Founded in 1865, the Avery Normal Institute provided education and advocacy for the growing Charleston African American community and trained blacks for professional careers and leadership roles. Although the Institute closed its doors in 1954, it graduates preserved the legacy of their alma mater by establishing the Avery Institute of Afro-American History and Culture. This collection includes photographs of classes, extra-curricular activities, and reunions. Also, included are documents regarding activities presented and sponsored by the Avery Normal Institute.
Avery Research Center
Philip Simmons (1912-2009) was an African American blacksmith and artisan specializing in the craft of ironwork in Charleston, South Carolina. Simmons spent seventy-seven years crafting utilitarian and ornamental ironwork. His work is recognized within the state of South Carolina, nationally, and internationally. This collection, donated by the Philip Simmons Foundation, holds personal papers with photographs and business related documents from 1977-2007. The bulk of materials feature preparatory graphite drawings (originals and photocopies) of commissioned works and estimates of Simmons' decorative ironwork (1984-2004, and undated).
The William McCarthy and Martin Barbeau Collection is comprised of artifacts from various origin. The objects are primarily decorative currency, such as bracelets and anklets. Places of origin include Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire), Nigeria, Togo, Zambia, Niger, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, and Ghana.
The McLeod Plantation Cemetery Collection contains beads found in 1996 during the construction of a fire station in James Island, South Carolina. Construction of the fire station, which was to be located between Folly Road, Country Club Drive, and Wappoo Creek, was aborted when workers unearthed unmarked graves. The human bones found were believed to be the remains of slaves that had once lived on McLeod Plantation.
The Marie Metz Collection is comprised of three objects; a mantel clock, a xylophone, and a clock topper. The mantel clock has metal legs with markings that indicate that the clock was made in New York. The square xylophone has five plates, each producing a different tone. The clock topper is an ornamental figurine that is displayed atop a mantel or shelf clock. The female figure is seated beside a quiver of arrows and holds a box of jewels. Markings indicate the ornament was made by the Art Metal Works Company in New York, New York. Art Metal Works was established in New York City in 1886 and moved to Newark, New Jersey in 1887.
The Rogers-Cline Collection is comprised of two cast iron kitchenwares; a kettle and a cook pot. The cast iron kettle has a wire handle, the lid is imprinted "ROME GA SO -CO - OP F'DY - CO" (Southern Cooperative Foundry Company; Rome, Georgia). The six-gallon iron cook pot has two bail handles.
The Pan-African Art and Artifact Collection contains objects anonymously donated to the Avery Research Center that portray art and life among peoples of African descent across the world.
The Paul Craven, Jr. Collection is comprised of artifacts of Togo origin. The artifacts include wooden figurines, instruments, spears, household items, and woven straw fans adorned with the flag of Togo.
Historically known as "The Walter Pantovic Slavery Collection," these artifacts span the African American experience from slavery to the Civil Rights era to the rise of African Americans in popular culture. Walter Pantovic was born in Yugoslavia in 1965 and immigrated to the United States at the age of two. He became interested in African-American history in elementary school and in his adult life began collecting artifacts related to the subject. Highlighted items in his assembled collection include shackles, slave tags, and manillas along with 1960s Civil Rights ephemera and 1970s African-American pop culture memorabilia.
- Millicent E. Brown Papers, 1949 - 2003
- Anna D. Kelly Papers, 1930s - 1999
- Book Lovers' Club, 1927 - 1969
- YWCA of Greater Charleston, Inc., Records, 1906 - 2007
- Russell J. Arnsberger Postcard Collection
- Eugene C. Hunt Papers, 1834 - 1994
- St. Andrew's Society of Charleston Records, 1729-2001
- Eola Willis Cuban Photograph Collection, circa 1895-1910
- Charleston Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Papers, 1920-1995
- City Year Books for Charleston, South Carolina, 1880-1951
News & Events
- The "Eugene C. Hunt Papers, 1834 - 1994" Are Now Available for Research Use on the LCDL!
- The "Charleston Branch of the NAACP Papers" are Live on the LCDL!
- New! LDHI Publishes Online Exhibition about Civil Rights Leader Septima P. Clark
- Survey! Help Us Improve LCDL
- Accepting Applications for Temporary Staff Position at LCDL!
- Announcing a New Collection: "J. Arthur Brown Papers, 1937-1988"
- Additions to the “Cleveland L. Sellers, Jr. Papers, 1934-2003" Collection Now Available on the LCDL!
- The “Esau Jenkins Papers, 1963-2003” Collection Has Been Updated!