A South Carolina man has a beautiful eight-volume set of Edward Gibbon’s famous History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire that he acquired inexpensively at a local library sale in Edgefield, South Carolina.
Dated 1789, these early volumes of the History are inscribed with the signature of John C. Calhoun. Could these possibly be the books of the famed 19th-century political giant and intellectual architect of the Confederacy?
Along with Daniel Webster of Massachusetts and Henry Clay of Kentucky, Calhoun was part of The Great Triumvirate of statesmen who set the terms of debate on the most challenging issues of their time, including banking, state’s rights, westward expansion, and slavery.
History Detectives heads to South Carolina to dig deep into these books to learn more about their possible original owner and shed light on the thinking of one of the most powerful politicians in 19th-century America.
- Related Investigation Civil War POW Photos Were these pictures made in a Civil War prison with a home-made camera?
- Also with Gwen Wright Pop Lloyd Baseball Field Why was this baseball field named after an African-American ballplayer in a time of racial tension?
- Related Investigation Civil War Letters What can these letters reveal about a racially-charged massacre on a Civil War battlefield?
- Also in Civil War: 1850-1877 Army Muster Roll What can a Continental Army muster roll tell us about this remarkable African-American soldier?
- Also with Gwen Wright Nora Holt Autograph Book Why did this Harlem Renaissance luminary own a book filled with U.S. Presidents' signatures?
- Also in Civil War: 1850-1877 Lincoln Oath Was this note penned by Abraham Lincoln?
This is a place for opinions, comments, questions and discussion; a place where viewers of History Detectives can express their points of view and connect with others who value history. We ask that posters be polite and respectful of all opinions. History Detectives reserves the right to delete comments that don’t conform to this conduct. We will not respond to every post, but will do our best to answer specific questions, or address an error.