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New book by CCU professor explores area history

July 30, 2007

"Old Times in Horry County: A Narrative History," a new book by Coastal Carolina University distinguished professor emeritus Randall Wells that chronicles the history of the area through interviews with 13 early 20th century Horry residents, has been published by The History Press.

This is the second book that has grown out of Wells' long involvement with the Horry County Oral History Project, which he founded and directed from 1989 to 2004 with support from CCU's Waccamaw Center for Cultural and Historical Studies. The goal of the project was to conduct and collect video and audio interviews with older residents of the county. More than 100 interviews of a varied cross-section of Horry County citizens were conducted through the project, mostly by Wells and the late historian and author Catherine Lewis with technical support from CCU's Department of Media Services.

"Swamp, Strand and Steamboat: Voices of Horry County, South Carolina, 1732-1954," published in 2004, also drew to a great extent from the video and audio interview collection, as well as from the Independent Republic Quarterly.

Local "living libraries" featured in the new book include: David Carr, Florence "Flossie" Sarvis Morris, Lillie Louise Brown Latimer and Ruth Clay "Sabe" Woodbury, Woodrow W. Long, Link Vereen, Carrie Daniels Doyle, Rilla Cook McCrackin, Gary M. Mincey and Douglas B. Bailey, S.F. Horton, Andrew Stanley and Julia Pryor Macklen.

Each chapter of the book is illustrated with pencil and ink drawings of the interviewees by artist Bob Graham of Mt. Pleasant.

Originally from Glen Ellyn, Ill., Wells became fascinated with the people and history of Horry County after moving to Conway in 1974, when he joined the CCU faculty. His experience as a newcomer to the area is the subject of his book "Along the Waccamaw" (1990, Algonquin Books). He earned a Ph.D. in English from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Wells will sign copies of the book Friday, Aug. 10 from 4 to 8 p.m. at Crown and Country Interior Design and Fine Furnishings in Conway. The books will be available for sale for $20. The book can also be purchased at Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Myrtle Beach, and in Conway at the CCU Bookstore, Lighthouse Christian Bookstore, Crown and Country Interiors, the Conway Visitors Center, Waterfront Gallery and the Horry County Museum.