Spartanburg County Public Libraries


Black History in Spartanburg

Black history in the Spartanburg area remains obscured by the biases and scarcity of early records. By 1790, the first year with a reliable population estimate, Spartanburg County was home to 866 black slaves and 27 “free persons not white,” representing about 10% of the total population.  At the time of emancipation, some 8,300 African-Americans lived in Spartanburg County, around 30% […]



City of Spartanburg Collection

Although founded in 1787, the courthouse village of Spartanburg was without any independent town or city government until 1831, when the little town of a few hundred residents received its official incorporation from the state government. At that point, eligible citizens within one mile of the courthouse were able to elect an Intendant and four wardens, who […]


Confederate Spartanburg

Despite resistance from many who hesitated to sever ties with the United States, the idea of Southern independence gained popularity as political rhetoric intensified between slave-holding and abolitionist states during the 1850s. In December of 1860, a convention of delegates from across the state took the initiative and repealed South Carolina’s 1788 ratification of the […]


Gas Attack Magazine Collection

Camp Wadsworth was the temporary home to dozens of Army units, but most prominent among them was the 27th Division, which was composed of former New York National Guard troops. Prior to the American entrance into the First World War, the 27th Division had been stationed along the Mexican border, where the division published its own […]


Herald-Journal Willis Collection

The Herald-Journal Willis Collection is the centerpiece of the Spartanburg County Public Libraries’ visual arts holdings. The collection of over 400 historical photographs was donated by the Herald-Journal in 1999. Most of the photographs were taken by Alfred Tennyson Willis, a Spartanburg commercial photographer, and date from the early 1900s to the 1940s. Alfred’s son […]


Historical Spartanburg County Maps

This selection of maps illustrates the development of Spartanburg County from an isolated settlement to a regional center as few other historical resources can. In addition to documenting areas rarely photographed, maps can be useful to researchers interested in charting the changes in land use for a given geographic area. Information included in many of […]


Selections from the Bradford Scrapbook Collection

The photographs by Randy Bradford from this collection of historical Spartanburg images are from the decade of the 1940s. Bradford recorded important events, political leaders, and visiting celebrities. His photographs also depict the everyday life and interests of Spartans from this era. Randolph B. (Randy) Bradford attended Spartanburg, South Carolina schools and graduated from Wofford […]


Selections from the Willis Collection

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Henry Willis, Jr., son of Robert Henry and Jessie Willis, was born in Williston, South Carolina in 1886. He was the first honor graduate of the Citadel in 1908. Henry Willis became interested in aviation in 1912 and learned to fly in San Diego, California. In December 1913 he received a Military […]



Spartanburg County in World War I Collection

This collection is a selection of items including photographs, postcards, pamphlets, newspaper articles, and letters that describe experiences of World War I soldiers in the Spartanburg area. Most items are about Camp Wadsworth and included are a map, materials from the Camp library, and images from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. There is a […]


Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System

The Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System (SRHS) Collection is a collection of photographs, documents, and images of artifacts that document the history of medical care in the Spartanburg area. A few images pre-date the founding of Spartanburg General Hospital (now Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System), but most date from 1921 to the present. The Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System […]


Stereoscopic Photographs

William Lynch assembled an impressive collection of stereoviews, or stereoscopic photographs. These are card-mounted photographs that render a three-dimensional image when placed in a specialized viewer. In the digital collection presented here, the front and reverse of each stereoview are shown. Also included is a 3-D anaglyph that allows users with 3-D glasses (with red […]


The Textile Industry in Spartanburg County

For close to a century, the textile industry was the dominant economic engine driving Spartanburg County’s growth. It built up fortunes, established new communities, changed the agricultural landscape, and brought thousands of new residents into the county. Even more significantly, the textile industry was interwoven with its employees’ lives to a degree not known before […]


William Lynch Postcard Collection

The postcard collection was started by Bill and Judy Lynch over 30 years ago. Both daughter, Tracie and granddaughter, Halie have been active participants as well. The collection is being shared with the Spartanburg County Public Libraries, to allow anyone with an interest in Spartanburg’s history access to these postcard images. In its entirety the […]