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Special Collections:  

South Carolina Legal History Collection

The South Carolina Legal History Collection encompasses both primary and secondary published sources dealing with the legal, constitutional, and political development of the state. In addition, it contains portraits, papers, and memorabilia. The collection also contains the volumes of the Memory Hold the Door memorial biographies, aside from the volumes currently on display in the Coleman Karesh Reading Room. Legal History materials are available upon request Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Circulation of material from the collection is restricted.

Patrons interested in these materials should review the policies and procedures for their use.

“All for Civil Rights”

“All for Civil Rights”This webpage tries to document all of the African American officials and judges from 1868 to 2000. Included are sketches of some of the major figures as well as list of legislators, judges, and constitutional officers. Also included is a list of all the lawyers admitted between 1868 and 1968. Compiled by W. Lewis Burke.


The Digital Portrait Collection at the University of South Carolina School of Law

The Digital Portrait Collection of the Law Library contains images of portraits owned by the School of Law. The subjects are lawyers, jurists, political figures, legal thinkers, and scholars prominent in South Carolina legal history from the beginnings of the Carolina colony in the 1660s to the present.


Gavel Raps

Gavel Raps was a newsletter published by the University of South Carolina Student Bar Association from 1969 through 1988. It covered a myriad of topics, including SBA meetings, fraternities, social events, “law wives”, and the planning, groundbreaking and building of the law school's previous location. This was a particularly interesting time period for the law school as it began to see an increase in female and minority students. The hardcopies are contained in three bound volumes that are housed in the Law Library at the University of South Carolina School of Law. This digital collection was created by the University of South Carolina School of Library & Information Science Digital Libraries class and the Law Library, Spring 2015.


The Hon. J. Robert Martin Papers

Judge Robert Martin was a Federal District Court judge in South Carolina, who presided over the 1947 trial of those charged with the lynching of Willie Earle. The collection consists chiefly of correspondence (letters, postcards, and telegrams) and newspaper clippings regarding the trial, specifically the proceedings, verdict, and Martin’s role as presiding judge.


Ida Salley Reamer Documents Exhibit

Ida Salley Reamer spent most of her life in Columbia, South Carolina, and was a leader in community service and advocacy.  She graduated in 1922 from the University of South Carolina School of Law and finished first in her class.  She provided pro bono legal services and worked tirelessly through civic organizations to improve the lives of the citizens of Columbia and of South Carolina. Mrs. Reamer’s granddaughter, Mrs. Cornelia Edgar, donated to the law school Mrs. Reamer’s formal portrait, her law school diploma, and her admission to the South Carolina Bar. 

Visit our online exhibit to view the documents and to learn more about Mrs. Reamer’s life and contributions.


Memory Hold the Door

In 1958, to honor exemplary lawyers, the South Carolina Bar Association and the Law School Faculty established Memory Hold the Door. The University of South Carolina provided a memorial book of finest quality and its handsome glass-topped mahogany repository. Each year a new class of attorneys is inducted.




A Nineteenth Century Law Library: The Colcock-Hutson Collection

The Colcock-Hutson Collection consists of 419 books that had been part of the library accumulated by five generations of Colcocks and Hutsons, lawyers who lived in Beaufort, Jasper, and Hampton Counties from 1744 to 1939. This historical collection was donated to the library by Charles Cook in 2007. It is a snapshot of past legal practice and it gives current lawyers and law students an insight into the working law libraries of the past.



Rare Books

Almost all items owned by the library published before 1912 are housed in off-site storage. The titles are listed in the catalog. Please see Law Library staff for access to these materials.





South Carolina Constitutional Materials (Workman Papers)

This collection includes materials donated to the Law Library’s South Carolina Legal History Collection by William D. Workman, Jr., in December 1983. The portion of the Workman Papers digitized here features papers of the 1949-1950 Committee to Make a Study of the South Carolina Constitution of 1895 and the 1966-1969 Committee to Make a Study of the South Carolina Constitution of 1895 (also known as the West Committee). The originals of these digitized papers and the portion of the collection that has not been digitized may be viewed by arrangement with the University of South Carolina Law Library. A guide to this collection is available (opens as a PDF document).

South Carolina Records & Briefs Collection


A finding aid is available for the print collection of briefs and records from published and unpublished South Carolina cases before 1918. Please contact the Reference desk for assistance with this collection.


A finding aid is available for the print collection of briefs and records from cases decided by the South Carolina Supreme Court and the South Carolina Court of Appeals from 1858 to 2014. The Law Library has briefs and records for some cases (but not all), and these briefs and records are available in print (not online). They are located in bound volumes in the S.C. Briefs & Records section of the Law Library's basement.


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