Walter Edgar

Host

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

  “L” is for Lott, Robert Bretley [b. 1958]. Author, educator. A native of California, Lott received his MFA from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Though reared in California, he considers himself a Southerner: “My family is from East Texas and Mississippi—I grew up drinking sweet tea….” In 1986 he became writer-in-residence at the College of Charleston. He began publishing his short stories in 1983—and his fiction and essays have appeared in dozens of literary journals.

  “H” is for Historic Charleston Foundation [HCF]. The Historic Charleston Foundation sprang from the activities of the Carolina Art Association. In 1944, the association published This is Charleston, a survey of historic buildings. In 1947, HCF was incorporated as a separate organization to preserve buildings still occupied by their owners, instead of museums. To raise money, HCF sponsored its first Festival of Homes and saved important structures such as the Nathaniel Russell House.

“G” is for Greene, Nathanael [1742-1786]. Soldier. Early in the Revolution, Rhode Islander Nathaniel Greene became close to George Washington and served on his staff. After the battle of Camden, Washington personally selected him to command the southern army. Taking command in December 1780, he devised a strategy that led to the victory at Cowpens and caused Cornwallis to chase him to the Dan River. At Guilford Court House, Greene’s forces badly damaged the British who limped off to Virginia.

“C” is for Charleston Renaissance [ca. 1915-1940]. The Charleston Renaissance was a multifaceted cultural renewal. Artists, musicians, writers, historians, and preservationists—individually and in groups—fueled a revival that reshaped the city’s destiny. The Renaissance benefitted from a large number of books, many illustrated with paintings and prints by local artists. One story, more than any other, brought national attention to Charleston: the tale of Porgy by DuBose Heyward. It appeared first as a novel, then a play, and, in 1935, as the folk opera Porgy and Bess.

“W” is for Wilson, Charles Coker [1864-1933]. Architect. After graduating from the South Carolina College with a degree in civil engineering, Wilson began his architectural career in Roanoke, VA.  By 1896 he was in Columbia and practiced in the firm of Wilson & Edwards. He was also Columbia’s city engineer and superintendent of the waterworks. Between 1904 and 1907 he made repairs to and rebuilt parts of the South Carolina State House.

"S" is for Seneca, SC

Aug 21, 2014

“S” is for Seneca [Oconee County; population 7,652]. Founded in 1873, as Seneca City, the town took its name from an earlier Indian village and the nearby Seneca River. As was the case with several other upcountry towns, the arrival of the Atlanta and Charlotte Air Line Railroad was responsible for Seneca’s establishment. In 1874, the town was chartered by the General Assembly. Most trains stopped at Seneca, and it quickly became a commercial center, especially for marketing the area’s cotton.

  “R” is for Robert Mills House [Columbia]. A National Historic Landmark, Columbia’s Robert Mills House is most noted for its association with the first American-trained architect and the first federal architect of the United States. Ironically, the building’s architect was best known as the architect of public works such as courthouses and jails—not private residences. Of further significance is the building’s role as the home of a regionally important religious institution—Columbia Theological Seminary-- and as an example of the grassroots historic preservation movement of the 1960s.

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