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“M” is for McGowan, Clelia Peronneau

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  “M” is for McGowan, Clelia Peronneau [1865-1956]. Civil leader. After her husband’s death, McGowan became increasingly active in civic affairs. She was president of the League of Women Voters in Charleston and, when appointed to the State Board of Education, became the first woman appointed to public office in the state. She as the state chair of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation for decades. In 1923 she was elected an alderwoman of Ward One on Charleston’s City Council on the platform of “A free library for Charleston.” She envisioned a system of libraries in large towns and county seats and small, travelling libraries to serve rural areas. She helped secure funding for a library in Charleston from the Rosendale Fund and the Carnegie Corporation. Clelia Peronneau McGowan’s lasting monument is the Charleston Count Library, which opened its doors in 1931.

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.