The Transylvania Times -

By Marcy Thompson
Picturing The Past 

U.D.C. Started First Transylvania Library


December 26, 2016

Postcard of Brevard's Transylvania Confederate Memorial Library operated by the Transylvania Chapter of the U.D.C.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy or U.D.C. is a patriotic organization of women descended from those who served for the Confederacy during the U.S. Civil War. Founded in Nashville, Tenn. in 1894, there were about 100,000 members in chapters throughout the Southeast at its peak around the time of World War I.

The Transylvania Chapter was chartered on June 7, 1911 with 25 members. Miss Annie Jean Gash was the first president. Their purpose was to aid Transylvania's Confederate veterans. They attended reunions, secured and presented Crosses of Honor, attended funeral services, purchased metal markers for graves and obtained government headstones.

In July 1912 the U.D.C. rented a room on the second floor of the Fraternity Building on South Broad St. to serve as a library. The collection consisted of 300 books willed to the town of Brevard by Lowndes Hume, son of Confederate veteran Robert W. Hume. In November they purchased the 600-square-foot bungalow beside the courthouse and relocated.

The library was originally open three afternoons a week. Membership was $1 annually and books were rented for 5 cents each for one week. The U.D.C. operated the library for over 30 years until 1944 when it became a public library supported by town, county and state funding.

In 1918 the Transylvania Chapter of the U.D.C. organized a Red Cross Unit to make hospital garments for soldiers. During WWI the Home Service Committee of the Red Cross Unit provided assistance to needy families of soldiers. They had office hours twice a week at the U.D.C. Library.

The local U.D.C. chapter filled another need of the town in 1918 by providing rest rooms for women visiting or shopping in downtown Brevard. A state law required the service and a Superior Court judge ruled that it would be enforced. Space was provided by an addition to the library. The County Commissioners paid for installation of plumbing and gave $50 annually for maintenance. The town of Brevard agreed to supply the water.

In addition to providing a lavatory the rooms offered a place for women to relax while in town. There was also a kitchenette to prepare refreshments for fundraisers and entertainments. One popular means of raising funds for U.D.C. activities and projects was to hold productions. Admission rang-ed from 25 cents for children to 60 cents for reser-ved seating.

U.D.C. Library sign made by Mr. Avery Case in 1932 is displayed in the Local History Room at the Transylvania County Library.

In a brief history of the Transylvania Chapter written by Mrs. J. M. Allison, she stated that the organization acted as a local social agency but was not very active on the state level. The Transylvania Chapter had 60-70 members in the early years but by 1950 it had dropped to just 10.

(Photographs and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit the NC Room during regular library hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about our history and see additional photographs. For more information, comments or suggestions contact Marcy at [email protected] or (828) 884-3151 ext. 242.)


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