Zionist Organization of America Records - Charleston Chapter

Return letter from Mayor Lockwood to the Zionist Organization of America, 1944

The minutes (1917-1933 with a gap from May 1922-November 1923; and 1940-1944) cover all the special and regular meetings of the organization. Members attending are listed and there are various lists throughout the volume, detailing the approximately 100 or so men and women who belonged. Topics were discussed, at first, in both Yiddish and English. Dues were collected and there are frequent mentions of the need to raise more funds for specific causes, and the need to energize the populations of Charleston and South Carolina for Zionism.


There were many debates about which larger organization with which to affiliate, the Zionist Organization of America, or the world organization with the group deciding on the former. The Orthodox Zionist organization, the Mizrahi, is also mentioned and funds were raised for it. Much debate centered on which agencies should be supported with the group working for both Keren Hayesod (The Palestine Foundation Fund), and organizations closer to home, such as the Talmud Torah, or local Hebrew School. Often joining the group meetings are members of the women's organization Hadassah.


There are numerous reports of election of officers, and delegates to attend national conventions who report back on activities there. The earlier minutes make distinctions between Charleston's "uptown" and "downtown" Jews, the newer arrivals and those more settled, but by the beginning 1930s, such gradations are not mentioned, as the organization works for, among other things, the founding and prospering of the youth group, Aleph Zadik Aleph.


There are members present from all three local congregations, Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim, Brith Sholom, and Beth Israel, with the latter two predominating. Prominent members and officers included Samuel Rittenberg, Rabbi Jacob S. Raisin, Joseph Hepler, Louis Shimel, Rabbi Menahem Mendel Horowitz, Harry Simonhoff, Joseph Goldman, and others. Later minutes (1940-1944) are typed, and loose, with financial reconciliations, and reports of delegates to national meetings. Included as well is one undated, ca. 1947, note re a day of prayer for Jews in Palestine.


With no history available, all that is known of this organization comes from the bound volume and the accompanying papers. The Zionist Organization of America (Charleston, S.C.) was active in 1917 when the minutes begin and continued through the 1940s. With members from the orthodox and reform congregations, its goal was to encourage and promote the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The organization is known alternately in the minutes as Bnei Zion and the Charleston Zionist Society.

Contributing Institution: 
Collection Media Types: 

William Henry Johnson Scrapbook

Black and white image of the exterior of Palmer's plantation

This scrapbook by William Henry Johnson is part of a collection three, which document the history of a large array of Lowcountry plantations and places of interest. In this book - compiled, 1928-1932 - Johnson focuses on the Cooper River region and in the Parishes of St Stephen, St James Goose Creek, St James Santee and St. John Berkeley. The scrapbook draws together published historical research, maps, contemporary anecdotes and includes photographs Johnson took while visiting each location.

Subjects covered in this scrapbook include locations in Berkeley County, St. Johns (Berkeley) Parish, Goose Creek, and along the Cooper River. Other sites and subjects include Belmont, Black Oak Church, Bluford, Casada, Cedar Grove, Cedar Spring, Comingtee, a Prioleau family burial ground, Crowfield, Dean Hall Plantation, Dockon Plantation, Eutaw, Eutaw Springs, Exeter, Fairspring, Fort Dorchester, Four Hole Swamp, Gippy, Gravel Hill, the gravestone of Susan Bee, Hanover Plantation, Indian Fields Campground, Ingleside, Indianfield, Liberty Hall Club, Lewisfield, Magnolia Cemetery, monument of Col. Hezekiah Maham, grave of Major Majoribanks, Medway Plantation, Mepkin, a milestone by the Cooper River, Moorfield, Mount Pleasant Plantation, Mulberry Castle, North Hampton, Numertia, The Oaks Plantation, Ophir, Otranto Hunting Club, Parnassus, Pimlico, Pinegrove, Pond Bluff, Pooshee Plantation, John Poppenheim's plantation, Quarter house, Red Bank Hunting Club, an Episcopal church in Pineville, Rice Hope Plantation, The Rocks, St. James Goose Creek church, St. Johns Berkeley rectory site, St. Johns AME Church, a St. Julien family house, a Santee Canal lock, "Sarrazin house," a shanty, Somerset Plantation, Somerton Plantation, "Francis Marion spring," Springfield, Stoney Landing, Strawberry Chapel, Ten Mile Hill, Thoroughgood, Wadboo Barony, Wadboo bridge, Walnut Grove, Walworth, Wampee, Wampoolah, Wappetaw, Washington Plantation, the Whaley place, White Hall, Wiskinboo, Woodlawn, and Yeamans Hall.

Contributing Institution: 
Collection Media Types: 

William A. Rosenthall Judaica Collection - Prints and Photographs

Image appearing on the cover of the "Oh Fatherland Dearest" sheet music

Rabbi William A. Rosenthall's collection of Judaica prints and photographs. These images document the Jewish people: their lives, history, religious ceremonies, dress, and customs. Also included are Jewish New Year cards, caricatures, and clippings from Jewish journals and publications. Rosenthall was the rabbi at Charleston's Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim Synagogue from 1976 to 1992. He traveled extensively during his life and collected items related to Jewish life and culture.

Contributing Institution: 
Collection Media Types: 

Wilkinson-Keith Family Papers

Handwritten letter from John Keith to Magdelen Keith, 1863

The Wilkinson-Keith Family Papers consist of correspondence and other documents among the Wilkinson, Keith, Siegling, Haskell, and Marshall families and their friends dating from 1785 to 1920. The bulk of the correspondence dates from 1820 to 1890, a large portion of which chronicles Willis Keith’s experiences as a Confederate soldier in 1862-1863.

Antebellum correspondence discusses Charleston fires, great details of family illnesses and their cures, plantation life (more specifically, destruction/endurance of crops and treatment of slaves), and general details about everyday life. Civil War-era correspondence is largely concerned with battles and rumors of battles, descriptions of military preparations and blockades, the value of Confederate currency, debt, and family illnesses. Willis Keith’s correspondence discusses his experiences in specific battles, loss of troops, impressions of the war from his accompanying slave, Paris, and his comrades’ slaves, inquiries about life back home, and some political reflections and opinions on the Confederacy.


Post-Civil War correspondence consists mostly of communication between Alexander Marshall and his wife Magdalen Elizabeth Keith. This correspondence discusses many trips up and down the east coast, various problems with traveling, financial matters, and the 1886 Charleston earthquake.


In addition to correspondence, the Wilkinson-Keith Family Papers contain a number of diaries and other miscellaneous documents. There is a notebook (undated) used for “cookery” belonging to Elizabeth M. Marshall, wife of Reverend Alex W. Marshall, an album of colorful storybook pictures likely belonging to Aunt Nan Keith [Marshall] dated 1964, a printed diary of Rev. Isaac Chanler (1700-1749) with additional notes from 1920, Anna B. Wilkinson’s diary (1834), two diaries of Magdalen E. Keith (1865-1869 and 1868), and a pamphlet entitled “The Confederate Medical Officer in the Field.”


Other miscellaneous documents in the collection include telegraphs, legal documents, and genealogical information with a family tree of the Wilkinson, Keith, Siegling, Haskell, and Marshall families.


About the Family


The Wilkinson and Keith families merged in 1831 when Rev. Paul Trapier Keith (b. 1801) married Anna Bella Wilkinson (1809-1884). The Trapier (from his mother’s side) and Keith families had been living in the Georgetown area since well before the Revolutionary War. The antebellum correspondence in this collection consists mostly of Anna Bella’s correspondence with her parents, Eleanora Withers Wilkinson and Dr. Willis Wilkinson (b. ca. 1780), and her brothers and sisters, William, Sarah, Mary Wilkinson Memminger, and Virginia Wilkinson Belin. Later correspondence includes letters from her sons and daughters, Willis Wilkinson Keith (1839-1885), who served in the Confederate Army, Dr. John Alexander Wilkinson (1849-1901), Magdalen Elizabeth Wilkinson (“Maddie,” 1845-1919), Mary Pauline Wilkinson (“Mimmie”), and Paul Trapier Keith.


In 1868, Magdalen Elizabeth Keith married Alexander Washington Marshall (1845-1906). Most of the post-Civil War correspondence is between this couple, and some later letters are from their young children.


Contributing Institution: 
Collection Media Types: 

The Citadel and the American Civil War

First page of the Letters to C. Irvine Walker

As a Southern military college, The Citadel and its cadets were integrally involved in the events of the American Civil War. This collection includes first-person accounts of the Civil War period, in addition to a signed copy of the U.S. War Department orders to raise the flag at Fort Sumter at the conclusion of the War.

Contributing Institution: 
Collection Media Types: 

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 accessible online through the generous support of the National Historical Publications & Records Commission


Contributing Institution: 

Lynch Family Letters, 1858-1866

Handwritten letter from Bernard Lynch to Bp Patrick Lynch, April 5,  1858

From the Catholic Diocese of Charleston Archives comes this collection of correspondence to Bishop Patrick N. Lynch, Bishop of Charleston from 1858-1882. Spanning the years 1858-1866, these letters to the Bishop from his family touch on a variety of topics including Catholicism and convent life, the Civil War and slavery, and Southern life in the mid-19th century.

Contributing Institution: 
Collection Media Types: 

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.

Contributing Institution: 
Collection Media Types: 


Subscribe to Manuscripts