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Columbia writer introduces book on Darlington County
By Ashley Waddell   - 06/18/2008

Darlington News & Press

Amazed by the copious amounts of documents and images on display at the Darlington County Historical Commission, Columbia resident and freelance writer Mary Anne Hamblen, along with Arcadia Publishing, produced a book featuring more than 200 vintage photographs, each with a detailed description, as well as information on the county’s rustic communities; agriculture, industry and entrepreneurship; worship and education; and festivals, occasions and associations.

Hamblen was first inspired by the rich history of Darlington County when she began conducting research on the Pee Dee region of South Carolina while working for the Teaching American History in South Carolina project, a professional development program for social studies teachers based at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History.

“Teachers in our program spent several hours in Darlington researching local history to include in their lesson plans,” explained Hamblen. “I was struck by the incredible collection of documents and images in the Darlington County Historical Commission archives, and I knew there was more than enough material for a book.”

Hamblen said she wanted to make the “wonderful and rich” history in Darlington County more accessible to the public, as well as document stories and photographs for historical preservation.

She credits much of her research and capabilities, if not all, to the local residents who shared their knowledge, memories and perspectives of the area. Those locals included Doris Gandy, director of the Darlington County Historical Commission, and Archivist Kay Williamson. Their extensive knowledge of the county was essential to the book’s overall effectiveness.

“The importance of local history in the story of our nation cannot be underrated,” said Hamblen. “I hope the book will portray to readers how meaningful and important the history of Darlington is to the state, and to the nation as a whole. It is offered as a testament to the strength, resourcefulness, diversity, and never-ending zest for life that Darlingtonians display, then and now.”

Hamblen said local readers will enjoy their “personal connections” with the book and the images of the area throughout the different eras. She said they’ll enjoy seeing the places they pass by every day, and will relive the stories that Darlingtonians have experienced since the county’s beginnings.

“Images of America: Darlington County” is just one in a series that began production by Arcadia Publishing in 1993 in order to preserve and share the history of hundreds of individual communities throughout the country. Each title records a town’s or city’s unique story through more than 200 historic images.

“Images of America: Darlington County” not only includes previously unseen and unpublished historic photographs from the Darlington County Historical Commission, but it also features the “everyday people” who helped make Darlington County what it is today; provides a look at county recreation to include hunting, fishing, swimming, picnics, fairs, Maypole dances and more; and represents many of the county’s crossroads communities, such as Society Hill, Lamar, Oates, Palmetto Township, Indian Branch and many more.

The book is available for $19.99 at local retailers, online bookstores and through Arcadia Publishing at www.arcadiapublishing.com or (888) 313-2665.

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