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American Life Histories
Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project
1936-1940

South Carolina

These titles are mostly first-person accounts of life in South Carolina collected during the Great Depression. The WPA project categories include: AFRO-AMERICAN LIFE and BELIEFS AND CUSTOMS.

Subjects include: OCCUPATIONS, including agricultural workers, teachers, railroad workers, medical workers, clergy, textile workers, firefighters and unemployment; POLITICS, including elections and voting; LOCAL HISTORY, including the Civil War, World War I, the "Red Shirt" movement, slavery and former slaves; RACE RELATIONS, including lynching and the Ku Klux Klan; FOLKLORE, including dialect, ghost stories and superstitions, holiday customs and celebrations, and quilting; RELIGION AND MORES, including liquor, gambling, movies, birth control, manners, courtship and marriage and education; and DAILY LIFE, including home furnishings, clothing styles, automobiles and radio.

Places described include Charleston, Columbia, Edisto Land, Marion, and Winnsboro.

Interviews were conducted by project workers F. Donald Atwell, Genevieve Chandler, L. E. Cogburn, Annie Ruth Davis, W. W. Dixon, John L. Dove, John P. Farmer, Phoebe Faucette, Lucille Clarke Ford, Ruth D. Henderson, Mattie T. Jones, Verner Lea, Muriel A. Mann, Chlotilde R. Martin, David L. Methewes, Chalmers S. Murray, Martha S. Pinckney, D. A. Russell, Stiles M. Scruggs, Helen Shuler, Caldwell Sims, Cassells R. Tiedman, Elmer Turnage, Charles A. Von Ohsen, Bess Long Wilburn, Margaret Wilkinson, R. V. Williams and Rose D. Workman.

Contents

Agnes Harrell

Ain't It So, Corrie?

Alexander W. Matheson

Alice Buchanan Walker

Always Agin It

Always Flowers

Anecdotes

Apartment House Business

Christmas Reminiscences

The Back-Date Buggy

Bad Sperrits

Beef Stew

A Belated Rest

Ben Adams

Bessie Reed

Better a Tent than a Mortgage

Burning of Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church

Samuel D. Mobley, Chester County

Chillun Home

A Christmas Story

The Clouds Beyond

Coal Fields to the Cotton Mill

The Coffee Grounds Woman

The Collins Family

A Community Man

Companionship on Etiwah

Conyers Elliott Frasier

The County Health Nurse

Customs and Traditions

Cynthia M. Coleman

Daring the Devil

A Day with the Pattons

Did He Love Adventure?

The Doughty Family at Home

Dr. Samuel B. Lathan

Elizabeth Vanderville Darby

Ella E. Gooding

Etiwan Island and Its People

An Evening in the Smith Home

The Experiences of a Farm Owner

George Gregg Mayes

Fighting Ben

Fish, Hominy, and Cotton

Flowing On

  From Farming to Politics

Gabriel Washington

George Mehales

Ghosts

Got to Go Crik

Grady Weldon

The Greatest of These Is Charity

Growing Up with the Automobile

A Happy Family

The Hardy Family

He and the Old Woman

A Hell Hole Farmer

A Holiness Preacher

How Branson's Bulldog Courage Won

How Branson's Bulldog Courage Won (rewrite)

How Mr. Queen Became "King" of the Barber Business

How Mr. Queen Became "King" of the Barber Business (rewrite)

How Mrs. Redmond Came to Be in the Apartment House Business

I Am a Negro

I Was Born in Barnwell County

I Was Made to be a Preacher

I Wouldn't Exchange (Edited)

I Wouldn't Exchange (Original)

I'm Not Lonesome

In Abraham's Bosom

In-Laws and T.B.'s

James E. Coan

Jane Hutchinson

John B. Culbertson

The Johnsons Build a House

Joseph Stewart

Judge J.H. Yarborough

Judge Holley

Karl A. Brucker, Stonecutter

 

 

Text from: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, WPA Federal Writers' Project Collection

"These life histories were written by the staff of the Folklore Project of the Federal Writers' Project for the U.S. Works Progress (later Work Projects) Administration (WPA) from 1936-1940. The Library of Congress collection includes 2,900 documents representing the work of over 300 writers from 24 states. Typically 2,000-15,000 words in length, the documents consist of drafts and revisions, varying in form from narrative to dialogue to report to case history. The histories describe the informant's family education, income, occupation, political views, religion and mores, medical needs, diet and miscellaneous observations. Pseudonyms are often substituted for individuals and places named in the narrative texts."

NOTE: The life histories and articles presented here have been read and compared to images of the original pages, and then edited to place them in a more readable form.  Handwritten notes have sometimes been deleted, transcriptions errors have been corrected, and many questionable transcriptions have been clarified. Some misspellings have been left as they were originally typed.

On occasion, at the beginning of an article under the title, I will include a section I've called 'Tom's note:'  These are personal observations that may or may not add value or expand the meaning of the article for you.

 


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