South Carolina Historical Society Staff

Leadership

Elizabeth Chew, PHD

Raised in Augusta, Georgia, Chew received a BA in art history from Yale University, an MA from the University of London, and PhD from UNC-Chapel Hill. During her eight and a half years at Montpelier, Chew led teams of curators, historians, educators, interpreters, public program creators, archaeologists, and historic preservation experts in researching and interpreting James Madison and his family, his essential role in framing the U.S. Constitution and leading the nation, and the community of enslaved people who made Madison’s achievements possible. Chew worked closely with the Montpelier Descendants Committee, the organization that represents and is led by the descendants of those enslaved there, in achieving structural parity in the governance and operation of the site. Prior to joining Montpelier, Chew led the curatorial and education division at Reynolda House Museum of American Art in Winston-Salem, NC. Earlier in her career, she worked as a Curator at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. During her thirteen-year tenure there, Chew was responsible for ongoing research and interpretation initiatives that wove together the Monticello house, its collections, the Jefferson family, and the enslaved community. Chew has also worked in curatorial positions at The Phillips Collection, the National Gallery of Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Faye Jensen, PhD

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.


Virginia Ellison, CA, DAS

Virginia Ellison oversees all archival and museum operations. She attended the College of Charleston, where she earned a BS in anthropology and then received her MLIS from the University of South Carolina in 2011. She attended the Georgia Archives Institute in June 2012, received her certification from the Academy of Certified Archivists in 2016, and recently obtained a Digital Archives Specialist certificate from the Society of American Archivists. Virginia is past president of the Charleston Archives, Libraries & Museums Council (CALM) and serves as a District Representative for the Confederation of South Carolina Local Historical Societies (CSCLHS). She's been with the society since 2012.

Development and Membership

Hannah Mooney

Hannah is the Membership and Events Coordinator for the society. She received a BA in History from Furman University in 2015 and an MA in Public Humanities from Brown University in 2019. Hannah has worked in development, exhibit curation, and public programming through professional experiences at New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center, the John Hay Special Collections Library, Historic Charleston Foundation, and Redux Contemporary Art Center. She is passionate about preserving and interpreting South Carolina's cultural heritage, especially stories that are typically left out of the historical narrative.

Communications

Matthew A. Lockhart, PhD

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.

Archives

Molly I. Silliman, CA

As Senior Archivist for the society, Molly Silliman performs a number of archival and library related tasks, including cataloging, outreach, and working with researchers 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 and is certified through the Academy of Certified Archivists. 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.

Karen Stokes

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.

Sydney Derrick

Sydney Derrick's role as a librarian means that you could find her cataloging materials, assisting with reference services, or creating social media content on any given day. Born in Charleston, but raised in Beaufort, South Carolina, Sydney graduated from the College of Charleston in 2005 with a double major in communications and political science. She worked as a broadcast journalist and then in marketing roles before going to back to school - graduating in 2022 with her Master's of Library and Information Science. Before joining the South Carolina Historical Society staff, she was an intern with the Lowcountry Digital Library and Lowcountry Digital History Initiative and worked on digitization projects with the Avery Research Center. Sydney loves researching and exploring the history of her home state, especially the Lowcountry.

Museum and Education

Brandon Reid

A native of Greenville, Brandon 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. He 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, he 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 Upcountry and the Lowcountry with patrons.

Melina Testin

Hailing from the Midwest, Melina holds a BA in History from Loyola University Chicago (2022), where she concentrated her undergraduate research on 20th Century Military History and published her graphic novel on the American POW experience with the Pritzker Military Museum & Library. Prior to joining the Society, Melina worked as a museum educator at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library to design community programs, events, and tours. She enjoys sharing her passion for history through creative methods of presentation that engage and inspire the public.

Amanda McGehee-Floyd

Amanda (Mandy) McGehee-Floyd is a native South Carolinian from North Myrtle Beach and serves as Research Fellow for the South Carolina Historical Society. She has a BA in History and a MA in Liberal Arts Studies with a focus on African American history and preservation. Amanda is currently a PhD Candidate in the Public History Program at Middle Tennessee State University and is completing her dissertation on the preservation, restoration, and interpretation of a historic Rosenwald School and its cultural landscape.