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College of Charleston archives: historical records

Identifier: Mss 0202

Collection Overview

The Archives of the College of Charleston include the records of the creation of the College primarily as an academy in 1785, of its reorganization and of the adoption of a comprehensive college curriculum in 1824 and 1825, of its existence as a municipal college from 1837 to 1949; and of its separate existence as a private institution from 1949 until it became a state institution on July 1, 1970.

The minutes of the Trustees are complete from 1785 through the present. Among the Presidents of the Trustees who are best represented in the historical records are Robert Smith from 1786-1789, Mitchell King from 1847-1862, and M. Rutledge Rivers from 1925-1940. Another trustee who is well represented is the artist and historian Charles Fraser (Secretary and Treasurer from 1817-1855).

Few presidential papers exist before 1863, but the records of presidents are essentially complete or nearly so from 1897 to 1968. The three presidents who served during this period were Harrison Randolph from 1897-1942, George Daniel Grice from 1942-1966, and Walter Raleigh Coppedge from 1966-1968. (All of President Theodore S. Stern's papers are kept together in the post-1970 record group). The minutes of the trustees and other records also provide substantial information about earlier Presidents including Robert Smith from 1790-1797, Jasper Adams from 1825-1836, and Nathaniel Russell Middleton from 1857-1880.

The faculty minutes are complete from 1841 through the present. Among the members of the faculty who are best represented in the historical records are John Bachman (Natural History, 1848-1853), Thomas della Torre (Latin and Greek, 1898-1923), James Harold Easterby (History, 1920-1952), Louis R. Gibbes (Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, 1838-1892), Lancelot Minor Harris (1898-1941), Francis S. Holmes (Geology and Natural History and head of the Museum, 1850-1869), Horatio Hughes (Chemistry, 1923-1950), Gabriel E. Manigault (Natural History and Geology and head of the Museum, 1873-1899), John McCrady (Mathematics, 1855-1861 and 1865-1873), James Warley Miles (History of Intellectual Philosophy and Greek Literature, 1850-1854 and 1866-1871), and Frederick Adolphus Porcher (History and Belles Lettres, 1848-1888).

Among the most comprehensive sets of records are financial records, library accession records (including inventories of several large Ante-bellum libraries which have survived nearly intact), and records of the Charleston Museum while it was part of the College from 1850-1915. The most extensive set of student records was kept by the Chrestomathic Literary Society from 1848-1957.


  • Creation: 1785-1970


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.


124 linear feet

Language of Materials


Collection Arrangement

  1. 1. History
  2. 2. Board of Trustees
  3. 3. Presidents
  4. 4. Alumni Affairs
  5. 5. Academic Affairs
  6. 6. Student Affairs
  7. 7. Business Affairs
  8. 8. Institutional Affairs
  9. 9. Institutional Advancement

Alternate Form of Materials

Digital reproductions of College of Charleston board meeting minutes from 1791 to 2007 available online in the Lowcountry Digital Library.

Inventory of the College of Charleston Archives: Historical Records, 1785-1970
Processed by: Special Collections staff; finding aid created by: Special Collections staff
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)