Abby D. Munro Papers, 1837-1913
South Caroliniana Library
Born in Bristol, Rhode Island, Abby D. Munro (1837-1913) relocated to Charleston in 1869 to teach briefly at the Avery Institute. Soon after, she accepted a position at the Laing School in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. While there, the Northern white woman worked as a teacher and eventually principal in the school which served African American children.
The Laing School first occupied a Presbyterian church before moving to a schoolhouse built with funds provided by the Freedmen’s Bureau. An 1885 earthquake destroyed the schoolhouse, and the Laing School was forced to relocate again to an A.M.E. church, referred to as the “ten cent church” in Munro’s letters. Among the letters and annual reports, Munro described the teachers’ efforts to adapt the church to their needs. In 1888, Munro detailed the new school building, with ample room for the students and blackboards for the teachers, and the excitement of the students and their families.
Munro’s papers document this development of the Laing School and her efforts to secure funding and support for the institution. The collection also includes letters from Munro’s purchase of a house which served as the Mt. Pleasant Home for Destitute Children. In addition to the manuscript material, the Abby D. Munro Papers contain legal documents from parents and guardians who signed care of impoverished African American children over to the home, financial documents, photographs, and an extensive run of the Laing School Visitor newsletter.