Handwritten cursive text with words I.S. Leevy History overlaid on background of example notebook page from I.S. Leevy collection with cursive lettering

Isaac Samuel Leevy Papers, 1905-1973

South Caroliniana Library


Isaac Samuel Leevy (1876-1968) was an African American entrepreneur and civic leader in Columbia, South Carolina best known for directing Leevy’s Funeral Home and staunchly supporting a two-party political system in the state as a Republican (until late in life) and Richland County Chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party.

From 1907-1932, he worked as a Merchant Tailor and Real Estate agent and owned and operated a department store, service station, furniture store, a hog farm, barber shop, beauty shop, automobile garage, and a dressmaking business before opening a mortuary and funeral home in 1932.

Leevy was involved in multiple interracial school boards and business boards and received honorary Master of Arts, Doctor of Humanities, and Doctor of Law degrees from South Carolina educational institutions. He was a founder of the Columbia branch of the NAACP candidate for the South Carolina Legislature, the U.S. Congress, and a delegate of the National Republican Convention in 1956 and was an early influence on grandson Isaac Samuel Leevy Johnson (1942-), who became a celebrated attorney and South Carolina House of Representatives member.

The I.S. Leevy collection contains a biography, newspaper clippings, personal correspondence and ephemera, and multiple school notebooks from Leevy’s time at Hampton Institute (Hampton Junior School) in Hampton, Virginia.

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