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Tobias Gadson, Sr., papers

Identifier: AMN 1050

Collection Overview

The Tobias Gadson, Sr. Papers holds three small series. Biographical materials include clippings with documents regarding his life and death, his barber shop, and other family members; various certifications of appreciation, or completion of schooling; color and black and white photographs of Gadson with other politicians, constituents, and at an awards ceremony. Materials regarding Gadson’s death include correspondence to and from his widow, funeral programs, visitor guest books and other miscellaneous items. Professional materials include clippings, brochures, a bumper sticker, and ribbons. Gadson’s political career and campaign; correspondence noting achievement in the House of Representatives; programs re South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus banquets; and a Gadson, Sr. Boulevard dedication materials include correspondence, programs, clippings, and a speech of Mrs. Gadson’s regrading the dedication of the Boulevard; and color photographs of the dedication and unveiling of the memorial.


  • Creation: 1948-1984


Copyright Notice

The nature of the Avery Research Center's archival holds means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The Avery Research Center 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 responsiblity for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infrigement 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

Tobias Gadson, Sr., son of Henry Gadson and Lila Inabinett, was born on September 9, 1925 in Walterboro, South Carolina. He served in the United States Army from 1943-1947, and married Zeila Washington in 1947. He graduated from the Immaculate Conception High School in the same year; Voorhees Junior College in 1948; the Commercial Trade Institute in Chicago in 1950; and Buchanan Barber College in 1951. In 1957, Gadson opened "Tobias Barber and Styling Shop," on Spring Street in Charleston. His two sons, Tobias, Jr. and Arnold, eventually took over the business. Gadson served as president of the State Board of Barber examiners and on the Board of the Franklin C. Fetter Family Health Center. He was a member and trustee of the Ebenezer AME Church in Charleston and was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1980 and 1983, where he served until his death on February 8, 1984. After his death, a boulevard in Charleston was named in his honor.


0.5 linear feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



Tobias Gadson was born in Walterboro, South Carolina and grew up in Charleston as the youngest of thirteen children. In 1947, he graduated from Immaculate Conception School and married Zelia Washington. They had two sons, Tobias, Jr. and Arnold. A veteran, Mr. Gadson studied Industrial Arts at Voorhees College. Later, he studied at the Buchanan Barber College in Chicago, and opened his own barber shop on Spring Street, Charleston in 1957. In 1980, he successfully ran for South Carolina State Representative and worked diligently for his district. Gadson was particularly appreciated for his appropriations efforts in much needed drainage work in the Union Heights area. Contains correspondence, event programs, newspaper clippings, and campaign memorabilia from Gadson's career.

Collection Arrangement

1. Biographical Materials, bulk: 1948, 1981-1982, and undated

2. Professional Materials, 1980-1981, and undated

3. Tobias Gadson, Sr. Boulevard Dedication Materials, undated

Processing Information

Edited and entered into Archives Space by Georgette Mayo, 10 July 2020.

Tobias Gadson Sr. Papers
Under Revision
Edited by Georgette Mayo, July 2020
Description rules
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture Repository

125 Bull Street
Charleston South Carolina 29424 United States