The South Carolina Department of Archives and History is an independent state agency whose mission is to preserve and promote the documentary and cultural heritage of the Palmetto State. The department is the caretaker of the South Carolina State Archives, a collection of more than 300 years of public records documenting the rich and diverse history of the people and government of South Carolina. The agency's mission extends to encompass historic preservation, history education, records management and records conservation.
The South Carolina Archives and History Center provides students and teachers, children and adults with resources and programs that reflect the state’s rich history. Some of the resources and programs include: educational tours, activities and presentations for all ages; classroom aids for teachers; teacher in-service programs; and state sponsor of National History Day student competitions. Visitors use the state’s legislative, executive, military, court, county, municipal and state agency records to compile family histories, write books and articles, compose school papers and projects and countless other activities built on foundations of historical facts. To aide visitors with their diverse needs, the reference room offers knowledgeable and helpful staff, computerized catalogs, self-service access to microfilm, self-service copiers, postal or email queries, and a non-circulating reference library.
The South Carolina Archives and History Center is the repository of approximately 78 million pages. These documents are important not only to the history of South Carolina but also to the greater American History narrative. One of the earliest documents is an agreement signed and sealed by the Lords Proprietors in 1674 approving the shipping of supplies to the young, struggling colony. Also in our collection is the Ordinance of Secession, the document that announced the secession of South Carolina from the Union in December 1860. Another important document is the Briggs Petition. This document, signed in 1948, brought forth the case of Briggs v. Elliott, the first case of many that was brought to the U.S. Supreme Court under the name of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.