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1978, Riley, Richard, Gubernatorial

 File — Box: 3
From the Collection: The Jack Bass Papers, c. 1936 to 2017, consist of 25 linear feet of material chiefly documenting Bass’s work in researching and writing his books. The collection is divided into nine series: Academic, Campaign, Journalism, Personal, Publications, Topical, Audiovisual, Clippings, and Vertical File Materials.

Academic, 1967-2011, documents Bass’s positions as a professor or instructor at various institutions. Material relates to job searches, classes taught, student work, and correspondence with other faculty members and students. The series also includes documentation of several projects undertaken by Bass, such as the American South Comes of Age Project and the William F. Winter Oral History Project. Of particular interest is a transcript of a 2005 roundtable discussion on Brown v. Board of Education, featuring Bass as one of the panelists.

At the University of Mississippi, Bass chaired the Journalism Department Chair Search Committee, in addition to teaching. In 1993, Bass drafted faculty senate legislation calling for an end to the playing of “Dixie” at university events. Papers from the ensuing controversy include correspondence and the university senate act. While at South Carolina State College, Bass worked on a book on black leadership. Although a book never materialized, correspondence, proposals, and research materials related to the project are included.

At the University of South Carolina, Bass developed a 14-part television course, “The American South Comes of Age” (ASCOA) and edited the accompanying study guide. Papers include grant applications, an instructor’s guide, and two versions of the study guide. In the midst of development, Bass became involved in a lengthy dispute with the university over contractual issues related to ASCOA and its marketing. In conjunction with the course, Bass also served as director of the documentary, “A Different Dixie: Portraits of Change.” Budgets, information on actors, and funding requests are included.

Campaign, 1971-1988, chiefly documents Bass’s 1978 run for Congress. Topical files represent Bass’s positions on key issues from abortion to labor. In particular, Bass championed environmental issues and received much correspondence related to nuclear waste and the Russell Dam. After his defeat, condolence letters poured in from citizen supporters and politicians, including Vice President Walter Mondale and Senator Ernest F. Hollings. Other files document Bass’s involvement with various Democratic gubernatorial, senatorial, and presidential campaigns. For some candidates, he authored speeches and press releases; for others, he simply offered words of encouragement.

Journalism, 1959-2016, features articles authored by Bass, arranged chronologically and listed in Appendix I. The majority of material comes from Bass’s work as a reporter and bureau chief for The Charlotte Observer and The State newspapers. Both the General file and the files on various magazines, journals, and newspapers document article ideas, publication details, and the working relationship Bass had with colleagues. A number of book reviews written by Bass, 1976 to 2005, are listed in Appendix II. Material relating to Bass’s publication of The West Ashley Journal details the challenges and rewards of publishing a newspaper.

In 1998, Bass participated in a project initiated by the University of Maryland, titled “The State of the American Newspaper.” Articles, circulation statistics, interview notes, and issues of the American Journalism Review document Bass’s extensive research for the project. Several West Coast newspapers, used as research materials, were removed from the collection. They include Feb. 10, 1999, editions of The Argus, The Daily Review, The Oakland Tribune (Cityside and Eastbay Hills editions), San Mateo County Times (morning, noon, and evening editions), Alameda Times-Star, and Tri-Valley Herald (Livermore, Pleasanton, and Dublin; San Ramon, Danville, and Blackhawk; Tracy, Mantera, and Lathrop editions).

Personal, 1954-2012, includes information on Bass’s family, education, military service, and membership activities in various organizations. Bass also kept diaries in reporter’s notebooks intermittently from 1973 to 1991. Material documenting the 2010 senatorial campaign of Bass’s wife, Nathalie Dupree, is present, as well as a book tracing the Bass family history. Over 25 speeches on such topics as the Orangeburg Massacre, Southern politics, and civil rights are listed in Appendix III.

Publications, 1968-2015, comprise the largest series, arranged chronologically by title. Each major publication includes correspondence with literary agents, publishers, and readers, as well as promotional and research materials. Drafts files consist of many rewrites and revisions made to works.

Research materials for The Orangeburg Massacre include correspondence with Governor Robert E. McNair, Cleveland Sellers, Jr., and South Carolina State College students John Stroman and John Bogert. Bass and Nelson’s frustrations in getting the book published are also documented. There are also materials on two proposed films and two radio programs based on the book.

There is a significant amount of research material for The Transformation of Southern Politics that reflects the travels of Bass and co-author Walter DeVries. Materials include notes, correspondence with interviewees, and interview transcripts. The pair also gathered statistical data on political leanings throughout the South from a number of research groups. Materials from 1993 to 1994 reflect research undertaken for the 1995 reprint of the book.

Research materials for Unlikely Heroes mainly consist of interviews with judges John R. Brown, Elbert P. Tuttle, John Minor Wisdom, and Frank M. Johnson, Jr. Bass supplemented this research with correspondence and interviews with clerks, politicians, and others with strong connections to the judges. Interestingly, one of the longer transcripts comes from Bass’s interview with the daughter of Judge John M. Wisdom, Katherine. Two folders of correspondence between Bass and Judge Wisdom reveal a relationship that transcended the interview process. Also present is a screenplay, “Solomon’s Heart,” based on the book.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis served as Doubleday’s editor for Taming the Storm. Her correspondence with Bass reveals their professional working relationship. Material related to the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award is also present. Research at the John F. Kennedy Library and subsequent interviews with Georgia Governor Ernest Vandiver led to Bass’s discovery that it was not a call from Robert F. Kennedy to a judge in Georgia that got Martin Luther King, Jr. out of prison, but actually a call from John F. Kennedy to Vandiver. The Robert Kennedy story was a cover to protect the political interest of both the governor and then-presidential candidate Kennedy.

Materials for Ol’ Strom: An Unauthorized Biography of Strom Thurmond include Bass’s original 1979 book proposal and two versions of book proofs. Research materials include interview transcripts with Thurmond friends, staff, and family members. Documents related to daughter Essie Mae Washington-Williams include copies of her correspondence with then-Governor Thurmond, 1947-1950, and information related to her studies at South Carolina State College.

Much of the research for Strom: The Complicated Personal and Political Life of Strom Thurmond focuses on Essie Mae Washington-Williams. Correspondence between Bass, Thompson, and publisher Public Affairs highlight their concern with the editing process. Also present is a screenplay adapted from the book and written by Godfrey Cheshire.

Research for Justice Abandoned includes many Supreme Court decisions and legal briefs for cases that spanned the late 19th and 20th centuries.

Topical, c. 1960-2005, documents Bass’s interest in such subjects as the Confederate flag and the 1970 murder of Wallace Youmans. The file on the 1986 Tax Reform Act consists of correspondence with several congressmen, such as Ernest F. Hollings and Strom Thurmond. The Persons files contain either correspondence with or information about such people as Bill Clinton, Ernest F. Hollings, and Richard Riley. The Practice of Oral History file contains a list of questions for interviewing federal judges. Additionally, Bass was interested in the nomination of Ed Carnes, a possible successor to Judge Frank M. Johnson on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Materials highlight the support for and against the Carnes nomination. Documents from a 1983 reapportionment case, South Carolina v. United States/NAACP, include injunction materials, depositions, and reference materials. Materials related to the voting rights case, NAACP, Inc., et al. v. City of Columbia, SC, et al., for which Bass served as a consultant and expert witness, are also present.

Audiovisual, c. 1936-c. 2005, includes photographs, negatives, audiocassettes, and videocassettes. Photographs include a 1940 school portrait of “Jackie Bass,” Bass’s high school football portrait, and a picture of Bass and Nathalie Dupree greeting President Bill Clinton at the White House. Several photographs from Bass’s military service are also included. Audiocassettes document interviews mainly conducted for his books. A videocassette shows Bass’s appearance on the “Today Show” in September 1976. VHS tapes include interviews with William F. Winter.

Clippings, 1953-2016, are topically arranged. Many feature stories written by Bass and reflect his study of Southern politics and civil rights. Also, the Publications files contain research materials and reviews for several Bass works.

Vertical File Materials, 1993-2017, contain information gathered by SCPC relating to Bass and may duplicate information already present in the collection.


  • Other: 1971-1988

Conditions Governing Access

Library use only. Copyright of the Jack Bass Papers has been transferred to the University of South Carolina.


1 folder


Repository Details

Part of the South Carolina Political Collections Repository

Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library
1322 Greene St.
University of South Carolina
Columbia SC 29208 USA