In 2008, Curtis J. Franks travelled to West Africa as a participant in the Fulbright-Hays program under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Education to explore historical and cultural connections between people of African descent in the Lowcountry and Africans in the Mano River Region (Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and the Ivory Coast), where the artifacts in this collection were acquired.
Avery Research Center
Dr. Elizabeth Clarice Hall (1946-2005) was born in Albany, Georgia. She earned a B.S. in Biology from Ursinus College in 1968, then an M.S. and Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from Florida State University in 1971 and 1973. The artifacts in this collection were assembled from Dr. Hall's various trips to Africa.
The George Pope collection contains Nigerian artifacts acquired while Mr. Pope, former U.S. State Department employee, was stationed in the country.
Nike Olaniyi [Okundaye] Davies (1951- ) is an internationally known artist and textile designer from Nigeria. She founded and runs the Nike Center for Art and Culture in Oshogbo [Osogbo], Nigeria, which offers art classes to local youth free of charge. Davies' work has been exhibited in museums internationally and she has received considerable recognition for her efforts in the development of Nigerian art and culture.
The Leo S. Carty Watercolor Print collection contains nine signed and number prints by Leo S. Carty (1931-2010). The primary focus of Carty's paintings are the daily life of blacks in the Virgin Islands at the turn of the 20th century.
Leo S. Carty (1931-2010) was born in Harlem, New York on April 17, 1931. He became interested in art at a young age and at the age of ten received a scholarship to attend the Museum of Modern Art School for Children. In 1976, he moved to St. Croix, Virgin Islands where he lived until his death. His art often portrays daily life and incorporates history, focusing on the Virgin Islands.
The Johannah Gold collection contains objects from Mrs. Gold's family relating to the history of farming in the Lowcountry.
The Coards Studio was a photography studio owned and operated by Joseph and Rachel Coards in Charleston, South Carolina. Coards photographed African American families and individuals in the studio and various events and groups outside of the studio, such as graduations, weddings, and other ceremonies. The studio, located at 78 Line Street, closed in the late 20th century.
The Avery Sweetgrass Basket Collection holds significant modern examples of a centuries-old craft. Following African traditions, baskets of coiled grasses were originally produced by slaves on Lowcountry plantations for agricultural use. Over time, sweetgrass baskets have become artistic expressions that retain the African aesthetic -- a symbol of African American culture and a signature of the Lowcountry region. Alongside the baskets, the Avery Research Center has gathered visual and oral histories of the modern basketmakers and their families.
The Catherine and James Yatsco Collection contains artifacts collected in West Africa in the 1970s and 1980s. During 1971-1973, Captain James C. Yatsco was stationed in Monrovia, Liberia, under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), where he helped manage the pharmacy in a newly-built hospital. Catherine Yatsco taught high school English to a mixture of Liberian children and the children of foreign diplomats at the American Cooperative School in Monrovia. While living in Liberia, the couple often traveled to the northern part of the country and other parts of West Africa. Destinations included Phebe Hospital near Gbarnga, Bong County; Ganta Hospital in Ganta, Nimba County, near the Guinea border; and Abidjan, Ivory Coast. In 1982, Captain Yatsco spent time in Gambia distributing pharmaceuticals for AfriCare. During this time, he made additional trips to Freetown, Sierra Leone and Monrovia, Liberia.
Donated by Dr. Lois Fries, these artifacts were collected in the early 1920s by Reverend Robert and Jennie Oberly. The Reverend and his wife were missionaries to Liberia for the United Lutheran Church.
African American anthropologist Joseph Allen Towles (1937-1988) met British anthropologist Colin Macmillan Turnbull (1924-1994) in 1959. The two exchanged marriage vows in 1960 and they lived together in an interracial, homosexual relationship until Towles' death in 1988. Towles and Turnbull spent various periods of time in Africa, conducting fieldwork on the Mbuti, Mbo, and Ik peoples. Turnbull authored The Forest People, The Mountain People, The Human Cycle, and Tibet. Turnbull succeeding in publishing Towles' work posthumously: Nkumbi Initiation and Asa: Myth of Origin of the Blood Brotherhood Among the Mbo of the Ituri Forest. Both Towles and Turnbull died from complications related to AIDS.
The collection contains eight different series of materials that document various aspects of the lives and careers, both separately and together, of Colin Turnbull and Joseph Towles. Anthropological research files focus mostly on their field work on the Mbuti and Mbo pygmies of the Congo area and the Ik of Uganda. Professional papers document their work in academic and museum settings. There are personal papers of their domestic life; fictional writings of Joseph Towles; a professional and personal photograph series; personal and professional films and audio tape, including materials documenting their African fieldwork and association with the camp of Patrick and Anne Putnam; slides documenting African fieldwork and travels; and a series documenting the collection itself. Despite the fact the majority of materials document the life and achievements of Colin Turnbull, this collection, holding both Turnbull's and Joseph Towles' papers, is named for Joseph Towles at Turnbull's request. There is also a separate collection of African, religious, and domestic artifacts collected by them.
- William ("Bill") Saunders Papers, circa 1950 - 2004
- Edisto Island Historic Preservation Society Oral Histories
- 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
News & Events
- Announcing the Completion of our NHPRC Grant!
- 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!