Walter Edgar

Host

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar receivedhisA.B.degreefromDavidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.

In 1972 he joined the faculty of the History Department and in 1980 was named director of the Institute for Southern Studies. Dr. Edgar is the Claude Henry Neuffer Professor of Southern Studies and the George Washington Distinguished Professor of History. He retired from USC in 2012.

He has written or edited numerous books about South Carolina and the American South, including South Carolina: A History, the first new history of the state in more than 60 years. With more than 37,000 copies in print and an audio edition, it has been a publishing phenomenon. Partisans & Redcoats: The Southern Conflict that Turned the Tide of the American Revolution is in its fourth printing. He is also the editor of the South Carolina Encyclopedia.

Ways to Connect

"P" is for Pacific Mills. Pacific Mills began in Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1850. In  1915, in order to expand its operations it purchased four mills on the outskirts of Columbia. Known collectively as Columbia Pacific Mills, they included Olympia, Granby, Richland, and Capital City Mills. In the 1920s, Olympia Mill had the largest spinning room in the world with more than 100,000 spindles. The massive output of the Columbia mills made Pacific the world's largest manufacturer of percale.

Walter Edgar's Journal
SC Public Radio

In They Stole Him Out of Jail (2019, USC Press), William B. Gravely presents the most comprehensive account of the Willie Earle's lynching ever written, exploring it from background to aftermath and from multiple perspectives. Gravely meticulously re-creates the case’s details, analyzing the flaws in the investigation and prosecution that led in part to the acquittals. Vivid portraits emerge of key figures in the story, including both Earle and cab driver T. W. Brown, Solicitor Robert T. Ashmore, Governor Strom Thurmond, and Rebecca West, the well-known British writer who covered the trial for the New Yorker magazine.

"R" is for the Reform Party. During Reconstruction, South Carolina's voting population was about 60% African American—the vast majority of whom voted Republican. In order to win elections, Democrats needed disaffected Republican votes. In 1874 a coalition of Democrats and disaffected Republicans supported candidates under the label of the Reform Party. The campaign was dominated by two sets of accusations: the Reformers accused the Republicans of being dishonest, and the Republicans accused the Reformers of being Democrats.

"P" is for Patterson, John James [1830-1912]. U.S. Senator. Patterson moved to South Carolina in 1869. Involved in banking and railroad development, he was accused of bribing legislators to pass laws favoring his interests. In 1872 he was a candidate for the U.S. Senate--and it was alleged that his only qualification was that he had the money with which to bribe legislators. He won the election and was arrested and charged with bribery and election fraud—but was never tried.

"O" is for Ottolengui, Rodrigues [1861-1937]. Orthodontist. Lepidopterist. Editor. Novelist. After attending the College of Charleston, Ottolengui moved to New York City to apprentice under some of the nation's leading dental surgeons. He became interested in orthodontics, was the author of dental textbook, for forty years was the editor of a dental periodical, Dental Items of Interest. An avid reader of detective stories, he was a pioneer in the field of forensic dentistry and wrote at least five mystery novels—some of which were published abroad.

"N" is for Niernsee, John Randolph [1823-1885] and Niernsee, Francis McHenry [1849-1899]. Architects. John Niernsee was the principal architect for the design and construction of the South Carolina State House. His son Frank followed in his father's footsteps by finishing the interior of the State House and operating a successful architectural practice in Columbia. In 1855 the elder Niernsee came to take charge of the troubled new State House project, but his work stopped by the Civil War.

"M" is for Market Hall. Completed in 1841, Market Hall was one of several monumental buildings that arose along Meeting Street in Charleston during the 1830s and 1840s. Located at 188 Meeting Street, Market Hall occupies a narrow lot between North and South Market Streets that has been used as the public market since the late 18th century. Built of brick covered with brown stucco, the two-story building is set on a rusticated base. A double flight of steps leads to a portico supported by Doric columns.

Stereograph showing an exterior view of Libby Prison, a Confederate military prison, Richmond, VA.
Civil War Photograph Collection (Library of Congress)

From battlefields, boxcars, and forgotten warehouses to notorious prison camps like Andersonville and Elmira, prisoners seemed to be everywhere during the American Civil War. Yet there is much we do not know about the soldiers and civilians whose very lives were in the hands of their enemies. On this week’s Journal, Dr. Edgar talks with Dr. Evan Kutzler about Living by Inches (2019. UNC Press), the first book to examine how imprisoned men in the Civil War perceived captivity through the basic building blocks of human experience--their five senses.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"M" is for Manigault, Gabriel [1704-1781]. Merchant, legislator. Born in Charleston, Manigault rose from relatively modest origins to become the leading merchant and private banker in colonial South Carolina. He operated retail shops and also owed several trading vessels. He never had business partners and preferred to conduct business by himself. Manigault also had extensive real estate holdings in the Charleston area. He held a number of public positions including that of public treasurer. Twice, he declined appointment to the Royal Council.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

“L” is for the Lancaster Courthouse and Jail. During the 1820s, the noted architect Robert Mills designed at least 14 courthouses and 14 jails throughout the state. The Lancaster courthouse and jail are among the best surviving examples of his work from this period. The two-story brick courthouse is set on a raised basement and is characterized by Palladian symmetry and features a pedimented portico with modified Tuscan columns. The vaulted ground story has walls two feet thick. The courthouse has remained in use since its construction.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"K" is for Kiawah Island in Charleston County. Kiawah is a small barrier island situated south of Charleston between the mouths of the Stono and North Edisto Rivers. It is named for the Kiawah Indians who at one time lived in the vicinity. In 1719 the island became the property of John Stanyarne who cleared land for indigo production and built a sizable mansion. His granddaughters inherited the property in 1772 and it descended for nearly two centuries through the Vanderhorst family who planted sea island cotton.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"J" is for Jasper, William [d. 1779] Soldier. On July 7, 1775, William Jasper enlisted in the elite grenadier company of the Second South Carolina Continental Regiment. During the battle of Sullivans Island on June 28, 1776, he was a sergeant and won lasting fame. When an enemy shot brought down the fort's flag, he restored the banner under heavy enemy fire. In 1779 he led dangerous guerrilla raids against British pickets and patrols. During the Franco-American attack on the British lines around Savannah in October 1779, Jasper received a mortal wound.

Ted Lee and Matt Lee
Ovation

This week on Walter Edgar's Journal, Mat Lee and Ted Lee drop in to talk about their new book, Hotbox: Inside Catering, the Food World’s Riskiest Business (2019, Henry Holt). In Hotbox, the Lee brothers take on the competitive, wild world of high-end catering, exposing the secrets of a food business few home cooks or restaurant chefs ever experience. Known for their modern take on Southern cooking, the Lee brothers steeped themselves in the catering business for four years, learning the culture from the inside-out.

"I" is for Inman Mills

Apr 27, 2020
South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"I" is for Inman Mills. Inman Mills began in 1902 when James A. Chapman opened a four-hundred-loom and 15,000-spindle plant in the Spartanburg County town on Inman. The mill made high quality greige—cloth that comes straight from the loom and is gray, rough, and full of blemishes. By 1909 the plant had doubled its capacity. The company's success prompted further expansion—including the acquisition of other mills and replacing the 19th century mill with three modern plants—one in Inman and two in Enoree.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"R" is for Ransier, Alonzo Jacob [1834-1882]. Lieutenant governor, congressman. Born in Charleston to free persons of color, Ransier acquired a common school education, and clerked in a Charleston shipping firm. After the Civil War he became active in politics and was elected to the General Assembly from Charleston County. In 1868 he became chairman of the Republican State Executive Committee and also served as a presidential elector for Ulysses S. Grant. In 1870 he was elected lieutenant governor and two years later represented the Second District in the United States Congress.

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