Skip to main content



The Personal series includes materials relating to Riley’s involvement as a private citizen with education and other issues and public interest groups, as well as files on his family, his campaigns for office, legal career, oral histories conducted with Riley, schedules, and travel. 1994 saw the passing of Riley’s father, “Mr. Ted,” at the age of 94, followed shortly by Riley’s undergoing cancer surgery. The collection includes condolence letters and get-well notes. Also included are letters of recommendation Riley sent for colleagues and friends seeking jobs or community service positions, and those being considered for awards.

Academic papers date from Riley’s work, circa 1987 to 1991, as a visiting professor at Austin Peay State University and at Harvard University, as well as various lectures he gave at Furman University and the University of South Carolina around the same time. Riley’s stint at Harvard, where he held an Institute of Politics Fellowship for the spring semester of 1990, is particularly well documented. His “study group” was titled “The Changing Role of Governors: Solving Problems vs. Cutting Ribbons,” and his lectures, as well as his selection of guest lecturers, illustrate his philosophy about executive government and his experiences in office.

Documents relating to Riley’s own school years are found under Personal, Education, and include class notes, report cards, and correspondence.

Campaign files detail Riley’s races for the House, Senate, and Governor, as well as his efforts for other candidates, including Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and numerous members of Congress. Of particular interest are the files documenting Riley’s campaign for governor in 1978. Riley entered the race early in 1977 and built a wide-ranging campaign organization, including finance and steering committees, advisory committees from the African-American, student, and senior citizen communities, and an “Educators and Parents for Riley” group. Also key to Riley’s ultimate come-from-behind victory was a strong county-by-county organization. Support from his hometown was enthusiastic, as indicated by an invitation to a Greenville fundraising event: “As a Greenville Senator and Representative for fourteen years, Dick has repeatedly demonstrated a rare quality of leadership and courage. This is the type of man that can lead South Carolina. There has not been a Governor from Greenville for seventy years. Therefore, we are counting on you to join in our efforts to elect Dick Riley the next Governor of South Carolina.” Responses to this invitation included a note from attorney Robert A. Clay of Greenville: “Be advised that although I am a former Chairman of the Republican Party in Greenville County, Dick has my absolute support, irrespective of who runs against him for Governor.” Also included are files relating to Riley’s 1982 re-election campaign, the first of its kind following the ratification of the constitutional amendment allowing gubernatorial succession.

Family papers include genealogical information as well as correspondence among Riley’s close-knit family. A highlight is a set of notes made by Ann “Tunky” Riley regarding various trips abroad and important events attended by the Rileys during their years in the public eye. Among others represented in the subseries are Riley’s father, E.P. “Ted” Riley, including the extensive condolence notes after his death in 1994, as well as Riley’s brother, Pat, and his mother, Martha. Ted Riley and Tunky Riley have collections under their own names at South Carolina Political Collections.

The Topical subseries of Personal depicts Riley’s continuing interest and involvement in education and children’s issues between his terms as governor and Secretary and following his service as Secretary. It includes material relating to the Riley Institute at Furman University, as well as documenting Riley’s activity in the Democratic Party. A substantial Persons subseries contains files on Jimmy Carter, Pat Conroy, Bryan Dorn, John Glenn, members of the Kennedy family, and others. Among the folders on Bill Clinton are many from Riley’s service on a 2001 panel selecting an Irish university to serve as the home for the William J. Clinton Centre for American Studies.


  • c. 1898 - 2018


From the Collection: 138 Linear Feet (138 boxes)


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