Continuing our series of archival photos and documents, today we have this; it’s an original application to attend Rockbrook from 1921, its very first year. That summer, girls attended for one long session that lasted 8 weeks between July 6th and August 31st. This application shows that Elizabeth Fisher from Hackensack, NJ was one of 35 girls who traveled to Brevard to be the very first Rockbrook campers. So neat!
Check out this great page from a 1941 Rockbrook Catalog. Campers had the opportunity to go on lots of different adventures including overnight camping trips. Camping trips now follow the principles of Leave No Trace, but back in the 1940’s you can see that the camp outs were quite elaborate. Don’t you know those S’mores tasted delicious?!
There are many fascinating and inspirational women who have been a part of Rockbrook and it’s history. None more so than the artist Elizabeth O’Neill Verner of Charleston, South Carolina. Mrs. Verner was a long time neighbor of Rockbrook, her seasonal home Hanty Branch Hill is located next door. Her daughter Elizabeth Verner Hamilton was the first camper at Rockbrook in 1921. Mrs. Verner and Mrs. Carrier were good friends and Mrs. Verner was often recruited to come teach the campers the art of sketching and pastels. We can imagine her walking over from her home, ready to teach the enthusiastic campers. She is mentioned in the journals and scrapbooks of several campers from the mid 1920’s. It must have been a great occasion when Mrs. Verner was in attendance.
While at Rockbrook she also created an etching of the waterwheel that ran the power for the camp. We will be sure to share that image with you in a later blog posting.
As an artist, Mrs. Verner is recognized as the “matriarch of the Charleston Renaissance” and is considered the “best known twentieth century woman artist of Charleston. “ She is famous for her etchings and pastels of life in Charleston. Her studio The Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Gallery is still in operation in Charleston and is the oldest fine arts gallery in the city. She is such a well respected and important artist that the state of SC has named their highest honor in the arts after her. The Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Awards recognize outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina. According to their website; “These awards honor South Carolina arts organizations, patrons, artists, members of the business community, and government entities who maximize their roles as innovators, supporters and advocates of the arts. In 1980, the Verner Awards took on a special significance with their designation as the official “Governor’s Awards for the Arts.”
Mrs. Verner’s great great grandchildren are current campers at Rockbrook. What a treasure that they can share in their families wonderful legacy at RBC!
In a time when we all lead such busy lives it is nice to have a place like Rockbrook where you can step out of the hustle and bustle of the modern world and live a more simple and thoughtful life. We recently discovered a chapter in the Rockbrook Memories Book that was written in the 1960’s that expresses this same thought. Whether it be the 1960’s or the 2010’s, we all appreciate that Rockbrook provides a haven for girls to reconnect with themselves, friends and the natural world.
“Living in a world so filled with change that it is difficult to communicate with one’s grandchildren, it is good to know that girls still enjoy living close to Nature, hiking down mountain trails, sleeping under the stars, cooking over an open fire and swimming in a rocky pool. It is refreshing to discover that there is one area, at least, where time has stood practically still. That area is summer camping where a cardinal is still a cardinal and although one may picnic on plastic instead of paper, one gets the same thrill from a mountain sunset or a flamboyant rainbow covering the earth with its semi-circle of jeweled colors.”– Mary Bissell McIver Thompson
See the new Rockbrook History movie that was filmed at camp last summer. It is a wonderful glimpse into the traditions and history of RBC. A special thanks goes out to alumna Joy Sloan from Columbus, GA, who shared with us a film that her family had in their archives. Joy is a third generation Rockbrook girl and her daughter Shannon enjoyed her first summer at camp in 2010. Part of their footage included some amazing shots of Rockbrook in 1926.
While you are on our website also take a moment to view the new camp video. Watching these movies sure gets us excited for summer 2011!
While going through our archives recently we came across this fascinating article about Nancy Carrier, published in The Transylvania Times in 1989. It was printed in honor of what would have been her 100th birthday. It is a wonderful addition to our archives, and is a testament to the legacy of Nancy Carrier. Besides being the founder of Rockbrook Camp, she also was one of the founders of Brevard Music Camp, now Brevard Music Center. She also was a chairman of the first hospital auxiliary in Brevard and helped found Lyday Memorial Hospital, the first public Hospital in Transylvania County.
We also loved learning more about the early days of Rockbrook. Did you know that through Mrs. Carrier, the local Red Cross met at Rockbrook and made bandages for the war effort. Or that sewing circles were held at Rockbrook to make useful items for soldiers during World War II?
Nancy Carrier passed away in 1977 and is buried right down the street from Rockbrook in St.Paul’s-in-the-Valley Cemetery. We hope to locate more information on Mrs. Carrier and will share it with you as we uncover more about our remarkable founder.
While doing some research for the Rockbrook archives we came across this fascinating article printed in The New York Times in 1888. It is another written source that connects Rockbrook, Goodwill Cabin, Goodwill Plantation, Nancy Carrier and P.T. Barnum. What an interesting history!
Barnum’s Gift To A Granddaughter.
From the Columbia (S.C.) Register. October 18
It is evident that the renowned P.T. Barnum has a good opinion of South Carolina real estate, for he has recently given to his granddaughter, the wife of Henry P. Clarke, $100,000 for the purpose of buying and equipping the noted “Goodwill” plantation, which was formerly owned by the late Judge Edward Elliot Huger. The transfer of the property took place yesterday. Mr. Clarke owns another plantation near Eastover, where they have resided for several years. “Goodwill” is one of the finest estates in the South, containing upward of 7000 acres, including a magnificent water power. Several hundred acres of the richest river bottoms are protected from overflow by a levee extending for five miles along the banks of the Wateree River. The other improvements on the property are upon the same scale.
Right around the time that Nancy Barnum Clarke and Henry Clarke received their gift from P.T. Barnum they also purchased 300 acres in Brevard that would later become Rockbrook Camp. Their daughter Nancy Clarke Carrier grew up spending time between Brevard and Goodwill Plantation. She founded Rockbrook in 1921 and brought two buildings from Goodwill Plantation to the camp property. Goodwill and Curosty are central to the heart of camp and are still in use today. What an amazing gift from P.T. Barnum!
We were thrilled to visit with former camper Shea Hussey Lackie and her parents and daughters last week. Shea wanted to give her future Rockbrook campers a tour so they would know all about camp when it is their time to attend. Sarah enjoyed walking around with them and sharing camp stories.
Shea’s parents were kind enough to bring copies of two Rockbrook photos that were taken in 1921, the year that Rockbrook began. Shea’s grandmother Kathleen Conant Hussey attended camp that year and is in both of the pictures. We were particularly excited about one of the photos as it features the campers eating dinner in The Rockbrook House. Before the dining hall was built, all meals were served inside The Rockbrook House (or Carrier House as it is sometimes called) but we have never found a photograph of mealtime. We were so happy that they were kind enough to share this picture with us as it is a great addition to our archives.
If you have any photographs that you would like to share please let us know. How lucky we are to have so much history in one place, here in the heart of a wooded mountain.