Skip to main content

Carroll Ashmore Campbell, Jr. Papers

 Collection
Identifier: SCU-SCPC-071
The Campbell Collection consists of 34 linear feet of material, 1978 to 2001. The bulk of the collection documents Campbell‘s personal activities undertaken while governor of South Carolina (1987-1995) and President and CEO of the American Council on Life Insurance (ACLI, 1995-2001). These activities include his work in the National Governors Association and the Republican Party, his education and tax reform efforts as a member of several national policy groups, and his campaigns for public office. The Collection is organized into the following series: General, Campaign, Congressional, Speeches, Topical, Clippings, Audiovisual, and Vertical File Materials.

General (7 folders) contains personal correspondence regarding golfing and other outings, and miscellaneous correspondence relating to his service as Governor.

Campaign (1 linear ft.) contains scattered documentation of Campbell‘s run for a fourth term in Congress (1984) and a second term as governor (1990). Radio and television ads from Campbell‘s 1978, 1982, 1984, and 1986 campaign supplement this material and are found in the Audiovisual series.

Congressional (1 linear ft.) is made up of correspondence, scattered monthly newsletters, indices to press releases and weekly reports released by the congressional office from 1981-1984, and most significantly, a complete voting record for Campbell‘s four-term congressional career (1979-1987).

Speeches (7 linear ft.) contains speeches, many annotated, that Campbell made as candidate for Governor, as Governor, as President and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurance (ACLI), and as a private citizen. Speeches are listed individually in date order.

Topical (7 linear ft.) documents Campbell‘s activities during his two terms as governor, 1987-1995, and as President and CEO of ACLI, 1995-2001. The bulk of this series documents his efforts to bring industry to South Carolina and his involvement in the National Governor‘s Association and its Task Force on Education, the National Council on Education Standards and Testing, the National Education Goals Panel, the Southern Governors Association, the Republican Governors Association, the Republican Party and several presidential campaigns, the Tax Reform Commission (Kemp Commission), and ACLI.

Clippings (7.5 linear ft.) documents Campbell‘s two terms as governor. The governor‘s office organized clippings by a unique subject-classification scheme that it maintained throughout Campbell‘s eight years in office. That organization has been retained here, with cross references to more common terms provided.

Audiovisual (10 linear ft.) comprises the longest time-span of all the series, documenting Campbell‘s career from his 1978 election to Congress to his support of George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential election. Specifically, AV material documents his 1978, 1982, 1984, and 1986 campaigns for public office, his economic development efforts as governor (including BMW‘s arrival in the Upstate), his appearances in the national media as a leading Republican, and his work on the Bush (1988, 1992), Dole (1996), and Bush (2000) presidential campaigns. This series has material in over ten formats and is organized by format and then, by date.

Vertical File Materials (1 linear ft.) contain information gathered by SCPC relating to Campbell and may duplicate information already present in the collection.

Campbell‘s congressional papers are at Clemson University and his official gubernatorial records are at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History.

Dates

  • 1978 - 2015
  • Majority of material found within Bulk dates, 1987 - 2001

Creator

Access

Library use only.

Extent

36 Linear Feet

Abstract

In 1970 Carroll A. Campbell, Jr, was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives, where he represented Greenville County until 1974, when he ran unsuccessfully for Lieutenant Governor. He was elected to the state Senate in 1976. In 1978 he won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving South Carolina's Fourth District (Greenville-Spartanburg). He served four terms in Congress before returning to South Carolina in 1986 to seek the state's highest office, which he won to become only the second Republican since Reconstruction to serve as Governor of South Carolina (1987-1995).

The bulk of the collection documents Campbell's personal activities undertaken while Governor of South Carolina and President and CEO of the American Council on Life Insurance (ACLI, 1995-2001). These activities include his work in the National Governors Association and the Republican Party, his education and tax reform efforts as a member of several national policy groups, and his campaigns for public office.

Please Note: Campbell's congressional papers are at Clemson University and his official gubernatorial records are at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History.

Biographical Note

"With the passing of Carroll Campbell, South Carolina has lost one of her favorite sons. … Republicans of my generation owe a debt of gratitude to Governor Campbell for his role in building the modern Republican Party. His very successful eight years as Governor helped lay the groundwork for the Republican takeover of the state legislature which occurred after he left office," pronounced Lindsey Graham, one voice in a chorus honoring Campbell for his successes as governor and congressman and his dominance of Republican Party politics in the latter part of the twentieth century. "Carroll Campbell, more than any individual in this state, is responsible for the growth of the Republican Party," praised Ambassador to Canada and former Speaker of the South Carolina House David Wilkins (The State, Feb. 17, 1999). At the Republican Party's Silver Elephant Banquet honoring Campbell, he tipped his hat again, "Governor, thank you for seeing the mountaintop before many of us even knew it was there. Thank you for being our giant" (The State, Feb. 23, 2002). Following Campbell‘s death, Wilkins reflected, "Carroll Campbell knew if he built it, they would come. So he did. And they came – one precinct meeting, one fundraiser, one election at a time" (Greenville News, Dec. 7, 2005).

Campbell was born in Greenville, South Carolina on July 24, 1940, the son of Carroll Ashmore and Anne Williams Campbell. Campbell graduated from the prestigious McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, moving back to Greenville after graduation to work in a men‘s clothing store. He married Iris Faye Rhodes in September, 1959, and the couple had two sons, Carroll, III (b. 1964) and Richard Michael, II (b. 1968, named after Campbell‘s brother who died in Vietnam on May 7, 1968). Campbell returned to higher education as a congressman, earning his M.A. in Political Science from American University in 1985.

In 1970, after successful and varied careers in real estate development, horse breeding, and campaign consulting and management, Campbell won a seat in the South Carolina House of Representatives, representing Greenville County. Elected to a second term with the largest vote count received by any member of the House at that time, Campbell distinguished himself by serving as Assistant Minority Leader and being selected as the first Republican in a century to hold an office on a standing committee. Campbell ran for Lieutenant Governor in 1974, teaming with political strategist Lee Atwater as his campaign manager, but lost to Democrat Brantley Harvey. The newly-elected Republican Governor, James B. Edwards, invited Campbell to be his Executive Assistant, a position Campbell held until 1976 when he was elected once again to the General Assembly, this time to the Senate, representing District 2 [Greenville-Laurens].

In 1978, after serving one term in the state Senate, he won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving South Carolina‘s Fourth District [Greenville-Spartanburg]. He served four terms in Congress before returning to South Carolina in 1986 to seek the state's highest office in a race against Democratic Lt. Governor Mike Daniel. With Daniel's defeat, Campbell became only the second Republican since Reconstruction to serve as Governor of South Carolina. He would serve two terms, leaving office in January 1995 with a high seventy-two percent approval rating. As Governor, he is credited with helping South Carolina through the destruction of Hurricane Hugo, bringing $22 billion in capital investments to the state, and pushing through a plan to restructure state government. Campbell lured BMW to the Upstate to build its first North American plant, and helped recruit companies such as Hoffmann-La Roche and Fuji Photo Film Co. to the state.

Hastings Wyman wrote in his Carolina Report at the end of Campbell‘s second term, "Campbell's achievements are substantial in the areas in which he focused his administration‘s efforts: fiscal responsibility, government accountability and economic development. It is in these areas that Campbell‘s major accomplishments lie, a legacy that will both benefit (future governors) and grow in stature with time."

While Governor, he served in leadership positions on numerous regional and national policy boards. Among them: States' Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission (1987-1988), Chairman of the Southern Growth Policies Board (c.1988-1989), Chairman of the Southern Technology Council (late 1980s), Chairman of the Southern Governors Association (1991-1992), and Vice-Chair (1992-1993) and Chairman (1993-1994) of the National Governors Association. In addition, he was Southern Chairman for the George Bush for President Campaign of 1988 and national Co-Chairman and Southern Chairman of Bush‘s 1992 re-election effort.

Campbell was also Co-Chair of the National Governors Association Task Force on Education (1989-1990), Co-Chair of the National Council on Education Standards and Testing (1991), and Chairman of the National Education Goals Panel (1991-1992). Campbell's philosophy on education was, "You don't spend time with young people. You invest it. ... I believe in making an investment in young people by offering educational challenges through a better public school system and opportunities through the new jobs we're bringing to South Carolina" (speech, June 20, 1990).

When Campbell left the governor's office in 1995, he became President and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurance (ACLI) in Washington, D.C. While at ACLI, he was a member of the Tax Reform Commission (also known as the Kemp Commission), sat on the board of directors at Norfolk Southern Corp., and served as the national Co-Chairman of Bob Dole‘s 1996 presidential campaign. Oft-mentioned as a running mate for Bob Dole in 1996, a possible successor to Strom Thurmond upon his retirement, and an opponent to Fritz Hollings in the 1998 U.S. Senate race, Campbell himself admitted aspirations to hold public office once again.

In a letter to his fellow South Carolinians in October 2001, Campbell announced he had been diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, writing "One of my most cherished blessings was the honor of serving you in the State Legislature, Congress, and the Governor‘s Office. I want to thank you, the people of South Carolina, for all that you have meant to my family and me" (The State, Oct. 5, 2001). He retired from ACLI in late 2001, returning to South Carolina to reside with his wife, Iris, in DeBordieu. Campbell passed away in December, 2005.

Provenance

Donated by Carroll A. Campbell, Jr.

Copyright

Copyright of the Carroll A. Campbell, Jr. Papers has been transferred to the University of South Carolina

Processing Information

Processed by Lori Schwartz and Dorothy Hazelrigg, 2004.

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