Skip to main content

Jenny Sanford papers

Identifier: Mss 0181

Collection Overview

Correspondence, scrapbooks, notebooks, photo albums, clippings, political ephemera, and other materials relating to Jenny Sanford, former First Lady of South Carolina and former wife of politician Mark Sanford. Overwhelming public support for Jenny Sanford after her husband's extramarital affair is shown through a large amount of correspondence, magazine articles, and television interviews. Bound scrapbooks (1989-2010) compiled by Jenny Sanford include data on Mark Sanford's political campaigns and office (1993-2008), First Lady of South Carolina materials, Sanford wedding materials including a facetious prenuptual contract signed by Mark Sanford (1986 May 16) and a limited marital agreement (2009 May 29), and autographed materials and photographs of politicians such as Newt Gingrich, Oliver North, Michelle and Barack Obama, Laura and George W. Bush, and Margaret Thatcher. This collection also includes 9 photo albums compiled by Jenny Sanford, including Mark and Jenny's 1989 wedding albums, South Carolina First Lady's Easter egg hunts (2005-2006), and Mark Sanford's second term as Governor of South Carolina (2007-2009). Published materials include materials for her bestselling memoir, Staying True, including drafts, corrspondence, notes, and photo release forms. Artifacts include jewelry given to Sanford as personal gifts from supporters, political materials from her husband's career such as Republican Governor's Association cufflinks and three Congressional pins, and also a Voo Doo doll with pins included.


  • Creation: 1989-2012


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

Jennifer Sullivan Sanford was born on September 11, 1962 in Winnetka, Illinois. Sanford's great grandfather, Joseph W. Sullivan, founded the Skil Corporation, which manufactured the first portable electric saw.

Sanford earned her degree in 1984 from Georgetown University, and then went on to work six years (1984-1990) at the Wall Street investment banking firm Lazard Freres & Company in New York. During her time in New York, she met her future husband, then-businessman Mark Sanford. The two were married in 1989, and she moved to South Carolina shortly thereafter.

After Mark Sanford announced he would run for political office, his wife became heavily involved with managing his political campaigns. She managed his successful 1994 campaign for the United States House of Representatives and his successful gubernatorial campaign in 2002, and later co-managed his re-election campaign in 2006. In addition to assisting him during his Governorship and her duties as First Lady of South Carolina, she launched the Healthy South Carolina Challenge (2005), and served on boards at the Medical University of South Carolina's Children's Hospital Advisory Fund, the Coastal Community Foundation and the Drayton Hall Site Council.

On June 24, 2009, after being absent from South Carolina for six days, Mark Sanford publicly admitted to an extramarital affair with an Argentinian woman, Maria Belén Chapur. Jenny Sanford became aware of the infidelity in January 2009, and filed for separation two weeks prior to her husband's public confession. On August 7, 2009, she moved out of the South Carolina Governor's Mansion with the couple's four sons, Marshall, Landon, Bolton, and Blake, and returned to the family home on Sullivan's Island, South Carolina. She announced that she was filing for divorce on December 11, 2009, and the divorce was finalized on March 19, 2010.

Sanford published her bestselling memoir, Staying True, released on February 5, 2010, which details her experience of her husband's affair and the effect it had on her own life.


13.0 linear feet (9 document boxes, 5 oversize boxes, 1 oversize folder, 2 cartons)


Correspondence, scrapbooks, photo albums, artifacts, political ephemera and other materials relating to Jenny Sanford, former First Lady of South Carolina and former wife of politician Mark Sanford. Topics include Mark Sanford's political career, Sanford family life, United States presidential ephemera, the divorce of Jenny and Mark, and Jenny's memoir, Staying True.

Collection Arrangement

  1. Correspondence, 1995-1998, 2009-2012, undated
  2. Bound volumes, 1989-2010
  3. Published materials, 2007-2012
  4. Audiovisual materials, 2001-2010
  5. Artifacts, 1989, 1999-2012, undated
  6. Miscellaneous materials, 2003-2009, undated

Acquisitions Information

Materials donated in 2012 by Jenny Sanford to the College of Charleston Foundation.

Separated Material

Published books originally with the collection have been removed and catalogued separately.

Processing Information

Processed by Cara McHugh, April 2013.

Inventory of the Jenny Sanford Papers, 1989-2012
Processed by: Cara McHugh; machine-readable finding aid created by: Cara McHugh
Description rules
Language of description
Script of description

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)