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“G” is for German Friendly Society

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“G” is for German Friendly Society. Oldest of all German male social organizations in Charleston, the German Friendly Society was founded in 1766 by sixteen German men. They constituted themselves as a social and mutual-assistance society to pay sick and death benefits and allow members to borrow funds at low interest. Almost immediately, German ethnicity was not necessary for membership, nor was the ability to speak German. In 1801 the society constructed its own meeting house on Archdale Street. In 1821 the society established a fund to aid indigent and transient Germans in the city. After the Civil War the society developed into more of a social and charitable organization. In 1942, it changed its name to the Friendly Society of Charleston but reverted to its original name as the German Friendly Society in 1965.

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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.