The Beaufort County Library's special local history collection and archives unit, the Beaufort District Collection, acquires, preserves, maintains and makes accessible a research collection of permanent value which records the history and culture of the area of lowcountry South Carolina once called Beaufort District. We have biographies, nonfiction books, graphic materials, audio materials, and archival collections about local history including Gullah traditions, natural history, archaeology, genealogy, and other topics relevant to Beaufort, Hampton and Jasper Counties (SC). Above all we strive to be excellent stewards of the materials we hold in trust for our community.
The Research Room is intended to be used by customers over age 12 who perform their own research. We provide access to some of our materials and services online through the "Virtual BDC:" that is, a collection of blogs; online photographs and materials hosted through our partnership with the Lowcountry Digital Library; locally created databases of obituary notices; video segments filmed in cooperation with other Beaufort County departments; and staff created content on the Library system's Local History and Nature web pages.
The Beaufort District Collection is located in the Paul Siegmund Room on the 2nd floor in the Library building at 311 Scott St., Beaufort, SC 29902. As the special local history collection and archives for the Library system, we keep our own hours. Visit the Research Room on Mondays, 9 am to 5 pm; on Thursdays, 9 am to 5 pm; and on Fridays, 9 am - 3 pm. As of 2 January 2016, access to the Research Room and its staff is by advance appointment only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Call 843-255-6468 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment. We are sorry that we cannot make same day appointments so please contact us ahead of time to make arrangements. Changes to our customary schedule will be noted in the Library's social media.
The Local Obituary Index is substantially drawn from the microfilmed newspaper collection of the Beaufort County Library. There are no holdings prior to 1862, and the holdings of some titles, especially those of the nineteenth century, are incomplete. The bulk of the index covers the years 1882 - 1992. This is an ongoing project with new citations being added on a regular basis. Our trained obituary docents are working towards full coverage. Contact the Beaufort District Collection for more information.
As of February 2016, the Beaufort County Library has 4 digital collections hosted by the Lowcountry Digital Library:
The Donner Collection has 548 photographs from two albums of family photographs created by Conrad Munro Donner (1844 – 1916), a peripatetic engineer from the Hamburg-Altona area near the border between Denmark and Germany who had an active interest in photography. Self-taught, the bulk of his images reflect his experience of lowcountry rural life in Beaufort County, SC near the turn of the 20th century.
“The Lucille Hasell Culp Collection - A Celebration of Beaufort, South Carolina” contains a selection of 300 images, primarily photographic negatives, from the much larger Lucille Hasell Culp Collection. Here one finds selected images of enduring historical value to Beaufort, such as those relating to community and military events, built structures that are no longer extant or greatly altered, iconic architecture, commercial activities, natural vistas, and daily life, 1941 – 1999. Most of the images were taken in the immediate area of the City of Beaufort, S. C. during from the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s.
The Hurricane of 1893 Photographs Collection features 20 photographs that record the damage caused by the Sea Island hurricane that swept through Beaufort County on August 27th and 28th in 1893. Images captured include wrecked and stranded ships and steamers, including the "City of Savannah," damaged buildings and wharves and a debris covered Bay Street.
The Storm Swept Coast describes damage and recovery efforts in Beaufort, South Carolina, and the surrounding coastal area after the hurricane of August 27-28, 1893. Accounts from hurricane survivors describe the destruction of homes, crops, boats, wharves, bridges, railroads, and other infrastructure in the area. The author, Mrs. R. C. Mather, recounts the recovery efforts she and others undertook throughout the following year. Mather, who created The Mather School in 1867 to educate the daughters of liberated slaves, continued her work after the hurricane by providing clothing, blankets, tools, seeds, and other provisions to the needy. Interspersed throughout the 14 chapters of the book are poems and biblical passages, reflecting the author's deep religious faith.
The Local History and Nature section of the "Virtual BDC" is a collection of web pages prepared by library staff on a variety of topics related to Beaufort District's long and storied history and culture, including such topics as Gullah Language and Culture, Food Specialties of the Lowcountry, and Pirates of the Lowcountry, among others. Please note: During 2016 the Local History and Nature section will be evaluated for retention or updated as appropriate in order to migrate the best content to our BDCBCL Wordpress blog.
Latest update: 22 February 2016-gmc