Post-War America (1946-1954)

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.

Bristow, Gwen

Bristow’s natural storytelling ability, neatly devised and detailed plots, sharply drawn characters, telling eye for landscape and its detail, use of common sense, gift for dramatic effect, and emotional sincerity were the characteristics of her work that critics and reviewers singled out for praise. Margaret Wallace spoke of her “solid and versatile talent as a novelist.” The critic Susan Quinn Berneis claimed that Bristow’s greatest skill was reserved for “the unfolding of American history as displayed around the lives of the people who created it.” And Eugene Armfield remarked that she belonged “among those Southern novelists who [were] trying to interpret the South and its past in critical terms.”

Brodie, Laura

While Brodie was at Winthrop College during the late 1920s, her biology professor noticed her interest and called her to the attention of Howard K. Gloyd, a well-known herpetologist. Gloyd helped Brodie get a position at the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, where there was an excellent program in herpetology under the direction of Alexander G. Ruthven. During her first year there she stayed with Frank N. Blanchard and his wife, and Blanchard taught her many of the procedures used by professional herpetologists. On trips back to her Leesville home she collected many specimens for the University of Michigan collection.

Brown, Edgar Allan

In September 1954 U.S. Senator Burnet Rhett Maybank died. His death occurred after the Democratic Party’s primary but before the general election. The South Carolina Democratic Party’s executive committee held a special meeting and decided to select Edgar Brown as the party’s candidate rather than hold a special election. In response, Strom Thurmond announced a write-in candidacy for the U.S. Senate, claiming that his campaign was a fight for principle— government by the people instead of government by a small group of committee members. Thurmond’s write-in campaign was successful, and he became the first candidate ever elected to Congress by a write-in vote.

Busbee, Cyril B.

Under federal desegregation guidelines, the state had to create a unitary school system instead of the racially separate systems that had been in place prior to the Brown v. Board of Education decision. Federal guidelines quashed tactics such as freedom-of-choice plans that many districts utilized to circumvent or slow desegregation. Busing to achieve a racial balance was emphasized in the new regulations. Busbee’s calm, moderate leadership as superintendent proved a great asset during these times.

Butler, Susan Dart

In 1927 Susan Butler opened a free library and reading room in Dart Hall, using her father’s books, folding chairs, and two tables. The reading room was open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Dart served as librarian and operated the room with donations and at her own expense until the Charleston Free Library established the Dart Hall Branch in 1931. The Charleston County Free Library and its branches received money from the Rosenwald Fund and the Carnegie Foundation, while the Dart family rented the building to the county for one dollar a year. The Dart Hall Branch opened to the African American public with 3,600 books.

Byrnes, James Francis

Over his lifetime Byrnes held many public positions, coming closer than any other South Carolinian in the twentieth century to obtaining the national political influence wielded by John C. Calhoun in the nineteenth century. Byrnes left a series of political legacies in South Carolina, the nation, and the world. His advocacy of highway and New Deal legislation provided numerous material benefits to South Carolinians. His services to President Roosevelt had a major impact on the national economy during World War II. His role as secretary of state was instrumental in defining postwar foreign policy. In the 1950s and 1960s Byrnes’s support of Republican presidential candidates was a key factor in the party’s revitalization in the South.

Go to Top