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“E” is for Edens, J. Drake, Jr. (1925-1982

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“E” is for Edens, J. Drake, Jr. (1925-1982). Republican Party leader. Edens organized the modern Republican Party in South Carolina. His initial involvement with the Republican Party occurred during the 1960 presidential campaign. From 1965 to 1965 Edens was chairman of the state Republican Party. He worked methodically to strengthen and expand the party organization statewide. He eventually established the foundation for a state party that thereafter posed a serious electoral threat to the Democrats. In 1965 Edens became the state’s Republican national committeeman, and that year became one of the committee’s four vice chairmen. In the space of five years, he had risen from relative obscurity to become the highest-placed southerner in the national Republican Party. By the mid-1970s J. Drake Edens, Jr., had yielded leadership of the state party to relative Republican newcomers.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson 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.