Aerial drawing of South Carolina University campus, 1911

Slavery at South Carolina College, 1801–1865:

The Foundations of the University of South Carolina

Sources: Buildings

The two most integral sources to any study of the building history of South Carolina College are Edwin Green’s History of the Buildings of the University of South Carolina (1916) and John Bryan’s Architectural History of the South Carolina College (1976). Each of these sources contains specific information about the architects and contractors as well as major events (e.g. fires, earthquakes, demolition) that affected campus buildings. The website Evolution of a Campus: Expansion and Demolition from 1801 to 2008, hosted by the University Archives, offers a brief photographic history of the changes on campus.

To help integrate the story of slavery with the building histories offered by these secondary sources, primary research was essential. University of South Carolina Archives houses the board of trustees’ minutes and treasurers’ records, which were especially valuable. The South Carolina Department of Archives & History’s digital collections referencing South Carolina College contained building contracts, as well as some information about specific slaves. Census records, particularly the 1850 and 1860 slave schedules, were particularly useful for researching individual contractors. Although they do not exist for Columbia before 1884, Sanborn fire-insurance maps were an essential resource for learning the details of location, size, and material construction of the outbuildings on campus.