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Keyserling family papers - Part I

Identifier: Mss 1049a

Collection Overview

Part I (Mss 1049a) is the first accession of the Keyserling family papers. It includes Keyserling genealogical information, ephemera and family news clippings; material related to Leon Keyserling's political career (essays, clippings, speeches.) Correspondence includes letters between William Keyserling (WK) and Jennie H. Keyserling (JK) 1903-1935; WK and Leon Keyserling, 1908-1949; WK and Beth Keyserling Rosenfarb, 1911-1951; WK and Rosalyn Keyserling Schreiber, 1911-1944; WK and Herbert Keyserling, 1930-1944; WK and other relatives, 1919-1951. Correspondence between William Keyserling and European relatives who escaped World War II. Letters between Jennie H. Keyserling and Leon Keyserling, 1920-1926; JK and Beth Keyserling Rosenfarb, 1921-1925; JK and Rosalyn Keyserling Schreiber, 1922-1933; JK and Herbert Keyserling, 1926-1935; JK and other relatives and friends, 1903-1935. Misc. includes letters (1961) to Harriet Keyserling from Nahum Astar, which detail the Adolf Eichmann trial. Family photographs (1910s-70s) include images (1920s-30s) of Keyserling home and farms; candid shots from family outings; formal portraits; images of Leon Keyserling at political and economic events and Herbert and Harriet Keyserling's children; friends and relatives (including Hyman and Hirschfeld families); several photo albums (disassembled) contain images of 1930s Beaufort. Jennie Keyserling civic material (1920s-30s) includes records of Beaufort Parent Teacher Association, South Carolina Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, Civic League and Better Homes Campaign. William Keyserling civic material (1919-1951) includes correspondence re. United Jewish Appeal, Beth Israel and Beaufort Rural Rehabilitation program. Financial and business records (1902-1951) include tax documents, property deeds (1899-1937,) Rosa Keyserling estate records, Macdonald Wilkins, Co. documents; correspondence re. farming legislation. Six account ledgers (1910s-1940s) detail farm finances and store credit accounts. Miscellaneous material (1917-1961) includes B'nai Meyer Levit, Inc. information and news clippings re. Adolf Eichmann trial (from Jerusalem Post).


  • Creation: 1890-1980
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1910-1951


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 immigrated (1888) to the U.S. and settled in Beaufort, SC. He established himself with the Macdonald, Wilkins Co., a cotton ginnery and wholesale warehouse, and became a leader in the Sea Island cotton industry. Keyserling married New Yorker, Jennie Hyman, in 1907. The couple lived on St. Helena Island and later moved to Beaufort. The Keyserlings had four children. Leon Keyserling attended Columbia University and Harvard Law School. He worked as Senator Robert F. Wagner's chief legislative aide (1933-1937) and helped draft major New Deal legislation. Keyserling also served as Chairman of President Truman's Council of Economic Advisors. Beth Keyserling Rosenfarb (1909-1978) settled in New York and worked in the comptroller's office at Columbia University; Rosalyn (b. 1910) died of Leukemia at 34. Herbert Keyserling was a medical officer in the Navy (World War II) and later became a general practitioner in Beaufort. He married Harriet Hirschfeld, the first woman to serve on the Beaufort County Council and sixteen year member of the SC House of Representatives.


9.0 linear feet

Language of Materials



Acquisitions Information

Materials donated by Harriet and Herbert Keyserling.

Related Material

Related materials in Special Collections include the Keyserling family papers-Part II (Mss 1049b), the Leon Keyserling papers (Mss 1052), and an oral history interview with Herbert Keyserling (Mss 1035-036).

Inventory of the Keyserling family papers - Part I, 1890-1980 (bulk 1910-1951)
Processed by: Special Collections staff; finding aid created by: Special Collections staff
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Special Collections
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