Local American Legion Auxiliary’s History has Home at USC Upstate

November 14, 2017 at 1:52 pm

The University of South Carolina Upstate might be only 50 years old, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have an eye on preserving history for all to learn from and enjoy.

The USC Upstate Library Archives and Special Collections has accepted a historic collection titled “American Legion Auxiliary Unit 28 Scrapbook Collection,” which comprises over 50 scrapbooks filled with memorabilia, meeting notes, a collection of photographs of past auxiliary presidents and much more, according to Ann Merryman, USC Upstate coordinator of archives and special collections.

“By assuming responsibility for the collection, the University Archives can provide for the longevity of the collection through proper care, storage and handling,” Merryman said. “Scrapbooks, while incredibly rich sources of history and details, are notoriously fragile and require extra measures to prevent permanent damage.”

The American Legion Auxiliary was founded in 1919 and today is credited with being the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization. Its members are dedicated to honoring those who have served in the U.S. military, according to the group’s national website. American Legion Auxiliary Unit 28 in Spartanburg was organized in 1921 and applied for permanent charter in 1923, according to the post’s history. Merryman said the extensive collection “is a natural fit to expand our collections in the area of military history.”

Eventually, she said, parts of the collection will be available electronically “through selective digitization and creation of a digital collection that will be hosted by the South Carolina Digital Library.”

The collection has already won notice for the Library’s Archives and Special Collections. Merryman said she presented on the scrapbook collection in October at the S.C. Archival Association’s annual meeting, held at The Citadel.

“The theme for this year’s meeting was ‘South Carolina at War,’ and included presentations focused not only on South Carolinians who were — or are — active duty during times of war, but also on civilians and communities, and how they dealt with war and the impacts at home,” she explained. “My presentation represented this community aspect. The presentation covered the period from the auxiliary being organized in 1921 through the end of World War II and how the scope of work of the auxiliary evolved from peacetime through the war years.”

Merryman said that until the collection is fully processed, it will be available for viewing by appointment only. To view the collection, contact Merryman at (864) 503-5275 or amerryman@uscupstate.edu.