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About the Manuscript Collection

The Winthrop University Manuscript Collection (over 1,380 collections) contains private papers donated to the Archives by individuals and records from organizations and businesses. These collections not only document local, regional, and state history, but also transcend South Carolina’s borders to include collections that are of broader historical interest. Please also visit our online Digitized Collections.

A few of the major focal points and divisions of the Manuscript Collection includes:

  • The Dorothy (“Dottie”) Medlin Papers: [in process] - Contains the papers of Dr. Medlin and her work on the 18th Century abbé, Andre Morellet, as well as other 17th and 18th Century republic of letter and papers contemporaries, including, but not limited to d’Alembert, Hume, d’Holbach, and Voltaire.  Approximately 44 boxes.
  • Women’s History- Because Winthrop University was one of the leading  women’s colleges of the South, but also the nation, from it’s founding in 1886 until 1974 when it became coeducational, a significant portion of the Manuscript Collection (over 300 collections) documents the role women have played in shaping our state’s history. Many Winthrop graduates have gone on to perform active and important roles as leaders and participants in clubs and organizations, home extension, social work, politics, religion, business, art, education, civic and charitable affairs, and other activities. The collection contains the papers and records of non Winthrop graduates as well. The letters, diaries, speeches, clippings, photographs, memorabilia, and other types of material that have been collected through the years is of interest and importance for those wanting to document the role women have had in shaping South Carolina’s rich history. Please visit our online Palmetto Women’s Exhibit.
  • Clubs and Organizational Records - Includes minutes, financial records, correspondence, publications, reports, articles, photographs, and other records pertaining to local, state, and national clubs and organizations.
  • 18th, 19th, and 20th Century Personal Records - Includes journals, diaries, reminiscences, photographs (1850s on), scrapbooks, correspondence, and etc. of local persons experiences during the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, as well as the interwar and post war years.
  • Family History Collections - Many of the Family History papers housed in the Archives document the history of the local and regional communities through the lives of families that live and lived in the area. These collections posses such items as photographs, correspondence, diaries, journals, financial records, memorabilia, as well as many other types of records documenting their everyday lives.
  • Collections of Prominent Authors - Many of these collections contain such items as published and unpublished manuscripts, galleys, notes, research materials, correspondence, fan mail, and etc.  pertaining to the fictional and non-fictional work of various authors. Within the Archives are such collections as the Nathan Asch Papers, the Matt Christopher Papers, the Grace Freeman Papers, as well as of many other talented writers.
  • Faculty, Alumni, and Former Student Papers - These collections pertain to former Winthrop Faculty and students, as well as Alumni papers donated to the Archives that pertain more to their personal and professional lives than to their Winthrop Career and therefore did not fit under the University Archives banner. These papers document the lives, careers and their areas of research of these individuals.  
  • Oral History - Recorded interviews concerning various topics, including life at Winthrop, the Catawba Indians, World War II, women in politics and society, African-American South Carolinians, and the Veterans History Project. Copies can be made.
  •  Caroliniana Files - Thousands of newspaper clippings, articles, pamphlets, brochures, and etc. highlighting interesting South Carolina personalities and topics.
  • Genealogy- Lineage charts, legal records, letters, diaries, biographical sketches, memoirs, and other records on more than 1,000 family surnames.
  • Photographs - The photograph collection is interspersed throughout the manuscript collections to keep them within the context of the collections with which they arrived. These photographs are of varying topics which document the lives or themes of the individual collector or collections. One collection of special interest is the John R. Schorb Papers with photographs ranging from the 1840s to the early 1900s.
  • Memorabilia - Like the Photographs, memorabilia is not separated to form its own collection to keep it within the context of the collection with which it arrived. The memorabilia includes many types of objects and relics ranging from a large cardboard cutout of James Dean in the Blair Beasley Papers to several 4,000 year old Cuneiform Clay Tablet.

Types of Manuscripts Collected

    The Archives collects a wide variety of source material useful for research and consultation, including correspondence (family, personal and business), diaries, journals, reminiscences, speeches, photographs, scrapbooks, tape recordings, films, memorabilia, and records of clubs and organizations.

Who May Use the Collection

    Scholars, students, members of the community, or the general public may use archival collections provided they adhere to the regulations of the Archives. These regulations have been formulated to provide for the security and permanent preservation of deposited records and to facilitate the use of collections. Conditions restricting  the use of collections may be imposed by the donor. As a security measure, a Winthrop University identification card or a scheduled appointment will be required to access the Archives collection. Researchers must call write or email before coming to the library so that we may better serve you.

How You Can Help

    The best way to convey your family’s experience and history is with the preservation of documentary evidence. In this way, the memory of your participation will become a permanent record of your contribution to the cycle of history.
    If you have any material, or if you know someone who has, please call (803-323-2334), write or email the Winthrop University Archives.   A final note: Please don’t throw away any records. If you have any doubt about their value, contact the Archives first.


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