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!
Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson is a major focus of a collection donated to the Presbyterian College Archives in 1999 by Ernest J. Arnold, PC class of 1936. The Jackson-Arnold Collection was compiled by Thomas Jackson Arnold of West Virginia, the nephew and namesake of General “Stonewall” Jackson.
The name “Stonewall” Jackson evokes images of smoky Civil War battlefields where generals struggled to out-maneuver their opponents. Thomas Jackson received his nickname at the Battle of First Manassas (also known as the First Battle of Bull Run) when General Bernard Bee of South Carolina described Jackson and his troops as “standing like a stone wall.” A talented general himself, Bee was mortally wounded later that day and is buried in Pendleton, South Carolina.
Jackson was well known for his tactical military skill, which may be attributed to his training at West Point and an early interest in the battles of Napoleon, Francis Marion (the Swamp Fox of Revolutionary war fame), and Old Testament military leaders. After graduating from West Point in 1846, Jackson made a name for himself during the Mexican-American War of 1846-48. Jackson and his classmates, in the right place at the right time, were called into service.
After the Mexican War, D. H. Hill, a friend and a professor of mathematics at Washington College in Lexington, Virginia, helped Jackson secure a professorship at Virginia Military Institute where he taught Physics until the Civil War began. Once again, the professor and the VMI cadets were in the right place at the right time. Jackson believed in preserving the Union, but when Virginia finally seceded, he joined the Confederacy because he believed in “states’ rights,” that the states were sovereign, controlling their own legislatures, magistrates, militias, and money, and that his native state ranked above his country.
In addition to being a skilled military tactician, Jackson also became a staunch Presbyterian. From the age of seven, Jackson along with his younger sister, Laura, was raised by his late father’s family at Jackson’s Mill, south of his birthplace, Clarksburg, Virginia (now West Virginia), on the West Fork River of the Monongahela. The Jackson clan was a rough bunch living a hardscrabble life on the river and surrounding land. As a boy, Jackson was expected to work at the mill, which included felling trees, plowing, caring for livestock, and making syrup. Religion was non-existent at Jackson’s Mill. His mother, Julia Neale Jackson, had been a devout Presbyterian raised in a prosperous family from Loudoun County in the northern Virginia tidewater area east of the Allegheny Mountains. She died of tuberculosis shortly after Jackson and Laura moved to the mill. There was some doubt about whether Jackson had ever been baptized.
While serving in Mexico, Jackson had visited with Catholic priests, discussing church doctrine and searching for principles that matched his beliefs. He came to realize that his faith did not align with Catholicism. In Lexington, he was baptized in the Episcopal Church with the understanding that he would not be bound to a specific denomination. Within weeks he was meeting and discussing doctrine with the pastor of Lexington Presbyterian Church, Rev. William Spottswood White. Through his conversations with White and John Blair Lyle, a bookseller in Lexington, Jackson came to see that Presbyterianism best matched his beliefs.
In 1851, he joined Lexington Presbyterian Church, the largest and most prestigious church in the area, and he started a Sunday school for slaves there in 1855. It is a matter of contention whether the slaves were taught to read at his “school.” According to biographer, Lenoir Chambers, at one point Jackson had up to 100 slaves attending the sessions which included “singing hymns, a short talk on a bible story, and instruction in the Shorter Catechism or some other suitable formula of truth,” led by additional volunteers. The sessions lasted “exactly forty-five minutes, never more, never a minute more.” The Sunday school continued into the 1880s, “brought to a close only when necessity for its continuance had passed away.”
Jackson collected alms for his church, and was systematic in tithing, often giving more than a tenth of his income to the church. He was elected Deacon in 1857 at the time when deacons were first elected.
Through books borrowed from Lyle and the resulting discussions concerning the power of prayer, prayer became a “habitual practice” for Stonewall Jackson. Many sources say that he prayed every time he took a drink of water or a bite of food, when he mailed a letter or opened a letter, appealing for good news or strength to bear bad news. According to his wife, Anna Morrison Jackson, when asked if he ever forgot to pray, he said, “I can hardly say that I do; the habit has become almost as fixed as to breathe.”
To further illustrate the extent to which Jackson had found his place in the Presbyterian Church, he married twice in his last ten years, each time to the daughter of a Presbyterian minister. In 1853 he married Elinor Junkin, the daughter of George Junkin, the president of Washington College (later Washington and Lee University). Sadly, Elinor and their child died in childbirth the next year. In 1857 he married an earlier acquaintance, the sister-in-law of his friend D. H. Hill, Mary Anna Morrison who was the daughter of Robert Hall Morrison, the president of Davidson College.
Stonewall Jackson’s military accomplishments are well known. By examining his life as a man of faith, we hope to provide a more complete picture of him as a whole person.
Lennart Pearson, EmeritusLibrarian and Professor of Religion at Presbyterian College, passed away in late September of 2012. Dr. Pearson had an inquiring mind. He was a well educated man who sought knowledge and understanding in a variety of fields.
His curiosity and quest for knowledge took him from the halls of Wheaton College near Chicago, where he earned a BA in English, to graduate studies at Union Theological Seminary (now Union Presbyterian Seminary) in Richmond, Virginia where he earned Masters degrees in Divinity and Theology, as well as a Doctorate of Ministry. His third Masters degree was completed at UNC-Chapel Hill in Library Science. Later in life he took Holy Orders in the Episcopal Church.
In 1968, Lennart Pearson’s many talents came together at Presbyterian College where he was hired as Head Librarian. At that time the PC Library was housed in Smith Administration Building on Broad Street, sharing its space and collections with the city library. The college bought the city’s share in the library and Dr. Pearson was given the charge of planning and executing the construction of a new library building at the center of the college campus. The groundbreaking ceremony was held on January 18, 1973. Through diligence, attention to detail, and the generosity of James H. Thomason, the new library was dedicated on September 24, 1974. I had the privilege of working for Dr. Pearson in the Circulation department from 1981 until his retirement in 1997.
Dr. Pearson’s love of music, especially sacred music, led to the installation of speakers in the outer lobby of the James H. Thomason Library during construction of the building. From his office adjacent to the front doors, he could play music in the outer lobby, whether Christmas carols, Danish hymns, or Gregorian chants, depending on the season and his mood. This interest led him to research sacred music texts and publish scholarly articles in The Hymn [April 1994] and Reformed Liturgy and Music [Summer 1975]. The Lennart Pearson Sacred Choral Music Endowment for the purchase of choral music compact discs was established at the Thomason Library in his honor upon his retirement in 1997 by colleagues and friends.
In addition to overseeing library operations, Dr. Pearson was called upon to teach Old and New Testament courses for PC’s Religion department, continuing in this capacity after his retirement from the library until 2001. Of Swedish descent, he knew the language well and when PC students periodically expressed interest in studying Swedish, Dr. Pearson was the “go-to professor” for the Modern Language department.
Dr. Pearson’s early interest in calligraphy yielded many detailed images and Christmas cards through the years. The illuminated text [shown left] hung on the wall of Dr. Pearson’s office for many years. When I remarked on its beauty, he gave it to me.
During his service at the Church of the Nativity in nearby Union, South Carolina (1991-2000), Dr. Pearson wrote and mailed a monthly parish newsletter full of church news and diocese information in order to keep parishioners informed. These newsletters were compiled into a book in 2002, News from Nativity, whichalso contained “original essays, poems, sermon summaries, opinion, cartoons, and a miscellany of articles, some serious, some tongue-in-cheek.” In his words, “it was a curious variety not usually found in church newsletters…a creative venture in desktop publishing that came to an end with the death of the photocopier on which it had been run.”
At the Church of the Nativity, one of his parishioners mentioned that Nativity was a replica of a church in Great Britain. Dr. Pearson’s subsequent research did not substantiate the claim, but in the process he discovered that there were other Episcopal churches that had astonishingly similar architecture to Nativity. His research on the architect of the Church of the Nativity led to published articles about Frank Wills in the South Carolina Historical Magazine [July 1999] and The Historiographer, a publication of National Episcopal Historians and Archivists [Lent 2003].
On another occasion, Dr. Pearson wondered why a textbook of the English language was published in two editions in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1875 and 1877. He investigated the need for this “kind of survival manual” and the author of the book, publishing an article on the emigration of Lutherans from Iceland to Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada between 1870-1890 in Lutheran Quarterly [Autumn 1995].
Research questions usually accompanied him on his travels abroad, whether in solving the architecture mystery, traveling to Iceland, or visiting the British Railway Museum to learn more about an artist. Dr. Pearson was also quick to share his research and sermons with others, often leaving a copy of his sermon on the pulpit or his publications on a table in the church.
Clearly, Dr. Pearson was a multi-talented individual who had a global range of interests with a wonderful sense of humor thrown into the mix.
The final portion of a lengthy resolution made in Dr. Pearson’s honor on April 24, 1997 by the Faculty of Presbyterian College upon the occasion of his retirement reads. . .
. . . WHEREAS everyone who knows him shall sorely miss his inexhaustible stream of good humor and bad jokes;
AND WHEREAS we acknowledge and affirm his warm sympathy, his infinite compassion, his dedication to this college, and his devotion to his God;
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the Faculty of Presbyterian College convey their most profound respect, and honor Lennart Pearson by adopting this resolution to express their gratitude and congratulations for a career marked by exemplary excellence for service to this college.
Photographer Will Landon, Dr. Pearson’s brother-in-law, recently donated a copy of a photograph [shown below] to the James H. Thomason Library in memory of Lennart Pearson. This serene landscape now hangs in a high traffic area on the upper level of the library.
Dr. Pearson often spent time meditating on a bench on the plaza in front of the library. On a sunny day there was an excellent chance colleagues and students could find him out front quietly contemplating his next research project.
The Presbyterian College Choir ushered in the Christmas season with the annual Christmas at PC performances over the weekend of November 30-December 2. Kneel to the Child of Light, the theme of the production this year, was again conducted by Dr. J. Porter Stokes, Chair of the Music Department and Director of Choral Activities at the college. This performance, always spectacular and moving, has become a much-anticipated tradition across our campus and the upstate.
In earlier years on campus, TheMadrigal Dinner-Concert founded in 1966 by Dr. Charles T. Gaines, began a Christmas tradition which spanned 33 years.
After joining the Fine Arts Department on campus in 1965, Dr. Gaines approached student Sam Hobson, PC class of 1969, regarding his intention to initiate a madrigal singing group on campus. After initial plans were made, Sam began research over the next summer into authentic 16th century English style of dress, then designed costumes for the first performance in December 1966. The Clinton Chronicle reported that November that “there were no patterns available for the costumes and Mr. Hobson had to make them [patterns] and give careful instruction to many seamstresses who sewed the costumes, in some cases, mothers of the singers.” Later according to TheLaurens County Advertiser of December 11, 1991, Sam also attended the Berea School of Dance in Kentucky where he learned English Morris dancing, later sharing the steps with the PC performers. In addition, Sam designed the Madrigal Singers Coat of Arms as shown here.
The Madrigal Dinner-Concert featured a typically English dinner served in the 16th century style of Merrie Olde England. Greenville Dining Hall was transformed into a “Great Hall” and trumpet fanfares announced various courses of the meal and highlighted the entrance of the richly costumed Madrigal Singers. Performers entertained and madrigals were sung throughout the meal of roasted beef, Yorkshire pudding, native cheeses, plum pudding, and hot mulled cider that was prepared by Mr. Vernon Powell and the dining hall staff each year. The cost of an adult dinner reservation at the inaugural event in 1966 was $3.00.
Madrigals are secular songs based on pastoral fables or love themes, written primarily for unaccompanied voices. Up to eighteen singers were selected each year from the PC Choir based on musical ability and vocal talent. A magician, a jester, up to ten Morris dancers, strolling troubadours, a trumpeter, and occasionally tumblers dressed in appropriate costumes were chosen from the student body to contribute to the entertainment of dinner guests, much as was done in the 16th century.
Preparations for the event began at the start of fall semester each year. Additional students were recruited from the PC Choir and student body to serve the four course meal to guests. Choir members were responsible for managing the publicity, decorations, and reservations for this event which was always held immediately before final exam week.
In January of 1969, a video recording of the performance was made to be shown on SC-ETV the following December. The Madrigal Singers also appeared on WIS-Columbia’s Today in Carolina. The Morris dancers and Jester appeared with the Singers in all segments and Merlin the Magician was featured in one segment, as well. According to The Laurens Advertiser, the Madrigal Singers performed at local schools, including Laurens District High School in 1975 and Laurens Grammar & Ford Elementary schools in 1977.
In 1986, the Madrigal Singers were invited to re-create their dinner performance in Greenville, S.C. at the Hyatt Regency as a benefit for St. Francis Hospital. Dr. Gaines worked with the hotel chefs to duplicate the menu, including the processional Boar’s Head. Possibly the oldest continuing festival of the Christmas season, the presentation of a boar’s head at Christmas came to symbolize the triumph of the Christ Child over sin.
Dr. Chuck Gaines retired from the faculty of Presbyterian College in May 1998. By that time the Madrigal Dinner-Concert had drawn guests from across the southeast to the performance each year. The event is remembered fondly as an important part of PC’s colorful history.
The summer months on the Presbyterian College campus are not as quiet as one might imagine. These days we host Girl’s State, Business Week, Montreat’s Junior High Conference, band and various sports camps, and four weeks of our own CHAMPS program. All this activity keeps the college staff busy until the return of our students in August; however, summer programs are not new to our campus. Last month, a question about an old photograph found among the papers of a Summerville woman brought the Young People’s Conferences of the 1930s and 1940s to our attention.
By the summer of 1935, the country was beginning to show slow progress in recovery from the Great Depression. Emerging from those dismal days, Presbyterian College hosted the first Young People’s Conference sponsored by the Synod of South Carolina in June of 1935.
As stated by Ben Hay Hammet in The Spirit of PC,
“Synod youth conferences staged at Presbyterian College were among the most popular summertime activities for South Carolina high schoolers. In a rather restricted society before the era of youth mobility, these well-supervised programs offered week-long opportunities for boys and girls to stay in college dormitories and use the recreational facilities in a summer-camp type fellowship that also included religious instruction. Many lifelong friendships were formed at these conferences which attracted up to 300 youths each year. In addition, the program also introduced PC to many future students.”
In 1936, Doris Mae Singletary of Charleston attended the second annual Young People’s Conference held on our campus. Doris later married David T. Anderson, Sr. of Summerville who graciously allowed us to use the photograph above. It was found among Doris’s papers after she passed away this summer. The family wanted to know if the photograph was taken on the Presbyterian College campus.
Most PC folks will recognize the location in the photograph as the stands of the Old Bailey Memorial Stadium at the center of our campus, now serving as PC’s lacrosse field. The Clinton Chronicle from June 20, 1935, provided additional information about these conferences stating that an intermediate conference preceded the youth conference and that “enrollment reached 325, the very largest it is possible to comfortably accommodate on the campus. The conference offers to young people a week of fine fellowship, inspiration and recreation. Its aim is to lead young people into an intimate relationship to Christ and loyal service to Him.”
The headband worn by each child in the photograph above displays the name of a Native American tribe. Further information from the Clinton Chronicle of June 18, 1936, states, “the conferences, for purposes of administration and development of leadership, are divided into ‘tribes,’ each bearing an Indian name.”
Close inspection shows the Choctaw, Mohawk, Catawba, and Oconee tribal names; although not politically correct by today’s standards, this would not have been unusual in the 1930s. In addition, the back of Doris’s old photograph shows signatures and hometowns of fellow campers, a young girl’s summer keepsake from an enjoyable week at Presbyterian College.