Giving Opportunities

Access to our collection is paramount; expansion of our collection is essential.

Your donations increase our capabilities and enhance our operations, making our goals a reality.

Information for Donors

Looking for information on staff, governance, financial status, and/or donor privacy? Please click the “About the Society” button below.

About the Society

The Annual Fund

You can help the South Carolina Historical Society expand, preserve, and improve accessibility to the state’s largest private manuscript repository. In addition to supporting the historic Fireproof Building, your gift will protect books, letters, journals, maps, drawings, and photographs about South Carolina history. By giving to the society’s Annual Fund, you encourage pride and interest in the history of our great state and help guarantee our invaluable collection for future generations. Click below to donate to our 2022 Annual Fund!


The Fireproof Building Fund

The Fireproof Building is the largest and arguably the most significant “object” in the Historical Society’s collections. Since it was constructed in the 1820s, the Fireproof Building has undergone many repairs and renovations. Help us maintain this historic building by donating to the building fund!


Adopt a Collection

The South Carolina Historical Society has many collections that need description, reorganization, and preservation in order to ensure they are accessible and receive proper care.

Listening to Silences: Digitizing Slave Records in the Society's Collection

Estimated: $20,000

The SCHS proposes to digitize over 8,000 pages of 18th and 19th century manuscripts that describe the experiences of enslaved persons in South Carolina.

Using the Society's publication "Slave Records in the Manuscript Collection of the South Carolina Historical Society: A Catalog", the Society plans to digitize eighteenth and nineteenth century manuscripts materials that bear witness to the lives and experiences of enslaved persons in South Carolina. Through this project, scholars, genealogists, students, and educators will have unlimited access to letters, diaries, ledgers, images, and ephemeral objects through the College of Charleston’s Lowcountry Digital Library (LCDL), a branch of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).

Estimated total: $20,000

Adopt Collection

Portrait of Sue Sparks Keitt

Estimated: $750

This whole-plate ambrotype is a portrait of Sue Sparks Keitt (1834-1915), widow of South Carolina politician and signer of the Ordinance of Secession Laurence Massillon Keitt. The portrait was made by noted photographer George Cook.

The cover glass is deteriorating in the form of "weeping glass" and the surface of the image contains mold and dirt, part of which affects the face of the subject. A conservator recommends that the glass be replaced entirely and retained in separate storage. In addition to cleaning the surface of the ambrotype, brass mat, and preserver, the ambrotype would be resealed and new cover glass will be placed into the preserver.

Estimated total: $750

Adopt Collection

Mary Wilson Ball Paintings

Estimated: $1,500 per painting

A Charleston watercolor artist and miniaturist, Mary Wilson Ball (1892–1984) was a member of the Carolina Art Association and studied under Alice R. Huger Smith. She also trained as a topographical draftsman in Atlanta and worked with the Army and the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads in Washington, DC.

Ball frequently painted in the Plein Air style. Due to this and other unknown storage conditions before arriving at the Historical Society, the paintings were exposed to excessive moisture, heat, and organic elements. Conservation would allow the true vibrancy and depth of the colors of her paintings to be as she intended and ensure the continued existence of her beautiful and underappreciated works for future generations.

Estimated total: $1,500 per painting

Adopt Collection

Camp Main Plantation Journal

Estimated: $14,000

Kept by Thomas L. Horry of Camp Main Plantation, this journal lists the names of freed persons and records their working hours on this Georgetown County plantation in the years directly following the Civil War.

Greater access to the rich information contained in this journal, which is part of the Doar-Middleton families papers, will be possible once it undergoes conservation treatment for extensive pest, water, and mold damage.

Estimated total: $14,000

Adopt Collection


Estimated: $10,500

The papers, artwork, and photographs of prolific Charleston Renaissance artist, author, and poet John Bennett span from 1876 to 1967 and are among the largest and most valuable collections housed at the South Carolina Historical Society.

Greater access to the rich information contained in these letters, diaries, and works of art will be possible once the collection is rehoused and more comprehensively arranged and described. Preservation of fragile photographs, silhouettes, sketches, and scrapbooks will allow researchers and scholars to expand what is known about Bennett as well as other Charleston Renaissance artists and writers, including Dubose Heyward, Josephine Pinckney, and Laura Bragg.

Our estimated total includes time and supplies for re-housing and describing the contents.

Estimated total: $10,500

Adopt Collection

Vanderhorst Family Papers

Estimated: $7,500

The Vanderhorst family papers (1689-1942) consist of correspondence, estate and plantation papers, as well as journals, diaries, genealogical materials, photographs, and sketches pertaining multiple generations of the Vanderhorst family and the people who shaped their experiences.

Greater access to the rich information contained in this large collection will be possible once the material is rehoused and more comprehensively arranged and described. Preservation of fragile photographs, sketches, and bound ledgers will allow researchers and scholars to expand what is known about important events that shaped the history of both South Carolina and the nation from the colonial era to the dawn of the twentieth century.

Our estimated total includes time and supplies for re-housing and describing the contents.

Estimated total: $7,500

Adopt Collection

Handwritten Civil War Newspapers

Estimated: $2,500

The society holds several handwritten newspapers produced by Confederate soldiers during the Civil War.

The Rebel features a colorful masthead depicting a camp tent surmounted by the first official Confederate flag, the “Stars and Bars,” along with letters to the editor, advertisements, war news, weather observations, moral advice, and social notices. Another handwritten newspaper, the Rapidann, was produced by a South Carolinian soldier in a Confederate camp in Virginia.

The Prison Times, written by a Confederate prisoner of war, contains advertisements for tailoring, barbering, music, religious assistance, as well as debate and chess clubs. It also features poetry, a barracks directory, and descriptions of and comments on prison life. These items are in need of basic repairs and improved storage to ensure that they are preserved and accessible by generations to come.

Project funded!

Estimated total: $2,500

South Carolina Inter-state and West Indian Exposition Souvenir Scarf

Estimated: $5,000

From 1901 to 1902, the city of Charleston hosted the South Carolina Inter-state and West Indian Exposition in an effort to stimulate commerce in the area. The fair featured state buildings, carnival rides, an over-sized painting of the Battle of Manassas, and an Eskimo Village. The 320-foot long Cotton Palace served as the focal point for the event. Exposition souvenirs were available for sale, including commemorative medals, pins, trinkets, and the scarf seen here. Portions of Hampton Park and the Citadel were later built on the grounds.

The delicate blue and white scarf is made of silk. Intricate repair and stabilization with adhesive is required for this fragile piece.

Estimated total: $5,000

Adopt Collection

Church Register, 1732-1796

Estimated: $20,000

This early register of the Independent or Congregational (Circular) Church of Charleston, SC contains records of the meetings of the Church and its business dating back to 1695. It also lists births, marriages and deaths from January 1732 to May 1738. The earliest dissenting congregation in South Carolina, this church was formerly known as the Independent or Congregational (or Presbyterian) Church. It was founded in 1681 and was attended by both African American and white members until 1867, when African American members left to form Plymouth Congregational Church. The present church building was erected in 1892.

Significant cleaning and repairs are necessary to stabilize this item and ensure its accessibility and preservation for future generations.

Project funded and item currently receiving treatment.

Estimated total: $20,000

Donate Archival Materials

Family letters, photographs, business records, church registers, and club minutes are the historical treasures of the future. Such documents will one day provide valuable insight into the lives of South Carolinians.

The society provides a permanent home to materials from people all over the state and from all walks of life. Our collections are housed in acid-free archival storage and kept in a secure, climate-controlled environment. Donors may rest assured that their family, business, or organizational papers will be well preserved and made easily accessible for generations to come.

The society is dedicated to expanding the stories represented in its collections to be more inclusive of diverse communities in South Carolina. We encourage individuals, families, businesses, and organizations with archival materials reflecting the experiences of women, people of color, LGBTQ+, those with disabilities, Native Americans, and other diverse local communities from around South Carolina to contribute materials to the SCHS!

If you are considering an archival donation, please contact one of the staff members listed below.

Manuscripts & Photographs

Virginia Ellison, VP of Collections
843-723-3225, ext. 114

View Deed of Gift for Manuscripts & Photographs

Published Materials

Molly I. Silliman, Senior Archivist
843-723-3225, ext. 112

View Deed of Gift for Published Materials

Estate Planning

The society’s endowment is critical to the future of our organization. A healthy endowment allows an organization to grow, to offer more services, and to continue collecting, preserving, and publishing the history of South Carolina.

The South Carolina Historical Society relies upon gifts from members’ estates to build its endowment and to undertake important projects. Please consider giving a gift of endowment or stock to guarantee our future.

To give a gift of endowment or stock, contact our VP of Development.