Walter Edgar


Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his A.B. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens. In 1972 he joined the faculty of the History Department and in 1980 was named director of the Institute for Southern Studies. Dr. Edgar is the Claude Henry Neuffer Professor of Southern Studies and the George Washington Distinguished Professor of History. He retired from USC in 2012. He has written or edited numerous books about South Carolina and the American South, including South Carolina: A History, the first new history of the state in more than 60 years. With more than 37,000 copies in print and an audio edition, it has been a publishing phenomenon. Partisans & Redcoats: The Southern Conflict that Turned the Tide of the American Revolution is in its fourth printing. He is also the editor of the South Carolina Encyclopedia.

Ways to Connect

Senator Ernest F. "Fritz" Hollings
U.S. Congress

New Politics in the Old South: Ernest F. Hollings in the Civil Rights Era (2016, USC Press) is the first scholarly biography of Ernest F. "Fritz" Hollings, a key figure in South Carolina and national political developments in the second half of the twentieth century.

"T" is for Tabby

Sep 22, 2017

"T" is for Tabby. Tabby is a building material consisting of oyster shells, lime, sand, and water that is poured into a wooden mold and then tamped down. It is then left to harden for several days, after which the molds are removed and reused—with successive layers of a wall being built one on top of another until the structure reaches the desired height. With brick and stone scarce along the coast and on the Sea Islands, tabby became a durable, low-cost material for fortifications, houses, outbuildings, stores, and churches.

"S" is for Saint Andrew's Parish. In 1706, when the Commons House made the Church of England the colony's official church, St. Andrew's was among the ten parishes created by that act. It originally included the mainland region south and west of Charleston along the Ashley River as well as James Island. Parishes in South Carolina served a political as well as a religious function. Due to the growing profitability of rice cultivation and subsequent population growth, the parish was subdivided in 1717, with the upper territory surrounding the upper Ashley River becoming St.

"R" is for the R. L. Bryan Company. The publishing firm of R.L. Bryan Company is Columbia's oldest industry. In 1844 Richard Lathan Bryan of Charleston opened a newsstand and stationery shop on what is now Main Street. After the Civil War the company added a printing department and in 1898 began printing the bills and journals of the General Assembly. In the early 20th century, R.L. Bryan became the state's textbook distributor—a function it still manages—and also entered the office furniture and supply market.

"Q" is for Quakers

Sep 19, 2017

"Q" is for Quakers. The Society of Friends [more commonly known as Quakers] has had a fragmented history in South Carolina. Quakerism came to South Carolina in the 1670s with the founding of the Charleston Meeting---the organizational unit of the Society. Other Quaker communities were established near Camden and in what is now Newberry County. As a matter of belief, Quakers opposed violence and slavery. After 1800, with the spread of slavery into the backcountry, many Quakers left the state for slave-free Ohio.

Marine Corp HMM-263 (Vietnam) Helicopter Squadron, know as The Peach Bush Book Club
Marine Corp HMM-263 (Vietnam) Helicopter Squadron, know as The Peach Bush Book Club

Note: Coinciding with broadcast on SCETV of The Vietnam War, a film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick,  Walter Edgar's Journal is re-publishing podcasts of some of our earlier programs.

(Originally broadcast 05/27/11) - Walter Edgar talks with Col. Walt Ledbetter and Duncan McCrae, veterans of the 263rd Marine Helicopter Squadron. Their aim is to compile a history of their experiences in the Vietnam War in 1969-70. They share stories from some of the missions they flew. Ledbetter and McCrae are joined by Clint Chalmers, producer.

Orvil Bumpus, Tim Campbell, Butch Gay, Mike Dickerson, James Henderson, Arthur Beaufort, and John Trulock.
Gordon Humphries / University Of South Carolina, School Of Visual Art and Design


Note: Coinciding with broadcast on SCETV of The Vietnam War, a film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick,  Walter Edgar's Journal is re-publishing podcasts of some of our earlier programs.

In 1968, the 319th Transportation Company, an Army Reserve unit, was sent to fight in the Vietnam War. The unit drew most of its members from the Augusta, Georgia/Aiken, S.C. area. During their 11 month tour of duty, they drove their trucks over one million miles, delivering ammunition, supplies, and soldiers to bases around South Vietnam. They called themselves “Troxler's Truckers,” after their commanding officer.

Homer Steedly
Tibby Steedly

 Note: Coinciding with broadcast on SCETV of The Vietnam War, a film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick,  Walter Edgar's Journal is re-publishing podcasts of some of our earlier programs.

(Broadcast 11-14-08) - When we talked to Vietnam War veteran Homer Steedly in 2007 the South Carolina native told us of his plans to return to Vietnam. One of his goals has been to, at last, meet face-to-face with the family of Hoang Ngoc Dam, the young North Vietnamese soldier (a medic) whom he'd killed in March of 1969; and to help locate Dam's remains and return them to his family's village for burial.

Cardinal Joseph Bernardin

As a priest, archbishop, and president of the US bishops' conference, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, a native of Columbia, S.C., lived a ministry marked by thoughtfulness, compassion, and conviction. In his book, Joseph Bernardin: Seeking Common Ground (2016, Liturgical Press), Steven P.

"P" is for Pacific Mills. Pacific Mills began in Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1850. In  1915, in order to expand its operations it purchased four mills on the outskirts of Columbia. Known collectively as Columbia Pacific Mills, they included Olympia, Granby, Richland, and Capital City Mills. In the 1920s, Olympia Mill had the largest spinning room in the world with more than 100,000 spindles. The massive output of the Columbia mills made Pacific the world's largest manufacturer of percale.

"R" is for the Reform Party. During Reconstruction, South Carolina's voting population was about 60% African American—the vast majority of whom voted Republican. In order to win elections, Democrats needed disaffected Republican votes. In 1874 a coalition of Democrats and disaffected Republicans supported candidates under the label of the Reform Party. The campaign was dominated by two sets of accusations: the Reformers accused the Republicans of being dishonest, and the Republicans accused the Reformers of being Democrats.

"P" is for Patterson, John James [1830-1912]. U.S. Senator. Patterson moved to South Carolina in 1869. Involved in banking and railroad development, he was accused of bribing legislators to pass laws favoring his interests. In 1872 he was a candidate for the U.S. Senate--and it was alleged that his only qualification was that he had the money with which to bribe legislators. He won the election and was arrested and charged with bribery and election fraud—but was never tried.

"O" is for Ottolengui, Rodrigues [1861-1937]. Orthodontist. Lepidopterist. Editor. Novelist. After attending the College of Charleston, Ottolengui moved to New York City to apprentice under some of the nation's leading dental surgeons. He became interested in orthodontics, was the author of dental textbook, for forty years was the editor of a dental periodical, Dental Items of Interest. An avid reader of detective stories, he was a pioneer in the field of forensic dentistry and wrote at least five mystery novels—some of which were published abroad.

"N" is for Niernsee, John Randolph [1823-1885] and Niernsee, Francis McHenry [1849-1899]. Architects. John Niernsee was the principal architect for the design and construction of the South Carolina State House. His son Frank followed in his father's footsteps by finishing the interior of the State House and operating a successful architectural practice in Columbia. In 1855 the elder Niernsee came to take charge of the troubled new State House project, but his work stopped by the Civil War.

Dr. Lorien Foote
[CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] / University of Central Arkansas

During the winter of 1864, more than 3,000 Federal prisoners of war escaped from Confederate prison camps into South Carolina and North Carolina, often with the aid of local slaves. Their flight created, in the words of contemporary observers, a "Yankee plague," heralding a grim end to the Confederate cause. In The Yankee Plague: Escaped Union Prisoners and the Collapse of the Confederacy (2016, UNC Press) Dr.