Speaking of History:The Words of South Carolina Librarians

Listen to Rossie Caldwell

Rossie Caldwell talks about her childhood

All right. Well, number one, I was born in the parsonage of the Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church on Gervais Street. My father was pastor there at the Wesley Methodist Church and I almost didn't know him because he died in the 1918 influenza epidemic when he was 34 years old. My mother at that time had...this left my mother with two small girls. My sister was 3 years older and at about the age of 2 my mother brought us to Orangeburg, SC, where I grew up. She placed us in the kindergarten department of Claflin College and there I remained for my entire elementary school, high school and college education. At the time Claflin had all those departments and my mother, being the widow of a Methodist minister received a small pittance, a pension -- whatever you wish to call it -- from the Methodist Church. Probably it was twenty-five dollars a year, or something like that.

Rossie Caldwell talks about her experiences at Emmet Scott High School in Rock Hill, South Carolina

RC: No, I was in charge of the school library segment. There was a librarian... a person who served as librarian for the public library section. I developed probably a special shelf or two of school library materials. At that time, we did have a vertical file -- a steel cabinet. We tried to have a nucleus of things that school people would need in a specialized section of the room. And then the enclosed section was where the public library books were kept. The front part of this large classroom was adjustable... that might have been the first time I heard [experienced] the word modular because what they did... they had the kind of chairs -- these were new classroom furnishings, and during one part of the day I taught 2 classes of French and 2 classes of English. And then the other 2 periods were strictly for library science operations...library operations. For a while after school, I worked with students who would come in, but the main part of that job consisted of classroom teaching and on the side, though, there was that effort to try to develop and organize a nucleus of school library materials.

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