The Caroliniana Library

Sugar’s always got a plan. Sometimes I think it’s a guy thing.

Regardless, he has deep roots here, and mostly I’m along for the ride.  I suppose it’s like I’m his personal historian, even though he’s the history major.  His intent on going to the Caroliniana Library is to view the Lawton Papers, most specifically the Benjamin Spicer Stafford reminiscences.


The gray area on the left of the photo is a column. It’s not possible to get the entire façade of the building into one photo. At least my skills don’t make it possible.





The central portion of this structure is the oldest freestanding college library in the

United States and has served continuously as a library since its completion in 1840.  It is

based upon design elements by South Carolina native and nineteenth-century federal

architect Robert Mills.  Its reading room was inspired by Charles Bulfinch’s 1818 design

for the US Capitol’s Library of Congress room, which was destroyed by fire in 1851.


Known only as the College Library for its first 100 years, wings designed by architect

J. Carroll Johnson were added in 1927.  When a larger main library was erected in 1940,

this building became a repository for published and unpublished materials relating to the

history, geography, literature, and culture of South Carolina.  It was named the South

Caroliniana Library – the term “Caroliniana” meaning “things pertaining to Carolina.”

We signed ourselves into the guest book, and chatted with some of the librarians who were quite familiar with the Lawton holdings.  One librarian inquired after Thomas Oregon Lawton, asking after his health, because he hadn’t been seen in a few years, but had been quite an active researcher.  The Mr. Lawton in question is actually now deceased, but was remembered fondly by the staff.

So they were happy to take up some Lawton conversation.  After we viewed the card catalog, and decided where we wanted to begin, like, ummm, in the beginning, we were given a roll of microfilm with the earliest records, and another one with the Benjamin Spicer Stafford memoirs, to take upstairs to another section of the library where the microfilm readers were.

There were court documents, and maps, and too, too much for us to take in at one sitting.  And that was only one roll of microfilm.  We decided to review the Stafford papers, and Sugar made a plan about which pages he wanted copied.

Fifty.  Only Fifty.  (Once he actually received them in the mail, he wanted the remaining pages about where the Staffords moved west out of South Carolina.)

We were told downstairs that there is a microfilm reader that will allow you to save to a thumb drive, which I just happened to have, but the librarian upstairs didn’t ask us if we wanted that machine, and we didn’t know to ask.

We decided that it’s an easy day trip to get back to do more research, and we found some lunch, and we headed home.

(Ask me if we’ve been back yet.  Nope, dogs and cats and life got in the way.)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: