Research at the Charleston Archive

The Charleston Archive is a traditional closed-stack archive. Patrons can access the materials through staff, but they are not permitted to browse the collections. This measure is enforced to ensure the long-term protection of the archived materials.

Operating hours (with the exception of library holiday closures):
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Wednesday: 12 - 8 p.m.

Walk-in queries will be accommodated as staff scheduling permits. Please note that research visits and extended research consultations must be arranged in advance. To schedule an appointment, please contact the Charleston Archive staff directly.

Katie Gray, Archivist
843-805-6967
[email protected]

Molly French, South Carolina Room Librarian/Archive Assistant
843-805-6956

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About the Charleston Archive

The Charleston Archive, located on the second floor of the Main Library, contains historic manuscripts, books and visual materials representing Charleston and the surrounding Lowcountry. 

Unlike other local archives that house private materials such as diaries, letters and photographs that feature specific individuals or families, the Charleston Archive focuses on public history. In other words, we collect and preserve unique manuscripts, rare books and pamphlets, prints and photographs, and other materials that document the political, economic, cultural and topographical history of the city and county of Charleston.

We think it’s important to share this material, in a “virtual” sense, with the community at large rather than simply keeping it under lock and key. Charleston has such a rich and diverse heritage of history, but much of it is unfamiliar to the vast majority of the public. Our mission is to promote a broader knowledge of the primary resources that allow us to peek back into the crevices of history, and help foster a greater awareness of the need to preserve our own history for the future.

Much of the unique manuscript materials housed in The Charleston Archive contain valuable genealogical information and are available on microfilm or photocopies in the South Carolina Room. Access to the original materials is available by appointment only. For more information, call 843-805-6967 or submit a question to The Charleston Archive.

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