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Theodore Sanders Stern presidential records

Identifier: Mss 5002

Collection Overview

Materials are a collection of papers regarding topics discussed by Theodore S. Stern during his time as President of the College of Charleston. Divided into twenty-eight series, materials include inaugural papers, Board of Trustees minutes, agendas, correspondence, fiscal reports, etc., general presidential correspondence, correspondence regarding graduation ceremonies, speeches and programs from engagements at which Stern spoke or attended, student issues, athletics, and college staffing. Correspondence with noted politicians and government officials such as Senator Ernest F. (Fritz) Hollings, South Carolina Speaker of the House Solomon Blatt, South Carolina Governor John West, Charleston Mayor J. Palmer Gaillard, and South Carolina Attorney General Daniel R. McLeod are also included. Stern was involved in a number of committees; documents pertaining to the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, South Carolina Association of Colleges and Universities, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Stern's Advisory Committee on Area Preservation, Advisory Council, an energy-saving council, and the Computer Steering Committee are included in the collection.


  • Creation: 1952, 1966, 1968-1978
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1969-1978


Language of Material

Materials in English

Access Restrictions

This collection has access restrictions. Please consult inventory or contact Special Collections at the College of Charleston Libraries for more information.

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

Theodore S. Stern was born in New York City in 1912 and graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1934. Stern held a number of positions in the private sector before enlisting in the US Navy in 1940. He became a career Naval Officer retiring with the rank of captain, after serving as the Commanding Officer of the Supply Center in Charleston in 1968. A day after his retirement, he assumed the Presidency of the College of Charleston on September 1, 1968. President Stern oversaw and directed the institution's return from the brink of insolvency through its change of status from a private to a state-supported school. By the time of his retirement in 1978, the school had grown dramatically academically, in student number, and in campus size. Stern became instrumental in the development and growth of the Spoleto Festival USA, and served on many community boards. He married Alva Durkee (1912-2008) in 1950 and the couple had three children. Stern's autobiography, No Problems, Only Challenges, was published by the College of Charleston in 2001.


14.5 linear feet (14 cartons, 1 document box)


The papers document the many roles President Theodore S. Stern filled in administering the College of Charleston, as well as his affiliation with other organizations. Included are Board of Trustee records, reflecting the College's administration by the city of Charleston (1968-1969) and then by the State College Board of Trustees (1969-1975); his presidential correspondence (1968-1978); correspondence with politicians (1968-1975); committee activities (1968-1974); planning and development files (1968-1975); academics (1969-1974); the College's Education Department (1969-1974); cooperative programs (1969-1975) with such institutions as the Medical University of South Carolina, the Citadel, Palmer College, the Charleston Consortium, and the Advisory Committee on Marine Studies (COMAR). Also included are files and correspondence re the College Library and its acquisitions, athletics, finances, facilities, new construction, students, alumni, faculty and staff, and various statewide, regional and national educational associations. With letters from various local and national dignitaries.

Collection Arrangement

Arranged by topic into twenty-eight series.

  1. Inaugural papers
  2. College of Charleston Board of Trustees papers (Municipal College), 1968-1970
  3. State College Board of Trustees records, 1969-1975
  4. Presidential correspondence: general, 1968-1978
  5. Presidential action notes, 1973-1975
  6. Commencement correspondence, 1969-1975
  7. Correspondence with politicians and government officials, 1966-1976
  8. Legal correspondence, 1968-1974
  9. Questionnaires, 1970-1974
  10. Committees correspondence, 1968-1974
  11. Conferences, events and programs correspondence, 1968-1974
  12. Non-College affiliations correspondence, 1964-1974
  13. College of Charleston: planning and development files, 1968-1975
  14. College of Charleston: Foundation files, 1972-1974
  15. College of Charleston: academics and related topics, 1969-1974
  16. College of Charleston: academic programs: education department, 1965-1974
  17. College of Charleston: academic programs: cooperative, 1968-1975
  18. College of Charleston: academic programs: library, 1968-1974
  19. College of Charleston: non-academic: general correspondence, 1966-1973
  20. College of Charleston: athletics programs, 1971-1974
  21. College of Charleston: finances, 1968-1979
  22. College of Charleston: facilities
  23. College of Charleston: students, 1968-1974
  24. College of Charleston: alumni, 1968-1974
  25. College of Charleston: staff, 1969-1974
  26. National educational associations, 1968-1974
  27. South Carolina educational associations, 1966-1975
  28. Southern educational associations, 1968-1975

Processing Information

Initial arrangement by Katherine Fleming, with later additions by Gene Waddell. Reprocessed by Harlan Greene.

Inventory of the Theodore Sanders Stern Presidential Records, 1952, 1966, 1968-1978
Processed by: ; machine-readable finding aid created by: Gillian Cote
Description rules
Language of description
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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)