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WPJ Online: a “link” to the past

August 2013

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.

Read Dr. Jacobs’s Diary online – search the text for a word or “phrase”. Yellow pointers display pages containing searched words.  Excerpt from Wednesday, June 19, 1861, on page 80 below.
Read Dr. Jacobs’s Diary online – search the text for a word or “phrase”. Yellow pointers display pages containing searched words.  Excerpt from Wednesday, June 19, 1861, on page 80 below.

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 Jacobsclick 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.

Search tips:
* 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.

The items above will also become part of One Man’s Dream -  William Plumer Jacobs and Clinton, South Carolina,  in the South Carolina Digital Library.  The SCDL collection includes numerous images of Jacobs, Thornwell Orphanage, and Presbyterian College.

At times, using technology can be daunting, but in this case, it allows us to share meaningful resources written by our founder on a broad scale with our constituents all over the world.