Photograph of DeSaussure College

Slavery at South Carolina College, 1801–1865:

The Foundations of the University of South Carolina

DeSaussure College, 1809

Detail of DeSaussure College from 1884 Sanborn Map
DeSaussure College, 1884 Sanborn Map, SCL

Although commissioned in 1803 with the South Building [Rutledge], work on the North Building did not begin until two years later. Contractor Richard Clarke designed South and North buildings as mirror images. The trustees were shocked by Clarke’s fees and their dispute delayed completion of the building until 1809. Eli Killian, a local contractor who owned four male slaves, repaired the roof in 1843. Six years later, J. N. Scofield was hired to remove and rebuild the deteriorated south wall and interior of the central building. In 1850, the roof of the west wing caught on fire. It is likely that college slaves were enlisted to help put out the blaze. Killian and Fry were hired to rebuild the west wing, and by the end of the decade, the college hired another firm to renovate the east wing. Slaves who worked at the hospital were quartered—and occasionally held midnight dances—in one of the wings of DeSaussure during the Civil War. In 1884, a one-story frame shed, which may have been an adapted slave quarter, still stood behind the dormitory.

Detail of DeSaussure College from bird's-eye drawing of Columbia, 1872
Bird’s-eye view of DeSaussure College, 1872, LOC
Photograph of DeSaussure College, 1885
DeSaussure College, 1885, SCL
Artists' recreation of DeSaussure College, 1976
Artists’ recreation of DeSaussure College (drawn by John Califf and Wayne Young), 1976, SCL