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Memory Hold the Door, Main Guide

Memory Hold the Door Honorees.

Orientation Displays

During fall law school orientation, a few biographies from Memory Hold the Door are cited to highlight the professional virtues that law students and lawyers should cultivate. In addition, the Law Library curates a display that celebrates the lives and accomplishments of the highlighted honorees. 

2023 Orientation Display

The attorneys honored in the current display are:

James Louis Petigru (1789-1863)

James Louis Petigru was admitted to the South Carolina Bar in 1812, and he served as Attorney General of South Carolina. Mr. Petigru is renowned for the fact that though he vigorously opposed secession until his death in 1863, he never lost the respect and admiration of his fellow South Carolinians. The first two buildings which housed the law school bore his name.

Ray Robinson Williams (1899-1987)

Ray Robinson Williams became totally blind as a child, graduated with honors from a school for the blind, and graduated from USC Law in 1924. He maintained the philosophy: “What others can do, I can do also.” He was a formidable advocate at trial, asked for no concession and gave none. He was a USC Trustee and served in the South Carolina legislature.

Edna Smith Primus (1944-2019)

Edna Smith Primus became the first Black woman to graduate from the law school in 1972. She faced public reprimand for telling women who were being involuntarily sterilized that free legal representation was available. Ms. Primus fought the reprimand, with the help of fellow lawyers, and won in the United States Supreme Court. She told the newspaper, “Basically, I just want to help people.”


The display is located in the Coleman Karesh Reading Room on the second floor of the Law Library.

Past Orientation Displays


Moultrie Dwight Douglas (1901–1980)
“A man of the highest integrity, he disdained pretense and sham. He was a firm advocate, yet was courteous with his adversaries. He was full of good humor and stories of courts and lawyers past. … . He regarded the practice of law as a public trust rather than as a conduit to great wealth.”
Alfred Cleo Mann (1889–1956)
“He developed a large practice by scrupulous integrity, thorough, conscientious work. His arguments to juries and judges were based on logic and reason. To him, the practice of law was a mission seeking the goal of truth.”
Miss James M. Perry (1894–1964)
“Measured by her sense of responsibility for her clients, for mankind and animals in need, and measured further by a desirable pride in her profession, she was a definite success.”
Joseph Oscar Rogers, Jr. (1921–1999)
“Joe Rogers firmly believed in the legal profession as a noble calling, which required keen intelligence, skill and integrity. Those were the qualities which marked the passion and action of his professional and political careers.”


Jean Galloway Bissell (1936–1990)
“Distinguished herself with grace and dignity on the Bench. She set the standards high and was a role model, particularly for female lawyers entering practice during later years. The outstanding judicial legacy which she leaves will serve as a model of excellence for generations of upcoming young attorneys during the years ahead.”
Charlton DuRant (1874–1953)
“Charlton DuRant believed that moral rectitude and impeccable conduct were essential attributes of a lawyer. His life exemplified the role of a lawyer in his community.”
Carlisle Roberts (1909–1975)
“Above all, his unerring legal judgment, scholarship and perseverance gained for him, among Bench and Bar, a superb reputation for excellence, a hallmark of the man.”
Jonathan Jasper Wright (1840–1885)
Contemporary news accounts of his election to the Supreme Court describe Wright as quiet, decent, decidedly intelligent, with no “little knowledge of the law”. Charleston (S.C.) News, quoted in The Solicitors’ Journal and Reporter (1869–70) (London).


John Betts McCutcheon, Sr. (1936–1990)
“Mr. McCutcheon was a man of great intellectual and legal ability, but, looking beyond such attributes, he was a man of personal grace, dignity and respect for God and man.”
David W. Robinson, Sr. (1874–1953)
“Mr. Robinson was an admirable citizen, scrupulously honest and of great ability, professionally and otherwise. ‘He never shirked the unpleasant features of a legal fight when to do so might gain his own personal advantage.’”
Ellen Hines Smith (1940–1998)
“Ellen spent her life breaking glass ceilings, not aggressively, or from selfish motives, but through sheer ability, energy and a compassion for her fellow human beings.”
Thomas Porcher Stoney (1840–1885)
“He excelled at both the law and politics. An exceptional advocate, stump-speaker without peer, he could sense the reactions of jurors and voters who responded to his vivid personality, his reasoning and his innate character, honesty and integrity. He enjoyed the affection of most of those who knew him, the sincere respect of all.”


Harriet M. Johnson (1958–2008)
“The presence or absence of a disability doesn’t predict the quality of life … . We take constraints that no one would choose and build rich and satisfying lives within them.”
William Davis Melton (1868–1926)
He was an able lawyer, whose activities include City Councilman, Elder of the First Presbyterian Church, prominent war work and organizing the efforts of the Bar. He served as Chairman of the South Carolina Board of Law Examiners. His greatest contribution was in the field of education. He served with great success as President of the University of South Carolina from 1921 until his death in 1926. The progress which the University of South Carolina made during his administration was outstanding.
Patrick Henry Nelson (1910–1964)
He combined a military bearing with a quiet manner and friendly disposition. He loved hunting and fishing for the companionship it allowed with his devoted friends. A specialist in the defense of tort litigation, he was thorough in preparation, straightforward in presentation and tenacious and patient in protecting his client’s interests. His reputation was as a wise counsel and an able trial lawyer.
Louis Rosen (1910–1989)
“First, last and always, a Judge should be a gentleman, in every sense of that word. He should be learned in the law and have uncommon common sense. He should be impartial and without prejudice. He should administer justice according to the law and treat his office as a public trust for it is a public trust — a very sacred public trust.” He held court in a firm and disciplined manner, and always with the courtliness of a southern gentleman. Honesty, fairness, wisdom and integrity were the hallmarks of his court.


The Honorable Mary E. Buchan (1952–2007)
“Judge Buchan was a member of the S.C. Bar, Marion County Bar Association, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, S.C. Family Court Judges Association, S.C. Women Lawyers Association and Commission on Judicial Conduct. She was admitted to practice in all S.C. courts and in the U.S. District Court for the District of S.C.”
H. Grady Kirven (1925–1994)
“Grady was a trial lawyer of the highest caliber. His integrity and strength of character were the hallmarks of his career and of his relationship with associates, adversaries and the court. … Grady was a quiet, courteous and conscientious gentleman who pursued his career and conducted his life with unwavering integrity and dedication to the highest principles of the legal profession.”
The Honorable Matthew J. Perry, Jr. (1921–2011)
“As his legal career progressed, Judge Perry would eventually play a central role in almost every case that integrated South Carolina’s public schools, hospitals, golf courses, restaurants, parks, playgrounds and beaches. He individually tried more than 6,000 cases, and his work led to the release of nearly 7,000 people arrested for protesting various forms of segregation.”
Philip Alston Willcox (1866–1922)
“He had a keen mind, was quick in perception, powerful in analysis, and could resolve an intricate legal problem with ease. … Philip Alston Willcox was a good man, lawyer and a gentleman. To know him would enrich your life.”


Christie Benet (1879–1951)
He was “a man of rugged honesty and a great advocate before juries. A life of service that brought him eminence at the Bar and distinction as a public servant and citizen.”
John Calvin Bruton (1907–1969)
“Cheerful and optimistic in adversity, a firm friend, legal scholar, imaginative and thorough, a fine lawyer.”
The Honorable Carol Connor (1950–2004)
“Her legal decisions will continue to guide the law of this State, as her example of a life superbly and splendidly lived will continue to inspire all who know her or may come to know of her.” (quote from the SC Judicial Department website)
Sylvan Lewenthal Rosen (1913–1996)
“Sylvan Rosen was a skillful trial lawyer … (a) splendid lawyer who served his community and his profession so well.”


William Thomas Aycock (1868–1928)
“Advocate, legislator, judge, teacher and citizen, he acquitted himself of each with distinction and enriched, beyond his time, the Community that he graced.”
Martha B. Dicus (1949–2012)
“Martha believed that while many practicing lawyers recognized the importance of public service law, they had no idea how ‘fun it was to do.’ She often said ‘if every attorney knew what a blast it was to be a legal aid lawyer and public defender, there would be no one left in the law firms!’”
Coleman Karesh (1903–1977)
“A master teacher, his scholarship was precise and profound, his teaching blended wit with wisdom. Long after graduation, his students, judges and lawyers alike, constantly sought his counsel. No man in his generation had as much influence on the State of South Carolina’s Bench and Bar. He lives in the hearts of those who felt his reverence for the law and loyalty to its principles.”
Ray Robinson Williams (1889–1987)
Born blind, “[n]otwithstanding his handicap, Ray Williams maintained a wonderful philosophy, ‘What others can do, I can do also.’ He was a formidable advocate in trial work, asked for no concession and gave none.”


David Edward Finley (1861–1917)
“Fearless and unmovable in his convictions, careful and conscientious in serving his country, his courage and independence were tempered by warm cordiality and a gentle manner. He was devoted to his family and loyal to his friends. He aspired to serve the common good.”
The Honorable Marcellus Seabrook Whaley (1885–1961)
“Judge Whaley was a successful practitioner, eminent judge and an outstanding law teacher whose career embraced all three branches of his profession.”
The Honorable Karen J. Williams (1951–2013)
“Judge Williams will long be remembered for her devotion to her family and her commitment to justice and the rule of law. She was a pioneer in the legal community of S.C. and rose to the highest level of any female attorney in the history of the state when she was sworn in as the first woman Chief Judge of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.”
Malcolm Carr Woods, Jr. (1906–1993)
“[A] practitioner of the highest order … a gentlemen of sterling character who was actively involved throughout his life in numerous civic, business and community affairs. He dedicated himself in service to his country, his church, his community, his profession, his family and to all people with whom he came in contact.”


Frank Boyd Gary, Jr. (1900–1971)
“A wise counsellor, a skillful lawyer, loyal friend, delightful companion, bon vivant and clubman, he upheld his family’s high standards of ethics, courage and integrity. He contributed to the administration of justice, served his country in peace and war, and met death with equanimity.”
Charlton B. Horger (1914–1997)
“There is something about being in the environment of the Edisto River which runs through his town of Orangeburg. The river is black, flows deep, quietly and softly and is never-ending in its continuity. Charlton Horger must have been influenced by this beautiful part of nature because in his law practice and his goals in life he never stopped until his goals were achieved. It made no difference how hard and difficult was the legal task, how much energy was required, he always accomplished his task with absolute determination and conviction.”
Augustus Graydon (1916–2007)
A true Renaissance man, Gus Graydon was a journalist, amateur historian, and lawyer. He was a larger than life figure who helped found the Historic Columbia Foundation, served as building chair of the Richland County Public Library and was a long-time member of the Governor’s Mansion Commission. He designed a stained glass window for Trinity Episcopal Cathedral. Although he practiced law diligently, he had a life outside of the law.
Angela Roddey Holder (1938–2009)
“Angela Holder was one of the earliest contributors to the field of health law, working as an educator, author, organization leader, and advocate over the course of her long career. … Her advice — both professional and personal — was valued by individuals and organizations alike.”


The Honorable George Edward Prince (1855–1923)
“He was an able judge, as well as an excellent trial lawyer. He graciously counselled young and inexperienced lawyers in questions of law and practice and the high standards of the profession. He loved his profession more than its emoluments.”
The Honorable Claude Ambrose Taylor (1902–1966)
“He exemplified the finest qualities of a great judge — wisdom, insight, industry, courtesy and uncommon awareness of “ends which the law should serve,” he gave inspiration to lawyers and laymen alike who believe that the rule of law is the foundation of our liberty.”
The Honorable J. Robert Martin, Jr. (1909–1984)
“Judge Martin was considered one of the most able judges ever to preside, serving the state for four decades; a pioneer of innovative judicial administration; a loyal, distinguished and dedicated public servant; a model to be emulated by all trial judges.”
The Honorable Thomasine G. Mason (1917–2012)
“Throughout her seven decades of service to federal and state government, Judge Mason has earned a reputation as a hard working advocate and community leader.”


Henry Kimsey Osborne (1875–1949)
“He became an outstanding trial lawyer by complete, painstaking preparation of each case and diligent devotion to his clients’ causes, whether civil or criminal.”
Eleanor T. Going (1921–2013)
She served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy during World War II. She practiced law for 41 years, and had a life outside the law. She loved reading, gardening, and sewing.
Ruth W. Cupp (1928–2016)
She was the only woman in her law school class, and went on to practice law for 61 years. Throughout her life, she raised funds for pregnant women in need.
C.C. “Cotton” Harness III (1949–2010)
He was passionate about creating systems for resolving disputes that allow people to be heard and have their feelings acknowledged. Because of these efforts, he was “the father of mediation in South Carolina.”  He also loved nature and was known for his environmental law practice.


Henry Edward Young (1831–1918)

“He was remarkable for the care and thoroughness he gave his cases. His briefs were noted for accuracy and precision. His arguments were models of clearness and compactness.” Henry Young was one of the founders of both the American Bar Association and the South Carolina Bar Association.

The Honorable Matthew J. Perry, Jr. (1921–2011)

He individually tried more than 6,000 cases, and his work led to the release of nearly 7,000 people arrested for protesting various forms of segregation. Judge Perry became South Carolina’s first African-American Federal District Judge in 1979.

The Honorable Ann L. Furr (1945-2016)

When her husband was drafted for the Vietnam War, she chose to follow him to Vietnam, where she became a social worker in the Saigon city jail. Upon returning to South Carolina, she earned a law degree, opened a law practice, and became the first woman judge on Columbia’s municipal court. She later became the chief judge. After retirement, Judge Furr joined the Peace Corps and served in both Afghanistan and Azerbaijan helping develop emerging legal systems.



The 2019 display remained in place during 2020 as well, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.



The Honorable Jonathan Jasper Wright (1840-1885)

He was the first Black man to practice law in South Carolina, a delegate to South Carolina’s 1868 Constitutional Convention, a senator from Beaufort County, and an associate justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court. After leaving the Court, he established Claflin College’s law department and conducted classes at his law office in Charleston.

Thomas E. McCutchen, Jr. (1919-2018)

He served in the Army Air Corps in World War II, then practiced law for 66 years, from 1946 to 2012. He successfully argued a boundary dispute, Georgia v. South Carolina, before the United States Supreme Court. He received the first Lifetime Achievement Award from the Richland County Bar Association, and the Compleat Lawyer Award.

Harriet M. Johnson (1957-2008)

She was a solo practitioner in Charleston and a board member of Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc. She published about disability advocacy, including works titled Stairway to JusticeToo Late to Die Young; and Accidents of Nature. UofSC Law’s Harriet McBryde Johnson Memorial Scholarship is established in her name.



The Honorable John Belton O'Neall (1793-1863)

He graduated second in his class at South Carolina College in 1812. He later became a lawyer, a trustee of South Carolina College, a judge for 35 years, and Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court. The John Belton O'Neall Inn of Court at UofSC Law is named for him.

The Honorable Ernest A. Finney, Jr. (1931-2017)

After he graduated from law school in 1954, he became one of only five Black lawyers in South Carolina. He gained a reputation as an outstanding defense lawyer and civil rights advocate. Justice Finney served in the South Carolina House of Representatives, as a judge, and as Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court.

Sarah Leverette (1919-2018)

She was the first female faculty member at UofSC Law. Ms. Leverette was a law librarian and taught legal writing and workers’ compensation law. She later chaired what is now known as the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Ms. Leverette was also a Lieutenant Colonel in the Civil Air Patrol.