OUR COUNTRY FIRST, THEN GREENVILLE: In Conversation With Courtney L. Tollison Hartness

OUR COUNTRY FIRST, THEN GREENVILLE: In Conversation With Courtney L. Tollison Hartness

September 12th 2023 | 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Dr. Courtney L. Tollison Hartness from Furman University will be in-conversation with Diane Vecchio at Hub City Bookshop, discussing Tollison's book Our Country First, Then Greenville! The book focuses on Greenville during World War I, perfect regional and World War history enthusiasts!


About the Book

Our Country First, Then Greenville places Greenville's experience during World War I within the context of the progressive era to better understand the rise of this New South city. 

Greenville, South Carolina has become an attractive destination, frequently included in lists of the "Best Small Cities" in America. While Greenville's twenty-first-century Renaissance has been impressive, in "Our Country First, Then Greenville," Courtney L. Tollison Hartness explores an earlier period, revealing how Greenville's experience during World War I served to generate massive development in the city and the region. It was this moment that catalyzed Greenville's development into a modern city, setting the stage for the continued growth that persists into the present-day.

"Our Country First, Then Greenville" explores Greenville's home-front experience of race relations, dramatic population growth (the number of Greenville residents nearly tripled between 1900 and 1930s), the women's suffrage movement, and the contributions of African Americans and women to Greenville's history. This important work features photos of Greenville, found in archival collections throughout the country and dating back over one hundred years.

About the Author

Dr. Courtney Tollison is Distinguished Public Historian and University Scholar at Furman. Previously, she served as the Founding Historian for the Upcountry History Museum-Furman University and Founding Director of the Furman University Oral History Project. She specializes in modern American history, particularly in South Carolina and the Upstate, and in Public History.

She has been a Fulbright Scholar (Ukraine) and a fellow in Columbia University’s Oral History Research Office, a recipient of a grant from ASIANetwork’s Faculty Enhancement Program (India), and is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Military History Instructors Program at Fort Leavenworth, and the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leadership Initiative.

She has published two books, curated three museum exhibits, worked on several documentaries, conducted over 100 oral histories, and served as historian for memorials, markers, and sculptures throughout downtown Greenville, including the Major Rudolf Anderson Memorial.

As a public historian, Tollison maintains an active presence in the humanities across the state. She serves on the boards of the S.C. Historical Society, Humanities Council SC, S.C. Sesquicentennial Commission of the Civil War, S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, the Advisory Board of the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation, and Christ Church Episcopal School Alumni Board. She also served as the Program Chair for Greenville’s Year of Altruism.

She has been featured on WYFF-TV, WSPA-TV, SC-ETV, SC-ETV Radio, and has published in The Greenville News, TOWN, Belle, Post and Courier (Charleston), and the Greenville Journal, where she writes a regular column on local history. In addition to many local publications, she has also been interviewed in nationally prominent publications like The Boston Globe, USA Today, the History Channel, and ABC News.

About the Conversation Partner

Diane C. Vecchio is a native of Cortland, New York.  She was educated at State University of New York and earned MA and Ph.D. degrees in History from Syracuse University. The author of multiple chapters and articles in scholarly journals on Italian and Jewish immigrants in America, she has also published on the history of upstate South Carolina. Her book titled Merchants, Midwives, and Laboring Women. Italian Migrants in Urban America was published by the University of Illinois Press, a leading publisher in immigration history.

Vecchio recently retired from Furman University where she was professor of history and chair of the History Department She resides in Spartanburg.

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