College of Charleston Library
66 George Street
Charleston, SC 29424
Monday – Friday
9:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Title: Burnet R. Maybank Senatorial Papers
Collection #: 0085
Biographical Note: Burnet Rhett Maybank was born in Charleston, South Carolina to a prominent family in 1899. He graduated from Porter Military Academy before serving in the First World War. Maybank was a seaman and naval air cadet in the reserves from 1918-21. He graduated from the College of Charleston and developed a successful cotton exportation business. In 1927, Maybank won an election for alderman on the Charleston City Council. He served on the council until 1931, including a stint as mayor pro tempore in 1930.
In 1931, Maybank was elected mayor of Charleston. He served in that capacity for the bulk of the Great Depression (1931-1938). As mayor, Maybank was responsible for bringing federal "New Deal" dollars to Charleston. With federal assistance, Maybank helped to pave Charleston's streets, bring in new industry, and build affordable housing in the city. He also helped to create a sound fiscal policy that saved Charleston from financial collapse during the economic crisis of the 1930s.
Maybank was a staunch New Dealer, and a vocal supporter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. While mayor, Maybank also served as a member of the State Advisory Board of the Federal Administration of Public Works (1933 and 1934), as Chairman of the South Carolina Public Service Authority (1934-1939), and as a member of the Board of Bank Control (1933 and 1934).
Maybank was elected governor of the Palmetto State in 1939. During his brief tenure in the state's highest office, Maybank confronted the Ku Klux Klan, instituted reforms of the South Carolina criminal justice system, and initiated programs to improve the utility infrastructure of the state.
After just two full years as governor, Maybank was elected to the Senate to fill the seat that had been vacated by the departure of James F. Byrnes, who was nominated for a position on the United States Supreme Court. During his tenure in the Senate, Maybank served as the Chairman of the Banking and Finance Committee. He was also a member of the Appropriations Committee, and the Sub-Committee for Military Appropriations.
Senator Maybank died on September 1, 1954 at his vacation home in Flat Rock, North Carolina. His vacated seat in Congress was filled by J. Strom Thurmond.
Scope and Content Note: The Maybank Papers consists mainly of correspondence, government documents, photographs, and periodical and newspaper clippings concerning Maybank's Senatorial career. A small portion of the correspondence files are from the period between 1937 and 1940, but the vast majority of the collection covers Maybank's Senatorial Career from 1941-1954.
The Maybank Senatorial Papers provide a rich source for both South Carolina and national history. Possible research topics that the collection may inspire include: the management of the United States economy during World War II and the Korean War, the use of Nazi prisoner of war labor in South Carolina, the effects of rationing on the state's population, the impact of Detroit's shift to war production on South Carolina's automobile dealers, the growth of the state's military installations, the Korean War, the firing of General Douglas MacArthur by President Harry S. Truman, the nomination of J. Waties Waring to the judiciary, the end of the "All-White Primary" in South Carolina, the Rural Electrification Project, the Election of 1948 and the States' Rights Democrats (Dixiecrats), and the numerous other issues that affected both South Carolina and the nation between 1941 and 1954.
The collection also includes correspondence with state and national leaders including: J. Strom Thurmond, J. Waties Waring, Olin D. Johnston, Ellison D. "Cotton Ed" Smith, Edgar Brown, Henry Lockwood, Rear Admiral W.H. Allen (Commandant of the Charleston Navy Yard), J. Edgar Hoover, Harry S. Truman, James F. Byrnes, and Edmund Grice, Jr.
Organization Note: Whenever possible, the Maybank Papers have been kept in thier original order. The collection is divided into several parts. The Legislative Files (69 linear feet) consist of publications and correspondence related to specific legislation or proposed legislation. It is organized topically. The Correspondence Files are divided between Topical Correspondence (62 cubic feet) and Dated Correspondence (58 cubic feet). The Dated Correspondence is organized according to the last name of the correspondent. The Topical Correspondence is arranged according to specific subjects. All three portions of the collection are filed alphabetically by year.
Brown, Edgar A. (Edgar Allan), 1888-1975 -- Correspondence.
Byrnes, James F. (James Francis), 1882-1972 -- Correspondence.
Hoover, J. Edgar (John Edgar), 1895-1972 -- Correspondence.
Johnston, Olin D. (Olin Dewitt), 1896-1965 -- Correspondence.
MacArthur, Douglas, 1880-1964 -- Correspondence.
McCray, John Henry, 1910-1987 -- Correspondence.
Maybank, Burnet R. (Burnet Rhett), 1899-1954 -- Correspondence.
Smith, Ellison DuRant, 1866-1944 -- Correspondence.
Thurmond, Strom, 1902-2003 -- Correspondence.
Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972 -- Correspondence.
Waring, Julius Waties, 1880-1968 -- Correspondence.
Democratic Party (U.S.)
Progressive Democratic Party.
States' Rights Democratic Party -- History.
United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Appropriations.
United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Banking and Currency.
African Americans -- Civil rights -- South Carolina.
African Americans -- Suffrage -- South Carolina.
Agriculture -- South Carolina.
Civil rights -- United States.
Korean War, 1950-1953.
Political parties -- South Carolina -- History -- 20th century.
Rural electrification -- History -- 20th century.
Segregation -- South Carolina.
States' rights (American politics)
World War, 1939-1945 -- Economic aspects.
Rationing -- United States.
Electric utilities -- South Carolina.
Rural electrification -- South Carolina.
Nuclear facilities -- South Carolina.
Nuclear reactors -- South Carolina.
South Carolina -- Politics and government.
Waring, Julius Waties, 1880-1968 -- Correspondence.
Kefauver, Estes, 1903-1963 -- Correspondence.
Bilbo, Theodore Gilmore, 1877-1947 -- Correspondence.
South Carolina -- History -- 20th century.