With photos by SCRN’s Joanne Lu
The newest edition to the University of South Carolina promises to draw the attention of scholars worldwide. The Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library will be formally dedicated Friday, July 23 at noon by Vice President Joe Biden. Former governor and U.S. Senator Hollings, now 88, is scheduled to attend the ceremonies along with U.S. House Majority Whip James Clyburn.
A large number of Hollings papers from his long and storied political career are featured in the political collections area of the library, which also features a rare books and special collections floor and a digital collections level.
While serving in the U.S. Senate, Hollings was instrumental in securing $14 million in federal funds to help finance the construction of the $18 million 50,000 square foot facility.
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Political Collections Director Herb Hartsook says the papers of 11 governors and 23 members of Congress are featured in his department, along with holdings from groups and persons who have helped formulate modern political history. A number of the holdings, along with other ancient manuscripts, are being digitized and placed on the worldwide web. He says that will no doubt entice scholars and those interested to visit the library in person.
The Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, features the works of John Milton, Robert Burns, Charles Darwin, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and others. A temperature and humidity-controlled vault holds the most valuable items, including the original double-elephant folio of John James Audubon’s “The Birds of America.” Age-old manuscripts from various fields and eras are featured in the rare books collection.
Special Collections Director Dr. Patrick Scott says the rare books area was meticulously planned to create the proper environment for the books and for those who wish to study the timeless treasures.
The library is open to researchers and visitors Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Vice President Biden’s speech will not be open to the public.