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Personal collection of former Greenville mayor Max Heller available at Furman library

Last updated March 14, 2016

By Furman News

The late Max Heller played the lead role in the revitalization of downtown Greenville.

GREENVILLE, S.C.—The personal document collection of the late Max Heller is now available for public viewing in the James B. Duke Library at Furman University.

Heller, an eminent figure in the Greenville community who was instrumental in the revitalization of the city’s downtown area, died in June 2011.

Made available by Heller in 2009, the first installment of the collection includes mayoral, congressional and gubernatorial campaign materials, South Carolina State Development Board materials, and a history of Greenville development as described through magazine and newspaper articles.

The collection contains many interviews, both audio and video, and numerous speeches showcasing Heller’s life and contributions to Greenville and South Carolina.  His travels to Europe and Asia are also highlighted in photographs and documents.  Documents, photos, articles, albums and correspondence date from 1942 through 2007.

Earlier this year, Heller’s family donated an additional 15 boxes of materials to Furman’s Special Collections and Archives. An inventory for this collection is expected by summer 2012 and will be posted on the Special Collections and Archives website.

Heller was born in Vienna, Austria in 1919 and escaped the Holocaust in 1938 with his arrival in Greenville, where he worked in a shirt factory. By 1969, after successfully building his own shirt company, he retired to serve the citizens of Greenville and South Carolina. He served on the Greenville City Council, and two terms as mayor. During his tenure as mayor in the 1970s, the revitalization of downtown became a priority. Heller was later appointed chairman of the South Carolina State Development Board by then Governor Richard W. Riley.

Heller served on the Furman Board of Trustees, and was a trustee emeritus at the time of his death.  He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the university in 1975, as well as the Bell Tower Award in 1998 for his exceptional achievements and service to the university.  Furman also named its award-winning student volunteer program the Max and Trude Heller Service Corps.

Furman’s Special Collections and Archives is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

For more information about the Max Heller Collection, please contact or call 864-294-2194.

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Clinton Colmenares
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