About the Beaufort District Collection:
The purpose of the Beaufort District Collection is to acquire, preserve, maintain and make accessible a research collection of permanent value that records the history of the area of lowcountry South Carolina known as the old historic Beaufort District. We have biographies, nonfiction books, video materials and archival collections about local history including Gullah traditions, natural history, archaeology, genealogy, and other topics relevant to Beaufort, Hampton and Jasper Counties. The Research Room is intended to be used by customers who perform their own research. Our philosophy of service is to offer as many free services as possible to those who are interested in learning more about the history, culture, and environment of Beaufort District.
The BDC Research Room welcomes all visitors and researchers over the age of 12 years. We have space for up to 7 researchers at a time. We want you to come use our resources and expertise. But group visits must be scheduled in advance of the proposed group visit. Please know that we may not be able to accommodate your request. We will try, but staffing and the space constraints of our Research Room may not be sufficient to accommodate your request.
Besides managing BDC Research Room, we provide access to some of our materials and services through the “Virtual BDC:” this web page, the BDC Collection Services page, the Online Obituary Index, the Phosphate, Farms, and Family digital collection, the Lucille Hasell Culp Collection: A Celebration of Beaufort, South Carolina, a selection of 300 images, the Local History and Nature web pages, our Connections blog, our WordPress blog of lists of materials about particular people, places, and other topics, and Facebook. For lists of librarian recommended materials on the people, places and topics important in Beaufort District's long and unique history, click here for "List of Local History Materials" brought to you by the Beaufort District Collection!"
In addition, we select and stock books and DVDs in the "Local History"sections at each of the BCL branch libraries. We provide access to the Ancestry Library Edition subscription database to visitors of our library facilities and microfilm to the Beaufort Branch and Hilton Head Island Branch libraries. Plus, we coordinate or present programs about local history, archaeology, and our coastal environment, including the occasional instructional session about how to perform historical and/or genealogical research around the library system or for community groups.
Select a topic:
Using the Beaufort District Collection Research Room Welcome to Beaufort County Librarys Beaufort District Collection (BDC). We offer a research collection of permanent value which focuses on Beaufort District history, culture, and environment. At various points in the past, Beaufort District included all or parts of current Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton and Allendale counties. General coverage is granted to the rest of South Carolina. The Beaufort District Collection is staffed by one full-time reference librarian/archivist and one full-time preservation associate. We also have specially trained docents who assist with special projects.
Materials may not be removed from the Beaufort District Collection. However, duplicate copies of some titles are available through the "Local History" sections at the Branch Libraries in Beaufort, Bluffton, Hilton Head, Lobeco and St. Helena.
Most of the printed items held within the BDC may be photocopied in the Beaufort District Collection room, pursuant to U.S. copyright laws. However,some materials owned by the BDC cannot be duplicated due to the fragility of the materials. If you want to make photocopies of or use an electronic or digital means of acquiring a copy of a resource housed within the BDC, you must ask for permission to do so from the Historical Resources Coordinator.
We grant permission to reproduce images from our Beaufort District Collection under limited criteria. Please consult with the us about how to obtain permission to reproduce images owned by the Beaufort County Library.
Prudent researchers contact libraries, archives and museums before traveling to do research. Staff vacancies may affect access to the BDC since our first priority is being good stewards of the research materials for which we are responsible. Many of Beauforts family and public records prior to the 20th century were lost to fire, war, and neglect. Staff will be happy to discuss existing resources that are relevant to your research and potential strategies for accommodating the significant loss of our records. Our telephone number is 843-255-6468; e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
To acquaint yourself with usual and customary procedures for gaining access to archival records, please take a few moments to read the "Using Archives: A Guide to Effective Research" from the Society of American Archivists.
RULES FOR USING THE BDC Research Room:
Refusal to follow any of the rules listed below may result in denial of the use of the materials
in the Beaufort District Collection's Research Room.
1) Only notepaper and essential personal reference books will be permitted at research tables.
2) Pencils are permitted. Do not use pens or markers while in the BDC.
3) Be advised that the library keeps records of research room attendance and research topics.
4) Materials may not be removed from the BDC.
5) If you want to make photocopies of or take photographs of materials, digital or film based, ask for the permission or assistance of Beaufort District Collection staff.
6) Use care when handling the materials. Keep them clean and free of stray marks.
7) Do not lean on materials, make marks on materials, write notes on top of materials, or rest books or other items on materials.
8) Theft or mutilation of library materials is a crime that is prosecuted.
9) Some materials in the BDC are restricted materials.
10) The Library reserves the right to inspect all notes, photocopies, and personal reference books before the researcher leaves.
11) The Library reserves the right to require a patron to submit to a search of his or her person conducted by a police officer, upon sufficient grounds.
BDC Programs Trainings, Community Relations & Scheduled Tours
Thus far in 2016: 112 and counting!
"Hurricanes of Beaufort's Past" with Grace Cordial - 11 people
"Researching African-American Roots" with Kim Morgan and Akosua Moore - 41 people
"Battle of Purysburg" with Dan & Rita Elliott, a BDC@ BLU program - 26 people
"Gen. Stephen Elliott" with Neil Baxley, a BDC@ BEA program - 19 people
"Preservation Week Drop-In" at Beaufort Branch - 30 people; handed out 17 packets of information
"A Yankee Scholar" Author Book Talk with Bob Hester - 4 people
BDC@ Community Engagement total for 2016 thus far - 200 people
Living History Civil War Encampment at the Arsenal - March 12 in collaboration with the Beaufort History Museum and Penn Center - 160 People stopped by our table to talk BDC/Library!
Charleston Genealogy Society - March 16 - 10 family historians got a tour of our facility and learned a bit about our services
Confederation of South Carolina Historical Societies Landmark Conference - March 23 - 30 cultural heritage stewards toured our facility and explored some of our treasures
BDC Programs, Outreach & Trainings Tally for 2015 - 1202