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Harper-Elliott Colleges

1837, 1848; South Carolina Honors College, Residence Hall

Harper College

Harper was part of the extensive mid-century building program providing for increased enrollment at South Carolina College (see Elliott). Built on the site of the old Steward's Hall (1806), it and several other residence halls Elliott, Pinckney, and Legare) resembled those at Yale, which featured the arrangement of apartments into a single tenement to foster socially cohesive groups. It soon became the home of the Euphradian Society, a political, intellectual, and social organization, whose first president was William Harper. The building named for Harper was not a residence hall for long. When classes were suspended in March 1862, it was used as a hospital. It is now headquarters for the University's Honors College.

William Harper (1790-1847, Class of 1808), first a lawyer, went on to become a noted South Carolina judge and U.S. senator. He was elected to the lower house of the state legislature in 1828. That same year he was elected a chancellor of the state and served until 1830, when he was elected judge of the circuit court of appeals. He later resigned and again became a chancellor, which he remained until his death.

Harper also served on the Board of Trustees of South Carolina College.


Elliott College

This was one of the first historic Horseshoe buildings to undergo extensive remodeling under the Horseshoe Restoration Program of the 1970s, and served as a prototype for the restoration of other Horseshoe residence halls. It was completely modernized inside to serve as efficiency apartments, while the outside was refurbished to resume its nineteenth-century facade. Today it houses students of the Honors College and along with Harper College forms a pair which mirrors the Pinckney and Legare buildings across the lawn.

Elliott was originally part of an intensive mid-nineteenth-century building program to provide for increased enrollment which by 1836 had swelled to a staggering 142. Less than 15 years later, most of the students had joined the Army of the Confederacy.

The building was named for Stephen Elliott (1777-1830), first president of the Bank of the State of South Carolina. Upon the death of college president Jonathan Maxcy, he was elected president and member of the Board of Trustees, but declined the positions.

Born in Beaufort, Elliott served in the state legislature for several years and was quite active in committee assignments and in the introduction of bills. He authored the free school act of 1811 and the 1812 bill which established the Bank of the State of South Carolina. He was also instrumental in establishing the Medical University of South Carolina.

However, Elliott is best remembered as a botanist. From 1800 to 1808, at his plantation, he wrote the comprehensive scientific study Sketch of the Botany of South Carolina and Georgia.

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