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Littlejohn collection to be housed at Wofford

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Spartanburg, S.C. – A collection of historical artifacts previously owned by the Littlejohn family of Spartanburg is being cataloged for transfer to Wofford College’s Sandor Teszler Library.

Throughout his life, Broadus R. “Dick” Littlejohn Jr. has been an avid collector of a wide range of items of historical interest, ranging from letters and documents—one a fund-raising letter for Tuskegee signed by Booker T. Washington—to one of the nation’s largest private collections of Edison cylinders, a kind of early phonograph record.

“Most of the collection has been in warehouse storage for a number of years, carefully protected but not systematically organized,” says Oakley Coburn, dean of the library. “Now, Mr. Littlejohn, his son Rick, and other members of the family have sought our assistance as a repository for this collection. In cataloging and organizing this collection, Wofford will make these items of scholarly interest available for researchers.”

“For many years, the Broadus Littlejohn family owned and operated the Community Cash grocery store chain. They have been very important to Spartanburg business, church and civic life,” says Coburn. “The rare books room in our library honors them, and they have lent materials to us for special exhibits in the past.”

With funding from the Littlejohn family’s foundation, Wofford has been able to hire Luke Meagher as special archivist for the project. He joined the library staff in February.

A graduate of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Meagher holds graduate degrees from the University of British Columbia in both library science and archival studies. He has worked at the Vancouver City Archives, at the New York Historical Society, and at the University of British Columbia.

“In graduate school, all of us dreamed that we might get an opportunity like this. Because of the wide variety of materials in the collection, the Littlejohn collection is a totally fascinating challenge for an archivist.” says Meagher.

“We are now in the early stages of what might be called ‘box-by-box triage,’” he says. “Wofford will keep the items of scholarly interest; some personal items will be retained by the family.”

The Teszler Library will host an official opening for the Littlejohn collection Thursday, April 12, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Black Annex. At that time some of the more interesting items will be placed on public display.