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Educator creates womens studies collection at CCU library

March 12, 2004

Educator Florida Yeldell has created a Womens Studies Collection of books at Coastal Carolina Universitys Kimbel Library.

The 89-year-old retired teacher was honored this week with a reception in her honor at Coastal. The collection is in memory of her father, Robert J. Jackson, who was a rural mail carrier in Georgetown County.

Our whole lives we were surrounded with books and magazines, she said, recalling that her father would bring home the undeliverable mail, which is how she learned to read. I wanted to remember Papa with books, biographies about women all over the world, to acknowledge the universality of women and to acknowledge we live in a global world.

The collection was established this week with an initial 135 volumes contributed by Sally Hare, director of Coastals Center for Education and Community. The books include biographies, autobiographies and nonfiction works by women. A selection committee will choose additional books to add to the ongoing collection, said Sallie Clarkson, head of Collection Management Services at Kimbel Library.

Yeldell was born in 1915 in Georgetown. Her mother died when she was 9, leaving her father to raise four young girls ages 5, 7, 8 and 9. She attended boarding school at Morris College where she earned her A.B. in English in 1936 before moving to Andrews where she taught fifth- and sixth-graders for two years.

During the Depression, Yeldell received a scholarship from the National Youth Administration to study history at Howard University, where she earned a masters degree in 1941. She also attended New York University for two terms. She worked for the government during World War II and then pursued a long career teaching at colleges in Texas. She first taught social studies at Butler College and taught U.S. history at Jarvis Christian College and Texas College. She taught at Prairie View A&M University from the early 1960s to 1979 when she retired.

Since her retirement, Yeldell has kept active by volunteering to teach history. Through the Art Works continuing education program, Yeldell and David Drayton, principal of the last black-only school in Georgetown County, have been teaching a course on the history of blacks in Georgetown County. She lives in Murrells Inlet and has one son, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.