Manuscripts Division

at the South Caroliniana Library

A woman studies on the south side of library.Holdings of Manuscripts Division include letters, diaries, and other unpublished papers of families and individuals; genealogical collections; broadsides; plantation account books; non-USC dissertations dealing with S.C. history; and information collected by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), regarding folklore, local history, etc. The Division also holds records of churches, clubs, and other organizations, as well as business records of small country stores, large textile mills, and other concerns.

Additional description available in the Annual Programs and the publication:A Guide to the Manuscript Collection of the South Caroliniana Library (1982), by Dr. Allen H. Stokes. For more information, please contact Graham Duncan at or call (803) 777-5183.

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Manuscripts Division, Holdings

Account Books
Account books are evocative documents for discerning the economic patterns of a region and for providing evidence about the lives of individual buyers and sellers.

These volumes document various types and practices of accounts-keeping and include cash books, daybooks, journals, ledgers, and registers.

These volumes may be included as part of a larger collection, or catalogued individually. For examples, in the library catalog select a TITLE search for:

Account book

Select KEYWORD search for:

account ADJ book


Broadsides publicize political concerns of the day, or suggest the popular entertainments and leisure pursuits available at a given place and time.
For examples, TITLE search for:

Hands off! [1876 June1]

Dixiegop party : [broadside] ; [1952]

First Night of the New Orleans English Opera Company! : 1859

Or KEYWORD search for:


For more information, consult Southeastern broadsides before 1877; A Bibliography. (edited by Ray O. Hummel, Jr.)

Browse the web version of USC's online catalog, to learn more about the holdings of South Caroliniana Library (SCL) and the University Libraries. To search for descriptions of these materials, use the pull-down menu to limit the search to SCL holdings only. Most collections will include one of these words in the title: papers or letter or records.

For example, to find primary sources re sale or cultivation of cotton, paste in a KEYWORD search using following command:

A search for cotton AND papers locates manuscripts collections in which term "cotton" appears.

A search for african AND american? AND papers identifies manuscripts items in which term African preceedes American or Americans.

New acquisitions now appear in the online catalog. Detailed descriptions of collections acquired prior to 1993 can be found in the card catalog. Recent acquisitions appear in our annual publication known as the University South Caroliniana Society Progam. A complete run of this title is available in the Manuscripts Division Reading Room for years 1937-2003, and on the web dating to 1993 to the present.

Church Records
In addition to original and transcribed church records, SCL holds a survey of church archives conducted by the WPA during the 1930s. These brief questionaires contain basic information on founders, buildings, and location of extant church records at that time. For more information, see Manuscripts on Microfilm.

In the catalog, use an AUTHOR or SUBJECT search in under name of congregation:

First Baptist Church (Camden, S.C.)

Use a SUBJECT search under denomination followed by name of state:

Baptists--South Carolina--Camden.

Master's theses and doctoral dissertations completed elsewhere that pertain to South Carolina history can be studied in the Manuscripts Division and are searchable in the catalog.

For an example, see:

Geographic studies in Orangeburg County, South Carolina by Walter William Ristow (Clark University, 1937)

If using a computer on the USC campus you may search Dissertations Abstracts International for more information, and an abstract if published since 1987.

Finding Aids
Finding aids available include calendars, container lists, collection guides, and narrative descriptions, including alphabetical and chronological card catalogs. These finding aids serve as an efficient "road maps" to the collections, and frequently provide item- or folder-level description of a given subject.

See list of selected SCL finding aids.

Visit the reading room for a complete list of available finding aids.

The Division holds many unpublished genealogical files documenting connections among families of South Carolina and beyond. Frequently consulted research files include the genealogical collections of Leonardo Andrea, Bessie Lee Garvin, and Louise K. Crowder. For other collections, see SCL's list of Finding Aids. For a complete list of historical and genealogical organizations, maps, county data, historical documents, and related information about South Carolina, visit the S.C. genealogical resources page maintained by

A microficheindex to W.P.A. cemetery inscriptions is available in the repository.Other finding aids to search include the surname index to the Leonardo Andrea collection, and lists of cemetery records held by the Library. For more information, consult Richard N. Côté's Local and Family History in South Carolina: A Bibliography (1981). Although the Library staff cannot undertake genealogical searches for users, a list of researchers for hire is available upon request.

Related information about many of the people and events discussed in the manuscript holdings at SCL can be found in various government documents available at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, which offers unpublished state and county records, census schedules, wills, inventories, court minutes and other useful material.

Manuscripts on Microfilm
Dissertations completed at other universities are listed in the catalog, however, many other Manuscripts on Microfilm do not yet appear in the catalog but will be found in the reading room of Manuscripts Division, such as the American Missionary Association papers, 1862-1884 (R-337 a-f), a collection documenting the establishment of schools and churches for freedmen.

In the catalog, select a TITLE search for:

Records of Ante-Bellum Southern Plantations from the Revolution through the Civil War [available on R-1068 a- and R-1069 ]

General Education Board archives. Series 1, Appropriations. Subseries 1, The early southern program [microform] [available on R-1280 through R-1288+1 vol.]

Recent Acquisitions
SCL's friends of the library organization (known as the University South Caroliniana Society) publishes a detailed description of selected gifts of recently acquired Manuscript and Pictorial South Caroliniana.

Printed copies of this annual publication are available in the Manuscripts Division Reading Room for the years 1937 to 2003. The web version currently covers the years 1993 to the present.

USC History
Consult the USC Archives for Presidents' records of the past century.
Other USC administrative records appear in the catalog.

Select a SUBJECT or an AUTHOR search for:

University of South Carolina. President.

University of South Carolina. Provost.

Records of several USC presidents of the 19th century may be found under search of personal names in Manuscripts Division. Select a TITLE search for:

Jonathan Maxcy papers, 1812-1943

Additional USC history may be found using the following SUBJECT searches:

University of South Carolina--Students--History--19th century.

University of South Carolina--Faculty.

Manuscripts Division also holds brief biographical sketches, some annotated, of 19th century students and alumni of South Carolina College, collected by Prof. Andrew Charles Moore for his 1905 publication, Roll of Students...

W.P.A. Records
Records of the Works Progress Adminstration's housed at SCL include church, institutional, and business records, and such personal records as letters and diaries.

The W.P.A. Inventory of Church Archives historical data survey sheetsare available to researchers in microfiche format. An index to the Inventory of Church Archives is included in Richard N.Côté's Local and Family History in South Carolina:A Bibliography (1981). Records of the W.P.A. Federal Writers'Project, indexed via a separate card catalog in the Manuscripts Division, include oral history interviews, ex-slave narratives,county tours, and other materials documenting the folklore andcultural diversity of the Palmetto State.

Many of the WPA interviews with former slaves have been transcribed, indexed, and published. To find these in the catalog, select a SUBJECT search for

Slavery--United States--Personal narratives

Many other SC narratives are available online from other universities and at LC's American Memory Project: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938

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