The Past & Future of Drayton Hall

 

Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World Program Presents The First in the Spring 2017 Wells Fargo Distinguished Lecture Series

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017 – College of Charleston — Addlestone 227 — 5:00pm

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Guest Speaker Carter C. Hudgins, President & CEO, The Drayton Hall Preservation Trust

 

Within studies of American architecture and material culture, Drayton Hall (c.1738) is regarded as an icon of colonial identity that reflects an intimate connection to popular European design, sophisticated craftsmanship, and the wealth of South Carolina’s plantation economy. Complementing Drayton Hall’s architecture is a remarkable collection of surviving furniture, ceramics, artwork and artifacts that exhibit distinctive patterns of 18th century consumption, taste and intellect.

Drawing from surviving resources, this presentation will explore the 18th century formation of Drayton Hall and the values that led to its survival. This will be followed by a discussion of Drayton Hall’s future, including a vision to transform the site by improving the visitor experience and expanding our stewardship of the past.

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A Historic Survivor

by Carter C. Hudgins, President and CEO

Drayton Hall Ponds

Drayton Hall welcomed Hurricane Matthew to the Lowcountry with secured windows, barricaded doors and a decade of preventative tree maintenance that resulted in relatively few damages to the property. Thanks to the ongoing stewardship efforts of staff and a focus on disaster preparation and management, only minor amounts of rain entered the historic main house, and less than 30 trees were toppled. Though record rains and a significant tidal surge resulted in the ponds overflowing and eroding portions of the entrance road (shown above), none of Drayton Hall’s historic live oaks or magnolias were impacted, and I strongly believe this stands as a testament to our recent efforts to proactively prune, fertilize and stabilize the site’s horticultural gems. Without the generosity of the Friends of Drayton Hall and their support of our historic trees, the storm could have resulted in the loss of significant landscape features.

Still, hurricane cleanup is/and will continue to be part of the daily routine for Drayton Hall’s landscape staff and partners, including Bartlett Tree Experts, shown below as they help us to remove a downed tree. For now, the roads have been resurfaced, the site has returned to normal operation and we look forward to welcoming you onsite in the days ahead.

Matthew’s impact from preparation to damage and clean-up to restoration:

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Liberty & Slavery: The Paradox of America’s Founding Fathers

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Drayton Hall is pleased to present the first Charleston-area screening of the award-winning documentary film “Liberty & Slavery: The Paradox of America’s Founding Fathers,” produced and directed by filmmaker A. Troy Thomas of Inertia Films.

America’s Founding Fathers were men yearning for a nation of individual liberty and unprecedented independence. Thomas Jefferson expressed this desire in the Declaration of Independence in 1776: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” But the origins of America were already seeded with a cruel paradox because many of the liberty-loving, southern Founding Fathers, including Jefferson and Washington, were also slave owners. Slavery was commonplace in the 18th century—not just in America, but in the world.

But why did the non-slave-owning Founding Fathers compromise with the slave-owning Founders when it came to ratifying the U.S. Constitution?

How do we make sense of this paradox?

Watch as “Liberty & Slavery” searches for answers through a series of interviews with respected authors, historians, theologians, and many other notables.

Thursday, September 8
The Charleston Museum
360 Meeting Street
5:30 – 8:00 pm

    Free and open to the public. No advance reservations required.

Doors open at 5:30 pm with a reception and introductions by Carter C. Hudgins, President & CEO of the Drayton Hall Preservation Trust, and filmmaker Troy Thomas. A Q&A session will follow the screening.

Watch Trailer

 

For additional information, please contact:
Tara Odom, Special Events Coordinator
(843) 769-2627 or todom@draytonhall.org

Drayton Hall In The News

 

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Written by Drayton Hall’s President and CEO Carter C. Hudgins, Ph.D.,  a 2006 Wood Family Fellow, the article describes the significant impact that one committed donor can have on an institution. It also shows how each of the Fellow’s work has informed the next and has led to many remarkable discoveries over the past ten years–helping to shape a new era of acquisitions, expansion of our museum collections, and site interpretation. Read the entire article here.

 

Drayton Hall in the News – January 2016

 

Drayton Hall 2013

Photo by Jack Alterman

Enjoy these two recent articles about Drayton Hall, its staff, and the work we’re doing to preserve this architectural masterpiece.
Online: January 2016 – Charleston Mercury – “Drayton Hall’s ‘Bad Boy’” by Robert Salvo or download the pdf version: ChasMerc DraytonHall’s bad boy fullarticle
Online: January 17, 2016 – Post & Courier – “At Drayton Hall, a New Solution to an Old Problem” by Robert Behre or download the pdf version: P&C Drayton Hall’s Portico full article

 

 

 

 

Carter C. Hudgins Appointed President and CEO of Drayton Hall

Carter C. Hudgins, newly appointed President & CEO of the Drayton Hall Preservation Trust

We are beyond thrilled and proud that one of our own was the unanimous choice of the Drayton Hall Preservation Trust’s Board of Trustees after a national search.Read all about it in today’s Post and Courier and on our website.

Congratulations, Carter! Well done and well deserved!

Preserving the Past, Preparing the Future: Celebrating Ten Years of Wood Family Fellows

 The Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series – Thursday, September 17, 2015

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Stephen Wood at Drayton Hall, 1980

Presented by Carter C. Hudgins, Ph.D., Acting President and Executive Director, Drayton Hall Preservation Trust

One of the most significant contributions to the initiatives of Drayton Hall has been the establishment of the Wood Family Fellowship, which was created by Anthony C. “Tony” Wood in 2005 in honor of his parents Leonard and Tanya Wood, and in memory of his brother Stephen Wood.

In August 1980, Stephen was a young preservationist who was repairing Drayton Hall’s main house as part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation Restoration Workshop when the scaffolding that he was on gave way. He fell to the ground below and later that day succumbed to his injuries. Some 24 years later, misfortune revisited the family as the lives of Tony’s parents Leonard and Tanya, who reared their children on the lessons of history and the value of preservation, were claimed by a car accident while traveling east of their home in Charleston, Illinois.

To further the legacy of his brother and parents in a manner that would build on the Wood family’s values and dedication to education and historic preservation, Tony and his husband, Anthony Badalamenti, established the Wood Family Fellowship at Drayton Hall in 2005. By design, the Fellowship is intended to foster the care and research of Drayton Hall while providing guidance and inspiration to rising scholars in the fields of history, historic preservation, anthropology, decorative arts, and architectural history.

L-R: Sarah Stroud Clarke, Carter C. Hudgins, Trish Smith

L-R: Sarah Stroud Clarke, Carter C. Hudgins, Trish Smith

Such an experience continues to lend to the advancement of Drayton Hall as past Fellows Carter C. Hudgins, Sarah Stroud Clarke, and Trish Smith presently serve as the site’s Acting President & Executive Director, Archaeologist & Curator of Collections, and Curator of Historic Architectural Resources, respectively. These three former Fellows will join Drayton Hall Preservation Trust Board Member Anthony C. Wood to celebrate ten years of success with an eye towards the future of the program.

This event is sponsored by Richard and Jill Almeida.

Members in the Friends of Drayton Hall will find more about the history and impact of the Wood Family Fellowship in the Spring/Summer 2015 (Vol 34, No 1) edition of their members newsletter, Interiors.

 

Drayton Hall’s Fall 2015 Distinguished Speakers Series Starts September 17

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The Friends of Drayton Hall are pleased to present the 2015 fall season of the Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series. Beginning with the opening event on September 17, you can expect thought-provoking presentations related to American history and culture by some of today’s most respected historians and curators. Speakers will also highlight the connections of Charleston and Drayton Hall to their research interests and answer questions from the audience. All programs will be held at South Carolina Society Hall.

For more about the fall series, visit the Distinguished Speakers’ website.

Carter Hudgins headshot 2013 - bwSeptember 17th – Dr. Carter C. Hudgins, Drayton Hall, will celebrate Ten Years of the Wood Family Fellowship — one of the most significant contributions to the stewardship and advancement of Drayton Hall. Past Fellows include Hudgins, Sarah Stroud Clarke, and Trish Smith who presently serve as the site’s Acting President & Executive Director, Archaeologist and Curator of Collections, and Curator of Historic Architectural Resources, respectively. Sponsored by Richard and Jill Almeida.

Portrait of Suzanne Hood; August 13th, 2014.

October 15th – Suzanne F. Hood, Colonial Williamsburg, will present China of the Most Fashionable Sort: Chinese Export Porcelain in Colonial America, including ceramics owned and used in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century America with a particular emphasis on archaeological ceramics, Chinese export porcelain, salt-glazed stoneware, and British pottery.

Inaugural Chipstone Lecture:

Milestone Portraits; Cary Carson; 30 Years;

November 19th, Cary Carson, Ph.D., Colonial Williamsburg, retired, to present All Dressed Up, But No Place To Go, which examines the extraordinary archaeological discovery of three of Colonial Virginia’s most lavish structures: over-the-top, eye-popping plantation houses, similar to the colonial stature of Drayton Hall — except that their owners never resided in their grandiose mansions. Why? Dr. Carson will unravel the mystery. Sponsored by the Chipstone Foundation.

 

All programs will be held at South Carolina Society Hall, 72 Meeting Street 

Doors open at 5:30pm with a Wine and Cheese Reception.
Presentations start promptly at 6:30pm.
No advance reservations; please arrive early as seating is limited.
The 2015 Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series
is sponsored by The Francis Marion Hotel, Charleston, SC.

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2015 Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series

The Friends of Drayton Hall are pleased to present the second season of the Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series. Beginning with the opening event of the 2015 season, you’ll experience a range of thought-provoking presentations related to America’s history and culture by some of today’s most respected historians, archaeologists, and curators. Speakers will also highlight the connections of Charleston and Drayton Hall to their research interests and answer questions from the audience.

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The series is held in downtown Charleston at South Carolina Society Hall, 72 Meeting Street, Charleston SC 29401.

Ample on-street parking and public lot parking is available within a block of the South Carolina Society Hall.

Doors open at 5:30 pm with a wine and cheese reception sponsored by the Francis Marion Hotel. Presentations start promptly at 6:30 pm. No advance reservations; please arrive early as seating is limited.

For more information and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Tara White, Development Events Coordinator, at 843-769-2627 or by e-mail.

Browsing John Drayton’s Library: Architecture Books

John Drayton Library

This listing from Charles Drayton’s journal is likely an inventory of his father John Drayton’s library.

An individual’s personal library has the potential to reveal significant information about their character, interests, worldview, and education. Such is certainly the case at Drayton Hall where research has identified what is likely a list of the titles that once graced the bookshelves of John Drayton (c.1715-1779), the builder of Drayton Hall. Written by son Charles Drayton (1743-1820), such a list contains more than 440 titles published before or during John Drayton’s lifetime, indicating his intellectual pursuits and attention to the ideals of the enlightenment.

Not surprisingly, the list of titles includes nine architectural pattern books that were undoubtedly utilized to construct Drayton Hall and written by English neopalladian designers including Colin Campbell, James Gibbs, Isaac Ware, William Salmon, William Halfpenny, John Evelyn, and Batty Langley. Additional areas of interest include natural history, astronomy, landscape design, horticulture, dance, and even gastronomy. As research continues to investigate the titles of Drayton’s library, we anticipate that an increased understanding will be brought to Drayton, his educational opportunities, and academic pursuits.

This month, we are sharing our latest research on John Drayton’s library with a series of posts featuring some of the volumes he would have owned and read.

 

Architecture Books

 

  Plate 91, A Book of Architecture, by James Gibbs, published in 1728. This mantel and overmantel appear in the northwest chamber on the first floor of Drayton Hall.


Plate 91, A Book of Architecture, by James Gibbs, published in 1728. This mantel and overmantel appear in the northwest chamber on the first floor of Drayton Hall.

Given that Drayton Hall is widely considered to be the earliest and finest example of Palladian architecture in the United States, one might expect the design of such a remarkable edifice to be attributed to a famous architect. However, research indicates that the architect of Drayton Hall was very likely John Drayton (d. 1779) himself. Several popular 18th century architecture books are listed among the volumes that likely comprised the personal library of John Drayton. Such books were often consulted by wealthy intellectuals who wished to direct the construction of their estates. Among the architectural elements in Drayton Hall that are clearly attributable to these books are two classically-inspired overmantels that appear in William Kent’s, Designs of Inigo Jones, and James Gibbs’ A Book of Architecture. Considering the extravagant cost of acquiring such volumes and the education necessary to utilize them, the architectural books in John Drayton’s library offer valuable insight into his wealth and intellect.