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Edward Patterson “Ted” Riley Papers

 Collection
Identifier: SCU-SCPC-019
The collection consists of 3 linear feet of material, dating chiefly from 1952 to 1966, documenting Riley's long involvement with and leadership of the Democratic Parties of Greenville County and South Carolina, the South Carolina Bar Association, and American Legion Post 3 of Greenville. Due to mold damage the majority of the collection has been photocopied onto archival bond paper.

Dates

  • 1923-1979

Creator

Access

Library Use Only

Extent

3 Linear Feet

Abstract

Ted Riley served as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of South Carolina, 1933-1952, with an interlude of service in the Navy during World War II. In 1953, he became the Greenville County Attorney. Always active in Democratic Party politics, Riley chaired the Greenville County Democratic Party Executive Committee, 1954-1955, and the South Carolina Democratic Party for two terms, 1960-1964. Riley played an important role in John F. Kennedy's 1960 Presidential election. Riley resigned as County Attorney in 1978 to assist his son Richard W. Riley in a successful run for the governor's office.

Biographical Note

Edward Patterson “Ted” Riley [1900-1994], spent a lifetime in service to his community, state, and nation.

A native of Barnwell, Riley graduated from Barnwell High School in 1922. During a three-year hiatus during his high school education, Riley worked as a soda jerk, logger and semi-professional baseball player. After high school, Riley attended Furman University, where he was awarded an athletic scholarship and played both football and baseball, pledged Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and studied law. In 1926 he graduated as a member of the centennial class with Bachelor of Law and Doctor of Jurisprudence degrees.

Riley practiced law from 1926 until 1930 with the firm of Blythe and Bonham in Greenville. He married Martha Dixon of Williston in 1927 and they had two sons, Edward P. Riley, Jr., and Richard W. Riley. In 1930 he was appointed Judge of the Family Court in Greenville, and held this position until 1933 when he began work in the United States Attorney's office for the Western District of South Carolina as an Assistant United States Attorney. He held that position until 1942 when, with the country's entry into the Second World War, he joined the United States Navy. At war’s end, Riley had risen to the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

Riley resumed his position in the United States Attorney's office in 1945 and in 1952, his final year with that office, was acting United States Attorney. In the early 1950s Riley opened his own law firm in Greenville, and in 1952 was elected Greenville County Attorney, a position he held until his retirement in 1976. From 1958 until 1978, Riley served as Greenville County School Board Attorney, which involved him in the divisive school integration battles of the 1960s. Riley resigned in 1978 to assist his son Richard W. Riley in a successful run for the governor's office.

An impressive record of community leadership includes terms as President of the Greenville Kiwanis Club, 1948, Commander of the American Legion Post 3 in Greenville, 1950, President of the Greenville County Bar Association, 1951, and President of the South Carolina Bar Association, 1960 to 1964.

Always active in Democratic Party politics, Riley chaired the Greenville County Democratic Party Executive Committee from 1954 to 1955 and the South Carolina Democratic Party for two terms, from 1960 to 1964. Riley played an important role in John F. Kennedy’s 1960 Presidential election. Considered a safe state for Richard Nixon, Kennedy narrowly carried the state in a surprise victory.

Provenance

Donated by Edward Patterson “Ted” Riley.

Copyright

Copyright of the Edward Patterson “Ted” Riley papers has been transferred to the University of South Carolina.

Processing information

Processed by Herbert J. Hartsook, 1993; additions, 2016, by Chauna Carr.

Creator

Repository Details

Part of the South Carolina Political Collections Repository

Contact:
Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library
1322 Greene St.
University of South Carolina
Columbia SC 29208 USA
803-777-0577