College of Charleston

William A. Rosenthall Judaica Collection - Postcards

Color postcard depicting the Cardiff United Synagogue, Wales

Rabbi William A. Rosenthall's collection of Judaica postcards. A particular collecting focus of Rosenthall was images of synagogues located around the globe, including European synagogues destroyed by the Nazis or converted to stables and warehouses. Also included are images of cemeteries, tombs, Jewish neighborhoods, and other Jewish sites of interest. 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.

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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.

 

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The Joseph Mordecai Hirschmann Collection

Watercolor painting of a harbor in Portofino, Italy, 1927

A Charlestonian who attended both the College of Charleston and the School of Architecture of the University of Pennsylvania, Joseph Mordecai Hirschmann practiced architecture with the New York firm of Walker and Gillette. His architectural training induced a special interest in old world buildings, and on his European holidays in 1924 and 1927 he made numerous sketches in watercolor, conte and pencil of buildings and ruins in Italy, France and North Africa. In addition to those sketches, this collection also includes numerous renderings of architectural details observed during those travels.

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Samuel Lord Hyde Photographs

Photo of two headstones - John Frierson and Rachel Frierson

Samuel Hyde was a photographer and amateur historian who lived in Charleston and in Summerville, S.C. He was the "chief cemetery investigator" for the South Carolina Public Service Authority during the creation of Lake Moultrie. This collection contains 2 groups of his photographs - 25 prints from the South Carolina Inter-State and West Indian Exposition taken in 1901-1902 when Hyde was a teenager., and approximately 100 images taken in 1939 in the area of Lake Moultrie during its construction.

 

The photographs of the Exposition depict buildings designed by Bradford Gilbert, a New York architect, and sculptures created by Louis C. Gudebrod, Charles Lopez, Carl Tefft, and Elsie Ward. The buildings in the photographs were located in present-day Hampton Park, and were temporary, made with wood frames covered with stucco and plaster mixed with jute. These buildings were destroyed after the Exposition.

 

The photographs from the vicinity of Lake Moultrie were taken in 1939 when Hyde was charged with cataloging and researching the graves that were moved prior to the lake's creation.. The subjects of these photographs include cabins, churches, cemeteries, the Santee Canal, and the construction of Lake Moultrie. At least ten different cabins appear to be represented, and they seem to contain one or two rooms. Some have clay chimneys and clapboard roofs. During construction of the lake, approximately 500 black families were relocated. It is likely that these cabins were located in the area now covered by Lake Moultrie.

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Roy S. MacElwee Collection

Black and white photo of a waterfront drive in Chicago, IL

Roy S. MacElwee was a planner who specialized in port development. He created a plan for the waterfront of Charleston in 1929. This collection is an oversized scrapbook of photographs and clippings about the design of waterfronts for cities worldwide. It includes 20 professionally made 8x10 photographs and several dozen pages of clippings, and an article on his plan for Charleston. Though most of the land was eventually reclaimed, no grand boulevard extends north of the Ashley River bridge today and MacElwee's vision of building "one of the most famous water front driveways in the world" was never realized.

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Mitchell King Atlas, 1662-1695

Map of Europe by Justus Danckerts, circa 1682-1695

This collection of 17th century world maps was published and printed by the Danckerts family, and was donated as a part of the Mitchell King Library. These 31 maps cover various countries in Europe, as well as the continents of Asia, Africa, and North and South America. The maps are by various cartographers including Visscher, Schagen, Overton, Ram, Blaeu, Broen, and Borgonio.

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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.

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Keystone View Company Lantern Slides, 1892-1912

Black and white photo of the Sphinx and the Second Pyramid, Gizeh, Egypt.

These lantern slides were produced for classroom use by the highly successful Education Department of the Keystone View Company. The slides cover a wide range of subject matter including scenes of industry, places of architectural or historical significance and places of natural beauty.

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Frank Fisher Notes, 1882-1902

Color print of page 1 of Frank Fisher's Notes, 1882-1902.

Frank R. Fisher's notes contain observations, drawings, and photographs relating to scientific studies, particularly astronomical observations made while Fisher was a resident in Charleston, S.C., during the 1880s. Fisher, a cashier at the South Carolina Railroad Company in Charleston, was an amateur scientist and inventor who occasionally worked in consultation with longtime College of Charleston professor Lewis R. Gibbes. Frank Fisher's notes also contain a lengthy analysis of the 1886 Charleston earthquake.

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