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Levi and D'Ancona families papers

Identifier: Mss 1159

Collection Overview

The contents of these papers were collected by Wendell M. Levi Sr. and Dr. Wendell M. Levi Jr. and reflect the genealogical record of the Levi, D'Ancona, and Gruenwald/Greenwald families.

This collection contains photographs, documents, and photocopies relating to the Levi and D'Ancona families who settled in the Midlands of South Carolina in the 19th century. The collection also includes the papers of Wendell Mitchell Levi Sr. and his son Dr. Wendell M. Levi Jr.

The first series focuses on genealogical documents and historical records collected by various family members, tracing the family history of the Levi, D'Ancona, and Gruenwald/Greenwald families. It consists of clippings, legal documents, photographs/portraits, correspondence, artifacts, books, and the writings of various family members.

The second series contains documents related to Wendell M. Levi Sr., including those reflecting his education, military service, and civic participation. The bulk of the contents documents his lifelong interest in pigeons and include research files, writings and publications, correspondence, published books, and a wide array of graphic images, scrapbooks, and photograph albums. Also included are many clippings referencing him and his work.

The third series is the papers of Dr. Wendell M. Levi Jr. and include legal and military documents, correspondence, photographs, publications, diplomas and awards reflecting his education and accomplishments, and his interest in pigeons.

The final small series consists of documents related to the Palmetto Pigeon Plant, which both father and son were connected with. Clippings and photographs comprise most of the series, but there are also some legal and organizational documents as well.


  • Creation: 1753-2016
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1900-2016


Language of Material

Majority of items are in English with a handful in Dutch, German, French, and Hebrew.

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

The D'Ancona family immigrated to the Midlands of South Carolina from the Netherlands.

A graduate of the College of Charleston (1912) and the University of Chicago Law School (1915), Wendell Mitchell Levi (1891-1976) was commissioned First Lieutenant in charge of the United States Army Signal Corps for the South Eastern Department during World War I. Levi practiced law in Sumter, South Carolina and helped establish the Palmetto Pigeon Plant, said to be the world's largest squab farm. Levi not only wrote and edited articles, books, and an encyclopedia about pigeons, but he amassed an outstanding library (now at the College of Charleston) on pigeon science. He married Bertha London Levi.

Their son Dr. Wendell Mitchell Levi Jr (1927-2015) served in the U.S. Army Infantry during World War II and was among the first troops to arrive in occupied Japan. He earned his Medical Degree from the Medical University of South Carolina in 1954. He practiced in Sumter for 40 years as a General and Thoracic surgeon, founding Sumter Surgical Associates, P.A. He was a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a Member of the South Carolina Surgical Society. Upon his retirement at the age of 72, he became a full time farmer at his beloved Sans Souci Plantation, the 18th century summer home of the Rutledge Family, signers of the Declaration of Independence. He and his wife Kathryn Weinberg of Frederick, Maryland, had three children.


16.0 linear feet (8 cartons, 2 slim document boxes, 3 oversize flat boxes, 2 flat boxes, 3 oversize paper folders, 3 oversize wrapped items )


Collection includes assorted family records relating to the Levi and D'Ancona families as well as a small amount of materials relating to the Gruenwald/Greenwald family. Also included are the papers of Wendell Mitchell Levi Sr. and his son Dr. Wendell M. Levi Jr.

Collection Arrangement

  1. Family history and records, 1753-2016
  2. Wendell M. Levi Sr., 1891-2015
  3. Dr. Wendell Levi Jr., 1928-2015
  4. Palmetto Pigeon Plant, 1929-2000

Acquisitions Information

Materials donated in 1996 by Wendell Mitchell Levi Jr and Katie Weinberg Levi and in 2018 by Katie Weinberg Levi.

Related Materials

Related materials in Special Collections include Wendell Mitchell Levi papers (Mss 0079) and Wendell Mitchell Levi real estate records (Mss 1142).

Processing Information

Processed by Lauren Bickel, January 2023.

Inventory of the Levi and D'Ancona Families Papers, 1753-2016 (bulk 1900-2016)
Processed by: Lauren Bickel; finding aid created by: Lauren Bickel
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)