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Phillis Wheatley Literary and Social Club Reading Room

Located on the Ground floor

The Reading Room is named in honor of the Phillis Wheatley Literary and Social Club, formed in Charleston, SC in 1916 under the direction of Jeanette Cox, wife of Avery Institute principal Benjamin Cox. The Club consisted of nineteen women members who met to discuss literary works by authors W.E.B. Dubois, Carter G. Woodson and others.  They also helped fulfull the mission to “lift as we climb” by taking an active role in Charleston’s African American community by donating funds to various organizations.  The club is still active.

Reference staff provides access to, and assistance in, using materials at the Avery Research Center. We welcome visits from students, staff, faculty, scholars and the general public.

The Avery Research Center staff provides research support services but does not conduct research projects. If you are unable to travel to Charleston, you may wish to consider hiring a local research assistant. Avery Research Center does not employ nor negotiate contracts with independent researchers.

All users of our collections are required to register annually. Registration insures permission to examine collection materials and agreement with Reading Room procedures. One form of current photographic identification is required.

Patrons may photocopy documents when such reproduction does not violate copyright laws or violate any restrictions imposed by the donor or causes damages to originals. Every effort is made to ensure accurate reproduction of originals, however, there is no guarantee that the materials will be suitable for reproduction or the researcher’s intended purpose. Proper citation of documents must include the following statement following the title of collection/papers: Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, College of Charleston, Box #, Folder #.

Click here to access reproduction and permission information and forms.

Reading Room hours are Monday – Friday, 10:00 am – 12:30 pm and 1:30 pm – 5:00 pm. Inquiries can be made in person, by telephone: 843-953-7608 or by emailing

MUSEUM TOURS: The Avery Research Center is currently open for guided tours by appointment and self-guided tours on selected days.

QUARTERLY OPEN HOUSE: The Avery Research Center currently offers self-guided tours each quarter (April, July, October, January) on Wednesdays. Advance registration requested.

ARCHIVES: Researchers must schedule a consultation BEFORE making a research appointment.