Avery Research Center

Joseph and Rachel Coards Photography Collection

Joseph and Rachel Coards Photography Collection

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.

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Avery Research Center Sweetgrass Basket Collection

Avery Research Center Sweetgrass Basket Collection

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.

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Catherine and James Yatsco Collection

Catherine and James Yatsco Collection

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.

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Joseph A. Towles Artifact Collection

Joseph A. Towles Artifact Collection

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.

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Craft and Crum Families, 1780-2007

Craft and Crum Families, 1780-2007

The collection of artifacts pertaining tot he Craft and Crum families of the Lowcountry includes a myriad of materials; photo albums, letters, account books, and land deeds. The Craft Family Photo Album includes images of Craft family members, famous abolitionists, and other family friends, many of international historical significance. Also included in the collection are legal documents pertaining to the family land, Woodville Plantation.

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Cleveland L. Sellers, Jr. Papers, 1934-2003

Cleveland L. Sellers, Jr. Papers, 1934-2003

Cleveland Sellers, Jr. (born 1944), an African American from Denmark, South Carolina, was a participant and leader of a variety of student, civil rights, leftist, and Pan African movements in the 1960s and 1970s. Sellers alone was indicted and convicted for inciting a riot during the Orangeburg Massacre, in which three students of South Carolina State University died and many others were wounded; Sellers was later pardoned.

The Cleveland L. Sellers, Jr. Papers is comprised of papers relating to the Orangeburg Massacre, February 5-8, 1968. Included in the collection is a poem, a collection of Western Union telegrams, press releases, a fact sheet created by the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, flyers, photographs, and a resolution from the Student Legislative Council of the University of California at Los Angeles demanding that the perpetrators of the violence that took place at Orangeburg be brought to justice. Additionally, the collection reflects Cleveland L. Sellers, Jr.'s role in a variety of student, civil rights, leftist, and Pan African movements in the 1960s and 1970s; other materials documenting his personal, academic, and professional life. Personal correspondence (1960s-1990s) include 1968 letters from jail, with some mentions of Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) and events, legal problems and pardon relating to the Orangeburg Massacre. Materials on the Orangeburg Massacre include photocopies of court papers, Sellers' appeal to the South Carolina Supreme Court (circa 1970) and clippings and responses regarding the event. Affiliations includes Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) papers (1960-1997, bulk 1960s), All African Revolutionary People's Party materials (1972- 1989, bulk 1970s), materials documenting various African countries and movements, organizations involved in Black Power and Pan Africa movements and Civil Rights. School-related organizations include the Student Organization for Black Unity (SOBU), various black student groups from a number of American colleges and universities, with significant data (1969-1971) regarding the founding, organization, and administration of Malcolm X Liberation University. Also included are various drafts of Sellers' dissertation on the Civil Rights movement from 1954-1968. Printed materials include miscellaneous clippings from a variety of sources and newsletters from various organizations, as well as scattered publications. Photographs of Cleveland Sellers and others are also included.

This collection was digitized and made freely accessible online through the generous support of the National Historical Publications & Records Commission.

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Miriam DeCosta Seabrook and Herbert U. Seabrook Papers, 1882-1995

Miriam Decosta

This collection includes correspondence, certificates, photographs, and other materials related to Miriam DeCosta Seabrook's education at Avery Institute and elsewhere, teaching career, and civic involvement; correspondence, speeches, and reports related to Dr. Herbert Seabrook, Sr.'s community and fraternal affiliations and to his medical career as a private practitioner and director of the Hospital and Training School for Nurses; and correspondence, memorabilia, and financial documents related to the marriage of Miriam and Herbert Seabrook. The collection also contains correspondence, photographs, and other materials related to their son, Dr. Herbert Seabrook, Jr.  Amerintha Alston Seabrook, Kenneth Seabrook, and other Seabrook family members are also represented. The collection also contains scrapbooks and photographs of Miriam DeCosta Seabrook's relatives, the DeCosta family of Charleston, South Carolina.

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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

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Holloway Family Collection

Black and white photograph of James Holloway.

This collection containes a scrapbook, compiled by James H. Holloway (1849-1913), which contains legal documents, personal and business correspondence, receipts, ephemera, clippings and photographs pertaining to the Holloway family, a prominent free family of color in Charleston, SC. Legal documents include deeds (1806, 1821, 1871), a conveyance (1811), slave bills of sale including one for the slave "Betty" (1829), an agreement (1829) to apprentice the slave boy Carlos in the carpenters and house joiner's trade, exhorter licenses to preach and a photograph of a 1797 document declaring patriarch Richard Holliday (Holloway) a free mulatto. Personal and business correspondence include letters concerning the hiring out of slaves, an offer (1837) to buy the "Holloway Negroes", a letter (1831) from Samuel Benedict about emigrating to Liberia, agreements for carpentry work, and information about the Brown Fellowship Society, the Century Fellowship Society, the Minors Moralist Society and the Bonneau Literary Society. Also included are invitations, Confederate and corporate tax receipts, receipts for general merchandise, and Confederate scrip. Other letters and newspaper clippings, including letters to the editor written by James H. Holloway, concern Negro taxes, Negro slaveholders, the Liberia movement, the Methodist Episcopal Church, civil rights and related topics. James H. Holloway's niece, Mae Holloway Purcell, preserved the scrapbook after his death and added to its contents. The bound scrapbook was microfilmed by the South Caroliniana Library in 1977 but was later disbound and reorganized. Using the microfilm as a guide, archivists at the Avery Research Center attempted to recreate the original order and this digital presentation of the scrapbook reflects those efforts.

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