Archive Spotlight: Book Lover’s Club by Kangkang Kovacs
This is the thirty-first annual program for the Book Lover’s Club, printed in 1938. On it listed the name of the President at the time, Mrs. Edna J. Robinson along with several prominent members including Susan Butler and Lois Simms. The Book Lover’s Club of Charleston was founded in 1927 by African American women as a literary club with the purpose to establish a high literary culture as well as to promote social improvement for African Americans in Charleston.
Susan Dart Butler (1888 – 1959) established the Dart Hall Branch of the Charleston Free Library and is considered one of South Carolina’s pioneer librarians. The Dart Hall Library was located on the corner of Bogard and Kracke streets, and it served only African American readers during the time of segregation. Butler is also noted for her strong leadership status within the community as she was the highest-ranking woman in the Charleston Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) (1917) and held the directorship of the South Carolina State Library Group in 1938, when this program was made.
Lois A. Simms was born in Charleston SC and she was the 1937 class valedictorian at the Avery Normal Institute. Simms continued her education at Barber Scotia Junior College and later received a B.A. in English and Social Studies at Johnson C. Smith University in 1941. She completed her Master of Arts in Education at Howard University in 1954. Simms taught at various schools in Charleston including the Avery Normal Institute, Laing High School, and Charleston High School. She was also an organist and one of the first volunteers at the Avery Research Center.