University of South Carolina names new library for U.S. Sen. Ernest F. ‘Fritz’ Hollings

September 19, 2008

COLUMBIA, SC – September 19, 2008 – A new library of special collections at the University of South Carolina will be named for former U.S. Sen. Ernest F. “Fritz” Hollings.

University President Harris Pastides made the announcement Friday (Sept. 19) at the Thomas Cooper Library. Hollings and Tom McNally, interim director of University Libraries, addressed faculty, staff and students in attendance.

The $18-million, 50,000-square-foot building, to be named The Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library, will be located behind the Thomas Cooper Library. The addition will house the library’s growing Rare Books and Special Collections and provide a permanent home for the university’s S.C. Political Collections, which document the careers and contributions of many of the state’s political leaders.

A virtual tour of The Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library is online at the Web site: For more information about Rare Books and Special Collections and South Carolina Political Collections, visit the Web site:, and click on “collections and departments.”

Pastides said these valuable collections warrant a place of their own at the Thomas Cooper Library, a place that is in keeping with the university’s designation among the nation’s top research universities by the Carnegie Foundation.

“Over the past decade, the University of South Carolina has garnered greater recognition for the quality of its scholarly and scientific contributions to knowledge,” Pastides said. “Researchers around the world rely on these collections for their studies, and students and other scholars now will have greater access to the vast materials that these collections provide.”

Hollings, who donated his personal papers to the library’s S.C. Political Collections in 1989, said the building will help ensure the preservation of valuable materials that are vital to many areas of study and research.

“Libraries are the repositories of knowledge and the heart of learning at any university,” Hollings said. “This new building will allow the University Libraries to place their extensive holdings in a more secure environment while, at the same time, enabling more access to these valued collections by students, scholars, researchers and the public. To have been able to help the University of South Carolina Libraries expand and modernize their facilities is something I take great pride in, and I am deeply honored by this designation.”

The Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library, which will be connected by a corridor to the main level of Thomas Cooper Library, has been designed by Watson Tate Savory architects. The new library will complement the classic modern style of the existing library. Construction began this summer and is scheduled to be complete in early

2010. Using sustainable building practices, the library is being constructed at a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification level.

The library will have space for teaching, exhibits, meetings and public programs, as well as offices and extensive space for the collections. Special features will include a spacious reading room, work areas for researchers, seminar rooms, mini theater, exhibit galleries, auditorium and digitization center.

Funding for the new library was made possible by a $14-million federal appropriation secured by Hollings and $4 million in private funds, including a $2 million anonymous gift made in the fall of 2004.

McNally said the timing is right for this library expansion.

“Libraries are at the core of all great universities, and our libraries here at the University of South Carolina are no exception,” McNally said. “The increase of our holdings, the expansion of our services and the growth of our special collections reflect the progress of the university.”

McNally said the past 20 years have been an important chapter in the history of the university’s libraries. Holdings in Rare Books and Special Collections grew six-fold, attracting world-class collections that include ones of  F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and John Milton. South Carolina Political Collections received more than 80 archives, including Hollings’ as well as ones from U.S. Secretary of Education Dick Riley, the late Gov. Carroll Campbell, the late Sen. Olin D. Johnston and the late Gov. John C. West.

The growth of collections has led to many outreach efforts by the library. Exhibits of collection materials have been organized for campus and locations throughout the state. Many of the library’s collections and rare treasures have been digitized so that they can be made available to all people via the Internet.

University of South Carolina’s libraries rank 34th among public research libraries in the United States, and the South Caroliniana Library houses the largest collection of materials about South Carolina in the world.


University of South Carolina Libraries


1801: South Carolina College is founded. Library is established in Rutledge College, sharing space with student housing, faculty residences, classrooms and the chapel.

1802: South Carolina College begins collecting books and other printed materials.

1817: The library is moved and shares quarters in a nearby science building that eventually is demolished.

1840: The university erects the first free-standing college library in the United States. Located on the university’s historic Horseshoe, this structure still stands and is known as South Caroliniana Library.

1850: South Carolina College has the largest library south of Washington, D.C. Many of the books from this early period are included in the university’s current rare books and special collections.

1940: The library’s collections move to the new McKissick Library. The 1840 building is named the South Caroliniana Library, which houses the collections pertinent to the state’s history, literature and culture.

1959: The McKissick Library becomes the graduate library when a new Undergraduate Library is built on Greene Street – the first university library to be built away from the Horseshoe.

1976: The Undergraduate Library is expanded, with the addition of four lower floors. It is named the Thomas Cooper Library in honor of the university’s second president.

1980s – present: Over the past 25 years, the university has added to its rare books and special collections. Among them is the S.C. Political Collections (SCPC), established in 1991 to maintain the records of the Palmetto State’s leaders in Congress and the General Assembly, the state’s political parties and other individuals and organizations with substantive roles in politics and government. The Ernest F. Hollings Collection is the largest.

About “The Ernest F. Hollings Collection”

The Ernest F. Hollings Collection is part of University Libraries’ S.C. Political Collections, which document the careers and contributions of many of the state’s political leaders. Since the initial donation in 1989, the Hollings archive has expanded to include about 800,000 pages of paper, audiovisual records and memorabilia that document Hollings’ political campaigns, as well as his service as governor and his 38 years in the U.S. Senate until his retirement in 2005.

Much of the collection has been digitized and will be made available by the university as an online collection this fall.

Items in the collection are varied, including notable letters by and to Hollings, photos, speeches, campaign memorabilia, campaign license plates, nameplates, Hollings’ 1970 book, “The Case Against Hunger,” and a gavel given to him for chairing a budget conference.

Among the most notable treasures is a copy of Hollings’ final address to the General Assembl
y in January 1963 in which he implored legislators and the public to accept the court-ordered integration of the public schools and the admission of Harvey Gantt to Clemson University.

Collectively, the materials document Hollings’ career in public office, first as a governor of South Carolina and later as a U.S. senator who, from 1966 until his retirement, championed a range of issues that included fair trade, campaign financing, the space program, public education, transportation safety and security, hunger and poverty, oceans and the environment and telecommunications.