Meet the Hubs!: South Carolina Digital Library

Meet the Hubs!: South Carolina Digital Library

Posted by Carly B. Boxer on January 28, 2013 in Blog, Uncategorized.
This is the third post in a weekly series highlighting the DPLA’s service hubs

Last Thursday, the very same day I woke up to a frosty 4 degree morning here in Boston, Charleston, South Carolina experienced an afternoon that was sunny and 67 degrees warm. In an attempt to escape last week’s single-digit temperatures and frigid wind, I’ve taken to browsing the South Carolina Digital Library’s collection. The palmettos crowding the backgrounds of vintage photos have made for a welcome change from the icy sidewalks I’ve become accustomed to.

The South Carolina Digital Library was founded in 2007 as a partnership between the University of South Carolina, Clemson University, and the College of Charleston. The SCDL now includes contributions from over 50 partner organizations and over 170 individual collections.

The SCDL homepage arranges these collections into several different browsable groupings: media type, the institution from which the documents originated, their county, featured people, and where on the state’s timeline they fall. Given my hopes of a virtual vacation, I found myself clicking around the topic labeled “Travel and Tourism.” Within the Historic Charleston Foundation Tours of Homes collection, I found a series of beautifully designed pamphlets from the 1950s for the annual tour. I’m especially fond of the cover of the fifth annual tour,  a gorgeous vintage poster-style black, white, and yellow image of an iconic Charleston balcony.

The SCDL’s link to the Brookgreen Gardens Collection, part of the Georgetown County Digital Library, yielded a collection of beautiful photographs stretching as far back as the 1930s. Brookgreen Gardens, it turns out, has the oldest public sculpture garden in the US. The collection contains quite a few aerial views of the complex and photos of plants from throughout the past 80 years, but the photos of sculptures within the gardens are especially lovely.

In addition to satisfying my desire to escape frigid New England (if only virtually), the South Carolina Digital Library’s collections contain a wealth of images and documents pertaining to life in the antebellum South and during the Civil War and Reconstruction. One of the collections, “South Carolina and the Civil War,” part of the University of South Carolina Library, included some really interesting images of Civil War propaganda.

One of my favorite collections I found through the SCDL is the George W. Johnson Photographs collection, part of the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston. The photos, from the late 19th century, all highlight buildings in the city — in essence providing a tour of historic architecture through the eyes of a contemporary Charleston resident. All in all, I feel like I’ve experienced a pretty enjoyable whirlwind tour of Charleston without even leaving my desk.

Image courtesy of Henry de Saussure Copeland on Flickr; used under a CC BY 2.0 license.

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