Skip to main content

Willard N. Hirsch papers

Identifier: Mss 1074

Collection Overview

This collection contains clippings, correspondence, programs, photographs, sketches, yearbooks, a scrapbook, and other papers and documents of Willard Newman Hirsch, sculptor and artist. Hirsch's career as a sculptor spanned six decades, first as a student in New York, and then in Charleston, where he lived from the mid-1940s until his death in 1982. Collection includes selections of Hirsch's correspondence, most of it professional, sketches and photographs of his art, business invoices and contracts, biographical materials, exhibition programs and catalogs, and related items. Materials also relate to some of Hirsch's family members, including his wife, Mordenai Raisin Hirsch, their children, Jacob (Jack) Alexander Hirsch and Jane Hirsch, his mother, Miriam Hirsch, uncle Herman Rosenbluth, and others. Collection also includes documentation of Hirsch's army service and public life, his involvement with the Charleston arts community and art education, and his affiliation with Charleston's Jewish community.


  • Creation: 1911-2010


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

Willard Hirsch (1905-1982) was born in Charleston, the oldest of four children. He attended public schools, graduated in 1923 from the High School of Charleston, and was enrolled at the College of Charleston. When he was 27, Hirsch moved to New York City, and studied at the National Academy of Design and the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design. Hirsch kept a studio in New York, where he was involved with the Works Progress Administration and the Federal Art Project. In 1942, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. Partially deaf, he was stationed at Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina. He continued to hone his artistic skills by creating terra cotta busts of his commanding officer and others stationed on the base.

When he was discharged in 1944, Hirsch took up permanent residence back in Charleston. He established a studio on Charleston's Exchange Street, and later purchased a building at 2 Queen Street to continue sculpting.

Hirsch was a versatile sculptor, working with wood, terra cotta, bronze, steel, aluminum, brass, and sgraffito. He was selected for commissions in Charleston, as well as nationally. In 1941, while still living in New York, Hirsch was chosen to represent his home state of South Carolina in IBM's "Sculpture of the Western Hemisphere" collection. His bronze "Tennis Players" was the resulting commission. He sculpted mascots for South Carolina State College (now University) and Clemson University, as well as other work on Clemson's campus. His pieces also appear in the collections of the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet, and two private schools in Charleston, Ashley Hall and Porter Gaud. Hirsch was commissioned to create busts of numerous individuals, including such notable South Carolinians as L. Mendel Rivers, J. Palmer Gaillard, and Laura Bragg. Religious works appear at Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim and Emanu-El Synagogue in Charleston, South Carolina, Woodsdale Temple in Wheeling, West Virginia, and Temple Oheb Shalom in Baltimore, Maryland. Hirsch's sculpture "Joy of Motherhood" was donated by Mordenai Hirsch to Brookgreen Gardens, and is only the third piece by a South Carolina artist installed there.

In 1949, Hirsch married Mordenai Raisin, the daughter of Rabbi Jacob Raisin and Jane Lazarus Raisin of Charleston. The couple had two children, Jacob (Jack) and Jane.


6.38 linear feet (7 document boxes, 3 oversize boxes)


This collection contains Willard Hirsch's papers, clippings, and publications related to his career as a sculptor, including his correspondence, photographs, sketches of his artwork, a scrapbook related to his work, and exhibition catalogs. It also includes information on his work as an art instructor, his involvement with the arts and Jewish communities in Charleston, South Carolina, and on members of his family, including his wife, Mordenai Raisin Hirsch, and uncle, Herman Rosenbluth.

Collection Arrangement

  1. Biographical and family, 1911-2005
  2. Career, 1935-2010
  3. Correspondence, 1949-1982

Acquisitions Information

Materials donated on May 18, 2005 by Mordenai Raisin Hirsch.

Related Material

Related materials in Special Collections include the Lazarus-Hirsch family papers (Mss 1018), and the Rabbi Jacob S. Raisin papers (Mss 1075).

Processing Information

Processed by Jessica Epstein, August 2012.

Inventory of the Willard N. Hirsch Papers, 1911-2010
Processed by: Jessica Epstein; machine-readable finding aid created by: Jessica Epstein
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)