The other day one of our maintenance guys, Bobby, brought a box up from the warehouse. It contained some personal effects of David Rufus Hill. Mr. D. R. Hill was superintendent of Spartanburg School District Five in the 1950’s, and D. R. Hill Middle School bears his name.
Apparently the Middle Tyger branch of the Spartanburg County Library wanted some information on Mr. Hill. First, they wanted to know what the initials stood for. Bobby remembered the materials and retrieved them, thinking they might shed some light on the man.
As I understand it, Mr. Hill was the last occupant of the Superintendent’s Home. Sometime in the past decade the house changed hands, and someone found Mr. Hill’s belongings in the attic and brought them to the district.
One of the most startling pieces of the collection was a “This Is Your Life” scrapbook.
The photo of Ralph Edwards on the inside made me think that this was actually from the television show.
The scrapbook was impressive, but I was wondering what in the world this guy did to warrant an appearance on the television show. Further investigation of one of the news clips told the real story – the citizens of Duncan put on a “This Is Your Life” styled show at Byrnes High School in 1956 upon Mr. Hill’s retirement from the district.
An official “This Is Your Life” album had been ordered for the event, but there was no television show.
That makes the discovery no less interesting. Mr. Hill was a 1924 graduate of Furman, and apparently his wife graduated from the Greenville Woman’s College.
Included in the Hill effects was an announcement and program from the 1924 graduation ceremony from Furman.
One of the things I found interesting was that one of Mr. Hill’s classmates was none other than DuPre Rhame, founder of the Furman Singers.
In addition to these materials there are several old framed photos of Duncan schools that predate Byrnes High School. One of these must have been taken in the early 20th Century, given the style of buses, perhaps when Mr. Hill was a young teacher.
Right now the district isn’t sure what to do with these materials. It has them stored and protected, but they need to be archived and curated. I personally think students from D. R. Hill Middle School should be given the opportunity to digitize the materials, then these should be donated to the state archives or some other archival agency. However, Bobby told me that they have tried, but when they first got them, no other parties seemed interested in the materials. Perhaps with the current push toward digital documentation the time is right, and this record of an educator’s life can be conserved and made available for others to see and study.