A. About the Collection—The Editor, Preface & Introduction
In 1986, Dr. Constance Schulz of the Public History Department at the University of South Carolina set out to compile a slide collection covering all aspects of South Carolina history for use in elementary through high schools. The result was the 1989 publication, The History of South Carolina Slide Collection.
The History of South Carolina Slide Collection is a digital version of the original publication first published by Dr. Schulz. In working with the collection a decade after its original publication, we realized that some of the text was out of date, and some of the images were not available for use online. In those cases, careful editing of the text was carried out, and suitable replacement images were found to tell the story of the history of the state.
About the Editor
Constance B. Schulz, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor Emerita, Department of History, University of South Carolina, retired in 2008 as Co‑Director of USC’s highly regarded Public History program, in which she taught archives administration. A staff researcher for the Booker T. Washington Papers in 1974 and NHPRC Fellow in Documentary Editing at the Documentary History of the First Federal Congress in 1980–1981, she served as the final Managing Editor of the Papers of Henry Laurens from 2001–2004 and Project Director for the Papers of Eliza Lucas Pinckney and Harriott Pinckney Horry from 2008–2012.
Dr. Schulz served as co-director of the Public History Program and also co-director of the Joint MA/MLIS Program in Archives Administration at the University of South Carolina, where she was a professor of history.
Dr. Schulz taught American history at the University of Maryland, the American University in Washington D.C., Georgetown University, and the College of Wooster before coming to South Carolina.
Her publications include:
A South Carolina Album 1936-1948: Photographs from the Farm Security Administration, Office of War Information, and Standard Oil of New Jersey Documentary Projects (University of South Carolina Press, 1992).
Bust to Boom: Kansas Photographs from the Farm Security Administration, Office of War Information, and Standard Oil of New Jersey Documentary Projects, 1936-1949 (University Press of Kansas, 1996).
Witness to the Fifties: The Pittsburgh Photographic Library 1950-1953 (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1999).
The History of Maryland Slide Collection (Instructional Resources Corporation, 1980).
The American History Video Disc (Instructional Resources Corporation, 1992).
If there is truth in the old adage that one picture is worth a thousand words, then this thousand-slide collection is worth a million words. As history, it may be worth even more since it not only can "teach history," it also can provide a way of giving that important and mystic "feel for the past." Later generations only then begin to see and sense more clearly what they never had a chance to behold in person.
Saying that is not to belittle the essential role of history books and history teachers--or even to denigrate glib raconteurs who reminisce gloriously. Properly and judiciously utilized, these slides can enhance the efforts of other media. One seeking to convey the story of the past without some "visible history" has a real challenge. A determined person confronting that challenge can appreciate the difference between a soap opera on television as compared with old soap operas on radio--or a lecture-commentary in a windowless room compared with the potential of a well-done television documentary.
The compiler of this collection provides the dimension often needed by conscientious teachers seeking to develop interest in, and curiosity about, the fascinating story of South Carolina. One handicap encountered in this undertaking was obvious: the camera and photography were not perfected early enough. The editor-compiler nevertheless has coped with such thoughtless inventors shrewdly, by using drawings, paintings, cartoons, portraits, and other images that still provide a window through which viewers can appreciate that distant past in our history.
Some traditional history books, if illustrated at all, sometimes seem obsessed with portraits of heroes and statesmen and a few battle scenes. This collection has some of those--but it is more concerned with the daily life of the rest of us plain folks: our problems, our work, our recreation, and even our failures and shortcomings. These images were not selected in order to glorify or romanticize South Carolina--nor to compete with the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism and various chambers of commerce. These slides show the warts as well as the beauty spots, the unpretty as well as the pretty scenes, the variety that makes up everyday life.
Although the collection of images is aimed at helping school teachers and students, in libraries these pictures can reach others who want to know--and to understand--more about the Palmetto State. One can even imagine a speaker at a service club or a person with a church program who might use certain images here to explain or emphasize a point. Some vivid views from this collection can "tell" much in fifteen seconds.
In one sense, these pictures constitute local history--the life in small towns, on the farms, and around the factories. As they do so, the collection adds up to be also South Carolina --in the same sense as when I sought to emphasize that the textbook South Carolina: One of the Fifty States was basically "American history as it was acted out in South Carolina." In the images brought together in this slide collection, that "acting out" has acquired a visual dimension.
The images in the collection are arranged by topics and therefore can best be utilized as supplements, or as examples, of some aspects of a developing narrative. Although the unimaginative can use them in the limited format of their present arrangement, they are not designed to be shown as fifty-minute "slide shows" that can substitute for the essential task and role of an alert teacher. (Those whose classes consist of one movie or television tape after another may qualify as projectionists but not as educators or even wise entertainers.) Since the images are arranged by topics, one must learn to select the pictures needed for the task at hand. By searching and cross listing, this can be readily done. Advance planning and selection will make it possible to emphasize and elucidate what textbooks and teachers are trying to convey.
As already noted, this is "local history," but it should be unwise to judge its usefulness by whether your hometown or county courthouse square is found in a search. South Carolina is rich in local places with a distinct identity, and a collection of 1,000 slides would be quickly filled if each and every town, courthouse, school, or church were pictured. Instead, communities should use the collection as a framework--an inspiration--to be up and doing to make their own photograph and image creation of their unique and local past--as well as their contemporary scene. If so, they will be leaving behind a legacy for others to come and see for themselves what only those now living are able to see and sense.
Lewis P. Jones, 1989
Due to the demand that this content be made available online, South Carolina ETV contacted Dr. Schulz for permission to republish the content. She most graciously consented, giving SCETV rights to the text portion and recommending that we apply to the project the skills of two of her most qualified graduate assistants, Ruth Brindle Dobyns and Brian Fahey, from the University of South Carolina's Public History Program. What you see here is the result of that effort.
Note: The resources accessible on this website are intended for educational use. All other usage is prohibited. If you intend to copy or otherwise reproduce a resource for educational use, credit must be given to the contributing institution.
For additional information about the graphics used in this collection, please refer to information located in Acknowledgments. There you will find information about contacting people who possess the original photographs and artwork used in The History of South Carolina Slide Collection.