The Larry A. Jackson Library's collection of letters written by the Rev. Samuel Lander has recently been digitized and can now be accessed online.
Lander, the founder of Williamston Female College, which moved to Greenwood in 1904 and was renamed Lander College, wrote the letters between June 5, 1858, and October 27, 1902.
The collection includes letters written by others to the Methodist minister and college president, as well as letters, speeches, a sermon, a valedictory address and a class song that he wrote himself.
The subjects discussed in the letters include the day-to-day concerns of organizing and running a female college in the 19th century. Several of the letters were written by Lander to his wife, Laura, during a trip North he made three years before the outbreak of the Civil War. In one he describes his visit to the White House, where he met President James Buchanan, who greeted him with "a hearty shake of the hand."
The collection was digitized through a partnership with the South Carolina Digital Library (SCDL), which has been working with South Carolina's schools, libraries, archives, museums and other institutions to improve access to historically significant materials by posting them on the SCDL website.
In the future, the Jackson Library will collaborate with the SCDL to digitize the photographs in the Self Family Foundation Archives, as well as the library's collection of old Lander yearbooks, according to associate librarian Mike Berry.
"We're going to continue working with them and doing more projects," Berry said.
Berry emphasized that the Jackson Library retains possession of Lander's letters, as well as the other artifacts, and library patrons who wish to examine them may still do so.
"We still want people to come here to look at our stuff," he said.
Those who wish to read Samuel Lander's letters online should go to www.lander.edu
and select the "digital archive" link.