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“H” is for Holmes, Francis Simmons

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  “H” is for Holmes, Francis Simmons [1815-1882]. Paleontologist, museum curator. A skilled farmer, Holmes won a prize for his agricultural experiments and, in 1842 published a highly successful book, The Southern Farmer and Market Gardner. However, his interest in farming gave way to his fascination with fossils, especially marine invertebrates. By 1845, he had amassed a huge collection, which eventually ended up on display at the College of Charleston. In 1850, the college resolved to create a natural history museum and appointed Holmes to be its curator. During the Civil War he served as director of wayside hospitals and later as superintendent of niter works. After the war Francis Simmons Holmes played a major role in developing the phosphate industry in South Carolina, publishing a book, Phosphate Rocks of South Carolina and the “Great Carolina Marl Bed.”

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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.