The Bluffton Historical Preservation Society Preservation Newsletter

by

Preservation Newsletter

The Bluffton Historical Preservation Society

BHPS

P.O. Box 742 (Mail)

46 Colcock Street (Physical)

Bluffton, S.C. 29910

 

September, 2015

 

Dear valued members, volunteers, and donors:

I am pleased to announce that since coming on board in April to serve you as the director of the Society, we have grown our membership by 30%. This statistic reflects a beginning count of 150 in early April to nearly 200 members by early September!

So why are we seeing positive growth and what can we do to insure that the Bluffton Historical Preservation Society not only survives, but continues to thrive? Before answering this question let me share with you a stimulating piece of our Society’s history. This illustrious organization was founded in 1981 by W. Hunter Saussy and sixteen local residents. By 1988 their membership had grown from a meager 17 to over 400 people in nineteen states and even Europe. (Source: A Longer Short History of Bluffton) Amazing isn’t it, that long before thousands of tourist (and their dollars) trekked along Calhoun Street the BHPS was flourishing with double the membership that we have today! This was accomplished, I might add, with an all-volunteer, unpaid staff. These individuals, including Ben and Betsy Caldwell, were driven by nothing more than a love and passion for Bluffton’s history. These two words (“Bluffton’s history”) are worth repeating. If we were forced to abbreviate our mission statement to only two words, it should be those.

With that valuable piece of historical insight in mind, let’s answer the above question: Why are we seeing positive growth and what can we do to insure that the BHPS not only survives, but continues to thrive? First, we must not allow the historical branch of the society to once again fall into dormancy as it had for a number of years. The Caldwell Archives had been generally neglected, placed in the Colcock-Teel House and not open to the public at regular hours for research. In addition, there was no on-site staff historian familiar with the valuable contents of the archives—which constitute the heart of every historical society throughout the world. We have now relocated the BHPS headquarters from the Heyward House Historic Center to the Colcock-Teel House, which is owned outright by the BHPS thanks to the immensely generous donation of Mrs. Sophia Teel. Relocating the headquarters to the Teel House has revitalized the BHPS. The Teel House library is now open on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 1pm to 4pm and staffed full time by myself.

The Archive Preservation Project, which I launched soon after arrival, has given the BHPS a digital catalog of much of the library’s contents, enabling us to better facilitate research inquiries by members. Refocusing our efforts on “Bluffton’s history,” as opposed to a generic emphasis on unrelated topics, has been the impetus behind the revitalization of the organization. The staff at the Heyward House Historic Center and museum, which is owned and operated by the BHPS, has been working equally hard in this effort to refocus on our mission statement. My studies of other historical societies, in fact, have revealed one valuable lesson; when you fail to talk about your own history, potential members will assume you have no history worth preserving. And as I always say at my lectures, Bluffton has one of the most unique and significant stories in all of antebellum and Civil War America.

In closing, let me say that while it has been extremely rewarding to serve as the director and to be part of the recent BHPS growth spurt and revitalization, I will eventually be returning to work full time with Fulgham Publishing in order to resume work on my second history book. For now I will continue to work for and guide the organization for several more months to insure that the Archive Preservation Project sits on a solid foundation. In the meantime we will continue to grow and thrive with the same enthusiasm and love for Bluffton’s history that fueled the founders in the 1980s.

As always, it is an honor to serve you as the Director of the Bluffton Historical Preservation Society. Thank you for supporting the BHPS!

 

Sincerely,

 

Jeff Fulgham, Director, BHPS

 

 

BHPS Board of Directors

Officers:

Donna Huffman, President

Leonard Martelli, Vice-President

Will Thomson, Secretary

John Sulka, Treasurer

Trustees:

Nancy Epps

Juliana Tripka

Dan Wood

 

Heyward House Historic Center (Owned and operated by the BHPS)

Staff:

Katie Epps, Director

Alyssa Krob, Manager

Jeff Fulgham

Director

Bluffton Historical Preservation Society

P.O. Box 742 (Mailing)

46 Colcock Street (Physical)

Bluffton, S.C. 29910

jeff@blufftonhistorical.org

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