When I visited the South Carolina Fall Forum, one of the most interesting exhibits was on the scrapbook of one of the earliest state regents, Grace Loagan Marshall, which an antique dealer bought at a warehouse sale in 2010. Through the SCDAR, the scrapbook was returned to the grandson who in turn donated the scrapbook to the SCDAR. It eventually found its way into the hands of Penny Renwick who now serves as State Curator. Through Penny’s efforts, the scrapbook has been digitized and a great deal of the early history of South Carolina DAR has been preserved. In appreciation of the family’s generosity, a special acquisition ceremony was planned at which Penny shared her research of Grace Marshall’s administration, enlightening the audience as well as Mrs. Marshall’s grandsons.
Penny became passionate about preserving the history of the South Carolina state regents and developed a project known as “Reflections of Our Treasured Past: Honoring the Service of Our Former State Regents” consisting of displays, shadow boxes highlighting the service of each state regent’s administration, and heirloom scrapbooks featuring in detail the service of every state regent of the SCDAR. It has since evolved to include a blog and website for those members unable to attend the state meetings to view the displays in person as well as other information that cannot be included in the displays.
One of the SCDAR daughters, Sara Aldrich Richardson Stork, was so impressed with the project that she donated the scrapbook of her great-grandmother, Sarah Aldrich Richardson. Mrs. Richardson was the 3rd State Regent, serving from 1900-1906.
In addition to the scrapbook and photos, Penny created a beautiful display including the carved coral and gold jewelry set that Mrs. Richardson wore in the photo. Sara and her sister Tracy Johnston also brought the onyx and pearl mourning necklace that her great-grandmother wore following the death of her father.
In addition to viewing the displays of Grace Colglazier Marshall and Sarah Aldrich Richardson, members were able to see the original 1896 chapter charter of the Rebecca Motte Chapter, the chapter minutes from 1895-1909, and the handwritten membership roll from 1902-1976 while Penny discussed the importance of conserving and digitizing records.
In fact, Penny became so passionate about the urgency to digitize records that she presented a webinar in 2012 detailing how to digitize chapter records.
A professional educator, Penny is now educating SCDAR members about the need to preserve our own heritage through digitization of records. As Penny stated, “We cannot honor our heritage if we haven’t preserved it. We cannot teach the future generations without the treasures of our past. We cannot Celebrate America if we don’t have America’s story to celebrate.”