Maud Mary Mason, “Iris”

Works in the College’s art collection are housed in the Library when not on display in the galleries or campus building.  At times pieces move from one location to another for longer-term loans.

Recently a large still life painting of irises by Maud Mary Mason was transferred to the Kilgore-Clinkscales House on campus, the home of the Dean of the College.

The painting has been in the college collection for many years.  A photograph of long time college librarian Miss Mary Sydnor DuPré shows the painting behind her in the old Whitefoord Smith Library.  Miss DuPré was librarian from 1905-1953.  An undated note on the reverse of the painting itself also confirms the history:  “This painting, ‘Iris’ by Maud M. Mason, A.N.A. was given to Wofford College at the request of Grace Annette DuPré.  For many years, Miss Mason was considered to be the finest painter of flowers in the U.S.A.”

Maud Mason (1867-1956) indeed was well known in her time.  Born in KY, she moved early to New York City where she studied under Impressionists Charles Merritt Chase and Arthur Wesley Dow, as well as at the Art Students League and the Pratt Institute.

First known as a ceramist and ceramics teacher she also exhibited her paintings widely.  She reports to have begun doing floral paintings out of boredom:

"One day I just go bored while working from a model in Mr. Chase's studio, so I went out and bought a bunch of daffodils and painted them.  Mr. Chase liked the painting, and so did everyone else, and later I showed flower paintings at the National Academy of Design which were admired very much.  Orders for flower paintings began to come in, and I have never had time to paint much of anything else". [AskART]


So, What’s an Archives?

[This column ran in the November issue of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate.]

Archives conjure up all sorts of image, and in the popular imagination, they usually involve dust.

You probably are thinking of scenes from a movie, maybe an Indiana Jones film where he dashes into a room with lots of shelves and old volumes in search of some bit of information, some item of lost knowledge. Or maybe you’re thinking of a warehouse of boxes, or a small, dark room with someone, probably of advanced age, there to help find some hard to locate bit of information.
The truth is, we don’t really like dust, and we try to keep the books and papers in the various collections as free of it as possible. Archives vary in size, from closet to warehouse. And the types of things in archives aren’t limited to books, but can range from paper files to audio recordings and video tape, from maps to computer files, and from yearbooks to photographs.
Technically, archives are the permanently valuable records of an organization, such as a college, a church, a state, or an annual conference. In our case, they include such things as the conference journals, the Advocate, conference board and commission minutes, agency files, and district records. An archives might also collect materials that relate to its mission, such as books by and about South Carolina Methodism or Methodists, pictorial directories, local church histories, and files on different churches. Taking a broader view, archives to some people are simply the place where the old stuff goes, or where one goes for information about the past.
Our primary focus is on the records of the Annual Conference, though we do have the records of some closed local churches. If you are looking for local church history, the best place to start is in the local church or in the community, though we may be able to help with some statistics, a list of pastoral appointments, and changes in charge lines. We’ve been trying to put pictures of clergy online so that local churches can download them. 

Some researchers call to ask if we can produce an ancestor’s baptism or marriage record,
and anticipate that all of those records are on the internet, ready to be found with a quick Google search. I wish it were that easy. We don’t have the baptism or marriage records for active congregations, nor do we have their church council minutes. If we tried to keep all of that, we would need a warehouse, and anyone who has visited knows we don’t have that kind of space!

Why should your church have an archives? In part, because keeping local church history is the local church’s responsibility. That’s why you have a local church historian and a committee on records and history. The church historian’s job is to take care of the church’s historical records and to make sure that records being produced today – everything from the weekly bulletin or newsletter to the minutes of the church council – are being kept in a safe place.

You can find some help for these tasks on ourwebsite: http://www.wofford.edu/library/archives/methodist.aspx. There are links to the collections here in the archives and to resources that will help your church organize its own records. And you can always contact me for guidance. I’ll even remind you to keep the dust out.

WRITTEN BY: PHILLIP STONE - November 14, 2012

Where are all the Chi Phi brothers?

Would all of the alums who are members of Chi Phi please stand up.
Members of Chi Phi with Professor Henry Nelson Snyder, center,1896.
Oh, that’s right, that fraternity hasn’t existed at Wofford for over 100 years.  What happened to it?
Chi Phi was the third fraternity to be established at Wofford, after Kappa Alpha and Chi Psi.  These first two got started in 1869, and the Chi Phis were chartered in 1871.  Over its forty years at Wofford, the Sigma chapter initiated a number of students who went on to become prominent in the community.  A short list of those would include Howard B. Carlisle ‘1885, James A. Chapman ‘1883, a noted textile leader, Dr. John G. Clinkscales ‘1876 of the Wofford faculty, Thomas Carey Duncan ‘1881, a noted textile leader, William Preston Few ‘1889, the first president of Duke University, W. Thornwell Haynes ‘1893, an American diplomat, and approximately 160 other alumni.
Though the number of active fraternity members was never especially large, the actions of some fraternity and anti-fraternity students caused the trustees to ban all of the Greek-letter organizations in 1906.  All of the fraternities had to surrender their charters, though many of them simply went underground.  After several years of agitation by students and alums, and after what really amounted to an ultimatum from a group of students, the faculty and trustees relented, and in the fall of 1915, fraternities were allowed back, subject to the rules of the college.
However, the national organization of Chi Phi declined to allow the chapter at Wofford to have its charter back.  President Snyder, himself a Chi Phi from Vanderbilt, worked his connections to try to get the fraternity back on campus, but to no avail.  He reported to one correspondent that the objections came from the northern chapters.
The Chi Phis left a few items behind for us to remember them by.  Among these are a few group photos, some alumni bulletins, and assorted fraternity pins.  The pin below, which belonged to James A. Chapman ‘1883, was recently donated to the library by his great-granddaughter, Mrs. Laura Chapman Jackson Hoy, who is now a member of the Wofford board of trustees.
Written by Phillip Stone, November 20, 2012
Chi Phi pin, 1883
Chi Phi pin, inscribed JAC, WC 83


Poet Laureate of the Lost Cause

James Ryder Randall
On April 26, 1861, “My Maryland!” was published in the New Orleans Sunday Delta. James Ryder Randall (1839-1908) wrote the poem in response to the death of his friend Francis X Ward, who was one of the civilians killed during the riots that swept through Baltimore as federal troops marched to protect the capital.

My. Maryland!

The despot’s heel is on thy shore,
His torch is at thy temple door,
Avenge the patriotic gore
That flecked the streets of Baltimore,
Maryland! My Maryland!

~ ~ o ~ ~

Hark at an exiled son’s appeal,
For life and death, for woe and weal,
Thy peerless chivalry reveal,
And gird thy beauteous limbs with steel,
Maryland! My Maryland!
Thou wilt not cower in the dust,
Thy beaming sword shall never rust,
Remember Carroll’s sacred trust,
And all thy slumberers with the just,
Maryland! My Maryland!

~~ o ~~

Come, ‘tis the red dawn of the day,
Come with thy panoplied array,
With Ringgold’s spirit for the fray,
With Watson’s blood at Monterey,
With fearless Love and dashing May
Maryland! My Maryland!

~~ o ~~

Dear Mother! burst the tyrant chain,
She meets her sisters on the plain -
Sic Semper! ‘Tis the proud refrain
That baffles minions back amain
Arise, in majesty again,
Maryland! My Maryland!

~~ o ~~

Come, for thy shield is bright and strong,
Come, for thy dalliance does thee wrong,
Come to thine own heroic throng.
Stalking with Liberty along,
And chaunt thy dauntless slogan-song,
Maryland! My Maryland!
I see the blush upon thy cheek,
For thou wast ever bravely meek,
But lo! there surges forth a shriek,
From hill to hill, from creek to creek,
Potomac calls to Chesapeake,
Maryland! My Maryland!
Thou wilt not yield the Naudal toll,
Better the fire upon thee role,
Better the shot, the blade, the bowl,
Than crucifixion of the soul,
Maryland! My Maryland!

~~ o ~~

I hear the distant thunder -hum
The Old Line bugle, fife and drum,
She is not dead, nor deaf, nor dumb -
Huzza! She spurns the Northern scum!
She breathes! She burns! She’ll come! She’ll come!
Maryland! My Maryland!

Written at Pointe Coupee, La, 1861. by
James R. Randall

Two weeks before, on April 12 1861, the newly formed confederacy had bombarded Fort Sumter, starting the American Civil War. In response, President Abraham Lincoln ordered 75,000 troops from the northern states to assemble in Washington, D.C. to suppress the rebellion. Baltimore citizens were determined that Northern troops would not make it through their city. And they knew how to put up a fight. The magnificent city of the colonial period had fallen into the grips of thuggery and violence by the 1850s. In fact, Baltimore had such an unruly reputation that in February 1861 Abraham Lincoln went through the city in disguise in the middle of the night on his way to his inauguration.

So when a Massachusetts regiment marched through the city on the way to the capital, it was attacked by a mob, resulting in the first fatalities of the war. All Washington’s connections to the North normally went through Baltimore, but Baltimore citizens had burned all the railroad bridges, cut telephone wires, and stopped all mail en route to the capital city. Cut off from the north and surrounded by a sea of southern states, Washington was left vulnerable for six days. Across the Potomac, southern troops prepared for an attack, and Maryland was threatening to secede at any moment. Maryland straddled the north and the south and both sides fought to win over its population throughout the Civil War. The state never seceded, but around 30,000 citizens enlisted in the Confederate army.

“My Maryland!” serves as Randall’s plea to his home state to secede from the Union and join the Confederacy. The poem refers to the Revolutionary and Mexican-American wars and Maryland military heroes (most of which are now obscure).  Randall was a poet, journalist, and professor at Poydras College in Pointe Coupee, Louisiana, and “My Maryland!” won him the title “Poet Laureate of the Lost Cause.” Jennie Carrie set the poem to the tune of “Lauriger Horatius” (O'Tannenbaum), and it became popular across Maryland and the South. CSA bands played the song after they crossed into Maryland during the Maryland Campaign of 1862. Robert E. Lee reportedly ordered troops to sing the song as they entered Frederick, Maryland, where the caroling soldiers were met with a cold audience of Unionists. At least one CSA regimental band played the song as Lee’s troops retreated across the Potomac after the Battle of Antietam.

“My Maryland!” was adopted as the official state song of Maryland on April 29, 1939. Since then, citizens of Maryland have occasionally attempted to replace the song because of the its history with the Confederacy and the fact that the lyrics refer to Lincoln as a “tyrant,” “despot,” and “vandal” and the Union as “Northern scum.” “My Maryland!” remains the official state song.

--Hannah Jarrett '12

Works consulted:
Frank B. Marcotte, Six Days in April: Lincoln and the Union in Peril, New York: Algora Pub., 2005.



“The Shut Up Shelves:” Librarians as Censors in 1908

Librarians today are known as crusaders for intellectual freedom, dedicated to providing unhindered access to a wide variety of content. Their dedication was shown most dramatically in 2003, after the Patriot Act made it permissible for the FBI to request library records on patrons’ reading habits, computer use, and more. Librarians began shredding patron records so that, if faced with a request from the FBI, they would be unable to comply.1 They understood that protecting intellectual freedom isn’t just about putting books representing a wide spectrum of perspectives on the shelves, but also protecting patrons’ privacy and allowing controversial books to be just as accessible as any others.

However, in late 19th- and early 20th-century America, protecting readers from “bad books” was seen as an important part of a public librarian’s job. Depending on the community and librarian, a “bad book” could be anything from a literary classic with sexual content, a novel by an author with a controversial moral or political perspective, a book on sexual health, or an illustrated anatomy textbook. “Exclusion” of unsuitable books, as it was called, was not a job that all librarians relished, but it was a duty they took seriously. In a 1908 piece in The Library Journal, librarians from around the country described their procedures regarding the exclusion or restriction of controversial material. A librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library explained, “here and there is found an ‘indignant citizen’ who questions the right of the library authorities to act as censors, but the reading public and the taxpayers expect such a course, and consider it the proper one to pursue when looked at from the standpoint of what books are likely to be best appreciated by readers.”2

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Most of the librarians who contributed to the 1908 piece agreed that books that were clearly “immoral or indecent” would simply not be bought by the library, and one noted that “every library exercises a certain amount of censorship of a negative kind when it is forced by the meagerness of its funds to purchase only a limited number of the new books published.”3 However, when such books had literary merit or academic value, the solution was not so simple. Books by foreign authors were frequent targets of exclusion, and some librarians reported only purchasing them in their original languages to limit readership. As they do today, children’s sections steered young readers to age-appropriate materials, but this did not address the issue of adults accessing these materials without guidance. Wisconsin librarian, Mary Frances Isom, explained that in her library:

all these [questionable books] are kept under lock and key in the librarian’s office and marked with a ‘Minor label’ plate [a label stating that it was not suitable for young readers]. The catalog cards show no location and the small collection is held in mind without difficulty by the assistant. The young people seldom discover the existence of this forbidden fruit…A few library-wise women with morbid tastes yearn for a sight of ‘the shut up shelves,’ but in vain, for no one is allowed to go to these shelves; books must be requested from the catalog. They are read consequently only by those who know what they are asking for.4

Other librarians described similar systems. In some libraries, a patron requesting books from hidden shelves would have to answer questions to prove that his or her interest in the material was scholarly. At the Pratt Institute Free Library in Brooklyn, New York, patrons who requested a book bearing a warning label were asked by the librarian to read the label and confirm that he or she understood and still wanted the book. These hurdles may have deterred immature readers from books librarians thought would disturb or negatively influence them, but they also deterred adult patrons with genuine literary or scholarly interest. Many were likely unwilling to run the risk of being judged as morally or politically deviant, or invite scrutiny of their personal lives based on their reading interests. 

The librarians’ 1908 accounts show a profession held responsible for the intellectual diets of their patrons, under great pressure to protect readers, especially the more impressionable, from potentially disturbing or unsavory material. Today, the public’s expectation of librarians is very different, and while children’s and teen sections guide young people towards books that are appropriate and engaging for their age levels, public libraries have dispensed with the complex systems of restriction that once “protected readers” at the cost of intellectual freedom.

--Jennifer Coggins '12

1. Dean E. Murphy, “Librarians Use Shredder to Show Opposition to New FBI Powers,” New York Times, April 7, 2003.
2.“What Shall Libraries Do About Bad Books? II” The Library Journal  (October 1908): 390. Google Books
3. “What Shall Libraries Do About Bad Books?” The Library Journal  (September 1908): 353. Google Books
4. Ibid.

Related Reading:
Christopher M. Finan, From the Palmer Raids to
the Patriot Act (Boston: Beacon Press, 2007).

Arthur E. Bostwick, “The Librarian as a Censor: Address of the President, American Library Association, Lake 
Minnetonka Conference, 1908” The Library Journal, July 1908, p.257. Google Books

Frederick J. Stielow, “Censorship in the Early Professionalization of American Libraries, 1876 to 1929,” The Journal of Library History 18.1 (Winter 1983). JSTOR


The Other Adams Woman: Louisa Catherine Adams

Despite her husband’s inevitable protest, Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams applied rouge to her cheeks in their Berlin apartment.  She rehearsed her defense as she admired herself in the mirror.  

“Do you want me to look a fright in the midst of Splendour?” she whispered, imagining John Quincy standing in front of her with a disapproving look.1

This portrait of Louisa Adams was painted by Charles Robert Leslie in 1816 in London. 

The night before, when the Prussian Queen had offered her the rouge, John Quincy had insisted that she refuse.  At first, Louisa had dutifully done as he commanded.  She began to have second thoughts, though, when saw her reflection in a darkened window.  Her face was rather pale.   While John Quincy was occupied, she sought out the Queen and accepted her offer.  After some convincing, she knew her husband would understand.  She was, after all, the wife of the Ambassador to Prussia and the daughter-in-law of the President of the United States, and rouged cheeks were expected of her in Berlin’s court society.

Louisa stood up, checking herself one last time in the mirror.  No one could deny that her brightened face livened her dull homemade dress.  John Quincy walked into the room, and Louisa reached up to dim the light in an attempt to hide her face.  Just as she thought she had escaped his notice, John Quincy pulled her close to the light.  She saw the rage in his eyes as he demanded that she wash her face.  But instead of complying, Louisa “with some temper refused.”2 In a surge of anger, John Quincy left for the party without her.  But Louisa didn’t let that discourage her.  With her face still decorated, she arrived at the party on her own and ended up making quite an impression on the king and queen of Prussia.  

If Louisa ever regretted defying her husband, she never let it show.  Based on her parents’ relationship, she believed “it was necessary for her own self-respect...to remind her husband from time to time that she was not the conventionally submissive helpmeet that middle-class Americans seemed to admire in their wives in the early nineteenth century.”3

Louisa’s childhood had been filled with encouragement and opportunity, which turned out to be both her blessing and her curse.  Born in London in 1775 to an American father and an English mother, Louisa attended school in France, where she became so fluent in French that she had to relearn English when she returned to London.  Since French was the language of diplomatic society at the time, Louisa was able to hold her own in the courts of Europe even though John Quincy would have preferred to control his wife’s tongue as much as possible.4  

Louisa and John Quincy met and married in London in 1797.  They were an unlikely pair from the start; everyone suspected that John Quincy would marry one of Louisa’s older sisters.  Louisa, who “foresaw women taking a vigorous role, one of equal importance to that of men”5 was not the most obvious choice for a man like John Quincy, who, with his short temper and severity, was determined to bow to no woman.  

Like many men during his time, John Quincy would tolerate only the most passive female, which would seem unlikely considering the relationship between his parents.  With a mother like Abigail Adams, it would only seem logical for John Quincy to marry a woman like Louisa.  But John and Abigail Adams had reservations about the Johnson-Adams marriage.  In fact, Abigail thoroughly disapproved of her son’s wife at first, mostly because she judged Louisa as a foreigner and “anti-american.”  With their son’s political career in mind, “they often fretted about [Louisa’s] ability...to measure up to the rigorous family standards.”6 Louisa eventually proved herself to her in-laws, and they welcomed her into their lives and hearts.

The same could not be said for John Quincy.  As his parents grew more fond of Louisa, he grew more distant.  Time would prove that John Quincy “never saw in marriage the partnership arrangement advocated by his parents....At heart he seemed to fear the opposite sex, and eventually most of his anxiety took the form of disregarding and disobeying his wife.”7

But the couple’s dysfunctionality was not the only thing to plague their marriage.  Louisa had twelve pregnancies and seven miscarriages between her twenty-first and forty-second years, and as a result, “her health was wretched a great deal of the time....She once complained that ‘hanging and marriage were strongly assimilated.’”8

Despite everything, Louisa supported her husband’s political endeavors.  In 1824, John Quincy refused to campaign for the presidential nomination.  He expected to be nominated as “a reward for his many years of public service.”9  As a result, Louisa became his campaign manager.  Louisa “curried to the right congressional wives, always ‘Smilin’ for the Presidency,’ calling cards in purse.... In the election year, she hosted dinners for sixty-eight congressmen.  Every single Tuesday night between December and May, she held open house with fine wine, lavish food, and musical entertainment.”10  No doubt that John Quincy was fully aware of what his wife was doing for him, and we can only hope that he realized that without her he had little chance of being elected.11

If Louisa could have seen the future, though, she might not have worked so hard to get her husband into office.  Her years as First Lady were the worst of her life.  She noted that “the exchange to a more elevated station must put me in prison.”  Furthermore, after he was elected president, John Quincy’s use for his wife ended. He became even more cold, demanding, and inconsiderate toward her, and once sniped, “There is something in the very nature of mental abilities which seems to be unbecoming in a female.”12

Louisa proved to be good at hiding her true feelings, though.  Harriet Upton, in an illustrated piece for the November 1888 issue of Wide Awake, described Louisa as “enjoying an existence of ‘wooings and weddings, baby life and christenings and many frolics, long old-fashioned visits from relatives, quiet hours when the President read aloud.” The article pictured a first lady who, like all right-minded women, served in a man’s world.”13  In truth, Louisa spent most of her time alone and ignored, and she called the White House “her prison” and a place “which depresses my spirits beyond expression.”14

Louisa spent most of her time in the White House alone in her room.  Over the years, she developed a deep depression and a breathing problem (her room was heated with burning anthracite coal, which caused choking and coughing).  Louisa wrote that her depression “passes for ill temper and suffering for unwillingness and I am decried an incumberance unless I am required for any special purpose for a show or some political maneuver and if I wish for a trifle of any kind, any favor is required at my hands, a deaf ear is turned to my request.  Arrangements are made and if I object I am informed it is too late and it is all a misunderstanding.”15

To combat her isolation and depression, Louisa ate chocolates obsessively and took to writing poems and satirical plays about the folly of society and the illnesses of females.  She also began her autobiography, which she called Adventures of a Nobody.16  In short, Louisa was angry.    She was angry about what she believed men were doing to humiliate women.17  A latent feminism emerged in her writing, which “was aroused in her bitterness over a world in which man controlled female, no matter how capable the female might be.”  Louisa resented “that sense of inferiority which by nature and by law we [women] are compelled to feel and to which we must submit is worn by us with as much satisfaction as the badge of slavery generally, and we love to be flattered out of our sense of degradation.”18

To Dr. Thomas.

at note last night addressed to you
was by my pen indited [sic]:
Professional alone ‘tis true
By anxious doubt incited:
Your presence eased the laboring? thought
The note aside was laid
Before, with kind expression fraught
my compliment was paid
In justice then Dear Doctor now
The pen I quick resume,
Esteem and friendship to avow,
To love I cann’t presence -
Love such as Mother to her Son
With bond affection proffer’d;
Sprung from a grateful heart alone
with pleasure may be offer’d -
of deep respect assurance kind
no proof what’ere requires
Tis the conviction of the mind
that merit aye inspires;
This silly scrawl you must excuse
A laugh its best reward
The Sentiment do not refuse;
The lines their just reward

Louisa Catherine Adams

F. Street 25 Jan 1842

Above: Louisa Catherine Adams' poetry manuscript dated 1842, from the Littlejohn Collection at Wofford College.Following his term as president, John Quincy entered Congress and became involved in the anti-slavery movement, which resulted, finally, in the couple developing a sympathetic understanding for each other.19  Louisa spent her last years dedicated to the fight for freedom of slaves and women.20 Their mutual pursuit for equality at the end of their lives was the closest thing to a happy ending the couple had.Years after her death, Louisa’s grandson, Henry Adams, remembered thinking there was something exotic about his grandmother.  He wrote that he liked “her gentle voice and manner; her vague effect of not belonging there [Boston], but to Washington or to Europe, like her furniture, and writing-desk with little glass doors above and little eighteenth-century volumes in old bindings labelled ‘Peregrine Pickle’ or ‘Tom Jones’ or ‘Hannah More.’  Try as she might the Madame could never be Bostonian, and it was her cross in life, but to the boy it was her charm.”  Henry Adams knew little about his grandmother’s interior life, which had been, like many women of the time, full of severe stress and little pure satisfaction.21

The F Street house near the White House was Louisa’s home during many of her years in Washington and the site of her death.  Earlier, it had been the residence of Dolley and James Madison.  The property remained in the Adams family until 1884.

-- Hannah Jarrett ‘12

1. Boller, Paul F. Jr., “Louisa Catherine Adams 1775-1852,” Presidential Wives: An Anecdotal History, New York: Oxford University Press, 1988, pp. 55.
2. Nagel, Paul C., The Adams Women: Abigail & Louisa Adams, Their Sisters and Daughters, New York: Oxford University Press, 1987, pp. 170.
3. Boller 56.
4. Allgor, Catherine, “Louisa Catherine Adams Campaigns for the Presidency,” Parlor Politics: In Which the Ladies of Washington Help Build a City and a Government, University Press of Virginia, 2000, pp. 161.
5. Nagel 161.
6. Allgor 161-162.
7. Nagel 164.
8. Boller 55.
9. Boller 57.
10. Anthony, Carl Sferrazza, First Ladies: The Saga of the President’s Wives and Their Power 1789-1961, New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1990, pp. 107.
11. Boller 58.
12. Anthony 108.
13. Nagel 3.
14. Boller 53.
15. Anthony 108.
16. Anthony 109.
17. Nagel 4.
18. Anthony 109-110.
19. Boller 54.
20. Anthony 111.

21 Boller 60-61.


President for a Day

Jan 24th / 45

To the President of the U.S.


Mr. Aristides Welch a citizen of the State of Missouri is an applicant for the office of Purser in the Navy; I have but a slight personal acquaintance with Mr Welch, but have been informed by gentlemen in whom I have every confidence that Mr Welch is in every way worthy and well qualified for the station he seeks, I would therefore recommend with the utmost respect a favourable consideration of his claims.

Very respectfully your
obt. servt.
D R. Atchison

In this letter, David Rice Atchison (1807-1886) writes President John Tyler, recommending Aristides Welch to the office of purser in the Navy.  Fortunately, Welch was appointed a purser in the Navy on June 27, 1846, but that is not the story I want to focus on here.

At the time of this letter, Atchison served as a Senator from Missouri -- in fact, he was the first senator from western Missouri and the youngest senator at the time.  He had been appointed to fill a vacancy left by the late Lewis F. Linn, and he was re-elected in 1849 and went on to serve in the Senate until 1855.  He was instrumental role in the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, but his claim to fame in American history is his day-long presidency.


If someone had told Atchison on that January day in 1845 he was writing to one of his predecessors, the 37-year-old pro-slavery Democrat would have laughed.  But by the end of the year, Atchison’s fellow Democrats would take control of the Senate and would choose him to be President pro tempore (and this was only the first time -- the Senate elected him for this position 12 more times during his Senate career!).  As President pro tempore, Atchison presided over the Senate when the Vice President was absent and stood in second place in the presidential line of succession.

Until the 1930s, presidential and congressional terms began on March 4th at noon.  In 1849, March 4th happened to be a Sunday, and incoming president Zachary Taylor and vice president Millard Fillmore refused to be sworn in to office on a Sunday.  So from noon of March 4th to noon of March 5th Atchison (who had once again been elected President pro tempore two days before) was President of the United States.  Of course, Taylor could have taken the oath privately and begun to execute his presidential duties on the fourth, but Atchison’s supporters claimed that the expiration of James Polk’s term and the delay of Taylor’s inauguration made Atchison the President, fair and square.  Though Atchison was never exactly sure how to view those 24 hours (he slept most of the day), he enjoyed telling the story of his “presidency,” describing it as the "honestest administration this country ever had."

But it seems that even a 24-hour administration can’t escape controversy.  Some say that Atchison couldn’t have been president because Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution states that the incoming chief executive must take an “Oath of Affirmation” before assuming duties, which Atchison admittedly never did.  Others believe that Atchison was president, but only for a few minutes rather than 24 hours.  According to this viewpoint, Atchison’s newest term as President pro tempore did not officially begin until he was sworn in on March 5th, which means his presidency ended a few minutes later when Millard Fillmore was sworn in as Vice President.

Regardless, the inscription on Atchison’s gravestone reads: “President of the United States for One Day.”


-Hannah Jarrett '12

Works Consulted:

Joseph H. Bloom.  “David Rice Atchison.” American History 37.6, Feb 2003.




Philip M Powers' WWI Scrapbook

Wofford College received Philip Montague Powers’ scrapbook from Dick Littlejohn, but we don’t know how, where, or when he obtained it. From the scrapbook itself we were able to gather that Powers created the scrapbook during his time as an Associated Press journalist stationed in Germany. It contains material from Powers' last days in Germany before the majority of American journalists were expelled in 1917. Although the cover reads "1914/15," the scrapbook contains items dated 1915 through early 1917. The scrapbook contains 505 items written in German, English, French, Hungarian, Spanish, and Polish. Most of the items were created in Germany (57), Austria (26), or Poland (19). The majority of the items included do not contain a date or a caption.

Click graph to enlarge

In 2008, a German studies student at Wofford translated many of the articles, letters, and notes into English. Through further research, we discovered that there are eight similar scrapbooks compiled by Powers that are kept at the Hoover Institution Archives at Stanford. Unfortunately, the archivists at the Hoover Institution knew nothing about the provenance of the scrapbooks.

Having hit a dead end, the scrapbook was stored away and almost forgotten about until recently. At the beginning of the year we pulled the scrapbook out again in attempts to discover more about the creator and the contents. Stephanie Walrath went through each page and recorded data for each item included within the scrapbook. She also sought out more information about Philip Powers, but little was forthcoming. “Was ‘Philip Powers’ a nom de plume?” we wondered. “Maybe he was a spy” we joked. It took some time and some creative internet and database searching, but Stephanie eventually - with a little intuition and luck - unearthed Powers’ obituary from the New York Times. (We’d been performing searches for “Philip Powers,” “Philip M. Powers” and so on, but Stephanie tried the variant spelling Phillip (two Ls) and voila, the New York Times archive yielded the obituary for Philip M. Powers, his name misspelled.)

The obituary filled in some blanks and confirmed some theories. We found out that he was the son of writer Harry Huntington Powers (a suspicion we had all along because an article by H.H. Powers is in the scrapbook). Powers married Clara Janet MacKeil (possibly spelled McKeil or McKeel) in March 1913. He attended Dartmouth College and worked on the staff of the Boston Sunday Post and the Boston Herald. In January 1915, he was assigned to foreign service with the Associated Press. We were able to find very little information about Powers between his return to the States in February 1917 and his obituary, and we were unable to find any articles written by him except for the ones included in the scrapbook. Powers died at age 37 on April 18, 1921 of tubercular menengitis and had “been in ill health for a year, having suffered a nervous breakdown in February 1920.” He was survived by his parents, his wife, and his brother.1

With these facts confirmed, we could forge a new path out of our dead end: the next search was for living relatives of Powers. Stephanie utilized genealogical records available on the internet and was able to track down Helen Powers LaMont, Powers’ niece and closest living relative. Though Mrs. LaMont had no personal memories of her Uncle Philip (he died two years before she was born), she had a few memories of Powers’ wife Clara. According to Mrs. LaMont, Clara was a “lovely lady who did not re-marry,” and she acted as a nurse and caregiver for Powers’ mother during the last few months of her life. All Mrs. LaMont could remember about Powers was that he reported from the Eastern front during World War I on an old portable Corona typewriter. The family still has Powers’ desk, bed, and typewriter, but no other memories of or connection to him.

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This brings us to the present. Once again we have reached a dead end. We have sent an inquiry to the Associated Press, but we have not heard anything yet. Though we probably won’t find out much more about Powers or his scrapbook, we were able to uncover at least a small bit of this mysterious history. Perhaps someone will pick up the scrapbook a few years from now and find something new.

-Hannah Jarrett '12

1 Obituary of Phillip [sic] M. Powers printed in the New York Times on April 19, 1921. Found at nytimes.com.


150 Years Later: Battle at "The Place of Peace"

Camp near Mickey’s
April 4 1862
The Cavalry & Infy of the enemy attacked Colo Clanton’s regiment which was posted as I before informed you about 500 or 600 yards in advance of my lines. Colo Clanton retired & the enemy’s cavalry followed until they came near our Infy & Arty when they were gallantly repulsed with slight loss.

Very Rsply,

W.J. Hardee

Maj Genl

Genl Braxton Bragg.
Chief of Staff

Letter from William J. Hardee to Braxton Bragg, 4 April 1862

This letter, handwritten in pencil by Confederate Major General William Joseph Hardee to General Braxton Bragg only two days before the Battle of Shiloh commenced, summarizes a chaotic and enigmatic event which very nearly started Shiloh before either party was prepared.

(Map of Shiloh National Military Park. Courtesy of the National Park Service. Full size here.)

The Confederate advantage in the days before Shiloh lay in their knowledge of the Union position and the Union’s failure to anticipate an attack. Even though Confederate General Johnston’s initial plan was to march on April 4th, Union General Grant thought that a Confederate attack was unlikely; just hours before being attacked on the morning of April 6th, he sent a telegram to his superior General Halleck asserting that "I have scarcely the faintest idea of an attack being made upon us.”30 The Union commanders failed to realize that the skirmish referred to here, in this letter by Hardee, signaled a far worse attack to come.

In the first week of April, both Union and Confederate troops had set up camp in and around Hardin, Tennessee. After crossing the Tennessee River, Grant spread his troops out around Pittsburg Landing, covering several miles along the western shore of the river and creating several encampments around Shiloh Methodist Church (a Hebrew word ironically meaning “Place of Peace,” after which the battle is named). Meanwhile, Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston stationed his Army of the Mississippi around Corinth, about twenty miles southwest of Grant’s position.

General William T. Sherman William J. Hardee

(At left, Major General William T. Sherman, commanding the 5th Division of the Army of West Tennessee. At right, Major General William Hardee, corps commander in the Army of the Mississippi.
For a clearer understanding of who was involved in this battle and on which side, click here or here.

Yet in the days preceding battle, it was not unusual for units on the fringes of their encampments to edge relatively close to the enemy. The incident described in this letter by Major General William Hardee began when a group of Confederate soldiers were noticed in the fields within a quarter mile of a Union picket post on the morning of April 4th. A report was filed to Union General Sherman that there were armed rebels hunting for lunch within close range, but upon closer inspection Sherman decided that the rebels were “nothing more than a reconnoitering party,” and was not alarmed.2

Seemingly secure, Union troops under General Ralph Buckland began to drill around the contested area that afternoon, until shots were heard and Buckland’s eight picket guards were discovered to be missing, “either lost in the woods or captured by marauding Southern cavalry.”3 Companies B and H of Buckland’s 72nd Ohio then went to find the missing soldiers, and the remainder of Buckland’s infantry retreated back to Shiloh Church. But when Companies B and H failed to return from their search mission, Buckland assembled a hundred men and returned to the picket line, beyond which they discovered that Major Leroy Crockett had been captured and Company H was engaged in combat with nearly 200 Confederate cavalry.4

Hearing sounds of battle, Sherman ordered reinforcements to ride in under Major Elbridge Ricker. Ricker’s 5th Ohio Cavalry forced the retreat of Colonel James Holt Clanton’s regiment over a hill, but when a few of Ricker’s cavalry “surged over the hill...[they] reined up in shock. Ahead of them was a long line of gray infantry with three field guns.”5 Chaos ensued. The Confederates fired their field guns, startling Ricker’s horses and causing a frenzy in which two Confederates and one Union soldier were killed before the Buckland’s swift retreat. The five remaining Ohio cavalrymen who had witnessed the line of Confederates reported, surprised, that it consisted of 2,000 men and multiple batteries.6

After the debacle had ended, it seemed as though “both sides had been bloodied and appeared content to break off the contest.” 7 Sherman, meanwhile, had assembled multiple regiments for reinforcement and, despite the capture of a handful of prisoners, was irate that Buckland’s advance “might have drawn the entire army into a fight before it was ready.” 8

Hardee’s mention of the “slight loss” sustained by the Union included the young Major Leroy Crockett, who was captured in his pursuance of Clanton’s unit. The loss of Crockett seemed to have been of no object to Sherman, and even Hardee fails to mention this ranked prisoner of war in his note to Braggs. It appears that Crockett has been buried in the massive heap of Civil War History, and very little remains on record regarding Crockett other than his promotion to Colonel in November of 1862 and his death little more than a year later. After his capture, Crockett was interrogated and (apparently voluntarily) relayed information that indicated to the Confederate Generals that the Union was still completely unprepared for an attack (as indicated in Grant’s telegram). Crockett confessed that “They don’t expect anything of this kind back yonder”9 and upon seeing the breadth of the Confederate encampment, exclaimed, “Why, you seem to have an army here; we know nothing of it.” 10

This brief incident failed to alarm Sherman; moreover, it is unknown whether Grant was ever notified about the near-battle or the capture of Crockett for informational purposes. It appears that, having lost very few, Sherman did not take the skirmish very seriously and was more annoyed by the inconvenience than concerned about what it might portend. The Confederates, on the other hand, were delighted to have learned that, despite delaying their attack, they had retained the element of surprise. Until the morning of the attack, Sherman remained adamant that the skirmish was a fluke, and ignored the advice of commanders who warned him of an impending strike. It was April 5, the day before Shiloh began, that Sherman replied to one of his subordinates who expressed concern that the Confederates were near: “Take your damned regiment back to Ohio. There is no enemy nearer than Corinth.”11

File:Shiloh Battle Apr6am-2.png

Despite the initial advantages of the Confederates, however, the second day of battle at Shiloh proved disastrous. Johnston had suffered a fatal wound and, with his death, the coordination of the Confederate line fell apart. Their retreat back toward Corinth on the night of April 7 was followed only a little way past Shiloh Church before the spent Union soldiers returned to their own camps, declaring an anticlimactic end to this devastating battle.

- Stephanie Walrath '12

1 Timothy T. Isbell, Shiloh and Corinth: Sentinels of Stone (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2007), 30.

2 Larry J. Daniel, Shiloh: The Battle That Changed the Civil War (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997), 133.

3 Daniel, 134.

4 Ibid.

5 Ibid.
6 Ibid.

7 Daniel, 135.

8 Ibid.

9 Stephen Berry, House of Abraham (New York: First Mariner Books, 2007), 109.

10 Daniel, 125.

11 David G. Martin, The Shiloh Campaign: March-April 1862 (Cambridge: De Capo Press, 2003), 90