Avery Research Center

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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Friendly Moralist Society Records, 1841-1856

A handwritten page from the proceedings of the Friendly Moralist Society, 1841

The Friendly Moralist Society was a benevolent society for free brown (mulatto or mixed race) men established in Charleston, S.C. in 1838. This collection contains proceedings of their monthly meetings from 1841 to 1856, and the Absentee Book, showing member absent and for what reason, from 1842 to 1849.

The Proceedings section consists of minutes taken at organizational meetings from 1841 to 1856. These minutes offer insight into the conflict between free black and brown individuals at this time. Monthly minutes of May 1844 and Oct. 1848, for instance, detail the exclusion of prospective members for being black rather than brown and the Annual Day speech of 1848 addresses the issues of being colored versus black or white. This conflict and frequent issues with finances resulted in several schisms and mass resignations in the society and is mentioned in a brief history of the society in the Annual Day address of 1853.

The "Absentees Book" of the Friendly Moralist Society details member attendance from 1842 to 1849. Many of the entries are annotated frequently in pencil, providing explanation for member absences such as "sick", "out of town", or "not summoned", etc. It also notes fines levied for unexcused absences per society rules.

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