ROCK HILL, S.C. - Louise Pettus, a Winthrop University alumna and professor emerita of history, recently donated $400,000 to her alma mater to support the Ida Jane Dacus Library, specifically for Archives and Special Collections.
President Anthony DiGiorgio announced the gift during his annual opening address to faculty and staff members on Aug. 16. To the delight of the library staff who have seen Pettus as a regular visitor for many years, Winthrop will name archives the Louise Pettus Archives.
DiGiorgio called Pettus, who attended the event, "an exceptional friend to Winthrop University – an alumna and a chronicler of this institution’s and this region’s rich history." The president added, "Honoring her is such a wonderful way to connect Winthrop’s history with its future and with the new faces among us."
Pettus’ gift will provide the library with support for a lecture series related to collections, graduate students’ stipends, equipment and technology, preservation, professional training and collection development.
A plaque honoring Pettus will be posted near the entrance to the Archives’ Research Room on the bottom floor of the library with the following quote from Canadian archivist Arthur G. Doughty: "Of all our national assets, Archives are the most precious; they are the gift of one generation to another and the extent of our care of them marks the extent of our civilization."
The Winthrop Archives is charged with preserving the history of the institution by collecting and caring for university records determined to be of lasting historical importance. The Archives also houses the Manuscript Collection (more than 1,250 collections) containing private papers donated by individuals, and records from organizations and businesses. These collections not only document local, regional and state history, but also transcend South Carolina’s borders to include collections that are of broader historical interest. One particular area of interest is material relating to women and women’s history. It also is listed on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Archives portal.
Pettus, now retired and living in her native Lancaster County, knows firsthand the value of the library. A distinguished historian and author for more than 50 years, she continues to use Archives as a resource for her books and newspaper columns. The 1946 graduate received the university’s Professional Achievement Award earlier this spring.
Pettus taught secondary social studies and teacher training for the School of Education from 1967-1985 and then history until 1989.
A recognized scholar of South Carolina history and a meticulous researcher, Pettus wrote a weekly history column, "South Carolina’s Story," and then "Nearby History" on local history for the York section of the Charlotte Observer for 21 years. She now works on a monthly column on Indian Land for the Lancaster News’ supplement, Carolina Gateway. She edited the York County Genealogical and Historical Society Quarterly for 16 years, penned eight books, most recently "Leasing Away a Nation: The Legacy of Catawba Indian Land Leases," and contributed sections to several others.
Named to "Who’s Who of American Women, 2006-07," Pettus has consulted with and served on the boards of several area historical societies, historical properties and museums. She also is the recipient of an award in 1994 from the Confederation of State and Local Historical Societies for "Outstanding New Periodical Publication," the History Award Medal from the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the historic preservation award from Historic Rock Hill and Keepers of the Culture award from the Museum of York County.
For more information, contact the Office of Development at 803/323-2150.