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% […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]