James Kershaw Papers, 1786-1825

South Caroliniana Library

James Kershaw (b. 1764), a planter who owned land in Camden District, South Carolina, an area later known as Kershaw County, was the eldest son of political and military leader Joseph Kershaw (1727-1791), for whom the county was named. James Kershaw was educated in England beginning in 1772. He returned in 1784 and married twice, but the year of his death is unknown.

The collection contains diaries of James Kershaw, 1791-1825, with meteorological observations, recipes, and home remedies, including advice for treatment of pimples, boils, baldness, and unwanted hair. The papers record observations, 17 September 1811, of a solar eclipse, accounts of debts paid, January-April 1812, including prices of cotton, molasses, and sugar, and typed abstracts of recipes, 1936, copied from the diaries.

Also present is a plat, 4 July 1785, and deed, 2 October 1786, signed by South Carolina governor William Moultrie. These document Kershaw’s purchase of 640 acres on Sanders Creek in Camden District, South Carolina. Another plat, surveyed 13 September 1817 for William Blanton, records property situated between Bear and Sawney’s Creeks in western Kershaw County, South Carolina.

All eight diary volumes, 1791-1825, are available on microfilm in the South Caroliniana Library, Manuscripts Division. The 1814-1815 diary volume is not currently digitized.


The digitization of the James Kershaw Papers is a project made possible by a School of Library and Information Science internship held by Ashley Knox (MLIS Certificate, 2010). Henry Fulmer of the South Caroliniana Library suggested this collection and allowed the Digital Activities Department access to it for scanning. Knox created the metadata for the items in an excel spreadsheet. The metadata records follow the Western States Best Practices Dublin Core format. Kristi Wright and Knox scanned the items on a flatbed Epson Expression 10000XL Photo scanner, using Silverfast scanning software. They scanned the images as color TIFFs at 24-bit and 300 ppi. From the TIFFs Knox created high quality JPEGs and added preservation metadata to the TIFF and JPEG images. Knox uploaded the JPEGs to the CONTENTdm server. The TIFFs will be maintained as the archival masters on a SAN server, backed-up to DVD and tape. Knox also created a home page for the collection. The work could also not have been done without the help of Tony Branch, of the Systems Department, who is the systems administrator for the CONTENTdm database and helps to manage the computers and scanners in the Digital Activities Department. Ashley Knox’s work was supported by Santi Thompson (Digital Activities) and Henry Fulmer (South Caroliniana Library).

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