Literature

Baldwin, William Plews, III

Baldwin's first novel, The Hard to Catch Mercy (1993), was universally well received, winning the Lillian Smith Award for Fiction and becoming a Book-of-the-Month Club selection. He has also published four nonfiction books with the photographer Jane Iseley about historic Charleston and the plantations of the lowcountry. He has published two oral history reports featuring Mrs. Emily Whaley (1913–1998), grande dame of Charleston society, and her recollections of her garden, cuisine, recipes, and entertaining.

Boyd, Blanche McCrary

Boyd has published four novels: Nerves (1973), Mourning the Death of Magic (1977), The Revolution of Little Girls (1991), and Terminal Velocity (1997). The last two are part of a trilogy telling the story of Ellen Burns, a Charleston native who experiences an unsatisfying marriage, experiments with heavy drinking and drugs, and loses herself through various affairs and lifestyle changes. In 1988 she was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fiction Fellowship. Four years later she received the Lambda Literary Award for her novel The Revolution of Little Girls, and in 1993–1994 she received a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Bragg, Laura

In October 1920 Bragg was named director of the Charleston Museum and became the first woman in the country to hold such a position at a publicly supported museum. Soon thereafter she opened the museum to black patrons one afternoon a week. She continued the educational focus of the museum and added a children’s library and a reading room that lent books. These efforts were the forerunners of the Charleston Free Library, which opened in January 1931. She was both its trustee and its first librarian.

Brawley, Benjamin Griffith

Brawley developed into a prolific writer, contributing works to such periodicals as Bookman, Dial, North American Review, Sewanee Review, and Reviewer. But it was in his writing and editing of books about the African American experience that he pioneered. While he was teaching at Morehouse in 1909, a student pleaded with him to write a textbook that would enable black students to learn something of the experiences and accomplishments of their own people. Four years later, in 1913, Macmillan published his book A Short History of the American Negro.

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