“John Hope: Botanist of the Scottish Enlightenment”

Henry Noltie headshot

The 2016 Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series – Thursday, April 21

Speaker: Henry Noltie, Ph.D., Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

VENUE: SOUTH CAROLINA SOCIETY HALL, 72 MEETING STREET, CHARLESTON, SC

Today, we tend to imagine that inter-continental travel is a recent phenomenon – in fact it has always taken place, it merely took slightly longer. For example, such was the renown of the Edinburgh Medical School in the 18th century, that it drew students from as far afield as Russia and India in the east, and from the American colonies (including the Caribbean) in the west. One such student was Charles Drayton, who made the transatlantic trip to study botany and materia medica in 1767 under the famed professor John Hope. In keeping with this theme, Dr. Noltie will journey from Scotland to Charleston to speak about the botanical information Charles Drayton brought with him back from Scotland as he made the same trip just about 250 years prior. Dr. Noltie will additionally focus on John Hope and some of his other American pupils, including Benjamin Rush, who was in the same year as Drayton, and an exciting new project that has seen the rebuilding of the house that Hope built, to designs by John Adam, to house his head gardener, and as a lecture room that Drayton would have sat in had he arrived in Edinburgh ten years later.

Since 1986, after studying botany at Oxford and Museum Studies at Leicester, Henry Noltie, Ph.D., has worked at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) as a curator and taxonomist. For 14 years he worked on the Flora of Bhutan project, writing the first account of the plants of that remote Himalayan Kingdom and leading the team for its concluding years. He wrote two of the volumes of the Flora, relating to the monocots, for which he received a PhD from the University of Edinburgh. Since 2000, his work has been on historical aspects of the rich herbarium and illustrations collections of the RBGE, especially relating to India, which has combined nomenclatural research with historical and art-history studies and the mounting of exhibitions at the RBGE gallery, Inverleith House. A series of publications on Scottish East India Company surgeons, and the botanical drawings they commissioned from Indian artists in the late 18th and early 19th century, has resulted. This work was extended into SE Asia in a collaboration with the British Library on the collections of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. His work on the Scottish Enlightenment botanist John Hope also took visual materials for its starting point – the unique collection of Hope’s teaching drawings preserved at RBGE led to the writing of a short biography in 2011. His most recent work is a two-volume work on Hugh Cleghorn (1820–1895), a pioneering Forest Conservator, but also the source of one of the largest collections of botanical drawings and books in the RBGE collection.

About Drayton Hall  Founded in 1738, Drayton Hall is the nation’s earliest example of fully executed Palladian architecture and the oldest preserved plantation house in America still open to the public. After seven generations, the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and numerous hurricanes and earthquakes, the main house remains in nearly original condition. A National Historic Landmark, Drayton Hall is a property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is administered by The Drayton Hall Preservation Trust.

When the National Trust acquired Drayton Hall in 1974, it made the decision to “preserve” or stabilize the site. This action—unprecedented in its day—set Drayton Hall on a course unique among historic sites: it preserved its authentic, centuries-old timeline of history rather than restoring it to one specific period. Because it has never been modernized with electric lighting, plumbing, or central heating or air conditioning, the main house remains unfurnished, allowing the beauty of the architectural details to come through.

Click here for information on all of our 2016 Distinguished Speakers.

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 2016 Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series
is sponsored by The Francis Marion Hotel, Charleston, SC.

Francis Marion Hotel

Curating the Black Atlantic: Race, Memory, and Museum Making

Jonathan Holloway

Jonathan Holloway

The 2016 Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series – Thursday, March 24th

Speaker: Dean Jonathan Holloway, Ph.D., Yale College

Venue: South Carolina Society Hall, 72 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC

 

Beginning in the 1970s, museum curators began to search for materials and artifacts they could use to interpret the black experience in the Americas. Their efforts flew in the face of previous scholarship that declared that there were almost no artifacts available to understand the black past. Using new technologies, the new generation of curators argued that their predecessors were wrong. Whereas earlier scholars only saw “absence,” the post-civil rights curators concluded that they were surrounded by evidence of a black past. The absence, it turns out, was the evidence.

How can we make sense of this conclusion? What can we learn by studying the history of absence? What does the black past tell us about how the Atlantic world was made and about the role of museums in making that world?

Jonathan Holloway (GRD, 1995) is Dean of Yale College and Edmund S. Morgan Professor of African American Studies, History, and American Studies. He specializes in post-emancipation United States history with a focus on social and intellectual history. He is the author of Confronting the Veil: Abram Harris Jr., E. Franklin Frazier, and Ralph Bunche, 1919–1941 (2002) and Jim Crow Wisdom: Memory and Identity in Black America Since 1940 (2013), both with the University of North Carolina Press. He edited Ralph Bunche’s A Brief and Tentative Analysis of Negro Leadership (NYU Press, 2005) and co-edited Black Scholars on the Line: Race, Social Science, and American Thought in the 20th Century (Notre Dame University Press, 2007). He has written an introduction for a new edition of W.E.B. Du Bois’s Souls of Black Folk, published by Yale University Press in 2015. He has held fellowships from the W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute at Harvard University, the Stanford Humanities Center, and the Ford Foundation. He was an Alphonse Fletcher Sr. Fellow in 2011–2012. Currently, he is a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians.

About Drayton HallFounded in 1738, Drayton Hall is the nation’s earliest example of fully executed Palladian architecture and the oldest preserved plantation house in America still open to the public. After seven generations, the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and numerous hurricanes and earthquakes, the main house remains in nearly original condition. A National Historic Landmark, Drayton Hall is a property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is administered by The Drayton Hall Preservation Trust.

When the National Trust acquired Drayton Hall in 1974, it made the decision to “preserve” or stabilize the site. This action—unprecedented in its day—set Drayton Hall on a course unique among historic sites: it preserved its authentic, centuries-old timeline of history rather than restoring it to one specific period. Because it has never been modernized with electric lighting, plumbing, or central heating or air conditioning, the main house remains unfurnished, allowing the beauty of the architectural details to come through.

Click here for information on all of our 2016 Distinguished Speakers.

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 2016 Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series
is sponsored by The Francis Marion Hotel, Charleston, SC.

Francis Marion Hotel

Building Bridges Symposium Highlights Latest Research and Discoveries from Drayton Hall

header1Join us on January 29 and 30 for Breaking Ground and Building Bridges, a symposium that brings together leading scholars from Charleston’s preservation and history organizations to present new research on the material culture of the Carolina Lowcountry. Over the course of two days, speakers will discuss exciting initiatives and cutting–edge research projects related to archaeology, the decorative arts, social history, and post-Reconstruction Charleston. Critically-acclaimed artist Jonathan Green will give the Keynote Address at the Building Bridges Symposium.

This year, Drayton Hall will be represented in the program by Cameron Moon, Preservation Coordinator, who will present “The Caretaker’s House: Vernacular Architecture and the Postbellum African American Community at Drayton Hall” on Friday at 2:15 pm. Ms. Moon will speak about how her research of the caretaker’s house has led to a better understanding of the African American community living at Drayton Hall from the late 19th to mid-20th century and has helped to develop a more accurate portrayal of the tenant houses and landscape during phosphate mining.

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c. 1915, one of the earlier photographs of the caretaker’s house shows it in its original location next to the main house. This is a rare view, as it is of the back of the house and shows its original footprint before an addition on the back was built in 1923.

The Symposium is a collaboration between Historic Charleston Foundation, Drayton Hall Preservation Trust, The Charleston Museum and Preservation Society of Charleston to facilitate dialogue among many of the Lowcountry Institutions. All proceeds will benefit the sponsoring institutions. Symposium tickets are $125/person for the general public and free for students.

See full schedule and purchase tickets

 

Camerodrayton_hs_06n Moon is a graduate of the College of Charleston with a degree in Historic Preservation and Community Planning and a minor in Anthropology. Her honors thesis chronicled the adaptive reuse of the Cigar Factory on East Bay Street and its relationship with the surrounding neighborhood. Before joining the DHPT staff in September 2014, she worked for Edgewood Builders, where she learned construction, preservation, and restoration techniques at Medway Plantation and houses in the historic district. Cameron is currently working on ongoing Drayton Hall conservation projects as well as converting the museum shop, housed in the former caretaker’s house, into an interpretive museum space.

Civil War Veterans are the Focus of April’s Distinguished Speakers Series

Brian Jordan Dr. Brian Matthew Jordan, cultural historian of the Civil War and Reconstruction, will speak at the close of the Civil War Sesquicentennial on April 16th at the next Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series. The event comes 150 years and two days after April 14, 1865, when the United States flag was once again raised over Fort Sumter, marking the effective end of the war in Charleston. Jordan’s presentation, “Marching Home: Union and Confederate Veterans and Their Unending Civil War,” will discuss the lives of Civil War soldiers—both Union and Confederate—after the war as they returned to civilian life.

For the men who fought it, the Civil War did not end at Appomattox. Civil War veterans wrestled with the meaning of their participation in the nation’s defining conflict for the rest of their lives. “My research and book mainly deals with Union veterans, but for the Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series I will be weaving in stories from Confederate veterans in Charleston,” said Jordan. An interesting component of his presentation will be a discussion of the beliefs and actions of Drayton family members, before and after the war, and the mysteries still lingering today.Marching Home

Jordan is currently a professor of Civil War Era Studies at Gettysburg College. He holds a Ph.D. in History from Yale University, and his dissertation earned both the George Washington Egleston Prize and the John Addison Porter Prize. The author of numerous articles, essays, and reviews in scholarly journals and popular magazines, his most recent book is Marching Home: Union Veterans and Their Unending Civil War.

The Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series is held on Thursday nights at South Carolina Society Hall, 72 Meeting Street. Doors open at 5:30 pm with a wine and cheese reception, with presentations starting promptly at 6:30 pm. Presented by the Friends of Drayton Hall, admission is free and no advance reservations are necessary. The 2015 Distinguished Speakers Series is sponsored by Richard and Jill Almeida, the Francis Marion Hotel, and the Chipstone Foundation. For other questions and sponsorship inquiries please contact Tara White, development events coordinator, at 843-769-2627 or twhite@draytonhall.org. 2015-Distinguished-Speakers-Series-Flyer-for-web

Libby H. O’Connell to Present “From the Charleston Table to the American Plate” on March 26

Did you know that the Draytons preferred to entertain with Madeira wine? And that popular southern dishes like gumbo were brought to the New World by West African slaves? How have economics, technology, and social movements changed our tastes? These fascinating aspects of American food traditions will be presented by Dr. Libby H. O’Connell on March 26 as part of the Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series. jpeg

O’Connell’s presentation, “From the Charleston Table to the American Plate: Looking at Foodways, South and North,” will draw from her recently published book The American Plate: A Culinary History in 100 Bites. In this book, O’Connell writes about American history from the perspective of its food traditions. She investigates not just the recipes themselves, but where they came from and who made them. She examines America’s foodways as a legitimate source of historical evidence and, at the same time, shows how foodways were shaped by the changing context of economics, politics, and culture. A gifted writer and storyteller, she encourages us to imagine visiting a foreign country and seeking to understand its people. To do so, we would visit their museums, walk the streets, and definitely eat their food because that, she explains, is “one of the best and often most surprising ways to learn about a different place.”  She continues, “In some respects, the past is another country as well. It has flavors of its own…like time travelers, we can see what life was like for our predecessors by conjuring up the techniques, textures, smells, and tastes of America.”

In her presentation on March 26, O’Connell will examine the interrelationships between Charleston and American cuisine, while highlighting their changes over time. To illustrate her message, she will utilize historical recipes and images from around the country, including materials from Drayton Hall’s archives. O’Connell has a strong affinity for Drayton Hall, as she secured support from HISTORY to produce the award-winning interactive DVD tour of Drayton Hall’s landscape, The Voices of Drayton Hall, and served as its executive producer. “Libby O’Connell is a remarkable historian who has done much to try and shape the way history is appreciated and understood in America,” said Executive Director George W. McDaniel. “By serving as Chief Historian for HISTORY, she has contributed a range of informative and inspiring programs that have touched Americans of all ages.”

O’Connell is an Emmy-award winning producer, preservationist, and cultural historian. She serves as the Chief Historian for HISTORY and Senior Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility for A+E Networks, overseeing corporate and educational outreach for networks including HISTORY, A&E, H2, and FYI. She is also the executive-producer of on-site films for organizations such as the Smithsonian, Ellis Island, and Gettysburg. She has received three EMMYS for her work in television, and appears on national TV as a guest commentator. Dr. O’Connell received her M.A. and Ph.D. in American history from the University of Virginia. She serves on the boards of several organizations, including the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello, the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, National History Day, as well as being a White House appointed commissioner with the United States World War I Centennial Commission. ​ 2015-Distinguished-Speakers-Series-Flyer-for-web

The Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series is held on Thursday nights at South Carolina Society Hall, 72 Meeting Street. Doors open at 5:30 pm with a wine and cheese reception, with presentations starting promptly at 6:30 pm. Presented by the Friends of Drayton Hall, admission is free and no advance reservations are necessary. Seating is limited. The 2015 Distinguished Speakers Series is sponsored by Richard and Jill Almeida, the Francis Marion Hotel, and the Chipstone Foundation. For other questions and sponsorship inquiries please contact Tara White, development events coordinator, at 843-769-2627 or twhite@draytonhall.org.

Distinguished Speakers Series Featured in the Post and Courier

Adam Parker of The Post and Courier wrote an article on the 2015 Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series.

CLICK HERE to read the article, and we hope you will join us!

Connecting People and Places through Historic Sites

edited MTW Flyer

On February 21, Drayton Hall President and Executive Director Dr. George W. McDaniel will present “Towards a More Complete History: Connecting Places and People by Engaging Descendants” at the highly acclaimed Marion Thompson Wright (MTW) Lecture Series. The title of this year’s series is Curating Black America: Celebrating the National Museum of African American History and Culture and Remembering Dr. Clement Alexander Price. The 35th annual MTW lecture series will be presented from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Rutgers University-Newark. Fellow speakers include Lonnie Bunch, inaugural director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture and former Drayton Hall Site Advisory Council member; Bob Stanton, former director of the National Park Service; Spencer Crew, former director of the National Museum of American History; and Taylor Branch, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian.

McDaniel’s presentation examines how historic sites can make a difference in their communities. “Too often history seems to be taught as something far away, but with historic sites, history is present and personal,” McDaniel said. “By their very nature, history happened at historic sites, good and bad. That’s what makes them historic, so we must recognize our history in all its complexity and diversity, and use it to bring people from diverse backgrounds together and to learn from and share that history.” Historic sites are turning to descendants and engaging them in the documentation and preservation of their stories. In the past year, Drayton Hall has participated in two conference sessions that have brought descendants of the enslaved and of slaveholders together. The resulting combination of places and people, especially descendants, leads to a more complete history and to a more humane understanding of historic preservation.

George McDaniel Rebecca Catherine nt edit

Pictured l-r: George McDaniel, Rebecca Campbell, and Catherine Braxton.

 

McDaniel’s presentation will feature a Q&A session with Drayton Hall descendants Rebecca Campbell and Catherine Braxton (pictured above). Sisters Rebecca and Catherine started researching their family’s connection to Drayton Hall with the assistance of their cousin, Richmond Bowens (1908-1998), who grew up at Drayton Hall and later became a gatekeeper and historian-in-residence. According to their family’s oral history, their ancestors were brought from Barbados to the Carolina colony by the Draytons in the 1670s as enslaved people. Deeply committed to history and historic preservation, Rebecca and Catherine will be sharing their family’s history and offering their perspective on why history matters.

The lecture series is dedicated in memory of Dr. Clement Price, the founder of the Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience who co-founded the MTW lecture series in 1981. Dr. Price was a Trustee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and a Friend of Drayton Hall. “Clem was a remarkable man and leaves a legacy for us to live up to,” McDaniel said.

 

Memories and Meanings: Drayton Hall Descendants to Present at Distinguished Speakers Series

The 2015 Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series begins this month with an insightful presentation focused not so much on the place of Drayton Hall, but rather, its people. Please join us on Thursday, Feb. 19 for “Memories and Meanings: Reflections on Drayton Hall by Charles H. Drayton, III, and Other Descendants.” An interactive panel discussion will feature descendants of those who once lived at Drayton Hall, and reflect upon the significance of preserving the past at one of Charleston’s most historic sites. The discussion will bring together eight descendants to answer thoughtful questions and prompt audience participation, all moderated by Dr. George W. McDaniel, president and executive director of the Drayton Hall Preservation Trust.

Charles Henry Drayton III will be sharing his family’s memories of Drayton Hall at the upcoming speakers series.

This session will give the audience the rare opportunity to discuss perennial questions about Drayton Hall, family history, and the importance of preservation with Drayton Hall descendants. Questions such as the following: What prompted Charles and Frank Drayton to sell Drayton Hall to the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the State of South Carolina in 1974? What are Charles Drayton’s present thoughts about that decision? What are the thoughts of other descendants, both from the Drayton family and from the African American community whose ancestors had also lived there for generations?

Charles “Charlie” H. Drayton III, now 96 years old and one of the last private owners of Drayton Hall, will be reflecting on his family’s decision to sell the house in 1974.  His nephew, Frank B. Drayton, Jr., who serves on the Drayton Hall Board of Trustees, will also offer perspective.  Other Drayton participants include three of Charlie’s grandchildren: Charles Heyward Drayton, Greg Osteen Joseph, and Shelby Nelson.

Rebecca Campbell, Catherine Braxton, and Annie Meyers, descendants of the Bowens family, will also participate in the panel discussion. According to their family’s oral history, their ancestors were brought from Barbados to the Carolina colony by the Draytons in the 1670s as enslaved people. Braxton also serves as a member of the Drayton Hall Preservation Trust Board of Trustees.

“Our advice to people interested in learning about their family’s past is to first commit to family, learn their roots, ask questions of their elders, and become engaged with their communities to promote and preserve their history,” said Rebecca Campbell. “We think that it is important to preserve one’s family history because much can be learned to assist in moving forward to bridge the divide between the ancestors and descendants of the enslaved and the slaveholders.”

This enhancement of Drayton Hall’s historic fabric is only made possible by the enthusiastic participation of its descendants. The descendants presented together at the National Preservation Conference last November and the South Carolina Historic Preservation Conference in April. “I am personally thrilled to be a part of a movement like this that seems so far overdue, and I am motivated to continue to participate in discussions like this so that we can spread the concept to other historic sites where the shared histories of English and African descendants have remained separate,” said Charles Heyward Drayton.

These oral histories further advance our understanding of the history of Drayton Hall, by combining myriad vantage points in one place. “The point is that we preserve historic buildings and places, to be sure, but the power of those places is enriched all the more by the stories and memories, good and bad,” said McDaniel. “At the same time, those stories and memories are given a reality by the preservation of place that they might not have in the abstract. History happened there.”

“Memories and Meanings” will very much be a forward step in the continuation of bridging the interpretation of Drayton Hall’s complex history. There will be ample opportunity for the audience to ask questions and to hear more memories and reflections the descendants have and what preservation means to them.

2015-Distinguished-Speakers-Series-Flyer-for-web

The Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series is held on Thursday nights at South Carolina Society Hall, 72 Meeting Street. Doors open at 5:30 pm with a wine and cheese reception, with presentations starting promptly at 6:30 pm. Presented by the Friends of Drayton Hall, admission is free and no advance reservations are necessary. Seating is limited. The 2015 Distinguished Speakers Series is sponsored by Richard and Jill Almeida, the Francis Marion Hotel, and the Chipstone Foundation. For other questions and sponsorship inquiries please contact Tara White, development events coordinator, at 843-769-2627 or twhite@draytonhall.org.

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.

2015-Distinguished-Speakers-Series-Flyer-for-web

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.

Distinguished Speakers Series: Jill M. Lord to Speak on the Architecture of Colonial American Libraries

Fall Series Flyer

Wrapping up the inaugural year of the Distinguished Speakers Series, Drayton Hall is pleased to welcome architectural historian Dr. Jill M. Lord. Lord holds a PhD in art history from the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and a MA in architectural history from the University of Virginia. She has taught art history at Hunter College and Brooklyn College. She has lectured at the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum in New York City, Muscarelle Museum of Art, College of William and Mary, Salve Regina University, and the Georgia Institute of Technology. Lord’s presentation, “Improvement of the Americas: The Architecture of Colonial American Libraries,” is sponsored by Stephen and Laura Gates. 

Held at South Carolina Society Hall in downtown Charleston, the series is free to the Friends of Drayton Hall and their guests (RSVP is not required), begins at 7:00 p.m. (doors open by 6:30 p.m.), and is followed by a dessert reception. Please contact Tara White, development events coordinator, at 843-769-2627 with questions or for information about sponsorship opportunities.