Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Mentor Library, Elloree, SC


In December 1886, Elloree, South Caroloina, was incorporated under the name Harlin City for Gen. John Harlin, a northern railroad man. In 1892, Mrs. Elizabeth E. Wells Snider, second wife of W. J. Snider, the town's founder, decided to call the community Elloree, which is an Indian language means The Home I Love. The legislature officially changed the name to Elloree.

The Mentor Book Club was organized in 1951 by several women in Elloree who were interested improving a public library. The club organized a town library in January 1953 after developing a book collection. Many fundraising events enabled the group to purchase an old ice house to house the library. Club members still own the library building and promote reading programs in the library and in the community. In 1972, The Mentor Library became a branch of the Orangeburg County library system.

A cookbook, compiled by members of the book club, includes recipes from their children and other family members. All of the original recipes of the Elloree Cookbook published in 1964 by The Mentor Book Club also are included. This cookbook is designed using pen and ink sketches of old buildings, schools and houses in the town for divider sheets. Other sketches of local interest are scattered throughout. In a related development we discovered that there is a china pattern called Elloree China produced by Noritake. Interesting stuff, but not our cup of tea exactly.

Sometimes researching these little towns is like some of the roads we take: convoluted, long and little to show for the trip. We didn't dig up any events of great moment, stunning facts or the kind of scandal so many folks long to know. Elloree and it's Mentor Library have certainly not been the hinge of fate in the history of the South, but it has a tradition of dedication to the enrichment which books bring to the lives of its citizens.


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