Image from Presbyterian College Pac Sac, 1916

e from Presbyterian College Pac Sac, 1916


1880 - 1915

Recitation Hall

Recitation Hall

The original library collection at Presbyterian College was maintained by the Eukosmian Literary Society.  In 1895, prompted by a large gift of books from J.R. Blake of Greenwood, the college took over the collection. It was housed in Recitation Hall, the original college building, which was located on the present-day Thornwell campus. During these early years, Prof. W.S. Bean served as part-time librarian.

The library was moved to the Administration Building (now Neville Hall), in 1908. The collection, which numbered over 5000 books, was one of the largest of any church college in the country. That same year, the college started to fund library operations, and allotted approximately $100 annually for such things as equipment and a card file. Beginning in 1913, students were charged a $1.00 library fee each year to help underwrite the budget.


1916 - 1937

In 1916 the library was moved into the newly constructed Jacobs Hall. There it shared space with science classrooms and labs and a basketball court. The new facility provided over 4000 square feet of library space, which served both the college and the community. The budget was also increased, with $1000 per year being provided for operating costs. In 1916 Rev. S.C. Caldwell replaced Prof. Bean as the librarian. He in turn was replaced by Henry M. Brimm, who served until 1925.  Mr. Brimm was later the librarian at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond.  At the time of his departure, the library contained over 10,000 volumes.

Professor Bean

Prof. W.S. Bean


Jacbos Hall

Jacobs Hall



Henry Brimm

In 1923 Prof. F. Dudley Jones began a process that would result in one of the library's most significant collections.  He gathered all of the volumes on the history and literature of South Carolina into one single collection of Caroliniana.  He later added to these materials his own personal library. Later gifts by his daughter, Louise Jones Dubose, and PC alumnus J. Isaac Copeland have made the Jones South Carolina Collection a significant resource for the study of South Carolina history.


When Henry Brimm left PC, he was replaced by Helen Lane Comfort. When she left in 1928, she was succeeded by Willard Jones, who served until 1941. Jones, who was responsible for a significant re-organization of the library collection, also served as the college's alumni secretary. In 1929, he accepted yet another significant gift for the library from Pelzer industrialist Ellison Adger Smyth. This important group of materials includes several hundred books on the history, development, and culture of South Carolina, many of them quite rare. The library collection increased yet again when Rev. W.I. Sinnott gave over 9000 volumes, as well as thousands of unbound pamphlets and magazines, in 1937.


F. Dudley Jones

1938 - 1973


The increasing size of the collection, as well as the resulting increased use by students and citizens of Clinton, caused severe overcrowding in Jacobs Hall.  In addition, students studying in the library were constantly disturbed by classes and other activities held in the building. In 1938 the college deeded a lot on the corner of Broad Street to the city of Clinton. The city then applied for federal funds to finance construction of a building under the Works Progress Administration. When it opened in 1942, the new building functioned as a joint college-community library. The combined collections numbered over 25,000 volumes.




Willard Jones resigned his post to join the armed forces, and was replaced by acting librarian J. Isaac Copeland.  After serving for several years, Copeland left the college; he was later to become director of the Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina. In 1945 he was replaced by Marian Burts, who was to work in the library until 1975, spending her final seven years as the periodicals librarian.


Marian Burts


Lennart Pearson


1974 - Present


By the late 1960s, the library contained 63,000 volumes, and was again experiencing growing pains. Discussions were begun which were to lead to the construction of a new library facility. At this same time, the college hired Lennart Pearson of Union Theological Seminary as the new librarian. PC also bought out the city's share in the library, enabling the city to build its own library, and the college to pursue its own plans. After several years of planning and construction, the James H. Thomason Library was dedicated in 1974.


Funded by a large gift from Laurens County native James H. Thomason and his wife, Sarah, the new facility provided space for over 175,000 volumes. The Eugene T. Wilson Learning Center, located on the ground floor, provided a small auditorium, audio-visual facilities, and teaching resources for elementary, secondary, special, and Christian education. The Dillard-Elliott Room on the second floor, which memorializes James Dillard, an early Laurens County physician, and Charles B. Elliott, a Columbia attorney, houses the Smyth Collection and parts of the Jones South Carolina Collection.


Dr. Pearson retired as director of the library in 1997. He was replaced by Dr. N. Douglas Anderson.  Following Dr. Anderson's resignation, he was replaced by David Chatham in 2004.  By that time, after serving the college so well for 30 years, the Thomason Library was again in need of expansion. That year, ground was broken for a 15,000 square foot addition to provide additional study space and larger facilities for archives and special collections and the media center.  A significant part of this new addition, named the Russell-Arnold Archives, was made possible by a gift from Ernest and Frances Arnold.  Part of this new facility was dedicated in March of 2006, with other phases to be completed later.


Nancy Griffith

Archives & Special Collections

James H. Thomason Library
Presbyterian College


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