College of Charleston

John Henry Dick Collection

"Artist Naturalist" is how Dick described himself in his autobiographical book entitled Other Edens (1979). He established a reputation as one of the leading bird painters in the United States when he illustrated the Warblers of America (edited by Ludlow Griscom and Alexander Sprunt, Jr., 1957). He painted approximately 2,500 separate birds for the Pictorial Guide to the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent with a text by Salim Ali and S. Dillon Ripley (1983). He painted about 600 birds for the Birds of China by Rodolphe Meyer de Schauensee (1984). He used a variety of techniques to create ink drawings with striking compositions for numerous books and articles published between 1949 and 1984. He took approximately 8,000 photographs of professional quality while travelling in more than 50 countries to study and photograph birds and other animals in wilderness settings. He assembled one of the finest private collections of rare bird books and contributed them to the College of Charleston together with his papers and his wildlife preserve, Dixie Plantation.

The photographs consist of four separate groups: color slides (approx. 8,000), separate prints made largely from slides (approx. 1,000), scrapbooks with mainly color prints (18 vols.), and misc. photographs of family and friends (approx. 500). The slides are a comprehensive records of the wildlife he saw primarily during extended trips to Africa (10 trips from 1956-1985, particularly to Kenya) and India (6 trips from 1962-1984). He also made extended trips to Antartica (2 trips in 1967 and 1975), Brazil (1980), China (1983), Costa Rica (2 trips in 1960 and 1981), the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador (2 trips in 1962 and 1973), Greenland (1974), Guatemala (1976), Mexico (1977), Nepal (1984), Canada (1975 and 1981), New Guinea (1972), Panama (1971), and Trinidad (1976).

In addition, he took hundreds of photographs on trips throughout the United States, including numerous trips to Florida, lengthy visits to the Southwest, annual bird counts on Bull's Island, and annual fishing trips to Maine and adjacent areas. Eighteen volumes of scrapbooks consist primarily of color photographs taken on trips from 1953-1970: Two volumes document his travels to Europe and elsewhere from 1953-1961 and include photographs of water birds seen at the Severn Wildlife Trust in England. Two volumes are devoted to his first trip to the Galapagos (1962). One volume is on Alaska (1963), four volumes on East Africa (1964-1967), one on Tierra del Fuego ( Argentina and Chile) and Antartica (1967), and one on islands in the Indian Ocean (1970). Seven scrapbooks are devoted exclusively to birds, and birds often occur in the other scrapbooks along with mammals, scenery, architecture, traveling companions, etc. Photographs taken after 1970 are in ten loose-leaf binders.

In 1983 Dick planned to prepare a book of photographs, and he had several hundred cibachrome enlargements made from his best slides, but increasing blindness prevented the completion of this project. Although many of his photographs have been exhibited, almost none have been published.

The personal photographs include pictures of Dick as a child, two photo albums of a family trip to France and Italy in c. 1927; the Dick family estate at Islip, Long Island; portrait photographs of Dick in a complete set of passports from 1937-1986; photos of his parents and siblings (William K. Dick, an industrialist and banker, and Madeline T. Force Dick, widow of John Jacob Astor and Dick's wife from 1916-1933; his brother William Force Dick; his stepmother Virginia C. Dick and her and his father's children, Direxa V. Dick and Will K. Dick); classmates at Yale Art School, which he attended in 1939 and 1940; early photos of Dixie Plantation (Meggett, SC), which his mother acquired as a winter home in 1935 and which he inherited and made his residence from 1947-1995; photos of friends and guests at Dixie; of rare birds raised at Dixie; of traveling companions including David A. Garrity, William C. Coleman, Elliott Hudson, Robert Verity Clem, and Gertrude Legendre.

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Jewish Heritage Collection Oral Histories

Jewish Heritage Collection Oral Histories

The Jewish Heritage Collection Oral Histories, archived in Special Collections at the College of Charleston’s Addlestone Library, offer an inside perspective on the lives of Jewish residents of South Carolina’s cities and small towns. The majority of interviews focus on first- and second-generation Americans of the twentieth century, and address topics such as immigration, assimilation, antisemitism, making a living, and religious life. The collection also includes interviews with survivors of the Holocaust and liberators of the camps at the end of World War II, as well as a variety of presentations and panel discussions that cover subjects relevant to the history of Jewish South Carolinians. For interviews not yet online, go to jhc.cofc.edu to see a complete list of oral histories available in Special Collections.

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Jewish Heritage Collection - Personal Papers

Black and white photo of two men standing beside the grave of Moshe Yidel Gelbar

This collection is comprised of born-digital and digitized material from individual and family collections from the Jewish Heritage Collection. Most of these digital objects are part of larger manuscript collections held in the College of Charleston’s Special Collections Department. Finding aids for these collections can be located by searching the College of Charleston online catalog.

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Irish Volunteers Company records, 1798-1929

Cover of a pamphlet commemorating the Irish Volunteers Memorial Meeting.

Organized in Charleston, South Carolina about 1798, the Irish Volunteers Company was first on active service in the War of 1812 where they served on patrol and constructed defenses. This collection contains typescript copies of "The History of the Irish Volunteers Company" (1798-1836) and minutes from organizational meetings from 1884-1901 and 1915-1929. Also included is a pamphlet commemorating memorial meetings in 1877.

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Heyward and Ferguson family papers, 1806-1923

Handwritten letter from William Henry Heyward to James B. Heyward, 1844.

The collection consists of business correspondence, plantation records, slave lists, military documents, accounting records, legal documents and Civil War letters of the Heyward and Ferguson families of the Combahee, Savannah, and Cooper Rivers in the Low Country near Charleston, South Carolina. The letters date between 1806 and 1923, but the bulk of the correspondence is from the antebellum period. Much of the collection is family correspondence between Nathaniel Heyward (1766-1851), his wife Henrietta Manigault Heyward (1769-1827), their sons Nathaniel Heyward (1790-1819) and William Manigault Heyward (1789-1820), and their grandsons James Barnwell Heyward (1817-1886), Nathaniel Barnwell Heyward (1816-1891) and William Henry Heyward (1817-1889).

 

The letters regard a variety of subjects, including rice cultivation along the Combahee and Savannah Rivers, land purchases, and travels in Europe. The collection also includes property records, including information on the sale and purchase of slaves, the plantation records for Myrtle Grove Plantation for 1848-1852, a list of slave names and numbers for Rotterdam, Hamburgh, Amsterdam, and Fife Plantations for 1852, and a list of items, such as blankets and tools, that were given to slaves. In addition to these records, the correspondence includes contracts and correspondence belonging to Thomas B. Ferguson (1841-1922). This portion of the collection contains contracts with overseers, tenants, and freedmen. It also includes correspondence concerning Dean Hall and Dockon Plantations near the Cooper River. A portion of the collection consists of Civil War letters concerning the death of Nathaniel Augustus Heyward in 1862 at the Second Battle of Manassas, and the Confederate service of Francis William Heyward (1844-1907), Thomas B. Ferguson (1841-1922), and Samuel Wragg Ferguson (1834-1917), Confederate general and aide-de-camp to General Beauregard.

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Eighteenth & Nineteenth Century Correspondence Collection

Handwritten letter from John Vaughan to Philip Tidyman, dated Dec.11, 1801.

This growing collection features correspondence from the eighteenth and nineteenth century chosen from the College of Charleston's Special Collections holdings. It includes two letters written by Dr. John Vaughan of Philadelphia to Philip Tidyman, discussing smallpox vaccines. Also featured is a letter from Frederick Garrissen of Germany to Charleston merchant William Stephen requesting that Stephen ship goods to Europe, as supplies were limited due to war.

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College of Charleston Scrapbooks and Photo Albums

Autographed photo of Geraldine Farrar from 1918.

This collection highlights various albums and scrapbooks housed in the Special Collections department of the College of Charleston library.

Currently the collection includes the Byrnes Downs Garden Club Scrapbook, a European Photo Album, and the Frank Connor Photographic Collection.

The Byrnes Downs Garden Club Scrapbook collection consists of a scrapbook documenting the history, projects, and activities of the Byrnes Downs Garden Club from 1948 to 1953. The scrapbook contains photographs, newspaper clippings, typed histories and explanatory notes, year books including the organizations constitution and membership lists (1948-1953), programs and awards from special events, and one map of metropolitan Charleston from 1945 that details neighborhoods.

The European Photo Album contains 101 black and white photographs of historic sites, artwork and landscapes from Antwerp, Paris, Trianon, Versailles and London. The bulk of the photographs are of Paris and its various sites. The compiler of the album is unknown. Slipped inside the back of the album is a map of Venice, a plan of the second floor of the Louvre and a map showing the layout of Versailles. The photographs were taken in the 1890s.

The Frank Connor Photographic Collection includes 69 black and white photographs and postcards of actors and singers and one theatre program collected by Frank Connor, an actor who appeared with many of the people shown. The majority of the photographs are signed studio portraits, with the subjects often appearing in theatrical costume.

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College of Charleston Oral Histories

Photo of Randolph Hall and the cistern yard at College of Charleston.

The College of Charleston Oral Histories collection seeks to preserve the history and culture of the South Carolina lowcountry through recorded interviews with area residents. Currently highlighted are interviews with production managers, directors, performers and behind-the-scenes contributors from Spoleto Festival, USA in Charleston, SC.

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