Charleston has always held a fascination for its visitors. Today there remains a nacreous patina that overlays this old city, a pentimento suggestive not only of artifacts beneath the surface but also gradations of history. It suggests an excavation of its centuries-old layers. This presentation allows us to do just that, to venture back through the firsthand observations left by explorers, travelers and other visitors to Charleston, from its founding to the first shot of the Civil War. As these visitors ambled over the region, they left a record of past eras. It is interesting to witness through their eyes not only the inns and hotels, city streets and houses, gardens, plantations, churches, and cemeteries, but the escalating viewpoints that ultimately contributed to the Civil War. As well, these visitors describe what they ate, the manner of dining and entertaining, the St. Cecilia ball. They document slaves and slavery. They encounter forgotten people, who are brought back to life in their chronicles. And who were these travelers to Charleston? This is an opportunity to step back in time and observe the bygone society, culture, and politics of old Charleston, and view history firsthand.
A general reading and discussion of The Traveler’s Charleston, followed by Q&A