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Keyserling family papers - Part II

Identifier: Mss 1049b

Collection Overview

Correspondence, school records, photographs, writings, financial records, home movies, clippings, and other materials of the Keyserling family of Beaufort, South Carolina. This finding aid describes the second accession (Part II) of the Keyserling family papers. Part I has significant overlap with Part II in regards to chronology and subject matter. Materials in the second accession primarily relate to William Keyserling and Jennie Hyman Keyserling, their children Leon Keyserling and Herbert Keyserling, Herbert's wife, Harriet Hirschman Keyserling, and their children, Judith Keyserling, Billy Keyserling, Beth Keyserling Kramer, and Paul Keyserling. Correspondence among family members consists primarily of letters between William Keyserling and Jennie Hyman Keyserling and from the children of Herbert Keyserling and Harriet Hirschman Keyserling to their parents. School records include progress reports, certificates, sport and performance programs, and school essays. Photographs include portraits of Jennie Hyman Keyserling and Leon Keyserling as well as images of Judith Keyserling, Billy Keyserling, Beth Keyserling Kramer, and Paul Keyserling. Writings include partial rough drafts of essays, notes, poetry, published articles, and speeches. Financial records include titles, deeds, and mortgages purchased and owned by Macdonald, Wilkins Co., letters and receipts related to the closing of the estate of William Keyserling, and Herbert Keyserling's personal ledger listing yearly donations, dues, and taxes paid. Audiovisual materials include home movies of the Keyserling and Hirschfeld families as well local news interviews with Harriet Keyserling, Herbert Keyserling, and Billy Keyserling. Clippings from local and state newspapers are related to Herbert Keyserling's retirement from private practice, Billy Keyserling's political career in Washington, D.C., and Paul Keyserling's participation in the Hilton Head Island Rugby Club. Materials related to Beth Israel Synagogue in Beaufort, South Carolina, include community annex blueprints as well as cemetery plats of the southern half of Beth Israel cemetery


  • Creation: 1900-2010


Language of Material

Materials in English

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Copyright Notice

The nature of the College of Charleston's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. Special Collections claims only physical ownership of most archival materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Biographical Note

Born in Lithuania, William Keyserling (1869-1951) immigrated in 1888 to the United States and settled in Beaufort, South Carolina. He established himself with the Macdonald, Wilkins Co., a cotton ginnery and wholesale warehouse located on St. Helena Island, advancing from cotton gin machinist to business partner. In 1907 Keyserling married New Yorker Jennie Hyman (1881-1935). The couple initially lived on St. Helena Island but later moved to Beaufort where Jennie was active in the town's civic affairs, becoming a member of the Parent Teacher Association, the Civic League, and the Clover Club, a women's literary and social group. The Keyserlings had four children: Leon Keyserling (1908-1987), Beth Keyserling Rosenfarb (1909-1978), Rosalyn Keyserling Schreiber (1910-1944), and Herbert Keyserling (1915-2000).

Leon Keyserling attended Columbia University and Harvard Law School. He worked as Senator Robert F. Wagner's chief legislative aide from1933 to 1937 and helped draft major New Deal legislation. From 1946 to 1953 he served on President Truman's Council of Economic Advisors and became its chairman. After leaving government service in 1953, Keyserling practiced as a lawyer and private consulting economist, working with various national organizations, governments, firms, and individuals. In 1971 Keyserling retired to devote his time as president and director of the Conference on Economic Progress (CEP), a nonprofit research organization dealing with U.S. economic development and national economic policies.

Herbert Keyserling attended the College of Charleston and the Medical College of South Carolina. From 1941 to 1946 he served as a medical officer in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps attached to the First Marine Division, participating in several landings and battles during World War II, including the landing on Guadalcanal, the first major U.S. offensive in the Pacific. Upon his discharge he returned to Beaufort, opening his own private practice and joining the Beaufort Memorial Hospital as a member of the medical staff, becoming chief of staff shortly thereafter. In 1996 he retired after fifty years of practice but remained on Beaufort Memorial Hospital's emeritus staff until his death in 2000. In 1944 Herbert married native New Yorker, Harriet Hirschfeld (1922-2010). A graduate of Barnard College she was the first woman to serve on the Beaufort County Council and a sixteen-year member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, representing House District 124. She was a leader in promoting better public education and enhanced cultural opportunities in South Carolina. The couple had four children: Judith Keyserling (1946-2012), Billy Keyserling (1948- ), Beth Keyserling Kramer (1952- ), and Paul Keyserling (1952- ).

Judith Keyserling worked in marketing, public relations, and fundraising. She was director of marketing and public relations for The Washington Ballet, vice president of marketing and public relations at the Milwaukee Symphony, and executive vice president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. In 2006 she founded her own marketing firm, Keyserling+associates, with offices in Beaufort and Washington, D.C.

Billy Keyserling worked in Washington, D.C. as a legislative and administrative assistant in the United States House and Senate. He was an assistant to South Carolina Representative John Jenrette Jr. and to Senator Fritz Hollings; he directed Hollings presidential campaign in 1984. In 1989 he returned to Beaufort and shortly thereafter was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives where he served for two terms before serving one term on Beaufort City Council. In 2008 he was elected mayor of Beaufort.

Beth Keyserling Kramer is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a licensed professional counselor in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.

Paul Keyserling is a filmmaker, photographer, and independent media production professional based in Beaufort, South Carolina.


4.60 linear feet (8 document boxes, 1 oversize folder, 7 DVDs)


Correspondence, school records, photographs, writings, financial records, home movies, clippings, and other materials of the Keyserling family of Beaufort, South Carolina. Materials relate to William Keyserling; his wife Jennie Hyman Keyserling; Leon Keyserling, American economist and lawyer; Herbert Keyserling, Beaufort physician; Harriet Hirschfeld Keyserling, Beaufort state representative and wife of Herbert Keyserling; and their children, Judith Keyserling, Billy Keyserling, Beth Keyserling Kramer, and Paul Keyserling.

Collection Arrangement

  1. William Keyserling, 1900-1950
  2. Jennie Hyman Keyserling, 1903-1935
  3. Leon Keyserling, circa 1909-1977
  4. Herbert Keyserling, 1915-2007
  5. Harriet Hirschfeld Keyserling, 1928-2008
  6. Judith Keyserling, 1950-1982
  7. Billy Keyserling, 1954-2010
  8. Beth Keyserling Kramer, 1958-2009
  9. Paul Keyserling, 1958-2010
  10. Beth Israel Synagogue, 1926-1964
  11. Audiovisual, 1928-2000

Acquisitions Information

Materials donated in 2005 by Harriet Hirschfeld Keyserling and Paul Keyserling.

Related Material

Related materials in Special Collections include the Keyserling family papers (Mss 1049a), the Leon Keyserling papers (Mss 1052), an oral history interview with Herbert Keyserling (Mss 1035-036), and the publications Leon H. Keyserling: A Progressive Economist by Donald K. Pickens (2009), Doctor K: A Personal Memoir by Herbert Keyserling (1999), and Against the Tide: One Woman's Political Struggle by Harriet Keyserling (1998).

Processing Information

Processed by Joshua Minor, April 2012.

Inventory of the Keyserling Family Papers - Part II, 1900-2010
Processed by: Joshua Minor; machine-readable finding aid created by: Joshua Minor
Description rules
Language of description
Script of description
Funding from the Council on Library and Information Resources supported the processing of this collection and encoding of the finding aid.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Special Collections
College of Charleston Libraries
66 George Street
Charleston South Carolina 29424
(843) 953-8016
(843) 953-6319 (Fax)