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“T” is for Tukey, Richard Ellery (1918-1979)

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“T” is for Tukey, Richard Ellery (1918-1979). Civic leader. A native New Yorker, Tukey moved to South Carolina in 1951 as executive vice president of the Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce. He helped transform the region’s economy by international recruitment, by expansion away from textiles, and by taking a decidedly global outlook on economic development. Tukey’s and Spartanburg’s efforts soon gained attention throughout South Carolina. Instead of using the South’s traditional sales pitch of cheap and docile labor, Tukey emphasized Spartanburg’s cooperative business environment, effective transportation network, and well-trained workforce. He was largely successful in his attempts to modernize and delocalize the Upcountry’s business culture, making it more amenable to post-World War II economic realities. By the time of Richard Ellery Tukey’s death, Spartanburg and the South Carolina Piedmont had become an international success story of international globalization.

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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.