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Cover of Harper's Weekly Newspaper

The Richland Library Historical Collections is comprised of materials depicting Columbia, S.C. found in the Walker Local and Family History Center- including digitized books, ledgers, playbills and civil-war era lithographs from various original sources.

black and white photograph of an observatory

In 2011 Robert B. Ariail donated an extraordinary collection of historical astronomy to the University of South Carolina and the South Carolina State Museum. Over the past half-century, Mr. Ariail built a collection that encompassed both historic telescopes and astronomical instruments, now at the State Museum, and more than 5,000 rare books and other published items, now housed in the University's Irvin Department of Rare Books & Special Collections.

illustration from Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped

Kidnapped, Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel about the adventures of young David Balfour, is one of the Scottish author’s most famous works. Set in eighteenth-century Scotland, Kidnapped originally appeared in serialized form in James Henderson’s literary magazine Young Folks Paper from May 1 to July 31, 1886.

image of Russell Maxey

The Russell Maxey Photograph Collection at Richland Library includes over 7000 negatives, including images taken by Maxey and earlier photographers. Russell Maxey’s photographs allow researchers a glimpse into a southern city undergoing dramatic shifts in its economic, physical and social landscape. The negatives are housed in the Walker Local and Family History Center.

More Information and Complete Inventory

The Samuel Hudson Photograph Collection features photographs from the Hudson family. Samuel Hudson (1921-2006), a native of Georgetown County, was the son of Melvin and Wilhelmina Hudson. He served with the U.S. Marine Corps during WWII and returned to Georgetown to operate several prosperous businesses including Hudson's Real Estate Agency. He served as the director of Horry-Georgetown Economic Opportunity Council, Inc. and was a member of Bethel A.M.E. Church where he served as a trustee.

portrait of Samuel Lander

Samuel Lander, Jr. was born in Lincolnton, North Carolina, of Irish parents who had immigrated to America in 1818. He devoted his life to education and the ministry.  He graduated as valedictorian from Randolph-Macon College (then in Boydton, VA) in 1852. For a short time he practiced civil engineering and studied law. In December of 1853 he married Laura Ann McPherson.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of South Carolina

Originally conceived in the late 18th Century, fire insurance maps provided structural and urban environmental information necessary for insurance underwriters. Founded in 1867 in the United States, the Sanborn National Insurance Diagram Bureau systematically produced ascetically appealing, but also efficient, maps nationwide. This New York firm expanded and grew immensely, finally emerging as the Sanborn Map Company in 1902. Eighteen years later the company effectively monopolized the insurance map industry.

woodcut illustration of a woman sitting at a writing desk

The University of South Carolina libraries have been acquiring works by Scottish authors since the early nineteenth century. With the addition of the extensive G. Ross Roy Collection in 1989, South Carolina now has major research holdings across a wide range of Scottish writing. Indeed, in the words of one recent visitor, it is "the best Burns collection in North America."

Small-Whaley Family Papers, 1796-1994

The Diary of a Voyage to China, 1850-1851, the private diary of Captain Thomas Small, reveals the intense loneliness of command and details the longing he feels for the wife and newborn son he left behind. He comments on marriage, child-rearing, and religion, and frequently expresses his desire to find employment "ashore" to better provide for his family. In addition to these personal entries, he provides rich details of a mid-nineteenth century life at sea.

Standard Federal Photographs, Columbia SC

This comprehensive set of Columbia area images includes 146 prints from periods ranging from 1865 to 1980. The collection was amassed from various long time photographers in the community such as John A. Sargeant, Charles Old and Walter Blanchard. They operated studios in the city from the period c. 1915 through 1960. The images include street scenes, buildings, special activities, and related subjects. Most of the collection consists of copies from original prints. It was donated to the SC State Museum in 1988.

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