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Historic Charleston Foundation Tours of Homes

Color poster for the 6th annual tour of Charleston's historic houses in 1953.

One of the first fundraising programs developed by Historic Charleston Foundation after its incorporation in 1947 was its annual spring tours of historic houses, during which trained “hostesses” would guide visitors through several private homes in Charleston’s historic district. In addition to raising revenue to support Historic Charleston Foundation’s preservation efforts, the tours performed an educational function by presenting Charleston architecture and decorative arts to both visitors and residents alike. Tour publicity included posters, brochures, and guidebooks, and this collection features some of the promotional materials from the first ten years of the annual tours of houses. Of note are the guidebooks which contain not only house histories written by Samuel Gaillard Stoney, Jr., accompanied by photographs by numerous Charleston photographers, but also information about Historic Charleston Foundation and its activities, essays, maps, and advertisements for a variety of local businesses.

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Historic Charleston Foundation Monographs and Photographs

Black and white photo of the U.S. Custom House in Charleston, SC, circa 1890.

Various monographs and photographs from the Margaretta Childs Archives at Historic Charleston Foundation. The focus of the collection items is primarily Charleston historic buildings, streets, landmarks, and sites. The collection also includes publications related to tourism in Charleston (1879-1948), the Charleston Earthquake of 1886, and the South Carolina Inter-State and West Indian Exposition of 1901-1902.

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College of Charleston Scrapbooks and Photo Albums

Autographed photo of Geraldine Farrar from 1918.

This collection highlights various albums and scrapbooks housed in the Special Collections department of the College of Charleston library.

Currently the collection includes the Byrnes Downs Garden Club Scrapbook, a European Photo Album, and the Frank Connor Photographic Collection.

The Byrnes Downs Garden Club Scrapbook collection consists of a scrapbook documenting the history, projects, and activities of the Byrnes Downs Garden Club from 1948 to 1953. The scrapbook contains photographs, newspaper clippings, typed histories and explanatory notes, year books including the organizations constitution and membership lists (1948-1953), programs and awards from special events, and one map of metropolitan Charleston from 1945 that details neighborhoods.

The European Photo Album contains 101 black and white photographs of historic sites, artwork and landscapes from Antwerp, Paris, Trianon, Versailles and London. The bulk of the photographs are of Paris and its various sites. The compiler of the album is unknown. Slipped inside the back of the album is a map of Venice, a plan of the second floor of the Louvre and a map showing the layout of Versailles. The photographs were taken in the 1890s.

The Frank Connor Photographic Collection includes 69 black and white photographs and postcards of actors and singers and one theatre program collected by Frank Connor, an actor who appeared with many of the people shown. The majority of the photographs are signed studio portraits, with the subjects often appearing in theatrical costume.

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Charleston Musuem Earthquake Photographs

Black and white photo of a Charleston earthquake scene.

This collection contains earthquake photographs held by the Charleston Museum, America's first museum. Currently the collection features 204 photographs documenting the damage inflicted on Charleston by the earthquake of August 31, 1886. Primarily professional photographs, these images were sold as souvenirs of the devastating quake.

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