Richland Library welcomes items from the personal Holocaust collection of Dr. Selden K. Smith. Housed primarily at Richland Library Main, the collection features over 250 items including biographies, histories, religious texts, and even cookbooks.
The Dr. Selden K. Smith Holocaust Collection was donated to Richland Library by the Columbia Holocaust Education Commission. The partnership will allow the collection to be more easily available to our community – particularly educators.
Dr. Smith received the Order of the Palmetto (1997) and was a United States Navy veteran of the Korean War, among many other distinctions. A Professor of History at Columbia College for 37 years, he realized his knowledge of the Holocaust was incomplete when one of his students in the late 1970s asked him to teach about the subject.
He began expanding the scope of his education by attending a conference on teaching the Holocaust held at Emory University. That conference transformed his life, was the genesis of his scholarly focus, and became his social and educational mission. He thereafter devoted his life to justice, tolerance, and combatting hatred.
His ongoing research into the Holocaust led him to establish dozens of personal connections with Holocaust survivors and liberators in South Carolina, and he often acknowledged how much those relationships enriched his life.
He served on the South Carolina Council on the Holocaust from its foundation in 1989 and was named Chair Emeritus when he no longer served officially.
Education was his passion, and he proposed intensive teacher training and advocated for students who were interested in Holocaust education. Beginning in 1994, he organized and team-taught a workshop for South Carolina’s public and private school teachers on how to teach young students about the Holocaust. Hundreds of the state’s educators completed his course, and they in turn have taught thousands of their own students.
In 2014, he was honored with the foundation of a scholarship at Columbia College, the Selden K. Smith Endowed Scholarship for Student Global Experience. It offers students the chance to learn through travel and study abroad. The Selden K. Smith Holocaust Education Foundation was formed in October 2019 to further the programs of the South Carolina Council on the Holocaust. The Foundation functions as a private source of funding for support of Holocaust educational projects and teacher training in South Carolina.
The Holocaust revealed to the world the terrible tragedy of what hatred and prejudice can do. Isn't it possible that we can learn from the study of history that intolerance and hatred must be fought and attitudes changed in hope that such atrocities will become events of the past, not present or future? Holocaust education has a role to play in our society and in the classroom for democracy, social justice and civic responsibility.
The Selden K. Smith Holocaust Education Foundation is working toward this reality.
Richland Library cardholders can browse the Dr. Selden K. Smith Holocaust Collection at our Main location on the third level. All Items from the collection may be checked out, and holds may be placed for delivery to all of our 13 locations. View all the collection's titles in these lists: Selden K. Smith Holocaust Collection, Part 1 and Selden K. Smith Holocaust Collection, Part 2.