Rachel C. Mather came to Beaufort, SC in 1867 to educate the freedmen. That year she founded Mather School, a boarding school to educate formerly enslaved girls with support from the American Missionary Association. According to The Reconstruction Era in Beaufort County Local Initiative for National Designation Report (2003), Mather School “actually served as more of a social agency that provided Biblical instruction and lessons in home economics” than as a general educational facility for African-American women. She played a critical role in the recovery efforts following the Great Sea Island hurricane of August 1893.
- “Appeal for Suffering Negroes: Dire Distress Among the People of the Storm-Swept Coast Islands,” New York Times, March 3, 1894 (PDF)
- “Sea Island Sufferers: Relief Organizations battling with starvation and exposure,” New York Times, February 18, 1894 (PDF)
- “Quintessentially Lowcountry: Educating freed slaves was the foundation of today’s Beaufort colleges,” by Kate Cerve, Island Packet, May 14, 2010. (Be sure to “skip ad.”)
- Mather School Highway Historic Marker
- “Every Hero Has a Story: Rachel C. Mather,” Beaufort District Collection Connections blog post, 21 June 2015
- Beasley, S.F. (2014) Pioneering Women of Southern Education: A Comparative Study of Northern and Southern School Founders (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from http://scholarcommons.sc.edu/etd/2781
- “African American Historic Places in South Carolina” includes an entry about Mather School, pp. 4-5.
- “Premiere of Restored Mather Film Draws Alums” American Baptist Historical Society Primary Source, vol. 8, no. 4 (November 2010), pp. 1, 6.
- “American Missionary Association Annual Reports,” Beaufort District Collection Connections blog post, 21 May 2014
Come to the Beaufort District Collection to see these items:
- Her obituary is on file in the BDC.
- We have materials in the vertical file labeled Schools — Mather School which contains some information about Mrs. Mather.
- 975.799 MAR Lowcountry Gossip by Chlotilde R. Martin, 1930? Photocopy of newspaper article, 1 sheet.
- 551.552 MAT The Storm Swept Coast of South Carolina by Rachel C. Mather, 1894.
Please note: These resources are available through the Beaufort District Collection of the Beaufort County Library and cannot be checked out. Visit our homepage for hours of operation.
This list was prepared by Grace Morris Cordial, MLS, SL, CA, Manager of the Beaufort District Collection, Beaufort County Library (SC). All links were accessed on 24 June 2015. (Original date of posting: 26 July 2011; Latest update: 24 June 2015).