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Philip G. Grose Papers

 Collection
Identifier: SCU-SCPC-PGG
The Grose collection consists of twelve feet of material, mostly research materials for his books, South Carolina On the Brink: Robert McNair and the Politics of Civil Rights (2006) and Looking for Utopia: The Life and Times of John C. West (2011). Also included are records from Grose’s time as the head of the Executive Institute, 1989 to 2004.

The Personal series consists primarily of correspondence with individuals and organizations, 1978 to the 2000s, his resume, and various materials compiled while writing the biographies. Included are letters detailing his work advising ETV, his involvement in the Shandon Neighborhood Council, and relationships with friends in South Carolina and nationwide, such as Wilmot Shaw, an African American who frequently signed his letters, “your black brother” or “your militant buddy.”

Topical files regard Grose’s work for the State Reorganization Committee and the State Budget and Control Board, as well as an award received from the American Society of Public Administration. This series also documents various individuals and organizations that Grose advised, including the Psaras Foundation, a foundation that offered seed funding to nonprofit organizations in education and community service; and gubernatorial candidate Dwight Drake. Additionally, this series contains materials from a speech-writing course at USC in which Grose participated.

The largest series, Publications, consists of materials related to Grose’s career as a writer, primarily his two biographies, including research notes, oral histories, drafts, and publicity for each book. McNair materials include copies of the FBI Report from Orangeburg and the court case U.S. vs. Addy, along with correspondence related to the 1969 Charleston Hospital Strike and the 1970 USC student protest. West material includes oral histories with West, copies of documents from the Jimmy Carter Library, items detailing Saudi and American business and correspondence about the State Department’s censorship of John West’s journal. The series also contains items from an essay Grose worked on about the life of the Reverend Isaiah DeQuincey Newman.

Speeches contains drafts and final copies of speeches Grose wrote for governors McNair, West and Riley, and others. These are often are heavily marked for emphasis and editing, with additional notes and pages occasionally inserted as needed. Of particular interest are speeches McNair gave at South Carolina’s Tricentennial celebrations in 1970, in addition to those given at conferences and conventions both regionally and even internationally, including one given in Zurich for the American Chamber of Switzerland. Though not as extensive, the West speeches include several State of the State and other major speeches to the General Assembly, as well as a 2001 speech given at the USC Medical School’s Research Day.

The Executive Institute series comprises two feet of material documenting Grose’s long tenure (1989 to 2004) as the director. Items relate to the Institute’s founding, including its organizational documents, its alumni group, and participant information from its sessions. Included are case studies, often based on real life events such as the controversy surrounding the Patriot’s Point Naval and Maritime Museum in Charleston. This series also contains items from a similar institute, the Non-Profit Leadership Institute, at Francis Marion University.

Clippings consists of two feet of topically arranged material, chiefly from The State and the Charlotte Observer, from the 1960s to the 2000s. These clippings cover topics related to important events in South Carolina history, including the Orangeburg incident, the civil rights movement and student protest at USC, as well as various elections and persons from around the state, and on Saudi Arabia and the Middle East during Governor West’s term as ambassador.

Half a foot of Audiovisual materials include a DVD of Grose’s TV appearances; video cassettes of governors McNair, West, and Edwards; a videotape about Senator John Drummond and a selection of oral history interviews on cassette.

Ephemera includes John West’s yearbook, Grose’s tape recorder and a Silver Crane Sweet Dream Train in a tin.

Dates

  • 1966 - 2011

Creator

Access

Library use only.

Extent

11.5 Linear Feet

Abstract

Philip Gibbs Grose, Jr., was a journalist, government administrator, speechwriter, public affairs aficionado, and author. Grose devoted his life to writing about and serving the government of South Carolina. Throughout his life, Grose’s words and actions documented South Carolina’s move to become a modern state, but his name and words were hidden behind the guise of a political journalist and government bureaucrat until late in his life when he became a published author. His papers span his time as a government administrator to his later career as biographer of governors Robert McNair and John West.

Biographical Note

“His name may not be well known, but his words and phrases are broadly read and widely quoted. His work is evident throughout South Carolina state government, and serves as an inspiration to many of us who currently serve.” (Jim Clyburn May 13, 2004)

Philip Gibbs Grose, Jr., was a journalist, government administrator, speechwriter, public affairs aficionado, and author. Grose devoted his life to writing about and serving the government of South Carolina. Throughout his life, Grose’s words and actions documented South Carolina’s move to become a modern state, but his name and words were hidden behind the guise of a political journalist and government bureaucrat until late in his life when he became a published author. His papers span his time as a government administrator to his later career as biographer of governors Robert McNair and John West.

Grose was born in Greenville, South Carolina, on April 5, 1938, to Philip G. Grose, Sr. and Helen Layne Thompson Grose. Reared in Charlotte, North Carolina, Grose began his journalism career at the age of fourteen by phoning in sports stories from Piedmont Junior High School to the Charlotte Observer. This ignited a lifelong fascination with the written word and its role in daily life, and Grose remained a freelance writer for Charlotte Observer throughout high school. He graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1960 with a bachelor’s degree in English, then returned to the Charlotte Observer as a sports journalist, working his way up to heading the newspaper’s bureau in Gastonia. In 1962, an impulse to get away from sports writing and the South led Grose to move to New York City. While in New York, Grose covered the advertising industry for Broadcast Magazine, which provided him the opportunity to meet such notable individuals as David Ogilvy, the author of Confessions of an Advertising Man. Grose moved to Columbia, South Carolina, in 1963, to join The State and his future wife, then Virginia Maxwell (Ginny), who had transferred to the University of South Carolina. The two later had a daughter, Patricia.

Initially hired as a sports writer at The State, Grose soon became the business editor and later the government affairs editor, a position in which he thrived. This position allowed Grose to attend the 1968 Democratic and Republican national conventions. It was also in 1968 that Governor Robert McNair invited him to join his staff as news secretary and a research assistant, in particular aiding with speeches. McNair’s successor, John C. West, invited Grose to stay on as his Executive Assistant for Public Affairs.

After West left office, Grose was employed briefly as the Executive Assistant to the President of the University of South Carolina and as the Chief Deputy Commissioner of South Carolina’s Department of Social Services, 1975 to 1976. In 1976, he was hired to be the Director of the South Carolina State Reorganization Commission, where he served until 1987. In this position, Grose helped manage and streamline South Carolina government. In the fall of 1987, Grose was appointed Assistant Executive Director of the State Budget and Control Board, where he served until 1989.

Grose’s administrative positions gave him the necessary experience to serve as the director of the Executive Institute, 1989 to 2004. The Institute trained state government executives for increasing responsibility through a series of sessions featuring case studies, readings and lessons about state government. Between 1989 and 2008, the Institute trained over 850 individuals. Even after his retirement in 2004, Grose continued to assist the Institute with special projects, programs, alumni activities and general support. The Institute closed in 2008.

Towards the end of his career as a public administrator, Grose embarked upon a new career as a writer. Throughout the 1990s, he wrote articles on state government and public administration. Later in the 1990s, he and Cole Blease Graham, Jr. began a project to write a biography of former governor McNair. After a disagreement between the two men in 2000, Grose became the sole author of South Carolina on the Brink: Robert McNair and the Politics of Civil Rights, published by the University of South Carolina Press in 2006. To help support his research, Grose became a fellow of the Institute for Southern Studies.

Grose’s second book was his 2011 biography, Looking for Utopia: The Life and Times of John C. West. In authoring both of these books, Grose used his background as a journalist, and more importantly, drew upon his experiences in government. Though Grose enjoyed writing, he disliked the publishing process, stating, “I am most comfortable with being the double bass that lays down the rhythm line and causes a piece to hang together well, but almost no one notices. Publishing is being the trombone, spending your time out front.” This sentiment not only reflects Grose’s approach towards writing, but also his attitude towards his continued occupation as a speechwriter and political adviser for politicians and government officials throughout South Carolina, including Governor Richard Riley.

While completing his West biography, Grose began assisting Congressman James Clyburn with a memoir. Grose and Clyburn became friends while working in the West administration. Grose’s death on February 3, 2012, came as a shock to many as he had kept his diagnosis of leukemia quiet. Grose’s life not only reflects a career of public service, but also a lifelong fascination with the written word, having once reflected, “If I accomplish something in the world of writing, I will consider my life a success.”

Provenance

Donated by Philip G. Grose, Jr.

Copyright

Copyright of the Philip G. Grose Papers has been transferred to The University of South Carolina.

Processing Information

Processed by Caitlin Mans, 2013.

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

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