When war threatened the city with invasion, a portion of the collection of the Society, its files of newspapers, and its large and valuable collection of prints, engravings, were sent into the interior. In 1863, when the city was threaten with destruction, about half the books of the Society (the selection being made by a committee appointed for the purpose,) were sent to Columbia. A member of the Society went with the books, and saw them safely deposited in one of the rooms belonging to the College. Unfortunately the demand for hospital accommodations occasioned the removal of the books without the superintendance of an agent of the Library. A new demand for hospital room occasioned a new removal; and when the books were restored to the Library in 1867, they gave sad indication of the rough handling to which they had been subjected. The books which remained in Charleston were removed to the College Library.
The Apprentices' Library Society was formed in 1824, chiefly with a view to the benefit of apprentices and minors. Dr. Joseph Johnson was the first President and Thomas S. Grimke, Vice-President. The city Council lent a room in the old Market Hall for the accommodation of their books; and the Librarian, Ebenezer Thayer, opened the Library two evenings of each week. From small beginnings it grew, though the zealous, persevering, and disinterested exertion of its founders and friends, to be an institution of widely extended usefulness. In 1840, it had acquired the means of purchasing a lot in Meeting Street, and erecting a hall, which was destroyed by the great fire of 1861. The corner stones of the foundation were disinterred after the sale of the lot in 1876, and delivered to the Charleston Library Society. They are now encased in the wall on either side of the landing place of the ladies' entrance into the Library. We have already narrated how the Society became incorporated with the older Society.
Several catalogues have been printed. The one in 1808 was a classification of the books according to the subjects of which they treated. In 1811, another catalogue was printed; and supplements were printed in 1816 and 1818. In 1823, the Society appointed a committee, of which their President, Hon. Stephen Elliott, was chairman, to compile a new catalogue. This work devolved principally on the chairman. He continued the system of classifying books, but did it on a new and more philosophical principle. It was prefaced with an essay on the principle of classification, and an exposition of that adopted in the work. Without stopping to discuss the subject, it will be sufficient to say that according to the principle laid down by Mr. Elliott, all literature is regarded as treating -
1. Of man in his intellectual capacity - treatises on the philosophy and description of the human mind.
2. Of man in his relation to the deity - theology.
3. Of man in relation to his fellows - ethics.
4. Of man in relation to society - government, jurisprudence, and politics.
5.Of the pursuits, the improvements, and the discoveries of man in society - science and literature.
6. Of the history of man in society - history and biography.
From this exhaustive view of subjects, the books in the catalogue were arranged under six divisions, in each were several sections. To this was added an alphabetical catalogue in the form of an index. In consequence of his other professional engagements, Mr. Elliott did not complete the work until 1826. It was, when finished, very creditable to the compiler, and an able contribution of the Society to the department of analytical literature. Since that time, the general sense of literary men has determined that the most practically useful catalogue is that which, disclaiming all attempts at classification, confines itself to the alphabetical order.