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C. Hardy Oliver Papers

 Collection — Folder: Job Number
Identifier: SCL-VM-R
Chronology 1910 - Oliver was born in Norfolk, Virginia, to Sewall Semble Oliver and Lucy Hardy Oliver; grew up in Columbia, S.C.

1933 - Graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture.

1936 - Married Miss Eleanor McKinnon and moved to Columbia from Hartsville, S.C.

1937-1955 - Started an architectural firm with Alexander Archibald Dickson in Columbia.

1942-1945 - Employed by the U.S. Army Engineers; designed dormitoties for the "secret city" of Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

1950-1951 - Designed Lawton Music Building at Coker College in Hartsville.

1955-1972 - Employed as a staff architect at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

1977 - Retired to Hartsville.

2006 - Died in Columbia.

The collection consists of over 130 project records that document the work and career of C. Hardy Oliver from 1936 to 1955. The collection is comprised of architectural drawings and sketches of various types of buildings: commercial, religious, residential, educational, and recreational. The drawings are arranged by the geographic location of the projects.


  • 1936 - 1955

Conditions Governing Access

All rights reside with the creator. For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact The South Caroliniana Library.

Conditions Governing Use

Collection is open for research.


2 Linear Feet

Biographical / Historical

Caldwell Hardy Oliver, Sr., was born on November 20, 1910, in Norfolk, Virginia. He was the son of Sewall Kemble Oliver and Lucy Hardy Oliver and grew up in the Shandon section of Columbia. After graduating from Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania, he attended Yale University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in architecture in 1933. Advancing to the next level, he obtained his master's degree from the Yale University School of Architecture. He returned to South Carolina and settled in Hartsville where he started an architectural practice. In 1936, he married Miss Eleanor McKinnon, they subsequently moved to Columbia where their two sons were born. Oliver formed a partnership with Alexander Archibald Dickson, and they ran an architectural firm from 1937-1955. Some highlights of their work during the pre-World War II years include alterations to the USC president's house and to USC Harper College.

During World War II, the U.S. Army Engineers employed Oliver's architectural services in both Charleston and the "secret city" of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where the uranium material for the atomic bomb was produced. At the end of the war, Defense Secretary Henry Stimson cited him for his contribution to the Manhattan Project. Following the war, he resumed his practice with Dickson in Columbia, and they designed many private residences, churches, and other public buildings throughout South Carolina. During this time, he also served as President of the S.C. Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. A few notable accomplishements during this period include a building to house Clemson College's agricultural ngineering program and a building for Oliver Motor Company, owned by his brother Sewall Kemble Oliver, Jr.

Another notble builing was the Lawton Music Building at Coker College in Hartsville, which led to his position as a staff architect at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. From 1955 to 1972, he designed university buildings and served as the architectural liason between the university administration and outside architectural firms thorughout the United States. Two of his designs include a building for the university band and the expansion of the student union building.

After over 40 years of professional work, Oliver retired to Hartsville with his wife Eleanor in 1977, and they lived there until her death in 1993. Following his marriage to Mary Beth Stokes, he moved to an Episcopal retirement home in Athens, GA. In 2004, he returned to Columbia and lived in the S.C. Episcopal Home at Still Hopes. He died on Aug. 21, 2006.

Repository Details

Part of the South Caroliniana Library Repository

910 Sumter St.
University of South Carolina
Columbia SC 29208 USA
(803) 777-5747 (Fax)

Elizabeth Bilderback
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