Preservation Newsletter – Bluffton Historical Preservation Society

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November, 2015

Dear valued members, volunteers, and donors:

Let me begin by saying that I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration. The weather here in Bluffton has been beautiful, which is always a perfect excuse to visit and walk the streets of historic Bluffton. In this spirit I encourage you to visit our Heyward House Historic Center if the opportunity arises.

If you recall from the September newsletter I informed the Board of the Bluffton Historical Preservation Society back in August that I would eventually be returning to the important project of completing my second history book, which covers the life of Dr. Henry Woodward, South Carolina’s first English settler and accomplished explorer. In addition, I will be refocusing my attention on my responsibilities to the Army National Guard, of which I am obligated to for the next several years until retirement.  My last day as Director of the BHPS will be November 30, 2015.

It has been and absolute honor to serve you as director for the last eight months. In this short time we have collectively accomplished some paramount achievements. Of these, the Archive Preservation Project is worth noting. In this effort I created a digital catalog of much of the library’s contents, which has enabled the Society to conduct digital searches and better facilitate research for you the member and for the general public as well. My underlying objective has always been to provide more open access to our archives. For the first time in years we reopened the library at the Colcock-Teel House and established regular hours (Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1pm-4pm) so that the public could visit and utilize the facility. This is precisely what Hunter Saussy, the BHPS founding president, had in mind in 1981 when he established the Society. The principal component of our mission statement is to preserve and share Bluffton’s unique history.

Another important effort has been our emphasis on utilizing the Teel House for historical purposes, which was the wish of Mrs. Teel, who donated the home to the Society. Her last instructions were crystal clear—use the home for historical purposes, otherwise it transfers to the possession of the Church of the Cross organization. In an effort to satisfy Mrs. Teel’s wishes, in addition to the Archive Preservation Project, I was able to acquire (from an anonymous donor): a new mounted projector screen to enhance the ability of the boardroom to facilitate historical lectures, and a new digital scanner/copier to scan historical documents and enable members to make copies of items from the archives. Per the donation agreement these items are to remain in the Teel House boardroom for historical purposes only. We must be careful to use the home for legitimate historical purposes (history lectures, archive use, etc.) in order to fulfill the desires of not only Mrs. Teel, but to carry out the mission statement as outlined by the BHPS founders.

In addition to the usage of the Teel House, the security of the archives is vital as well. For the first time we now have proper access and key-holding restrictions in place to guard our valuable inventory. When we speak of physical historic preservation efforts, we must remember that the archives need to be guarded, preserved, and kept from falling into disrepair and neglect. You, the members and volunteers (of which I will now join you as a volunteer in a few days), play a vital role in this overall effort. As I have repeated often, in order to preserve Bluffton’s unique history we must first preserve that which preserves. In other words we must preserve the BHPS.

It is also my pleasure to inform you that in the last eight months we have grown our Society by 27%, from 150 to 190 members. This amounts to the largest growth spurt since the organization rose to over 400 members in the eighties and nineties. I am confident that if the BHPS continues to focus on our mission statement and insure that we are a member-centered organization, we will continue to grow and thrive.

To continue our efforts of revitalizing the historic aspect of the Society, I would encourage those of you who have a passion for history to get involved and volunteer to work in the archives. This passion for history was the impetus which drove the BHPS founders, including Ben and Betsy Caldwell, to collect documents and build the Caldwell Archives. This data was used by Hunter Saussy and others to write the history of Bluffton, which is now updated and referred to as A Guide to Historic Bluffton, available for purchase in the Heyward House gift shop.

I will close by stressing the importance of focusing on our mission statement, which is to preserve and share Bluffton’s unique history. If we follow the misguided national organizational trend of discussing “popular” historical topics unrelated to our town, then members, visitors and residents alike will assume we have no history worth telling. And I can assure you that we have one of the most unique histories in all of antebellum and Civil War America. As the author of The Bluffton Expedition and the owner of Fulgham Publishing, I look forward to seeing many of you in the future as I continue my lecture series.

If you would like to contact me in the future my personal email is jefffulgham@hotmail.com and I can also be reached on facebook.

Sincerely,

Jeff Fulgham, Director, BHPS

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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