South Carolina Department of Archives and History


South Carolina Archives Summary Guide
to PRIVATE REcords


The Summary Guide to Private Records is a listing of 294 record series that include approximately 86 cubic feet of paper records and 2,547 microfilm reels of private records.

Record series for a small number of church records, newspapers, personal papers, and organizational records are included.


Updates to the guide will be made to reflect new accessions as records are acquired.




Using the Summary Guide            Search the Summary Guide to Private Records            Technical Reference (terms and abbreviations)           



About Private Records

The small collection of Private Records is used to group together a wide variety of original records and copies of records which have been received as donations or purchased from non-South Carolina government sources. Although the department no longer collects non-public original papers, it continues to acquire photocopies and microcopies of records in subject areas of special interest, such as the colonial period, American Revolution, and Civil War, as well as those with information relating to the state's history, government, citizens, and figures prominent in the state's history and government. Included as private records are church records, newspapers, personal papers, and records of non-government organizations which vary in quantity and type from record series to record series.


Church Records

The repository holds mostly microfilm copies of various church records for the Baptist, Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Society of Friends denominations. Episcopal Church records number the largest since the Anglican Church in the early part of the state's history performed some government functions. Minutes of the church governing body and parish registers make up the majority of the records. Also included are some financial records; histories; birth, death, marriage, burial, and cemetery records; and records of state conventions and religious societies.



The repository also holds a small number of microcopies of newspapers, predominantly of the colonial period. Most were microfilmed from the Charleston Library Society's collection and those of other institutions. 


Personal Papers

The group of records listed as personal papers comprise a wide variety of materials. Although the majority of records are microfilm copies, there are a small number of manuscripts, scrapbooks, maps, and audio and video tapes. Included are correspondence, letterbooks, and papers of individuals and families prominent in South Carolina history and government, such as Henry Laurens, Arthur Middleton, Robert Mills, Benjamin Franklin Perry, Strom Thurmond, and the Drayton and Pinckney families, to name a few.

Material relating to the Civil War includes personal narratives, correspondence, family papers, material compiled after the War relating to official duties, and published unit histories and narratives written before 1920.

Citizens' copies of South Carolina government records; published works; dissertations; private compendiums of South Carolina laws; and oral history interviews are examples of the other types of records in this collection.


Organizational Records

Organizational Records include a small number of records of businesses, non-government organizations, and societies such as the American Missionary Association, Charleston Chamber of Commerce, Genealogical Society of Utah, Sanborn Map Company, South Carolina Historical Society, and the United Confederate and Spanish War Veterans.

Much larger collections of private papers concerning South Carolina may be found in other archival repositories and libraries around the state, particularly the South Caroliniana Library, the South Carolina Historical Society, and Special Collections, Clemson University Libraries.


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