HCF’s First Scholar in Residence Researches Reconstruction
Historic Columbia Foundation’s first Modjeska Simkins Scholar-in-Residence, Yale doctoral candidate Caitlin Verboon, recently concluded her research here in Columbia on the Reconstruction era (1865-1877). One of our goals for Caitlin’s tenure was to gather supporting documentation for our reinterpretation of the Woodrow Wilson Family Home because it was during the height of Reconstruction in 1870 that the Wilson family moved here from Augusta, Georgia. Verboon examined how relationships between all of Columbia and South Carolina’s citizens, black and white; northern and southern, urban and rural, helped shape Columbia’s physical and social landscapes. Her findings, combined with work that Historic Columbia Foundation staff members conducted simultaneously, will inform the future interpretation of the Woodrow Wilson Family Home.
According to Verboon, “Looking at the Wilsons and their environment in conjunction helps us to craft a richer and more nuanced portrait of the city and the ways politics was not confined to a narrow political sphere, as well as of the future president himself.”
A physical link to this often under discussed time period, the Wilson Home connects the antebellum and Civil War eras represented at the Hampton-Preston Mansion with the Jim Crow and Civil Rights eras represented at the Mann-Simons Site and the Modjeska Simkins House, respectively.