In March of 1943, the United States War Department began a pre-flight training program on the campus of Presbyterian College. Over the next sixteen months, approximately 1600 Aviation Training Program cadets attended classes and lived on campus as part of this program.
Studying here in complements of 400, the Aviation Training Program cadets who sat in PC classrooms totaled approximately 1,600 by the time the program ended in July, 1944. This period of full operation brought the dining hall change from the seated family-style meals to the cafeteria system. A separate curriculum was installed for the air cadets, to run simultaneously with PC’s regular civilian curriculum. While the military gave overall administrative direction to its program, Dean Brown served in the extra capacity of academic director. Some regular professors taught in both programs, and several new teachers had to be added for the pre-flight curriculum. [quoted from The Spirit of PC, Hammet, 86-87]
The cadets received special instruction in physics, mathematics, geography, navigation, and astronomy. They also received special flight instruction to prepare them for more advanced flight training once they entered the service.
In addition to this war effort, “Presbyterian College also sent approximately 1,500 alumni into the fighting of World War II. They served in every branch, but most of them were the infantry products of ROTC … the battles took a heavy toll–and by the time it was all over, 65 PC men had paid the ultimate price in helping to secure victory.” [Hammet, 86-87]
These photographs are part of a gift to PC from Brannan David Woodham of Alabama, one of the cadets in the program. Mr. Woodham did not graduate from PC but went on to graduate from Alabama Polytechic Institute (Auburn University) after the war, earning a Bachelor of Industrial Management in 1949, continuing his service at Kelly Air Force Base, and ending his career as Chief of Avionics at Robins AFB. Mr. Woodham passed away in 2010.
Of the 16 million WWII vets who returned to the U.S. after the war, approximately one million survive today and are at least in their 80s. [http://www.nationalww2museum.org]
Let’s remember those we lost in WWII during this holiday season and be sure to thank those few who remain with us for their service and their gift of freedom as we meet them on the street, at worship, or while holiday shopping.
Last fall we were asked about the number of Homecoming celebrations that had been held over the years at Presbyterian College. Our best calculation after considerable research and subtraction of several years during WWII when celebrations were not held placed 2012 as the 78th year of Homecoming festivities at PC. You might think we have lists in the Archives for this sort of information, however, most questions we receive in the Archives take detailed research and close reading in several different sources.
Last week, while perusing the bound volumes of the student newspaper, The Blue Stocking, I found in the September 26, 1925 issue, that Presbyterian was scheduled to play Oglethorpe on Home-Coming Day, Nov. 13th of that year. The discovery of this information negates the 78th Homecoming theory.
It is not unusual for us to find interesting information when looking for something on a completely different topic. After finding the clipping on the right, I followed up by reading subsequent Blue Stocking articles throughout the fall of 1925. Click on the images for larger, easier to read views.
You might notice on the football schedule that our first game of the season in 1925 was against “Clemson at Clemson.” Our 14-9 win that day was reported the next week as “Blue Stockings tame Tigers for first time in histry.” Normally the paper was published and distributed on Saturdays, but this particular issue was published early, before the game – it appears that everyone wanted to attend the afternoon game at Clemson….see what I mean about finding other information in the middle of research?
A few weeks later on October 24th, The Blue Stocking reported the following: “Plans are fast taking shape for P.C.’s greatest Home-Coming Day. This year Home-Coming Day will be on November 13th and it’s a Friday….in addition to the football game, the Oglethorpe orchestra will perform in Clinton on the night of the 13th under the auspices of the Clinton Kiwanis Club. Reports reaching Clinton at present from the Georgia school are that they are going to come to P.C. in force, bringing a band and approximately 100 students. If this is the case, P.C. will need all possible support. Make your plans now, Alumni and be in Clinton on the 13th.”
I imagine that the Oglethorpe crowd may have come to Clinton on the train during that fall of 1925. The writer of this column actually came to PC on the train once during high school in the late 1960s. Yes, passenger service was still available between Atlanta and Clinton at that time.
Looking ahead in The Blue Stocking to the November 14 issue published the day after the Home-Coming game, we are told in the headline that the “BLUE STOCKINGS COMPLETELY OUTCLASS OGLETHORPE TEAM: However, Georgia Lads Win Hard Fought Game By One Point Margin.” A detailed description of the game filling three long columns includes statements like, “the South Carolinians out drove, out passed, out punted and out generalled the Petrels, but the lucky S.I.A.A. champions won on two bad breaks in the second quarter” and “the fact that the Blue Stockings garnered 12 first downs to 9 for Oglethorpe is only a slight measure indicative of how the charges of Walter Johnson played rings around the much-vaunted eleven from Atlanta.”
The Editorials column for Nov. 14th has numerous short statements including this rather interesting item: “College of Father versus College of Son – may they meet again.” This, of course, is in reference to William Plumer Jacobs’ college, Presbyterian College, playing the college of his son, Thornwell Jacobs, President of Oglethorpe College for nearly three decades, 1915-1943. Sorry, off on a tangent again…
The article about the PC Alma Mater to the right was also found in the November 14th, 1925 issue of The Blue Stocking. The Presbyterian College Alma Mater in use in 1925 had been written by John Henry Townsend, Director of the Glee Club and other musical activities at the college. Professor Townsend taught at PC from 1923-1926 [Presbyterian College Catalogs 1923-26]. The words to Townsend’s Alma Mater as well as our current Alma Mater written by William Plumer Jacobs III can be found in the Blue Notes Archive, in the School Spirit column written by Nancy Griffith in September 2009.
Near the bottom of the article on the right, one can feel the reverence with which the song was held in 1925. This excerpt of verse two of Townsend’s Alma Mater says it all:
All honor to thy learned walls, Thy campus and historic halls, We’ll sing thy praise through all our days, Our well loved Alma Mater.
If any of our readers are aware of Homecoming festivities that occurred at Presbyterian College before 1925, we would love to hear from you in order to get the most accurate history of this event possible. Our historical record is a group project and we appreciate your comments, recollections, and photographs.
Presbyterian College has produced many star athletes during its 125+ year history and one of the finest is Bob Waters; however, his athleticism is far from being the most remarkable thing about him.
Robert Lee Waters, a native of Sylvania, Georgia, earned eleven athletic letters in three sports at Screven High School. Waters started college in 1956 at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida as a freshman quarterback, however when Stetson eliminated its football program at the end of that season, Bob Waters left Stetson after one semester. (Tribute to a Champion-the Bob Waters Legacy, Western Carolina Athletics website)
Waters transferred to Presbyterian College in 1957 to play under Coach Frank Jones and started in the quarterback position for the next three years. An outstanding student leader, “he compiled an excellent academic record while holding the positions of student body president and ROTC battalion executive officer.” (PC Department of Public Relations news release, 5/31/1966) Waters had been selected for Who’s Who and Blue Key as well as participating in Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and Block P, the college letterman’s club. Selected as an All-American quarterback in 1959, he led the Blue Hose team to a 9-1 record during the regular season, then to the Tangerine Bowl (later Citrus, now Capital One Bowl) against Middle
Tennessee State University in January 1960. An account of the bowl game can be accessed online in the college yearbook, the 1960 Pac Sac, which is hosted by the Internet Archive. After being chosen as the MVP of that game, which PC lost 21-12, Bob Waters was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers following his June graduation from Presbyterian.
According to the Los Angeles Times (5/31/1989), Waters “is remembered in California as one of the National Football League’s three original shotgun formation quarterbacks. Waters, in fact, threw the first touchdown pass ever from a shotgun formation. That was in November, 1960, when, in a 30-22 upset, the San Francisco 49ers beat the Baltimore Colts.” The Colts had won the two previous NFL championships.
Playing in San Francisco for several years, Waters returned to Presbyterian College temporarily during the NFL’s off-season in 1962 to assist Coach Clyde Erhardt with spring football practice and track and field coaching.
In six seasons with the 49ers, Waters played offense and defense until he was sidelined with a knee injury. Upon leaving San Francisco in 1966, Waters completed work on a Masters degree in History from Georgia Southern University. Waters, who had met and married his wife, Sheri, in California, returned to Presbyterian as a full-time assistant coach that year, working with quarterbacks and pass offense under Coach Cally Gault. In 1968 he accepted an assistant coaching position at Stanford University (CA). After he was named head football coach at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC, Waters and his young family returned to the east coast in 1969. He spent the next twenty years coaching the Catamounts and serving as Director of Athletics.
“Prior to his arrival, WCU had posted only five winning football records in 20 seasons, while 13 of Waters’ 20 teams turned in winning ledgers.” He was named Southern Conference Coach of the year in 1983 after WCU was undefeated in conference play. “In 20 seasons at the helm of the football program, he guided the Catamounts to 116 victories, produced 13 All-Americans, 54 first-team All-Southern Conference selections and brought the University more positive publicity than could ever be measured in monetary terms.” (Tribute to a Champion, WCU Athletics)
In 1984, Coach Waters was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Paying tribute to this courageous man on Bob Waters Day, November 27, 1986, during the Bronze Derby football classic, PC president, Dr. Kenneth Orr, recognized Waters’ achievements as a player and coach saying, “even more we appreciate all that he contributes to the field of athletics as a gentleman of integrity and high sportsmanship. These attributes and his courage in the face of adversity make Bob Waters a man of special worth, whose example is an inspiration to others.” (Press Release, PC Public Relations Office, 1986) In his remarks that day, Waters said of his family, “We have the PC Spirit.” (Presbyterian College Report, December 1986)
After Water’s six year battle against ALS, and upon his death in May 1989, Cally Gault stated, “he set a great example long before his illness. The way he handled his life before and after his illness was an inspiration to all of us.” (Presbyterian College Report, Fall 1989) His funeral was held on the playing field at E. J. Whitmire Stadium at Western Carolina, which had been named “Bob Waters Field” in 1988 in recognition of his service to the school.
His courage and perseverance in facing a diagnosis of ALS, inspired Presbyterian College and the Scotsman Club in 1987 to establish the Bob Waters Award, honoring PC alumni in the athletic coaching profession who personify the values and qualities of excellence and integrity held dear to Presbyterian College. Bob Waters was a living example.
In looking through his file in the Archives, I noticed his response on an Alumni form he filled out in June of 1984 to the question: “What was the most positive aspect of your PC Experience?” His response was simply put: “Football.” While he is certainly remembered at PC and elsewhere for his skill as a football player, he is remembered even more for his sportsmanship, his integrity, and his courage.
This fall marks the 100th year of intercollegiate football on the Presbyterian College campus. We’d like to share a list of the fifteen men who have served Presbyterian as Head Football Coach, as well as information on the PC alumni who have been awarded the Bob Waters Award by the Scotsman’s Club.
The coaches listed below represent a small fraction of the men who have shaped or have been shaped by the football program at Presbyterian College. Not only have there been too many beloved assistant coaches to name here, but several eventually became PC’s head football coach themselves. Many other talented assistant coaches have served PC over the years, some who went on to coach high school and other college teams.
PC Football Head Coaches:
Everett Booe 1913 Erling C. Theller 1914 Walter Johnson 1915-1917 Gifford Shaw 1918 Walter Johnson 1919-1940 Lonnie McMillian 1941-1953 Bill Crutchfield 1954-1956 Frank Jones 1957-1961 Clyde Erhardt 1962 Cally Gault 1963-1984 Elliott Poss 1985-1990 John Perry 1991-1996 Daryl Dickey 1997-2000 Tommy Spangler 2001-2006 Bobby Bentley 2007-2008 Harold Nichols 2009-present
A large number of our student athletes have also made their mark on coaching at the college and high school levels. In the 1970s it was thought that over fifty coaches in South Carolina were Presbyterian College graduates, many of whom played under Lonnie McMillian (John Marett Outz, History of Intercollegiate Football at Presbyterian College, 1975). These seeds of the PC Spirit have been scattered all over the southeast, some as far away as Texas and beyond.
Eleven Presbyterian College alumni have been honored as recipients of the Bob Waters Award, named in honor of Robert Lee Waters, PC class of 1960. An upcoming column will more fully explore Bob Waters’ life and legacy. The award established in his name by Presbyterian College and the Scotsman’s Club is presented to
PC alumni who have provided outstanding leadership and service to society in the
profession of athletic coaching and who personify the values and qualities of excellence
and integrity held dear to Presbyterian College.
The recipients of the Bob Waters Award include the following men and women:
John McKissick ‘51: current head football coach at Summerville (SC) High School, serving for over 61 years; most wins [600+] in United States football history
Art Baker ‘53: former head football coach at East Carolina University (NC), Furman University (SC), and The Citadel (SC); former assistant coach at Clemson University (SC), Texas Tech University, and Florida State University; retired from University of South Carolina Athletics as Associate Athletic Director and Gamecock Club Director
Keith Richardson ‘64: former head football coach at Clinton (SC) High School; won over 200 games and six state championships
Charlie Davidson ’50: former head football coach at Washington Wilkes (GA) High School and Darlington School (GA); led Washington Wilkes to four state championships in football and several in golf; won over 250 football games
Allen Morris ’56: former head tennis coach at University of North Carolina and Presbyterian College; was also a quarter finalist at Wimbledon in 1956
Shell Dula ’69: former head football coach at Greenwood (SC) High School, Union (SC) High School, and Ninety Six (SC) High school; won six state championships; currently serves as Executive Director of the SC Athletic Coaches Association
John Franklin Thames ‘58: 42 years as head coach in different sports at Manning (SC) High School; won two state championships as women’s basketball coach
Luther Welsh ’55: former head football coach at Thomson (GA) High School; won over 333 games and three state titles for Thomson; ranked 4th all time in victories among coaches in GA
William “Lefty” Johnson ’56: former head football coach at Whitmire (SC) High School; led Whitmire to state championship in 1978
Barbara Frady Nelson ’85: former head women’s basketball coach, Wingate University (NC); coach of the USA team winning gold medal at the FIBA U17 World Championship in France
Sam Paul ’83: current men’s tennis coach at the University of North Carolina; active coach with most wins in the ACC; and the fourth winningist coach in league history with his 324 overall wins and his 122 ACC regular-season victories; Paul achieved his 300th victory in March 2011
The Bob Waters Award honors our PC graduates coaching not only football, but any sport for men or women at the high school or college level. These eleven alumni have been living examples of excellence and integrity for countless others who work with our young people on athletic fields and courts everyday.
The Presbyterian College Archives is happy to announce that several texts related to William Plumer Jacobs, the founder of Presbyterian College and Thornwell Orphanage, have been digitized and are available for viewing on the World Wide Web at the Internet Archive.
The South Carolina Digital Library and PASCAL (Partnership Among SC Academic Libraries) have funded the scanning and processing of approximately 25,000 pages from historic texts in libraries and museums around South Carolina over the summer. This year’s project has been coordinated by LYRASIS, a regional library network working with the Internet Archive to host the digitized materials.
The project accepted several items for digitization from the collections of Presbyterian College. Three books and the early volumes of Farm and Garden, a periodical later renamed Our Monthly, were included in the project this summer:
The Diary of William Plumer Jacobs,Thornwell Jacobs, ed., Oglethorpe University Press, [Atlanta, Georgia], 1937.
Beginning in 1858 at the age of fifteen, William Plumer Jacobs wrote about his early years in Charleston, South Carolina. He keep this diary into his 75th year, recording historical information related to Clinton and Laurens County, as well as Thornwell Orphanage and Presbyterian College, the institutions he founded in the upstate. Dr. Jacobs’ diary was edited and published by his son, Thornwell Jacobs, in 1937.
William Plumer Jacobs: Literary and Biographical, Thornwell Jacobs, ed, Oglethorpe University Press, 1942.
This book was assembled to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of William Plumer Jacobs by his son, Thornwell. Included are personal recollections of Clinton throughout Dr. Jacobs’ lifetime, the story of Thornwell Orphanage, editorials and selected articles from Our Monthly, and literary essays written by Dr. Jacobs covering topics as varied as a trip To Jerusalem “and the Regions Beyond,” the last will and testament of Dr. Jacobs, sketches of the older “homes” of the orphanage, and a Thornwell Orphanage Founders Day tribute to Dr. Jacobs given by Dr. A. T. Jamison ten years after his death. [Amazon calls this "Volume Two in the William Plumer Jacobs Series. Volume One is The Diary Of William Plumer Jacobs."]
The Story of Thornwell Orphanage, Clinton, South Carolina, 1875-1925, L. Ross Lynn, Presbyterian Committee of Publication, Richmond, 1924.
A history of Thornwell Orphanage written by L. Ross Lynn for the Thornwell Orphanage Semi-Centennial at the request of the Board of Trustees. This book covers the history of the first fifty years of Thornwell Orphanage.
Farm and Garden: An Agricultural Newspaper devoted to the improvement of our sunny South, 1867-1872, volumes 1-7.
Originally published on a monthly schedule, Farm and Garden became Our Monthly in April of 1872. It contains agricultural information and news of Thornwell Orphanage and the Clinton community. It provides a glimpse into Reconstruction Era South Carolina shortly after the War between the States. Advertisements for sewing machines, shotguns, fertilizer, seed catalogs, and other items were included, as well as book reviews and inspirational items.
The seven volumes of Farm and Garden served as a monthly fundraising publication for Thornwell Orphanage between 1867-1872. Perhaps we will have the opportunity to digitize the remaining 40+ volumes of Our Monthly at some point in the future.
It is wonderful to have the opportunity to read these old materials online. Moreover, it is extremely helpful for researchers and librarians to have the ability to search within these texts by entering a specific word, phrase, or name, in order to locate a topic within the text. Many older books have no index and one must read the entire work to determine whether a person or topic is mentioned in the publication.
For example, did Dr. Jacobs ever mention his garden (for which he kept a series of detailed journals) in his diary?
To read or search The Diary of William Plumer Jacobs, click on the “Read online” link, enter (for example) the word garden in the “Search inside” box above the title page, and click on GO. Small yellow pointers appear across the bottom of the page. Touch your computer mouse on each yellow pointer to see a short excerpt of the text surrounding the word “garden” or click each pointer to visit each page showing the word “garden.” These images illustrate what you will see when viewing the “Read online” version of the book.
Turn the pages by sweeping the mouse (or your finger on mobile devices) right to left across the page, just like turning the pages of a book. Arrows at the bottom of the page can also be used to turn pages.
* PDF, Kindle, and other versions are also available for these texts.
* To search a specific phrase, place it in “quotation marks.” For example, “garden of Eden” returns only one page in the Diary.
On the Presbyterian College campus, the July heat brings back memories of the Leroy Springs Swimming Pool.
Davison M. Douglas, the ninth president of Presbyterian College, believed in the importance and value of physical activity as a part of the educational process. In 1913, the second year of his tenure, the football and basketball programs were started on campus. After World War I, the PC student body had grown to approximately 150 students and plans were made by Douglas to build a dormitory, a dining hall, and a gymnasium.
Colonel Leroy Springs, a Lancaster, South Carolina cotton manufacturer and close personal friend of Dr. Douglas, donated $100,000 for the construction of a gymnasium. It was planned by fitness experts of the day to include the latest design concepts for sports facilities and it became a reality in 1924. Enthusiastic students dedicated their next yearbook in honor of the donor (Spirit of PC, 42).
Dr. Douglas defended the high cost of the gymnasium in an Atlanta Constitution article on January 21, 1923, stating. . .
“The cost of the gymnasium will be greater than that of the dormitory because while a college may build, in the course of time, several dormitories, it will have but one gymnasium and it should be [built] for all time.”
In 1929, Colonel Springs made another gift to the college and a regulation swimming pool was built adjacent to the gymnasium. It was completed at a cost of approximately $50,000 and was considered one of the finest pools in the South. At the time it was built, it was the only indoor pool on a college campus (Postcard History Series: Laurens County, Arcadia, 2007, 85).
The June 1929 issue of the Quarterly Bulletin of the Presbyterian College of SC stated that the “beautiful swimming pool being added to Springs Gymnasium would be ready for use September first, 1929.” That November, the new pool complex was dedicated on Thanksgiving day during Homecoming festivities.
In 1933, the college yearbook reported that swimming had been added to the intercollegiate sports lineup on campus. Coach Walter A. Johnson was responsible for adding the new sport and the first swimming meet was scheduled on March 7 of that year against Furman.
After the construction of Templeton Physical Education Center in 1974, Springs Gymnasium was primarily used for intramural sports. In 1984 a massive renovation of Springs Gymnasium and Pool connected the two buildings forming Springs Campus Center. Windows along the first floor allowed one to look from the pool into the campus center, canteen, and bookstore. An open area on the opposite side of the pool provided space for sunbathing.
In 2008, Springs Campus Center was once again renovated. Offices of the Campus Life staff were moved from Douglas House to the upper floors of Springs, the bookstore was relocated to uptown Clinton, the food service area was expanded, and the mosaic tile pool was drained and covered over with flooring in order to provide a spacious fitness center for the college. The pool remains below the floor of the fitness center where one can still get a glimpse of the “shallow end” through the floor.
Click the images to enlarge. Also, please note that the Presbyterian College Magazine, Blue Stocking and Pac Sac have been digitized and are available for online viewing at the Internet Archive [www.archive.org].
Longtime Archives and Special Collections Assistant, Sarah M. Leckie began graduate work on her Masters at the USC School of Library and Information Science last fall. This spring she conducted research using the PC Archives’ Historical Pamphlet Collection for a presentation and paper for a Special Collections Librarianship course. Sarah has written this month’s column focusing on the information she found dealing with this sensitive topic.
Since Thomas Paine anonymously published Common Sense in 1776, pamphlets have provided Americans from all walks of life with a means to share their thoughts and opinions on all sorts of issues, such as slavery, suffrage, education, and religion. In the 19th century, as printing costs went down and the US population grew, the use of pamphlets as a means of communicating ideas skyrocketed. Often these pamphlets began as sermons or speeches which, at the urging of supporters, the authors subsequently published. Infact, historical pamphlets could be compared to the blogs of today, in that many of them were published by and represented the views of individuals.
Presbyterian College Archives contains a large collection of historical pamphlets, many of which were originally collected by the college’s founder, William Plumer Jacobs. Of the 600 pamphlets in the collection, more than 60 address the issue of slavery, and of those, 20 were published during the 1850s, a decade when key events leading up to the Civil War took place, including the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision and the Lincoln-Douglas debates. The majority of those 20 pamphlets were written by members of the clergy. This column will examine the seven that were written by Presbyterian ministers.
In Our Danger and Duty (1850), Charleston pastor Abner Porter asserted that the Northern states were intent on ruining the South and compared the Southern states to the Old Testament’s twelve tribes of Israel. He identified South Carolina as Judah, “alone, solitary, the one faithful to herself and to all” in defending slavery (p. 9). Meanwhile, Northern pastors Ichabod Spencer (Fugitive Slave Law: the Religious Duty of Obedience to Law, 1850) and Henry Boardman (The American Union, 1851) were hesitant to condemn slavery. In fact, both men supported compromise with the South, citing the Fugitive Slave Law as the sort of appeasement that was necessary to avoid civil war, which both saw as a greater evil than slavery. Another Northern proponent of compromise was Nathan Lord, president of Dartmouth College in New Hampshire from 1828 to 1863. The collection includes two pamphlets written by Lord; in one, he referred to slavery as “a wholesome and necessary ordinance of God” (Letter of Inquiry to Ministers of the Gospel of All Denominations, on Slavery, 1854, p. 27), and in the other he called slaves “undisciplined and barbarous hordes” (A Northern Presbyter’s Second Letter to Ministers of the Gospel of All Denominations on Slavery, 1855, p. 21) who benefited from the civilizing influence of their masters.
Other authors represented in this collection had close ties to Presbyterian College. In The Rights and Duties of Masters (1850), a sermon by James Henley Thornwell, who was a professor and a friend of William Plumer Jacobs, Thornwell argued that slavery did not strip a man of his rights any more than any other social arrangement in which participants were not absolutely equal. It is uncomfortable to realize that the man making this argument was so admired by Jacobs that he named Thornwell Orphanage (which Jacobs founded) in his honor.
Even more discomfiting, Ferdinand Jacobs, the father of William Plumer Jacobs, presented his justification of slavery in The Committing of Our Cause to God (1850), contending that the Declaration of Independence’s statement that all men are created free and equal was “manifestly erroneous” (p. 7).
From the perspective granted by over a century and a half, it is easy for modern readers to condemn both those statements and the men who made them. Unquestionably, the statements themselves deserve condemnation and repudiation. However, the men who made them must be viewed as multi-faceted human beings who were products of their time and place. They were in the middle of a tumultuous time in the history of our nation, and every option for resolving the issues at hand seemed fraught with peril. In fact, in some aspects the 1850s are startlingly similar to the present – in both time periods, a divided electorate is dealing with political and social upheaval. The pamphlets discussed here offer a fascinating glimpse into the national conversation that was taking place during the 1850s as the people of the United States wrestled not only with the issue of slavery but also with concerns about whether their fellow Americans were people of good character and good will. The accusations that flew back and forth seem all too familiar to us today, and they offer an interesting perspective on current national controversies and the ways in which they are addressed.
One of our goals here in the Archives is to strengthen the collective memory of the Presbyterian College communityby expanding our online presence using images as well as factual information. This semester we are happy to have Allston LaBruce, a History major who is wrapping up his senior year with an Internship in the Archives, to assist with this work.
Several years ago the introduction of ourPC Buildings online exhibit showcased the research performed by our first Interns, Lance Poston ‘10, Caroline Todd ’10, and Stewart Self ‘10. These student interns each worked a semester assisting us in gathering information on the history of many of the buildings on our campus. Allston is preparing a presentation that builds upon the framework started by these interns. He has prepared a timeline of the land acquisition and physical development of the Presbyterian College campus over time.
The PC Archives has received a collection of photographs and newspaper clippings that have been used in campus publications over the years. These files were passed down through the college’s Public Relations office from Ben Hay Hammet to Grant Vosburg to Jonathan Hooks, who entrusted them to the Archives last fall. We plan to interfile these materials with our other archives photographs and clippings. The addition of these materials will strengthen our holdings, adding many images of buildings under construction and aerial photographs, as well as other treasures. Allston is using these new images for his project in order to illustrate the development of the Presbyterian College campus
We also plan to expand the PC Buildings online exhibit to include additional structures and sports complexes, as well as buildings no longer standing. This exhibit reminds us that not only are the people of Presbyterian College a part of the college’s rich heritage, but also the beauty of our buildings, plazas, and natural areas.
This month Presbyterian College celebrates the inauguration of our seventeenth president, Dr. Claude C. Lilly. A variety of activities will take place across the campus during the week of April 15th, culminating in the Inauguration on Friday the 19th in Belk Auditorium. In conjunction with this event, the Archives & Special Collections is providing a short biography for each of the previous sixteen PC Presidents. You can also find this information in the bar below the Blue Notes heading above.
On the Presbyterian College campus the faculty and staff are accustomed to Opening Convocation and Commencement ceremonies that usher in and close out each academic year. Inaugural celebrations are infrequent occasions during which a new leader is welcomed to the campus–these celebrations have not always been observed in years past as they are today.
During the first ten years of the operation of Presbyterian College, William Plumer Jacobs and the college trustees appointed three presidents. In those days, a leader was chosen from the very small faculty of the fledgling college. These early leaders held Dr. Jacobs’ trust and his shared vision for the college. Not only were these men responsible for teaching their classes and achieving their administrative goals, but initially these faculty members also lived on the campus with their families and had oversight of the day-to-day activities of the students. By 1895, the administrative duties of the faculty members in the photo at right included serving as Librarian, Bursar, Gymnasium Director, Clerk, Book-Agent, and Superintendent of Dormitory, Building and Grounds.
As the student body grew, the faculty and staff of the college grew as well. However, due to limited college financial resources, world wars, and the Great Depression, inaugural celebrations were modest or non-existent.
Kirsten Witry, our intern in the archives this semester, is preparing PC Inaugurations, an exhibit to be placed in the Patrick Center this month. She has discovered that the first Inaugural celebration we have on record at the college was held in honor of our 10th president, Burney L. Parkinson in 1927. Unfortunately, Dr. Parkinson submitted his resignation during the Commencement ceremony of 1928, just nine months after his arrival on campus. **
When PC gathered to celebrate the inauguration of Dr. Marc C. Weersing in 1963, times were good and the campus was growing. The inauguration of Dr. Kenneth B. Orr was held in conjunction with the Centennial Celebration of the college in the spring of 1980. Eighteen years later, a week of lectures and performances led up to the inauguration of Dr. John V. Griffith during Homecoming 1998 festivities.
Dr. John Elrod ’62 led the Delegates from Colleges and Universities in the Griffith Inaugural procession. In the photo on the right, he wears the traditional light blue gown of Columbia University where he earned Masters and Ph.D. degrees. His dark blue hood represents the Ph.D. in Philosophy. Mr. John Moylan ’84 follows wearing the scarlet gown of Harvard University where he received his J.D. in 1987. At Harvard, the crows-foot lapel emblem represents the school within the university which granted the degree, rather than the color of the hood.
If you have questions about the history of academic regalia, the colors represented on the gowns and hoods, or the order of the academic procession, the American Council on Education has information about these topics on their website.
As we gather this month for the Inauguration of Dr. Claude C. Lilly, the bagpipe music, the pageantry of the procession, and the colors represented in academic costume are only a part of what makes the celebration a memorable event. Each inauguration honors the past of Presbyterian College and proclaims our hope and faith in the future of the college.
** [Recently discovered information in the March 1905 issue of Our Monthly, states, "Among other features (of the 1905 Commencement) will be the inauguration of President Neville." We have checked our programs file here in the Archives and have found the 1905 Commencement program verifying that Dr. William G. Neville was indeed inaugurated on June 7, 1905, during the Quarter Centennial of Presbyterian College.]
This semester we are fortunate to have an intern working with us in the Archives, Kirsten Witry of Clover, South Carolina. Kirsten is completing her senior year at Presbyterian College this May with a double major in German and History and a minor in English. In preparation for the inauguration of Dr. Claude C. Lilly in April, Kirsten has researched the college’s ceremonial mace and has written this column in order to share information about this symbolic object with our readers.
This particular feature of Presbyterian College’s ceremonial events is a relatively recent addition. A mace was a weapon of medieval times, a long-handled club. It was carried by sergeants-at-arms to protect people of importance, as well as by certain church officials. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, maces became more decorative in the fourteenth century. They were carried before mayors and bailiffs by the middle of the seventeenth century and began to be used by colleges in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Universities all over the United States and in other countries, such as James Madison University and Ohio University, include a mace bearer in their processionals.
Dr. Neal Prater and his wife Marion designed the mace of Presbyterian College at the request of President Ken Orr and Dean Bill Moncrief in 1994. Dr. Prater, who retired in 1996 after 36 years at the college, was the Charles A. Dana Professor of English. Mrs. Prater, who also retired in 1996 after 34 years and who passed away in 2001, was the head of the cataloging department at the James H. Thomason Library. She did most of the designing and was particularly concerned that the design relate to the Scottish and Presbyterian background of Presbyterian College.
The mace was crafted by Winnie Jørgensen, Helen Gibson, and Allen Mulkey at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina. The shaft is made of butternut wood and sports a brass Celtic cross on top of the molded head, which also has the name of the college on a decorative brass band. The college seal and motto are carved near the bottom of the mace. The carving is primitive to reflect the concept of a Scottish clansman. The mace was originally designed by Mrs. Prater to be much smaller, but Dr. Orr and Dr. Moncrief wished for it to be bulkier, to be more like a Scottish club. Dr. Prater says of this increase in size, “As I suspected, it is very heavy and a bit difficult to carry gracefully, but I imagine that those Scottish warriors probably were not much concerned with being graceful!”
The mace debuted at the Opening Convocation on September 6, 1994. It was carried by Dr. Prater, the faculty marshal who led the processional.
Many thanks to Dr. Neal B. Prater, Professor Emeritus of English, for providing the necessary information to bring our readers this post!