The Way It Was In Charleston, S.C.
Bound in handsome bonded leather and trimmed in goldleaf, The Way It Was is the first in the Evening Post Book’s Charleston Reader Series. The on-going series will offer snapshots of local history and each volume will be numbered.
This first book in the series also includes Blair Halford’s images of Ashley Hall, where Author Laura Witte and her five sisters grew up, and a summary history of the school by Dr. IleanaStrauch, an Ashley Hall School alumna. As with the book’s previous edition, it contains a superb forward by the late News and Courier columnist “Lord Ashley Cooper,” Frank Gilbreth.
As Mr. Gilbreth noted in his forward, “Laura Witte, in later life, set down these recollections at the insistence of her children, with no thought of publication. Endowed with a prodigious memory and a natural gift for vivid description, she has given us a picture of Charleston from 1882 to 1895 not found in our history books.”
An especially interesting book element involves the old images that family members provided, including a rare photograph of a picnic at Middleton Place in the 1880s. Overall, the volume takes to the current day what Tom Waring did in 1980 with his edited version, including an afterward that provides additional historical notes on the Witte, Reeves and Waring families. The new elements serve to link the education and experiences of the Witte girls with a century of educating young ladies at Ashley Hall School.
Keen observers of local history may recall with amusement that the Wittes enjoyed exotic pets. Thanks to the input of living family members, the book explains that the black bear was named Frederick and the alligator in the fountain was known as Wishy Washy. Various new details and perspectives help bring this classic memoir into an era in which Ashley Hall begins its second century of educating Lowcountry ladies.
Written by Laura Witte Waring