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Department of History Records

Identifier: Series-0068

Scope and Content Note

This series contains the records of the History Department at Clemson University. The bulk of the materials are from 1974-1986, with a small amount dating from 1956. The collection contains correspondence (general and specific faculty), departmental memoranda, committee minutes, and information about courses, committees and other administrative matters.

Material about courses and booklists reveals the intellectual changes that occurred from the mid-1970's through the mid-1980's. Correspondence in the early 1980's reflects the effects of budget shortfalls on the department and the university. The one oversize item, a poster, relates to a seminar about Native Americans, for which additional information can be found in Publications-Ephemera.

Approximately 1/3 of a foot of material has been separated for inclusion with the records of the College of Liberal Arts. One folder of Ernest Lander's correspondence was removed for addition to personal papers. Documents made of acidic paper have been photocopied onto archival quality bond for preservation purposes.


  • 1956 - 1986
  • 1974 - 1986


Restrictions on Use

3 folders of material relating to confidential personnel and student matters are restricted.

Department History

Over the years the History Department's curriculum and structure have undergone alterations that reflect the university's own growth and changes. It was part of the liberal arts curriculum located in the following departments:

1893-1898: Literary Department

1899-1927: Academic Department

1927-1933: Department of Arts and Sciences

1933-1970: Department of Social Sciences

1972-present: Department of History

History has been taught at Clemson University from the institution's opening in 1893, but there was not a baccalaureate degree in the subject offered until 1962. In 1930 there were only 3 history courses taught at Clemson. This changed after WWII, when veterans sharply increased enrollment. Because they were not required to take military classes they had a need for more elective classes, many of which were supplied by the history department and other liberal arts programs. By 1950 there were 20 history courses available. A master's degree program was offered for the first time in 1964, the same year that Clemson College became Clemson University.

From the 1960's the department's emphasis has been relatively non-regional. Southern history is taught, but there is not a heavy emphasis on the Civil War or upon individuals from South Carolina. Course offerings, particularly in the late 60's and 70's, reflect the social changes occurring at the time. In 1967 proposals were made to introduce classes in African-American and ethnic history, and History of Black America was taught for the first time in 1969.

As part of the Literary and Academic Departments, and later the Departments of Arts and Sciences and Social Sciences, the historians taught in many related areas. As the faculty and curriculum expanded and specialized, a variety of departments have spun off. The department also included the philosophy and religion programs from 1972 to 1988, when the Department of Philosophy and Religion was established. Courses in Geography continue to be taught in the Department of History.

In addition to academic activities, the history department provided programs and services for the public. Beginning in 1975 it produced free weekly book reviews for South Carolina newspapers, later expanded to include nearly 100 papers in 38 states. In the late 70's, the history department established an informal working relationship with radio station WEPR of the South Carolina Educational Radio Network, producing several programs. Among these were shows about Latin American music and opera. A grant-funded project for a twenty-six program series about women's history called "Women-Themselves," aired in 1979, was a successful and ambitious undertaking. It used autobiographical stories by women like Mary Chesnut and Grandma Moses to illustrate women's history. The series was created by Alan Schaffer, head of the history department, and Lily-Roland Hall at WEPR in 1978 and 1979. The South Carolina Commission on the Humanities funded the project, the first time they did so for a radio show. Materials in the collection about this special project are largely related to developing scripts for program segments.

Many department heads had lengthy terms of leadership. William S. "Jo Jo" Morrison was appointed in 1891 by the board of trustees, heading a department of one, and remained an active faculty member until his death in 1922. Alester G. Holmes joined the faculty in 1907 and was chairman from 1908 until 1948. Carl L. Epting served as department head from 1948-1963. In 1963 Robert S. Lambert, who arrived at Clemson in 1949, was appointed chairman. He retained the post until 1974, when he returned to the classroom for the remaining 12 years of his career. Alan Schaffer took the position in 1974, holding it until 1984 when he resumed teaching full time. The position of chairman was volatile in the late 1980's and early 1990's. Schaffer's successor, John R. Wunder, was chairman until 1988. Joseph Arbena served as acting chair for the year before David M. Nicholas took over in 1989. In 1995 Thomas Keuhn was interim chair, and H. Roger Grant took the position in 1996.

The faculty of the history department has grown from one in 1891 to twenty-six in 2000. They teach only history and geography courses, since religion and philosophy were established as a separate discipline in 1988. Several faculty members had impressively long careers at Clemson. As noted above, Morrison, Holmes, Epting and Lambert were long-time members of the department. Ernest "Whitey" Lander, who joined the faculty in 1941, was a popular and outspoken member of the university. His retirement coincided with that of Robert Lambert in 1986.


2.5 Cubic Feet (and 1 oversize item)

Language of Materials



The folders are arranged alphabetically by subject in the container list that follows.


Records Center, accessions 87-117, 88-99, 89-35, and 93-28.

Related Archival Materials

Clemson University Mss 283, Women Themselves, contains additional information about the radio broadcasts and includes audio recordings of three of the broadcasts.

Processing Information

Stephanie Adams, 2000.

The conversion of this finding aid to Encoded Archival Description format was made possible with a grant from the South Carolina State Historical Records Advisory Board in 2009-2010. The finding aid was prepared for encoding by Kristi Roberts.

Department of History Records
2010 August 9
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Clemson University Libraries Special Collections and Archives Repository

230 Kappa St.
Clemson SC 29634 U.S.A. US