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Alice Cheatham Babcock papers

Identifier: SCL-MS-12684

Teacher and avid gardener, Alice Hudson Cheatham was born in Appomattox, Virginia on April 17, 1899, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Cheatham. She attended Appomattox High School, graduating in 1915 and went on to obtain a Bachelor of Arts in 1919 from the Randolph-Macon Woman's College in Lynchburg, Virginia. She also married Havilah Babcock in 1919. During 1925 and 1926, she attended graduate courses at the College of William and Mary, and completed her Master of Education at the University of South Carolina in 1947.

Alice Babcock worked at Columbia High School from the early days of the Depression to the mid-sixties, first as a teacher of French and mathematics, and later as assistant principal and acting principal. Several of her former students wrote to her during their service in World War II. Both Babcocks were gardening enthusiasts, and they divided their turf according to their divergent tastes. Havilah was well-known for his vegetables, especially his tomatoes. Alice's trademark was the camellia. Every day during the camellia's blooming season, she would wear a fresh camellia pinned to her lapel. She also collected antique cut glass and was recognized as one of the foremost authorities on the subject in the Southeast.

A year after her death in 1990, Shandon United Methodist Church bought the Babcocks' house with plans to use the lot for parking. The church gave the house to a Columbia women who agreed to move it. Growing on the property were dozens of stately, decades-old camellia bushes planted by Alice Babcock. The church then offered the plants to the University, which used them to establish the Havilah and Alice Babcock Memorial Garden, located between the Osborne Administration and ROTC buildings. The papers of Alice Babcock consist primarily of correspondence with family members, as well as documentation of her education. The bulk of the material dates from 1962 - 1970.


  • 1915-1970
  • Majority of material found within 1950-1970


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

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


0.5 Linear Feet


General Correspondence: Chronologically arranged, this series is the primary location for correspondence and materials regarding family matters, except that which is found in the correspondence of Alice Cunningham, listed below.

Topical: This series consists of materials and correspondence regarding Alice Babcock's education and career, but the bulk of the material is the correspondence of her niece, Alice Cunningham.

Repository Details

Part of the South Caroliniana Library Repository

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

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