Take a Tour of South Carolina with South Carolina Postcards

By Josh Schutzenhofer and Alex Trim

An Introduction

The South Carolina Postcards Collection features historic postcards from across the state of South Carolina. From Battery Park in Charleston to Table Rock Mountain in Greenville, this collection provides the perfect opportunity to get a unique and colorful glimpse of South Carolina in the 1900s. With postcards ranging from 1865 to 2016 this collection captures what the travel and tourism industry was like in the state while also giving us picturesque views of historic South Carolina. Currently housed in the South Caroliniana Library, it has quickly become one of our most popular collections.

The South Carolina Postcards collection includes all 46 South Carolina counties, 6,144 postcards, and nearly four years’ worth of work completed by three students and staff from the Digital Collections (Digi) office. The project was started in May of 2016 by Library Science graduate student, Mir Pavin. During her time in Digi, Mir completed 15 counties. After she graduated the project was shelved for nearly a year before Digi Project Assistant, Matthew Haney, began working on it. Matthew completed 13 counties. After Matthew left, the project was again shelved, thankfully just for six months this time, before it was picked up again by Josh Schutzenhofer. It was Josh who finally finished this project.

Josh and the Postcards

I am Joshua Schutzenhofer, a Library and Information Science graduate student here at USC. I have been working in digital collections for a little over a year. I started working on the South Carolina Postcards Collection in the Spring of 2019 and completed the project in early February of this year. During my time working on this project, I scanned postcards for 17 counties, including the largest county Charleston, which has over 1,000 postcards. For those who don’t know, the collection includes postcards featuring images of historical sites, churches, graves, schools, hotels, tourist attractions, bridges, monuments, train stations and depots, factories, highways, paintings, historical figures, everyday people, and advertisements.

One of my favorite postcards features a monument to the defenders of Fort Moultrie in a park in Charleston, S. C. I have always had an interest in history and the battle at Fort Moultrie was a significant event in the American Revolution, as well as the inspiration for the South Carolina Flag and the nickname “The Palmetto State.” (Did you know, we have William Moultrie’s papers? He was the person for whom the fort was named, and his papers are digitized and published online in our American Revolution in South Carolina Collection.)

Another interesting postcard I found was of the A. C. L. Passenger Station in Sumter, S. C. Trains were a key reason that several towns in South Carolina were built. I really enjoyed all the time that I spent working on this collection, seeing South Carolina throughout history in black and white, and technicolor.

The South Carolina Postcards Collection started in May of 2016 and three years and ten months later it was completed. Nearly four years after it was started digital collections has made the entire collection available online. And while it might have taken awhile to complete, it certainly proved to be an interesting and colorful collection to work with.