Edwin L. (Edwin Luther) Green.

A history of the University of South Carolina online

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its four Roman-Doric pillars forming the portico. The
interior is the admiration of every beholder. Beautifully
arched alcoves contain the books, and the shelves reach to
the galleries, necessitating the use of ladders, after the older
style of library arrangement. Among the furniture are
massive mahogany cabinets for the preservation of rare
volumes, such as Piranesi and Audubon, and a round table
with chairs for the sessions of the faculty and the trustees ;
the table and chairs were purchased in 1844 for $466 for
the use of the board. In 1847 the faculty, giving up its room
in one of the dormitories, began its sittings in the library,
which were kept up until the fall of 1909. Around the hall
on brackets are busts of famous men of all time, most of
which were gathered by Professor Lieber and placed in their
present positions in "radical times." There are also busts
of Calhoun, William C. Preston (by Hiram Powers), Chan-
cellor DeSaussure, George McDuffie, William Harper,
David Johnson, J. L. Manning (by Clark Mills), Dr. Henry,
F. J. Elmore. On the walls are portraits of Jefferson,


Madison, Thomas Cooper, W. C. Preston, J. H. Thornwell,
Dr. A. N. Talley, J. J. Evans, D. E. Williams, General Beau-
regard, Professor M. LaBorde, Professor R. Means Davis,
Presidents Woodrow, McBryde and Sloan, and Bishop
William Capers. The old chair, now restored, was presented
by William C. Preston. It was the "quasi-throne" of the
colonial governors of South Carolina.

From the laws of 1807 we learn that the library was
opened on Friday and Saturday at the hours appointed by
the president. Students were admitted by classes, when sent
for by the librarian, and did not enter beyond the librarian's
desk. No book could be taken out until it was covered with
clean thick paper. Except by special permission, no student
could take out or have in his possession at any time more
than one folio for four weeks, or one quarto for three weeks,
or one octavo for two weeks, or two duodecimos for one
week. Strictest decorum was required while books were
being drawn on penalty of one month's deprivation from the
use of the library. These rules were gradually modified.
The regulations of 1853 allowed students to take out books
on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, while on the other
week days they could enter only to consult a reference book
or settle college dues. These same regulations fix the penalty
for not returning a book on time at 25 cents for each day
until the sum of $2 was reached, when the delinquent was
to be notified. Each student was entitled to obtain from
the library at one time one quarto, and one octavo, or as
an equivalent three octavos or four duodecimos; but in the
case of students preparing compositions for the public
exhibitions a larger number could be drawn by applying to
the faculty. This same regulation appears in the 1883
edition of the laws. In 1883 the library was opened as in
1853. It was later opened from 9 a. m. to '6 p. m. every day
except Sunday; since 1910 it has been kept open at night
until 10. At the present time the greatest freedom in taking
out books exists, the view prevailing that the books are for
use. Of course rare and valuable works are carefully


In 1807 the fee for the use of the library was $2 for the
session. The laws of 1836 fix "the fee for tuition and the
use of the library" at $50 for the year, which remained the
charge until the South Carolina College was merged into the
University of South Carolina, when a special fee of $15 was
made for the library. Resident graduates paid $10 for the
use of the library. No fee has been exacted since the revival
of the college in 1880.

The librarian was at first one of the professors. Joseph
Lowry, a student, held the position for two years, when he
was followed by Dr. Park, who for fifteen years performed
the duties of professor and librarian ; he was again in charge
of the library at two different periods until his death in
1844. With the exception of Dr. Park and M. Michaelowitz,
young men, either tutors or recent graduates, filled the
librarian's position until the election of Rev. C. Bruce
Walker in 1862. In 1823 the librarian was also the treas-
urer, and after 1835 this was the usual arrangement until
1907. He was furthermore at times secretary of the faculty
and of the trustees.


Elisha Hammond (1774-1829), father of Governor J. H.
Hammond, was librarian in 1805, at the same time also Pro-
fessor of Languages. He taught only a year and a half in
the South Carolina College, and is best known for his work
as principal of the Mount Bethel Academy in Newberry.
As librarian he was followed by

Joseph Lowry, a student, one of the two brothers so well
known in connection with the foundation of the Clariosophic
and Euphradian Literary Societies. He held the office two

Dr. Thomas Park (1767-1844), was elected Professor of
Languages in 1806 and also librarian in 1808, the duties of
which office he continued to perform for fifteen years. He
acted as librarian again from 1839 to 1844. Dr. Park was
fond of writing his name in the books of the library. See
LaBorde's History of the South Carolina College, pp.


Jaines Divver was librarian and treasurer for the year
1823, after which he was elected tutor in Mathematics, con-
tinuing in this position for three years. He was succeeded by

Joseph A. Black, who held the position till 1829, when he
was succeeded by

M. Michaelowitz, Teacher of Oriental Literature and
Modern Languages as well as librarian, which last place he
filled until 1834. Oriental Literature meant Hebrew and

E. W. Johnston was elected librarian, December 15, 1834.
Two years later he reports that he has completed a catalogue
of the library.

Elias Hall, elected December 15, 1836, succeeded Johnston.

Henry C. Davis, the son of Dr. James Davis, the first
physician of the Asylum, had charge of the library from
1844 to 1848. He was a graduate of the South Carolina
College of the year 1844. During the Civil War he was Lieu-
tenant Colonel of the 12th Regiment South Carolina Volun-
teers. He was the father of the late Professor B. Means

Fitz W. McMaster (1828-1899). Colonel McMaster grad-
uated at the South Carolina College in 1847, and was
librarian from 1848 to 1856. He took a conspicuous part in
the "Battle of the Crater," where his admirable handling of
Elliott's Brigade contributed largely to the repulse of the
Federal troops. He was always an enthusiastic and devoted
alumnus. When the negroes obtained possession of the
College, he saved the records of the Euphradian Society.
After the days of Reconstruction he was very zealous in
aiding to reopen the South Carolina College, then a Univer-
sity. To his zeal in the cause of education both the schools
of Columbia and Winthrop owe much.

Beverly W. Means (1833-1862), was librarian in 1862 at
the time he was killed at the Battle of Seven Pines. He left
the South Carolina College in his junior year in one of the
student rebellions and completed his education at Harvard.

Charles Bruce Walker (1820-1875), was born in North
Carolina, but received part of his education at the South


Carolina College. He became a minister of the Protestant
Episcopal Church. From 1862 to 1873 he was a most faith-
ful librarian. The last MS. catalogue was his work.

Robert W. Barn well (1801-18851), was President of the
College frpnil836 to 1841, and librarian from iS80 to his
death in 13. Under his presidency and mainly by his
efforts the library building was erected and great additions
were made to the books. He was repeatedly urged to allow
himself again to be made President. He was succeeded by
his daughter

Eliza W. Barnwell, who acted as librarian from 1883 to
1886; and she was followed by her brother

John G. Barnwell, who held the position of librarian for
two years (1886-1888).

Isaac H. Means (1826-1898), brother of Beverley W.
Means, a graduate of the class of 1846, was librarian from
1888 to 1898, being taken off by an attack of pneumonia in
the latter year. He was a planter in Fairfield County,
Secretary of State from 1858 to 1861, and Captain in the
Confederate Army.

Frank C. Woodward, President from 1897 to 1902, was
also librarian and treasurer from 1898 to 1900.

Margaret H. Rion, daughter of Colonel J. H. Rion, was
Dr. Woodward's assistant, and librarian from 1900 to 1912.
She had as assistants Miss C. Means (1898-1899), Miss
Margaret LeConte (1899-1906), Miss A. A. Porcher (1906-
1907) ; Miss C. H. Porcher (1908-1910) ; Miss Ethel English

Robert M. Kennedy, of Camden, A. B. 1885, A. M. 1898,
succeeded Miss Rion in 1912.

Harvard, "the first of New England Colleges to have a separate build-
ing devoted exclusively to library purposes," did not have such a building
completed until 1841. The Yale library was built in 1843-46, and
Princeton had no separate library structure until 1873. See "College
Libraries in the United States," in the New England Magazine for Decem-
ber, 1897. The library of the University of Virginia, opened in 1825,
was in the rotunda, which was used for other than library purposes.




In order that the purpose of the founders of the South
Carolina College, that the college should be the great unify-
ing force which should bring all sections of the State into
harmony might be fully effected, the young men were to
room together in dormitories and eat at one common table.
There were also two other reasons that determined the estab-
lishment of the commons system, the smallness of the village
of Columbia, which could not supply enough boarding
houses, and the expectation that in this way the price of
board could be controlled. Moreover, this was the general
system in vogue at the time among colleges.

All students were required to take their meals at the
commons, except those whose parents or guardians resided
in Columbia or its vicinity and wished their sons or wards
to board at home. In case of sickness, on certificate of a
practicing physician, meals could be taken out of the college.
No student who took his meals at the commons was admitted
to the privileges of the college unless he presented a receipt
from the steward that his board had been paid.

The steward was elected by the trustees at first for three
years, later for one year. He was under the power of the
faculty, whose duty it was to see that the meals were punc-
tually served, to remove him from office for any violation of
his bond or neglect of duty and to fill the vacancy during
the recess of the board. The faculty was also to make any
rules that should be necessary to secure a proper discharge
of the steward's duty. He was placed under a bond of f 5,000,
at least after 1836. It was his duty to "supply the commons
with wholesome food, in sufficient quantities and well pre-
pared (such as is used in private families in the town of
Columbia) at a sum therein to be stipulated per week, to
be paid quarterly (at first half yearly) in advance, out of


the funds deposited by the students, respectively, in the
hands of the Treasurer for that purpose." The pay of the
steward was derived from the profit that he could make out
of the board of the students. No deduction was made for
absence from meals, unless the absence extended to one
week and longer, notice having been given of the departure.
The absence had to be an actual absence from the town of

It was also a duty of the steward during the first thirty
years of the history of the college to "cause all the inhabited
rooms in the College, and the entries, to be cleanly swept
every day, and all the beds to be decently made at the same
time. He shall also cause the chapel to be swept once every
week, and to be cleanly washed, once every fortnight. For
the services required in this law, each student shall pay to
the steward four dollars per year, to be charged in his bills
of commons, one half in advance." He was particularly
enjoined to look after the preservation of the keys to the
rooms in the dormitories. The repairs to fences and edifices,
under the direction of the standing committee, were attended
to by him. He had to look after the students' washing,
"since great inconvenience arises to the College from the
students procuring the washing of their clothes in the town
of Columbia," for which he was allowed the usual compen-
sation. He was allowed to sell to the students in the hours
of recreation "cider, beer, bread, butter, cheese, tea, coffee,
chocolate, milk, apples, and such other articles as the Presi-
dent shall permit, in small quantities and at a reasonable
price ; but shall sell no article on credit." A superintendent
of buildings was elected in 1823, so that the duty of attend-
ing to repairs was taken from the steward. After 1836 he
no longer had any other duty than that of conducting the

After the Commons Hall was completed in 1806 the
steward and his family occupied the second story until the
increase in the number of students in 1837 compelled the
trustees to purchase at a cost of |2,000 the house of a
Mr. Daniels nearby for their use; the upper floor of the


hall was fitted up for a dining room. At the end of 1842
the position of bursar was created carrying with it a salary
of f 1,500, the hope of the board being that if management
of the commons should be compensated for in this way and
not be dependent on the profit from the table, the food would
be better, which would remove the one great cause of com-
plaint against the system. Unfortunately, this expectation
was not realized. The salary was reduced to f 1,000 in 1846.
The positions of bursar and marshal were combined in 1865
and so remained for ten years; but only the salary of the
marshal was paid to the new officer. Since the erection of
the new hall in 1902 the matrons have received fixed com-

Before the opening of the college in 1805 a contract was
made with George Wade to "diet" the students ; but he must
have soon wearied of the undertaking, as a contract with
Timothy Rives was reported to the board in April, 1805.
Rives continued to act as steward for two years, perhaps
until the steward's hall on the campus was completed. He
ran a tavern, which stood across the street from the old
capitol on a site now a part of the State House grounds.
There must have been some trouble from students boarding
with him and his successor, Dr. Samuel Green, both of whom
were innkeepers, because the board ordered in June, 1808,
that the steward should reside in the hall and not be the
keeper of any tavern or boarding house. The legislature
of December, 1805, granted at the request of the board the
sum of $6,000 for the purpose of erecting a commons hall
on the campus. The standing committee was directed to
select a site and adopt plans. The site selected was that on
which Harper College now stands. Mr. Clark, who was with
Mr. Mills joint author of the plans for the first buildings,
furnished the plans and contracted to have the hall ready
for the students by the 1st of the following October. It was
in use in November, although it was not quite finished.
When Harper College was built in 1848, the trustees pur-
chased the house of a Mr. Beard on the corner of Main and
Green streets, which with some repairs and additions was


found to be admirably suited for the purposes of a commons
hall. This building was in 1902 rented to outside persons,
after the present hall was occupied. It was so dilapidated
that it was torn down in 1907. The present steward's hall,
west of the gymnasium, was put up in 1901 at a cost of
$11,000. This new hall was erected on the site of an old
cottage, Which was built by the Federals for a commissary.
Walters and Edwards were architects; the contractor was
J. M. Eboch. On account of the large increase in the student
body it became necessary to ask the legislature of 1913 for
a sum to enlarge the dining hall, construct a refrigerating
plant and remodel the kitchen.

At first every professor residing in the college had to
board in the commons, and a regulation of June 27, 1808,
required the senior professor present to say grace both before
and after meals. No student could leave before final grace.
Later the professors took turns in monthly rotation in attend-
ing at meals and only one grace was asked, the one before
the meal. The students were to enter the hall in a decent
and orderly manner, and to conduct themselves with pro-
priety while in the hall, and if any one violated this rule or
was guilty of talking loud, or striking or treating the servants
ill, or otherwise misbehaving, he was punished by admoni-
tion or suspension. They were by these early laws to take
their seats by classes and in alphabetical order. In going
from the hall the seniors retired first, the others in succes-
sion, according to classes. All waste of provisions and
destruction of table furniture was strictly forbidden. When
the steward was compelled to move into another house in
1837, the seniors were given their meals in the second story,
while the other classes ate in the room below, according to
the recollection of the late Professor William J. Kivers, who
was a student in the college at that period.

The bell ringer, two servants, who waited on the tables,
and one professor, who presided, were given board free of
cost. A cover was, according to the laws of 1845, reserved
daily for one trustee.

As early as November, 1806, the students began to com-

19 H. U.


plain : they sent a committee to the president to ask that the
steward be required to furnish board according to contract.
Bills of fare were prepared. The first one to appear in the
minutes, June 27, 1808, states that supper should consist
of "tea, coffee, bread, butter, cold meats, etc." A complete
bill of fare is printed in the laws of 1848, in accordance with
which breakfast was made up of "Good Coffee 'and Tea,
Wheat Bread, Butter, Hominy, and Eggs or cold Meat" ; for
dinner "There shall be, for every day, Wheat and Corn Bread,
and Kice, and one or more vegetable dishes. On Sunday.
Poultry or Roast Beef, Ham and dessert. On Monday.
Soup, Roast Beef or Veal and Ham. On Tuesday. Corned
Beef, Pork or Steak. On Wednesday. Poultry or Roast
Beef or Ham. On Thursday. Bacon, Mutton or Steak and
dessert. On Friday. Fish, Corned Beef or Pork. On Satur-
day. Soup, Roast Beef or Veal or Mutton and Ham. With
such other varieties as the market will afford."; for tea,
"Coffee and Tea, Bread, Butter, and occasionally cold meats."
Dr. Cooper succeeded in breaking up the system of com-
mons near the close of his administration. "The College,"
said he, "is in yearly jeopardy of being destroyed by the
disputes about eating." Chancellor DeSaussure, Hon.
William Harper and Hon. W. C. Preston, who had been
appointed a committee to investigate the subject of commons
in general after the rebellion against the Steward's Hall, in
which a combination was entered into not to eat at the Hall
after March 1, 1827, resulting in the expulsion of almost the
entire senior class, declared in their report to the board
November, 1828, that, "in most cases where the system of
College discipline has obliged the students to board in Com-
mons discontent and disorder have followed, and wherever
the students have their option to board either at the Commons
or at private houses, order and satisfaction have prevailed."
In accordance with the recommendation of the report the
trustees resolved that students on the written authority of
their parents might board in such private houses within the
town of Columbia as might be licensed by the faculty. The
new arrangement was not satisfactory, for such other mis-


chiefs were produced that, according to Dr. Cooper two years
later, they had to be conquered, "or recur to the former
arrangement, at whatever cost."

After Dr. Cooper had been forced to resign and the college
was reorganized, the old system was restored. In Dr. Henry's
first report as president, May 4, 1842, he tells the board
"That, as usual, the chief difficulties in the government of
the College have arisen from disagreements between the
students and the steward, in regard to their respective rights
and obligations." These quarrels had resulted in the suspen-
sion of several students. On the 1st of January, 1843, a
bursar was elected with a fixed salary, subject to a Board
of Supervision consisting of the faculty and five trustees.
This it was hoped would end all disputes ; but the hope was
soon to be a vanished dream. The commons had been odious
from the beginning, and no amount of modification could
overcome the dislike. Professor Thornwell adds in his report
in 1850 that, "The dissatisfaction of the students, as it
appears to me, arises from the unpleasant association con-
nected with the place, as a place of compulsory boarding.
The disgust extends to everything about the establishment,
and by a natural illusion they transfer to their food the
prejudices against the system that provides it." Two years
later he writes as president that the commons were going
smoothly; but the calm was that which precedes the storm.
The students petitioned for a change, which was refused.
They memorialized again with a secret written pledge that,
if they were not successful, they would withdraw from the
college by taking dismissals. Dr. LaBorde expresses the
belief that they did not think they were violating a law of
the institution in so binding themselves. To the board, how-
ever, it appeared to be an unlawful combination, so that it
was a serious question whether under the circumstances any
action could be taken without weakening the authority of
the faculty and trustees. A committee was appointed to
confer with the committee from the students in regard to
the pledge and the whole affair. President Thornwell in a
second letter to the board urged leniency in the enforcement
of the law and such modification of the system as would


remove all objectionable features. A written communication
from the students set forth their position. A memorial from
thirty students who had not entered into the combination
was in the meantime addressed to the board, which there-
upon dismissed the matter with the adoption of a resolution,
"That the recommendation of the President of the College
to modify the Commons, and the memorial of the thirty
students, are entitled to the favorable consideration of the
Board ; and that a Committee be appointed to devise a plan
for carrying out the recommendation of the President, and
that the said Committee report at the meeting in May." As
the board adjourned without granting immediate relief to
the memorialists who had entered the combination, all the
signers felt it their duty to leave in conformity to their
pledge. Thus terminated the great "Biscuit Rebellion."

In accordance with the desire of the board the committee
appointed in December reported on the commons at the meet-
ing in May. All students whose parents or guardians were
unwilling that they should board in the commons were
allowed to board at houses licensed by the faculty on the
following conditions : "Each of these houses must, through
a responsible proprietor, engage, 1. That a lady shall always
preside at the table; 2. That the meals shall be punctually
furnished at the same hour with the meals in commons;
3. That no intoxicating liquor, whether distilled or fermented,
shall be supplied to the students in the house, or by any
person connected with it ; and none be permitted to be drunk
at the table, or by a student in the house; 4. That the mis-
conduct of a student in the house shall be reported to the
Faculty, and in case of disorder suspected or known, the
house shall be subject to the visitation of the Faculty. The
violation of any of these conditions shall cause a forfeit of
the license." Written application to board at such houses
had to be made to the president at the beginning of the ses-
sion or on two weeks' notice, on penalty of paying two weeks
board in the commons. Riotous or disorderly conduct at the
boarding house or failure to return from meals at the hours
prescribed brought forfeit of the liberty of boarding out of

Online LibraryEdwin L. (Edwin Luther) GreenA history of the University of South Carolina → online text (page 24 of 38)