenya) and India (6 trips from 1962-1984). He also made extended trips to Antartica (2 trips in 1967 and 1975), Brazil (1980), China (1983), Costa Rica (2 trips in 1960 and 1981), the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador (2 trips in 1962 and 1973), Greenland (1974), Guatemala (1976), Mexico (1977), Nepal (1984), Canada (1975 and 1981), New Guinea (1972), Panama (1971), and Trinidad (1976).

In addition, he took hundreds of photographs on trips throughout the United States, including numerous trips to Florida, lengthy visits to the Southwest, annual bird counts on Bull's Island, and annual fishing trips to Maine and adjacent areas. Eighteen volumes of scrapbooks consist primarily of color photographs taken on trips from 1953-1970: Two volumes document his travels to Europe and elsewhere from 1953-1961 and include photographs of water birds seen at the Severn Wildlife Trust in England. Two volumes are devoted to his first trip to the Galapagos (1962). One volume is on Alaska (1963), four volumes on East Africa (1964-1967), one on Tierra del Fuego ( Argentina and Chile) and Antartica (1967), and one on islands in the Indian Ocean (1970). Seven scrapbooks are devoted exclusively to birds, and birds often occur in the other scrapbooks along with mammals, scenery, architecture, traveling companions, etc. Photographs taken after 1970 are in ten loose-leaf binders.

In 1983 Dick planned to prepare a book of photographs, and he had several hundred cibachrome enlargements made from his best slides, but increasing blindness prevented the completion of this project. Although many of his photographs have been exhibited, almost none have been published.

The personal photographs include pictures of Dick as a child, two photo albums of a family trip to France and Italy in c. 1927; the Dick family estate at Islip, Long Island; portrait photographs of Dick in a complete set of passports from 1937-1986; photos of his parents and siblings (William K. Dick, an industrialist and banker, and Madeline T. Force Dick, widow of John Jacob Astor and Dick's wife from 1916-1933; his brother William Force Dick; his stepmother Virginia C. Dick and her and his father's children, Direxa V. Dick and Will K. Dick); classmates at Yale Art School, which he attended in 1939 and 1940; early photos of Dixie Plantation (Meggett, SC), which his mother acquired as a winter home in 1935 and which he inherited and made his residence from 1947-1995; photos of friends and guests at Dixie; of rare birds raised at Dixie; of traveling companions including David A. Garrity, William C. Coleman, Elliott Hudson, Robert Verity Clem, and Gertrude Legendre.

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Jewish Heritage Collection - Personal Papers

Black and white photo of two men standing beside the grave of Moshe Yidel Gelbar

This collection is comprised of born-digital and digitized material from individual and family collections from the Jewish Heritage Collection. Most of these digital objects are part of larger manuscript collections held in the College of Charleston’s Special Collections Department. Finding aids for these collections can be located by searching the College of Charleston online catalog.

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Jack Keilen Slide Collection

Color photo of Eleanor and Jack Keilen in Charleston, S.C.

John J. ("Jack") Keilen (d. 1999) was a native of Pittsburgh and received a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. He came to Charleston during the mid-1940s, working first for West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company and later Charleston Rubber Company. An avid amateur photographer throughout his life, Mr. Keilen took several thousand of photographs during his annual vacations around the world. The present collection consists of nearly six hundred color slides taken around Charleston and the Carolinas between 1944 and 1990.

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