Hayden R. Smith ’95/courtesy photo

Shelf Life

South Carolina’s rice history, a lost baby with magical friends, and words that glimmer

Based on author submissions and promotional notes

Carolina’s Golden Fields: Inland Rice Cultivation in the South Carolina Lowcountry, 1670-1860

By Hayden R. Smith ’95

(Cambridge University Press)
Smith uncovers the often elusive and mysterious history of the early rice industry in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Inland rice agriculture provided a foundation for South Carolina colonial plantations and enabled planters’ participation in the Atlantic economy, dependence on enslaved labor, and dramatic alteration of the natural landscape. Moreover, the growing population of enslaved Africans led to a diversely-acculturated landscape unique to the Southeastern Coastal Plain. Despite this significance, previous historians categorized inland rice cultivation in a universal and simplistic manner. Smith challenges these interpretations by examining the environmental and technological complexity of South Carolina inland rice plantations, focusing on planters’ and slaves’ creative alteration of the inland landscape. Through detailed environmental understanding and mastery of primary sources, Smith’s book is for audiences interested in South Carolina history, agricultural history, the history of technology and African American history. Smith teaches in the Department of History at the College of Charleston. He majored in history at Furman and took classes with history professors Lloyd Benson, A.V. Huff (professor emeritus) and Stephen O’Neill ’84.

As for his favorite recipes? Smith recommends this Charleston Crisp-crusted Crab Pilau. Here’s how to get started:

“Cooking the rice is so simple: 1 part rice with 2 parts water in a 12-inche skillet with a tight-fitting lid. Drag a fork through the rice once! Add one tablespoon of butter and place lid on the pan. Cook on low heat for 20 minutes. Turn off heat, remove lid, and fluff rice with the fork.” – Hayden R. Smith ’95

The Beauts

By Terri McCord ’86

(Finishing Line Press)
Terri McCord’s latest poetry collection, “The Beauts,” focuses on her unique, sometimes quirky perceptions about the world. Many of the poetic stories are nature-centered (or even science-centered) and describe the relationships we have with others, our furry friends and with the universe. McCord also loves to play with the sounds of language (as in “sky in silt as we drift”). The book’s title refers to beauts in several ways, not just as a fine example of something, but also as a kind or trustworthy person, and as an exclamation of pleasure. A visual artist as well as a poet and photographer, McCord loves images and color. “I continue to be surprised and delighted by her visual imagination. She sees both clearly and deeply – as her words sometimes glimmer, sometimes flare, always illuminate. This is a lovely book,” says Gilbert Allen, professor emeritus, with whom McCord took courses at Furman where she majored in English and art education. McCord’s works are included in the S.C. Poetry Archives, and she works with children and adults in visual art and writing.

Majelica’s Magical Moment

By Nancy Blackwell Bourne ’62

At the age of 80, Nancy Blackwell Bourne wrote and illustrated her first book, “Majelica’s Magical Moment,” a children’s book based loosely on a true story of a baby elephant left behind by her family at a watering hole at Kruger National Park in South Africa. Majelica wanders all day, becoming increasingly scared. Another herd of elephants comes to the watering hole to drink but refuses to let her join them. Fantasy takes over as the baby makes friends with the other animals – a butterfly, crocodile, zebra, rhino, giraffe and hippo. Finally, the baby elephant’s family returns and rejoices to see Majelica after fearing they had lost her along their journey. Bourne was a chemistry major at Furman, taught math at Winyah High School in Georgetown, South Carolina, and later became an insurance agent. She wrote the rhyming story with her right hand and painted the 32 watercolor illustrations with her left hand. Bourne divides her time between Asheville, North Carolina, and Pawleys Island, South Carolina.

Visit the Furman on Main section at M. Judson Booksellers, our partners in downtown Greenville, for Furman tees, gifts and books by Furman authors. MJUDSONBOOKS.COM.

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