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Nick Andrew Theodore Papers

 Collection
Identifier: SCU-SCPC-095
The papers consist of 6 linear feet of material arranged in five series: Public, Personal, Speeches, Clippings, and Audiovisual. The public papers focus on Theodore’s time in the General Assembly. The largest category of topical material is education. Materials of interest are the Education Finance Act, which Theodore helped write in his time as Chairman of the House Education and Public Works Committee, and the Education Improvement Act. Personal papers are chiefly from his campaigns for Lieutenant Governor and Governor. Included are campaign memos, programs from fundraisers, and miscellaneous notes from the election. Also in this section are documents from his time in the Jaycees and his involvement in the Greek Orthodox Church. Speeches are arranged chronologically, 1974 to 2007, with over 20 undated speeches as well. Most of the speeches are final drafts that Theodore gave to various organizations during his years as Lieutenant Governor, 1987 to 1994. Clippings are arranged by topic, the bulk covering the 1994 election. Clippings from the 1986 and 1990 elections, activity with the Jaycees, and his time in the General Assembly are also present. A significant portion of this collection is photographs. There are many from campaign events and fundraisers, photos of Theodore with Campbell at different events, such as the Mellow Yellow 500, and an album of photos from his visit to Sumter School District in 1987.

Dates

  • 1960 - 1999

Creator

Extent

6 Linear Feet

Biographical / Historical

Nick Theodore was born on September 16, 1928 in Greenville, SC to Andrew and Lula Theodore who had emigrated from Greece. In 1952, he graduated from Furman University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business. He married Emilie Demosthenes of Savannah, Georgia in 1955. They have three children, Drew, Angela, and Stephanie, and twelve grandchildren.

Theodore became interested in politics at a young age. He was elected president of his senior class at Greenville High School and was elected Master Counselor of the Order of DeMolay, an international fraternal organization for young men ages 12 to 21. Upon graduating Furman University with a Bachelor of Business degree, he opened an insurance business. He became active in the Chamber of Commerce, Red Cross, Greenville Museum of Art, and the Little Theater. The Greenville Jaycees named him “Rookie of the Year.” In 1957-1958, he was president of the Greenville chapter and in 1961-1962, he was president of the South Carolina Jaycees. In 1962, Theodore was named Outstanding Young Man of Greenville and South Carolina. Theodore is also active with St. George Greek Orthodox Church, where he has served as a deacon. He served on the Board of Trustees of the University of South Carolina as well as the Boards of Visitors at Clemson University, Winthrop University, and The Citadel.

In 1963, Theodore became the first Hellenic-American elected to the South Carolina State Legislature. This began a twenty-four year tenure in state government before being elected Lieutenant Governor. He served in the House from 1963 to 1966 and 1970 to 1978 and in the Senate from 1967 to 1968 and 1981 to 1986. In the General Assembly, he held many posts including Chairman of the House Education and Public Works Committee, Chairman of the Joint Legislative State Employees Committee, and Co-Chairman of the South Carolina Commission on Government Restructuring. Theodore authored several pieces of legislation to improve education, including the Education Finance Act of 1977, and helped establish the Restructuring of the Higher Education Commission. He also created the Crime Victims Bill of Rights and pushed the bills requiring mandatory jail sentences for armed robbers and allowing drivers to turn right on red. In 1986, Theodore won the race for Lieutenant Governor and Carroll Campbell won the race for Governor. Campbell had beaten Theodore in a 1978 race for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, one of the first major victories for Republican strategist Lee Atwater. They were each re-elected in 1990. Though Campbell was a Republican and Theodore was a Democrat, they were able to work together effectively during their eight years in office. Theodore won the Democratic nomination for Governor in 1994 over Charleston Mayor Joe Riley. However, he lost the general election to David Beasley, Campbell’s protégé. Theodore tried to regain the Lieutenant Governor position in 1998, but lost to incumbent Bob Peeler in the general election. In 2002, Theodore accepted an appointment as Interim Commissioner for the Public Service Commission.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Nick A. Theodore

Legal Status

Copyright of the Nick Andrew Theodore Papers has been transferred to the University of South Carolina

Processing Information

2011 by Virginia W. Blake

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