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The South Carolina Encyclopedia

Edited by Walter Edgar

The definitive sourcebook for clear, concise information on all things South Carolinian

The South Carolina Encyclopedia is a comprehensive single-volume reference for just about anything anyone would want to know about the Palmetto State's rich cultures and storied heritage, from prehistory to the present day. The encyclopedia is the result of a six-year collaboration between the Humanities Council SC, the Institute for Southern Studies at the University of South Carolina, and the University of South Carolina Press. Under the editorial direction of distinguished historian Walter Edgar, five hundred ninety-eight contributors have come together to write more than one million words depicting the representative people, places, and things that define South Carolina.

The encyclopedia is an authoritative, entertaining compilation of essays on a broad array of topics ranging from war and politics to arts and recreation, from agriculture and industry to popular culture and ethnicity. Among the nearly two thousand entries are such diverse subjects as the Boykin spaniel, John C. Calhoun, Sarah Moore Grimké, Hootie and the Blowfish, Indian mounds, Matthew J. Perry, Rainbow Row, Surfside Beach, and white lightning. The palmetto bug, Lizard Man, and okra are all here, as are hurricanes, the Orangeburg Massacre, and yellow fever. Included as well are essays on every South Carolina county, every town with a population of two thousand five hundred or greater, and all elected governors and U.S. senators from the state. Famous figures and infamous characters, historic events and tragic moments, celebrated creatures and provocative lore, staple crops and new industries, the encyclopedia catalogs all of this and much more.

As diverse as the populations that live within the thirty-one thousand square miles that make up the Palmetto State, the entries included in The South Carolina Encyclopedia were chosen to best represent the many facets of our shared experiences that remind us of who we are, where we come from, what we have in common, and why we are distinctive.

The South Carolina Encyclopedia is a comprehensive introduction to the state for students and newcomers, and a treasure trove of rich details and lively insights for those already steeped in South Carolina's history and culture. With its accessible format, four hundred black-and-white and forty color illustrations, and seventy-eight original maps, this volume invites a broad readership and placement in classrooms, libraries, archives, government offices, businesses, economic development agencies, media newsrooms, and—of course—home bookshelves. As the single most inclusive reference for all things South Carolinian, this truly is a people's encyclopedia.

Editor Walter EdgarWalter Edgar is the Claude Henry Neuffer Professor of Southern Studies, George Washington Distinguished Professor of History, and director of the Institute for Southern Studies at the University of South Carolina. His numerous works on the Palmetto State include the highly acclaimed South Carolina: A History.

The Humanities Council SC is a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The council helps preserve the state's cultural heritage, fosters lifelong learning, and encourages civic involvement among South Carolinians.

"The South Carolina Encyclopedia is indeed an easily searchable treasury of enlightened facts about our Palmetto State. Walter Edgar, George Reeves, Thomas Downey, his successor Aaron Marrs, and their dedicated team of associate editors, research checkers, and the volunteer consulting editor, Tom McLean, and all the others who made this publication possible through years of dedication and hard work, have provided us a grand compendium of facts from which we can gain a better understanding of events and the people who have shaped our state. The publication of this encyclopedia will benefit all who love South Carolina and are interested in learning more about her history."—The Honorable Robert E. McNair, former governor of South Carolina

"'Monumental' is much too small a word for this spectacular—and spectacularly well done—compendium of South Carolina people, places, and past history. This is a book to be treasured, a book to be enjoyed passage by passage, a book that will be on shelves in state and out for decades to come."—John Jakes, author of the North and South trilogy, the Kent Family Chronicles, and other books

"The South Carolina Encyclopedia is an indispensable sourcebook for anyone interested in the rich and varied life to be found in the Palmetto State. What's most surprising about this book's exhaustive survey of all things South Carolina is its readability. Forget those images of dusty tomes the word encyclopedia elicits, and simply enjoy this book for what it is: the ongoing story of this most beautiful and historic state."—Bret Lott, author of Jewel, Hunt Club, and other books

"Dr. Walter Edgar provided scholars and historians with one of the most comprehensive and important texts of South Carolina with his South Carolina: A History. His latest work, The South Carolina Encyclopedia, continues and expands on Edgar's tradition of excellence in South Carolina scholarship. This work is an invaluable resource for anyone seriously interested in the rich history and culture of our unique state."—Jonathan Green, artist

"Once again Dr. Walter Edgar is providing the students of South Carolina with a useful, comprehensive resource for understanding and researching South Carolina history. The breadth of topics included in this encyclopedia and their bibliographical references also make the volume a sourcebook for our teachers, supporting instructional programs in many disciplines. Students and teachers alike will benefit from having access to this exceptional example of Dr. Edgar's fine work."—The Honorable Inez M. Tenenbaum, South Carolina Secretary of Education

"For those of us who love South Carolina, Walter Edgar's interesting, single-volume history is so important. Now, he and his fellow collaborators in The South Carolina Encyclopedia have served our state with a magnificent collection that chronicles our history, our present, and the foundation for our future. We are so fortunate to have this thoughtful, comprehensive resource at our fingertips."—The Honorable Richard W. Riley, former U.S. Secretary of Education and former governor of South Carolina

"In The South Carolina Encyclopedia Walter Edgar has once again provided a much needed sourcebook of collective knowledge for and about South Carolina. From the mountains to the coast, this definitive work effectively details everything that has made our great state what it is, how it is, and why it is. This is a tremendous contribution to our shared understanding of the heritage and culture of the Palmetto State and, not surprisingly, it is also a pleasure to read."—The Honorable James B. Edwards



Book jacket for The South Carolina Encyclopedia


8 ½ x 11
1,120 pages
400 b&w, 40 color illustrations
78 maps
ISBN 978-1-57003-598-2
hardcover, $65.00t

A Project of the
Humanities Council SC


A Choice Outstanding Academic Title


    Copyright ©2018 The University of South Carolina Press