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Richard Furman and James C. Furman digital collection now available

Furman special collectionFurman University Special Collections & Archives has launched its Richard Furman and James C. Furman digital collection. The collection features more than 700 letters and sermons from Richard Furman (the University’s namesake) and James C. Furman (the University’s first president). The collection may be viewed at this link.

Richard Furman (1755-1825)

The collection contains 163 letters and 9 sermons from Richard Furman (1755-1825), a clergyman considered the most important Baptist leader before the Civil War. Furman was pastor of the First Baptist Church in Charleston, S.C., and became the first president of the Triennial Convention, the first national body of Baptists in America. Under Furman’s urging, education was endorsed as a formal element of the denomination’s program, eventually resulting in the founding of Columbian College (modern-day George Washington University) in 1821. Furman was also elected the first president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention in 1821. Furman University, the South’s first Baptist college, was posthumously named in his honor. The principal correspondents included in this digital collection include Oliver Hart, Charles Screven, Edmund Botsford, and Joseph B. Cook.

James Clement Furman (1809-1891)

The collection also contains 602 letters and 9 sermons from James Clement Furman (1809-1891). A son of Richard Furman, James C. Furman first joined the Furman faculty in 1845 and later became its first president in 1859, serving until 1879. Furman was instrumental in the institution’s move to Greenville in 1851. A leading voice among secessionists, Furman was a signer of the Ordinance of Secession in 1860. The university closed during the Civil War but reopened due to the perseverance of its president who would not abandon it. The letters in this digital collection reflect many of Furman University’s early struggles and triumphs.

For more information about the collection, please email digicenter@furman.edu, or contact Christy Allen, Assistant Director for Discovery Services, Furman University Libraries, at (864) 294-2258.

Last updated August 5, 2022
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Clinton Colmenares
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