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Charleston Come Hell or High Water: A History in Photographs


Charleston Come Hell or High Water captures the indomitable spirit of one of America's oldest and best-preserved cities. Praised by Charlestonians since its initial publication, and now in its sixth printing, this gripping collection of 168 black and white photographs depicts Charleston from the advent of photography in the 1840s through the late twentienth century.

Updated with photographs of Hurricane Hugo's destruction, Charleston Come Hell or High Water offers a pictorial saga as engaging and multi-faceted as the city itself. Southern belles in the camellia gardens of Magnolia-on-the-Ashley, Citadel cadets in drill, African-Americans, and the 1901 South Carolina Interstate and West Indian Exposition share pages with images of devastation wrought by war, hurricanes, fire, tornadoes, and an earthquake. The photos include Civil War views, many from the glass plates of Mathew Brady, and images taken by both local enthusiasts and professional photographers. The collection highlights Charleston's trove of architectural gems―some lost but many preserved for the future.

Robert N. S. Whitelaw, a lifelong champion the city, collected most of the photographs for the volume but died before completing his task. Alice Levkoff assembled the book and wrote its text.