Clemson University Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives invites you to celebrate Founder’s Day every day by exploring a new online exhibit  “The Founding of Clemson University: A Confluence of People, Ideas, Time and Place” [ ]

online exhibit title cardOn April 6, 1888, Pendleton attorney Richard W. Simpson recorded in his diary “Mr. Clemson dies.”  Thomas Clemson’s death set into motion a series of events that resulted in the creation of Clemson Agricultural College, and ultimately Clemson University. April 6 traditionally is celebrated as Founder’s Day.

The complete story of the University’s origin, however, begins with seeds planted many generations earlier. “The Founding of Clemson University” online exhibit covers over one hundred years of history and incorporates primary source materials from Special Collections and Archives, including material from the Thomas Clemson Papers, the Benjamin Ryan Tillman Papers and the Richard Wright Simpson Papers.

Designed as a timeline, the online exhibit looks at the various people, ideas, events and places which developed, intersected and merged to create a land grant college in the upstate of South Carolina in the late 19th century. It’s a story of circumstances, perseverance, tragedy, politics, exclusion and compromise.

The online exhibit is based on a physical exhibit on display in the Special Collections and Archives exhibit area on the lower level of the Strom Thurmond Institute building at 230 Kappa Street on Clemson’s campus through April 28, 2017. The hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Clemson University Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives is a portal to the past, present, and future. It documents the past by collecting items of historical significance to the University and community, making them accessible in the present and preserving them for research needs of the future. Special Collections and Archives continues to build a premier research collection of primary resources regardless of format (paper, photographs, digital, analog, and 3-dimensional), as well as rare books, that supports Clemson University’s teaching and research needs. The collection includes a particular emphasis on agriculture, architecture, politics, the National Park Service and tourism, community and university history.

Special Collections and Archives creates an environment of discovery and engagement with these holdings that encourages scholarly inquiry, creative thinking and lifelong learning. They work closely with courses in utilizing primary research materials, as well as providing public programming and working with local cultural heritage institutions.

For additional information please contact Special Collections and Archives at 864-656-3031 or