Robert Meyer Hollings was born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1915. After graduating from Harvard University Law School in 1939, he was admitted to practice before the South Carolina Bar and the Bar of the District of Columbia. He held positions at the Library of Congress and with the U.S. Farm Security Administration in Texas. As World War II began to escalate in 1941, Robert was drafted into the army as a private. He was subsequently sent to General Headquarters in Australia and was attached to the Provost Marshall’s staff under the leadership of Gen. Elliott R. Thorpe, where he was rapidly promoted. It was during this period of overseas service that he met and later married Mary Fernhout, a Red Cross worker stationed in Australia. Together they became the devoted parents of 4 wonderful children: Peter, Julie, Robert, Jr., and Mary and the doting grandparents of 8 grandchildren.
In 1945 Major Hollings returned to Charleston and joined the law firm of his uncle, the late Major J.D.E. Meyer. This firm would later be known as Meyer Goldberg Hollings Lempesis and Urrichio, and was commonly referred to in the low country as the “United Nations.” Most of Robert Hollings’ adult life was spent in Charleston, where he served as a city alderman under 3 different mayors for a total of 20 years. He was a member of the Planning & Zoning Commission from 1950–1985, serving most of those years as chairman. He served on the Board of Architectural Review from 1978–1985, and on the Charleston County Library Board from 1950–1984.