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Carolina Story: Virtual Museum of University History

Sarah Graham Kenan

Sarah Graham Kenan (1876-1968)

In 1930, William Rand Kenan, Jr.’s sister, Sarah Graham Kenan, helped the university start the Southern Historical Collection. While the university planned a new library during the 1920s, history professor J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton gave speeches around the region promoting the collection of the South’s letters, diaries, and plantation records. Graham made Hamilton’s project possible with a $25,000 endowment. Eventually, he left teaching to devote himself full-time to assembling materials for the Southern Historical Collection. In 1965, Kenan established the Graham Kenan Professorships in the School of Law to honor her husband. Three years later, she created additional professorships that benefited the law, medical, and business schools.