Walter Edgar


Claude Henry Neuffer Professor of Southern Studies

Director, Institute for Southern Studies

Director, Graduate Studies, Department of History

Professor Walter Edgar was graduated from Davidson College in 1965 with an A.B. in history. He received his M.A. (1967) and Ph.D. (1969) from the University of South Carolina.

After receiving his Ph.D. in 1969, he entered the United States Army where he served a two year tour (including one year as an advisor in Vietnam). In 1971 he was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship by the National Historical Publications Commission and assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens at the University of South Carolina. From 1971-1976 he served as editor of the South Carolina House of Representatives Committee on Historical Research. He joined the faculty of the Department of History in  1972, was promoted to associate professor in 1976 and professor in 1982. In 1995 he was named to the Claude Henry Neuffer Chair in Southern Studies.

In 1980 he was named Director of the Institute for Southern Studies, an interdisciplinary program of the College Of Arts And Sciences. During the 1986 academic year he was Visiting Professor at Middlebury College and Historian-in-Residence at the Sheldon Museum, Middlebury.

Since 1997 he has also served as Director of Graduate Studies for the University of South Carolina.

Professor Edgar was the founder and first director of the Department's highly acclaimed Applied History Program. Throughout his academic career, he has been actively involved in the greater South Carolina community. In essence, as a pioneering public historian, he has practiced what he taught his students. His latest book, South Carolina: A History is a reflection of his involvement with the people of the Palmetto State and is co-dedicated to his many students. For this book and his work with local historical societies and musuems for more than a quarter of a century, he was awarded the Order of the Palmetto, the highest award presented to a South Carolinian for achievement and service.

South Carolina: A History (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1998).

    "Walter Edgar has labored long and hard on this bold and sweeping reassessment of South Carolina. Bringing to his task a rare combination of careful scholarship, insightful interpretation, and graceful writing, he has constructed a deeper and more balanced treatment of the state's comlex history than ever before. It is a conscipious landmark of scholarship and it goes far to solidify his position in the front rank of the state's historians."

-Charles Joyner
Coastal Carolina University

"Walter Edgar has given us a magisterial book. Authoritative, informed, clearly written, this is the history of South Carolina for this generation. Scholars will be impressed, and all South Carolinians should be thankful for it. Professor Edgar now wears the mantle of 'historian laurete' of South Carolina."

-William J. Cooper, Jr.,
Louisiana State University

"Engaging and well-researched, based largely on primary sources and yet making the best use of the most current scholarship, Professor Walter Edgar's history of South Carolina is likely to be the definitive work on its subject for years to come. It combines broad and enlightened perspective with deep knowledge and mature reflection. No one interested in South Carolina's past, whether a novice or long aquainted with it, will want to be without this book."

-Daniel C. Littlefield,
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

"Walter Edgar has accomlished the difficult task of writing a history of South Carolina which combines excellent scholarship and evocative prose. The result ias a book which can be read with pleasure by historians and general readers who want more about the Palmetto State."

-Dan T. Carter,
Emory University

"Walter Edgar has filled a long felt need by writing a magisterial, comprehensive history of South Carolina. For those long familiar with the state, his well-written narrative will give new insights. For newcomers to the rich history of South Carolina, this book will provide an exciting and pleasurable introduction."

-Carol K. Bleser,
Clemson University

In less than 90 days, more than 16,000 copies of the book were sold, making South Carolina: A History an academic best-seller. In January 1999, the book went into its third printing..

Additional Professional Information

Articles & Chapters
Encyclopedia Entries
Book Reviews
Papers Presented
Other Publications
Professional Activities
Recent Grants
Graduate Teaching
Professional Memberships
University Service
Community Activities
Awards & Honors
Class Schedules and Sylabi


1. Books:

Southern Landscapes (Tubingen, Germany: Stauffenberg Verlag, 1996). co-editor with Tony Badger and Jan Gretlund with Lothar Honnighausen and Christoph Irmscher.

South Carolina in the Modern Age (University of South Carolina Press, 1992). author.

A Guide for the Teaching of South Carolina History and its Relationship with United States History (South Carolina
Department of Education, 1989; rev. ed. Institute for Southern Studies, 1991). author.

South Carolina: The WPA Guide to the Palmetto State (University of South Carolina Press, 1988). editor.

Columbia: Portrait of a City (The Donning Company, 1986). co-authored with Deborah K. Woolley.

History of Santee Cooper, 1934-1984 (The R.L. Bryan Company, 1984). author.

A Southern Renascence Man: Views of Robert Penn Warren (Louisiana State University Press, 1984). editor.

Remembering the Days: An Illustrated History of the University of South Carolina (The R. L. Bryan Company, 1982). co-edited with Nancy Vance Ashmore.

The Biographical Directory of the South Carolina House of Representatives, 1775-1790 (University of South Carolina Press, 1981). consulting editor.

The Governor's Mansion of the Palmetto State (Governor's Mansion and Lace House Commission, 1978) co-authored with Ann D. Edwards, Augustus T. Graydon, George C. Rogers, Jr., and George D. Terry.

The Biographical Directory of the South Carolina House of Representatives: The Commons House of Assembly, 1692-1775 (University of South Carolina Press, 1977) co-authored with N. Louise Bailey.

The Biographical Directory of the South Carolina House of Representatives: Sessions Lists, 1692-1973 (University of South Carolina Press, 1974), editor.

The Papers of Henry Laurens, Volume VI (University of South Carolina Press, 1974), editorial assistant.

The Letterbook of Robert Pringle (University of South Caro lina Press, 1972), editor.

2. Selected Articles and Chapters:

"The Circle of the Charleston Poetry Society and the Creation of the Image of the South Carolina Lowcountry" in Lothar Honnighausen and Valeria Gennaro Lerda, Rewriting the South: History and Fiction (Tubingen and Basel: Francke Verlag, 1993), pp. 199-209.

"The Unfinished Quilt: Antebellum South Carolina Historiography," in A. V. Huff, Jr., ed. Writing South Carolina's History. Spartanburg, SC, 1992.

"Historic Preservation: A Bibliography," The Newberry [Library] Papers in Family and Community History (paper #78- 5; 1978).

"Reading Tastes in Eighteenth Century South Carolina," Southeastern Librarian, 27 (1977): 227-34.

"Robert Pringle and His World," South Carolina Historical Magazine, 76 (1975): 1-11.

"A Letter from South Carolina." Journal of the Royal Society of Arts (London), 122 (1973-74): 95-98, 171-72, 231-33.

"Some Popular Books in Colonial South Carolina," South Carolina Historical Magazine, 72 (1971): 174-78.

"Notable Libraries of Colonial South Carolina," South Carolina Historical Magazine, 72 (1971): 105-10.

3. Selected Encyclopedia Entries:

"Charleston" and "South Carolina," Dictionary of American History (Supplement) (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons Reference Books, Macmillan Reference USA, Simon & Shuster Macmillan, 1996)

"South Carolina," Encyclopedia of the United States Congress (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995).

"Battlefields" and "Monuments," in the Encyclopedia of Southern Culture (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989).

"Alexander Hewatt" and "Christopher Gadsden," in American Writers Before 1800: A Biographical and Critical Dictionary (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1983).

"Robert W. Barnwell," "William W. Boyce," "Lawrence M. Keitt," in Encyclopedia of the Confederacy (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993)

4. Book Reviews:

in American Historical Review, Journal of Southern History, William & Mary Quarterly, Public Historian, Southern Quarterly, Joural of the Early Republic, Journal of Library History, Libraries and Culture, South Carolina Historical Magazine,
Florida Historical Quarterly, Georgia Historical Quarterly, New York History, Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Mississippi Review, Gulf Coast Historical Review, and Arkansas Historical Quarterly.

5. Selected Papers Presented:

"Historians, Public Policy and Public Outreach," Southern Historical Association, 13 November 1998.

"Beyond the Tumult and the Shouting: Race Relations in South Carolina in the 1990s," Southern Studies Forum, Odense University (Denmark), August 1997.

"The Charleston Poetry Society and the Creation of the Image of the Carolina Lowcountry," Claude Henry Neuffer Lecture, College Of Arts And Sciences, University of South Carolina, 19 October 1995.

"NEH Summer Institutes for Secondary Teachers: The South Carolina Experience," Southern Historical Association, 6 Nov

"State Government Reform." with C. Blease Graham. The Citadel Symposium on Southern Politics. March 1992.

"Creating the Myth of the South Carolina Lowcountry." Southern Studies Forum, University of Bonn, September 1991.

"Reform and Reformers in South Carolina: An Historical Perspective." South Carolina Historical Association, March 1991.

"The Carolina Lowcountry - A Social Portrait." Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, Winston-Salem, NC, June 1996.

"A Reappraisal of the Redeemers and Race: Segregating the Episcopal Church in South Carolina." The Citadel Conference on the South, April 1985.

"Historic Sites as the New Textbook." Southern Historical Association, November 1978.

"Historic Preservation in the Classroom." Newberry Library Conference on State and Local History, February 1978.

"The Move Toward Practical History." American Historical Association, December 1977.

"Mobilizing Grass Roots Support for Historic Preservation." American Association for State and Local History, September

"Robert Pringle and His World," Annual Meeting of the South Carolina Historical Society, 1974.

6. Other Publications:

"Carolina Heritage" a series of 57 columns on South Carolina history distributed by USC's Information Services (1977- 1982; each column appeared, on the average, in 17 newspapers across the state).

Numerous op-ed pieces for various South Carolina newspapers.

7. Consulting and other Related Professional Activities:

Consultant to South Carolina Race Relations Commission, 1998.

Member, Board of Civilian Advisors, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, KS, 1997-99; chair 1998-99.

Final Review Panelist, National Endowment for the Humanities, Education Division (Seminars and Institutes), 1996; Museums and Historical Societies, 1983, 1985.

Humanities Scholar for Richland District Two NEH-funded teacher seminar, Separate Worlds: Growing Up in the American South, 1995-96.

Historical Consultant to Charles Pinckney National Historic Site, Charleston, SC and the Friends of Historic Snee Farm, 1994- 1995.

Board of Advisors, Southern Studies Forum of the European American Studies Association, 1993-present.

Consulting member, Graduate Faculty, US Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, KS, 1992-1995.

Consultant to and member of South Carolina Commission on Government Restructuring, 1991.

Board of Advisors, Western Reserve Studies Program, Hiram College, Hiram, Ohio, 1981-1984.

Advisory Board, Mid-South Humanities Project, Middle Tennessee State University, 1982-1984.

Member, Central Midlands Regional Planning Council (SC) Technical Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation, 1975-1985.

Member, Organization of American Historians Standing Committee on Historic Preservation (now Public History,

8. Recent Grants:

1996, "Colonial South Carolina." A planning grant with SC ETV for a four part documentary for classroom and general audiences. South Carolina Humanities Council, $1,000.

1994, "One People?: South Carolina's Cultural Memory." A one-year NEH grant for a summer institute for teachers with follow-up sessions during the school year. Total grant package: $58,979.

1990-1993, "Mainstream and Backwater: South Carolina's Cultural Memory," a three year project to conduct summer
institutes fQr South Carolina teachers. Funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Total grant package: $579,000

1993, "Mainstream and Backwater: South Carolina's Cultural Memory," a supplemental grant from the NEH. Total grant package: $11,155.

1990. "Teaching History with Community Resources," a workshop for teachers. Funded by the Rural Education Alliance for the Collaborative Humanities, A Rockefeller Foundation project. $15,000.

9. Professional Development/Graduate Teaching:

Dissertations directed: 8

M.A. Theses directed: 23

10. Professional Memberships:

American Historical Association
American Association for State and Local History
Organization of American Historians
South Carolina Historical Association
Southern Historical Association

11. University Service:

University Committees: Archives (chair); Athletics Advisory; Cafeteria; Capital Campaign, Columbia Bicentennial; Facilities Master Plan; Facilities and Grounds (chair); Horseshoe Restoration (chair); Maintenance and Beautification; Museum (chair); Museum and Archives (chair); Parking; Research Advisory; Russell Research Award; South Carolina Honors College Policy; Space Allocations; Tenure and Promotion; Tenure Review (Chair); USC Bicentennial Planning; USC Bicentennial Commission; Venture Fund

University Service (Faculty advisor for student organizations): Circle K, Canterbury Community, Sigma Alpha Epsilon

University Service: Chair, Family Fund; Board of Directors, USC Educational Foundation; Search Committee for Vice President for Institutional Advancement; Center for Environmental Policy Council; Council of Institutes; USC Visual Identity (co-chair); NEH Summer Stipends

College Of Arts And Sciences Committees: Baccalaureate Degree Liaison; BAIS Degree

College Of Arts And Sciences Service: Director, Institute for Southern Studies; Search Committee for Philosophy Department Chair (chair); Search Committee for GINT Department Chair (chair); Task Force on Public Service; Task Force on Interaction Among Disciplines

History Department Committees: Advisory; Community Relations; Grants; Graduate (chair); Oral History and Culture; Tenure and Promotion (chair); Undergraduate

History Department Service: Assistant Chair; Director of Applied History Program; Director of Graduate Studies; Director of Graduate Placement; Committee on Departmental Reconciliation; Faculty Senate; Self-Study, Finance and Graduate areas; Dial Professorship search; search committees for colonial position; search committee for Southern position (chair); search committee for military position (chair); search committee for material culture position (chair); search committee for African-American position (chair).

12. Community Activities:

Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation. Board of Trustees,

South Caroliniana Society. President, 1984-1987; Council,

South Carolina Governor's Mansion Foundation. Vice Chair,
1983-1987; Board of Directors, 1979-1983.

Historic Columbia Foundation. President, 1977-1979;
Board of Trustees, 1975-1977, 1979-1981.

Columbia Museum of Art. Board of Trustees, 1987.

Heathwood Hall Episcopal School. Vice Chair, 1991-1992;

Board of Trustees, 1985-1992; Board of Visitors, 1992-present.

South Carolina Historical Association. President, 1982-83;
Executive Committee, 1979-1982, 1983-1984.

Friends of the Richland County Public Library. President, 1981-1982. Board of Trustees, 1979-1980.

Trinity Episcopal Cathedral. Vestry, 1978-1981.

Columbia Kiwanis Club. President, 1984-1985.

United States Army Reserves. Colonel. (1973-1995; retired).

13. Awards and Honors:

Robert D. Ochs Award for contributions to the graduate history program, 1998, 1978.

Mortar Board Excellence in Teaching, 1995.

Listed in Who's Who in America since 1985-86 edition; Who's Who in the South and Southwest, 1983 and 1984; and Who's Who Among American Teachers, 1996.

Omicron Delta Kappa, 1994.

Selected as one of "Ten for the Future" community leaders by the Columbia Record, 1980.

Phi Alpha Theta, 1968.

Blue Key, 1966.

14. Hobbies:

Reading, gardening (winner of numerous blue ribbons at the South Carolina State Fair) and squash (which he plays regularly 2-3 times a week).

15. Class Schedules and Sylabi

HIST 409
HIST 761
HIST 862
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