USC Upstate History Professors Complete ‘Recovering the Piedmont Past, Volume 2’

March 8, 2019 at 11:19 am

Two University of South Carolina Upstate professors have completed the second volume of an anthology exploring the untold history of the state’s Upcountry region.

Drs. Paul Grady and Andrew Myers have edited “Recovering the Piedmont Past, Volume 2: Bridging the Centuries in the South Carolina Upcountry,” published Jan. 8 by the University of South Carolina Press.

The 277-page book explores the social history of the region in the years following Reconstruction through the start of World War II (1877 through 1941) and includes stories from 11 contributors.

“The reception (for the book) has been great so far,” said Grady, who has taught American, American Indian, and Colonial American history in USC Upstate’s Department of History, Political Science, Philosophy, and American Studies since 2006.

“This is part of the long-term goal of our department — to be a center for Upstate studies,” Grady added. “The University’s mission is to be the leading metropolitan university in the Southeast. This moves us closer to achieving that mission.”

Grady co-edited the book’s first volume, “Recovering the Piedmont Past: Unexplored Moments in Ninteenth-Century Upcountry South Carolina History,” with retired Converse College professor Melissa Walker. Published by USC Press in September 2013, the 224-page book included stories from eight authors, including four USC Upstate professors.

Walker has returned to write the foreword for the second volume. Other contributors are:

  • Christopher M. Bishop — A native of Greenville who recently received his doctorate from Auburn University. Bishop is a graduate of Erskine College and Western Carolina University. He lives in Birmingham, Ala.
  • Jonathan K. Brooke — Brooke earned a Masters of Library and Information Science degree from the University of South Carolina. He has provided research assistance for a number of publications and museum exhibits relating to South Carolina’s role in World War I.
  • Catherine G. Canino — Aprofessor at the University of South Carolina Upstate specializing in Shakespeare and the Renaissance. She received her doctorate from Arizona State University.
  • Marvin L. Cann — A professor of history emeritus at Lander University. Cann received a doctorate in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • Nancy Snell Griffith — Griffith recently retired as archives and special collections librarian at Presbyterian College. She is a graduate of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Penn., and the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University.
  • Alexia Jones Helsley — Helsley is a senior instructor of history and university archivist at the University of South Carolina Aiken. A graduate of Furman University and the University of South Carolina, Helsley is the author or co-author of numerous books on local and regional history.
  • Kevin Michael Krause — An adjunct history instructor at the University of South Carolina Upstate, Krause received his doctorate from the University of Georgia.
  • Robert B. McCormick — A professor of history at the University of South Carolina Upstate, McCormick received his doctorate from the University of South Carolina.
  • Diane C. Vecchio — A professor of history and chair of the History Department at Furman University, Vecchio received a doctorate from Syracuse University.

Grady’s interest in local history was piqued by historical markers in Spartanburg County’s Reidville community.

In 2008, at a time when universities were feeling the crunch of The Great Recession, Grady decided to do something that would not only increase USC Upstate’s academic standing, but also help catalog and preserve the region’s history.  

Grady said similar to its predecessor, the second volume of “Recovering the Piedmont Past” seeks to shed light on “unexplored moments” in the history of the region during years of great social, economic and cultural change.

“(Volume 2) builds on the lessons we learned from the first one,” Grady said. “It’s more cohesive. You’ll find themes that include race, class, social tension, and the military … There is a lot out there about Reconstruction and World War II. We wanted to tell the stories that haven’t been told. We decided to focus on the social history of the region.”

For example, readers will find chapters dedicated to the “Golden Age” of the circus, pellagra and poverty, and the experiences of Greek Americans in Spartanburg.

“This really capitalizes on our place; our mission,” said Myers, who teaches American studies at USC Upstate. “There’s no other institution that wants to define itself the way we do — around Upstate history.”

Myers received his doctorate from the University of Virginia. He is the author of “Black, White, and Olive Drab: Racial Integration at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and the Civil Rights Movement”and co-editor of “Historians in Service of a Better South: Essays in Honor of Paul Gaston.”

Grady earned his doctorate at the College of William and Mary. In addition to “Recovering the Piedmont Past,” he is the author of “Anglo-Spanish Rivalry in Colonial Southeast America, 1650–1720.” Myers and Grady said plans for book signing events are in the works. Readers can purchase a copy of the book online from USC Press or Amazon.com.