Born in Virginia, Faye Jensen received her BA from the University of Georgia and her PhD from Emory University. She was trained as an archivist by the National Archives and Records Administration at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library. While at the Carter Library, Dr. Jensen focused on the papers of the First Lady and published “‘These are Precious Years’: The Papers of Rosalynn Carter,” in Modern First Ladies: Their Documentary Legacy. Dr. Jensen taught history for nearly twenty years at several colleges and universities, including Perimeter College in Atlanta, the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and The Citadel. With an interest in the post-Civil War South, Dr. Jensen recently contributed a chapter to Making a New South, published by the University of Florida Press.
John Tucker is responsible for overseeing the business operations and finances at the South Carolina Historical Society. Born and raised in North Carolina, John is a graduate of North Carolina State University and has more than forty years management and supervisory experience with the National Park Service, state parks, and nonprofit friends groups. He is responsible for financial management, human resources, information technology, and administrative operations for the society and served as the project manager for the renovation of the Fireproof Building. Prior to joining the society in 2006, John was superintendent of Fort Sumter National Monument including Fort Moultrie and the Charles Pinckney National Historic Site. After retiring from the National Park Service in 2006, he and his wife chose to remain in the beautiful lowcountry.
Virginia (Ginny) Zemp grew up in Charleston. A graduate of Ashley Hall and the College of Charleston, she worked as a paralegal for more than a decade. She has lived all over the Palmetto State, including stints in Hilton Head, Beaufort, Georgetown, and Spartanburg. Ginny previously worked at the South Carolina Historical Society handling programs and membership and returned in 2011 to head up the new development department.
Lela is from Jackson, Mississippi and grew up with an affinity for architecture, preservation, and history that stemmed from her grandmother’s interest and contributions in these areas. Previously employed with Historic Charleston Foundation, Lela earned both her BA in historic preservation and community planning and MPA from the College of Charleston. Her graduate research focused on arts, culture, and humanities organizations in the nonprofit sector, specifically looking at audience demographics, patron cultivation, and twenty-first century trends. As membership coordinator, she oversees the membership program and develops new opportunities for engagement across the state.
Matthew Lockhart is editor of the South Carolina Historical Magazine. Originally from Landrum, South Carolina, he holds a BA in history from Wofford College along with an MA and a PhD in history from the University of South Carolina. Matthew has published articles and reviews in a number of journals and academic encyclopedias. His book chapter entitled “‘Rice Planters in Their Own Right’: Northern Sportsmen and Waterfowl Management on the Santee River Plantations during the Baiting Era, 1905–1935” appeared in Julia Brock and Daniel Vivian’s Leisure, Plantations, and the Making of a New South (2015). Matthew chairs the George C. Rogers Jr. Book Award and the Clark-Weir Article Award Committees.
Lauren Nivens is the editor and designer of Carologue, the society’s general-interest history magazine and newsletter. Originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, Lauren holds a BA in historic preservation and community planning from the College of Charleston, an MS in historic preservation from the University of Vermont, and a graphic artist certificate from Trident Technical College. She has previously worked in a variety of roles in the historic preservation and publishing fields and most recently served as the society’s director of communications.
Russell Powell oversees the public relations efforts for the South Carolina Historical Society, working closely with the executive team, communications director and events coordinator. A native of Galivants Ferry, S.C., Russell graduated Magna Cum Laude from the College of Charleston with a BA in Communications and Media Studies. She has worked in PR and media relations for more than a decade, including roles in New York City at ELLE Magazine, Gilt Groupe, and Amazon. In this role, Russell works directly with national and local media outlets to secure ongoing press stories for the SCHS and its new museum in the Fireproof Building.
Director of Archives and Research
Visual Materials Archivist
Virginia Ellison oversees archival operations and works with patrons in the library. She grew up in Marietta, Georgia and attended the College of Charleston, where she earned a BS in anthropology. She received her MLIS from the University of South Carolina in 2011, attended the Georgia Archives Institute in June 2012, and recently received her certification from the Academy of Certified Archivists. Virginia has a passion for Southern literature and history, nature, and animals.
Karen Stokes has been an archivist with the society since 1994. She has a BA in English from the College of Charleston and an MS in library and information science from the University of South Carolina. Her main focus is the processing and cataloging of our wonderful manuscript collection, and her primary area of interest is South Carolina in the Confederacy. She has published a number of articles and books on this subject including Faith, Valor and Devotion: The Civil War Letters of William Porcher DuBose, A Confederate Englishman, Days of Destruction: Augustine Thomas Smythe and the Civil War Siege of Charleston, The Immortal 600, Confederate South Carolina, and South Carolina Civilians in Sherman’s Path.
Celeste Wiley handles image research and reproduction requests and manages the cataloging and care of the visual materials collections held at the society. Born in Bethesda, Maryland to a career military family, she moved frequently, living all over the United States. She began college at the Rhode Island School of Design, obtained a BFA in Photography from the University of New Mexico, completed her MS in 2006 as one of the inaugural members of the joint program in Historic Preservation between Clemson University and the College of Charleston, and earned her certification from the Academy of Certified Archivists in 2013. Since graduating, Celeste has been able to combine her passion for art, history, and preservation to work on collections for the Avery Research Center, the College of Charleston, the Beaufort County Library, and the Charleston Archive at CCPL.
As Librarian for the society, Molly Silliman performs a number of archival and library related tasks, including cataloging, outreach, and working with patrons in the reference library. Molly is a Charleston native and received a BA in historic preservation and community planning from the College of Charleston in 2008. She received her MLIS in the fall of 2015 from the University of South Carolina. Molly has gained valuable experience processing archival collections and cataloging library materials through her work with other local institutions, including the Historic Charleston Foundation, the Catholic Diocese of Charleston Department of Archives and Records Management, and the Charleston Library Society. Throughout her undergraduate and graduate careers, Molly has always had a passion for the preservation of South Carolina’s architectural and documentary heritage.
Autumn Bennett earned her BA in English from the College of Charleston and her MS in Library and Information Science from Syracuse University. She has worked in the College of Charleston’s Addlestone Library as a reference desk, information desk, and digital services librarian. Autumn is responsible for the digitization and description of archival materials and works closely with the staff of the Lowcountry Digital Library. This position is funded in part by the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation.
A native of Greenville SC, Brandon Reid, works the reference desk for SCHS. He received a BA in political science from the College of Charleston in 2016, and his master’s degree in Holocaust Studies from Royal Holloway University of London in December 2017. Brandon interned with the Jewish Heritage Collection, located within Special Collections at the College of Charleston, throughout his last year as an undergraduate student. With the support and mentorship of the collections curator, Dale Rosengarten and assistant archivist Alyssa Neely, Brandon gained valuable experience in archival and library related works. Brandon returned to Charleston and to the Jewish Heritage Collection as a part-time employee in late 2017, processing oral histories and working with various aspects of the collection. He remains dedicated to persevering southern Jewish history, the history of the LGBT community in the south, and to sharing his passion for both the Upstate and the Lowcountry with patrons at the reference desk.
Director of Museum and Education
Education and Volunteer Coordinator
Heather Reed serves as the Director of Museum and Education and manages all museum-related activities as well as off-site programs sponsored by the South Carolina Historical Society. A native of northeastern Ohio, Heather graduated from the College of Wooster with a B.A. in History focusing on American History and received her M.A. in Public History with a focus in Museum Studies from North Carolina State University. Before joining the SCHS staff, she had fifteen years of experience in the museum field working as a curator, historic interpreter, museum consultant, education director, and executive director at historic sites ranging from county museums to national parks. Heather will be using her diverse experiences to make South Carolina history accessible to everyone through museum tours, programs, and outreach education.
As museum curator, Suzanne DiBella assists with the care and preservation of the society’s growing artifact collection and focuses on creating new exhibits, including both temporary exhibits to be displayed in the SCHS Museum as well as traveling exhibits to be sent to other institutions throughout the state. Suzanne grew up in New England, but with deep family ties to Charleston, she developed a love for South Carolina history. She earned a BA in Anthropology from the University of New Hampshire and a Masters in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University. Suzanne has held positions with several organizations in New Hampshire, including the Manchester Historic Association and the Moffatt-Ladd House. After moving to Charleston in 2017, Suzanne worked at the Charleston Museum before joining the society as Programs and Guest Services Associate in 2018.
Bailey Knight grew up in Spartanburg where her parents instilled in her a love of reading and South Carolina history. She earned her BS in Elementary Education from the College of Charleston and then taught in Charleston County School District for nine years. She returned to her alma mater to earn her MA in history through their joint program with The Citadel. Prior to joining the society, she worked with Historic Charleston Foundation and McLeod Plantation Historic Site. As Education and Volunteer Coordinator, Bailey is coordinating education outreach with K-12 teachers and students throughout the state. She presents workshops and creates educational programming that coordinate with the Fireproof Building’s exhibits and archival materials.
EmmaLee Boykin works closely with all members and coordinates the society’s programming and events. A native of Charleston, EmmaLee received a BA in historic preservation and community planning as well as arts management from the College of Charleston, where her thesis focused on genealogical research and the preservation of heritage. She has worked with multiple organizations involved in the lowcountry’s arts and culture community, including Brackish Bow Ties, Drayton Hall, the College of Charleston, and the Historic Charleston Foundation. By combining her education and professional experience, she has developed a niche for researching and appreciating art and culture within our state’s diverse communities.