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This is a contributing entry for Fort Hill: National Historic Landmark and only appears as part of that tour.Learn More.

The office, called Mr. Calhoun's Library by Mr. Clemson, is where John C. Calhoun composed many orations and would have conducted the business of the plantation. His "Fort Hill Address" was written here on July 26th, 1831. Many of the artifacts on exhibit in this room are representative of the many roles John C. Calhoun fulfilled as a politician. The plantation-style desk to the left was used by Mr. Calhoun in this office. The kneehole desk in the back-right corner was used in his law office in Abbeville, S.C. The desk in the center of the room belonged to Mr. Calhoun when he served in the U.S. House of Representatives, before and during the War of 1812. The desk to the right of the fireplace is hand carved Swiss oak. Calhoun received it as a gift from the citizens of South Carolina during his first time as Vice President. The chair next to this desk was Mr. Calhoun's Senate chair.


  • Tours of the Plantation Office
  • Thomas Green Clemson referred to it as "Mr. Calhoun's Library"
  • View of Fort Hill from the Office
  • Library of Congress Image of the Office from the Back Door
  • Library of Congress Image of the Office
  • Colorized Library of Congress Image
  • Colorized Library of Congress image of the office from the back door

This simple structure oversaw life at Fort Hill plantation. Its wooden board construction were likely formed and joined by the skilled hands of enslaved laborers, like the other structures at Fort Hill. The office is the only original outbuilding to have survived to today as its protection was provided for Thomas Green Clemson's will. When Calhoun was at Fort Hill, the business of managing the plantation, and the enslaved population which labored on it, would have been conducted in this office. In the summer of 1831, while Calhoun served as Andrew Jackson's Vice President, John C. Calhoun wrote the Fort Hill Address, which finalized his doctrine of nullification.

On display in this room, alongside the host of Calhoun artifacts listed above, is an eighteen volume Encyclopedia Britannica which was part of Fort Hill's library. The book press with wheel beside the fireplace also belonged to Calhoun.

In April 1881, Scribner’s Magazine published an article entitled, “The Calhoun Summer Home.” It included an engraving of the inside of this Study. At this time, Thomas Clemson, the widower of Anna Calhoun Clemson, lived at Fort Hill as a hermit. Much of what is shown in this illustration remains within the Study today. Clemson composed his will, sealing his decisions for Fort Hill plantation to be the site for Clemson University and its dwelling house as an historic house museum with original “vestures.” 

“Fort Hill: The Land | Clemson University, South Carolina,” accessed May 21, 2020, https://www.clemson.edu/about/history/properties/fort-hill/.

“Historic Properties | Clemson University, South Carolina,” accessed May 21, 2020, https://www.clemson.edu/about/history/properties/.

“Educational Resources | Clemson University, South Carolina,” accessed May 21, 2020, https://www.clemson.edu/about/history/properties/ed.html.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

image courtesy of Fort Hill

image courtesy of Fort Hill

image courtesy of Fort Hill

“Fort Hill, Clemson University Campus, Clemson, Pickens County, SC,” image, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA, accessed July 22, 2020, https://www.loc.gov/item/sc0118/.

“Fort Hill, Clemson University Campus, Clemson, Pickens County, SC,” image, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA, accessed July 22, 2020, https://www.loc.gov/item/sc0118/.

“Fort Hill, Clemson University Campus, Clemson, Pickens County, SC,” image, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA, accessed July 22, 2020, https://www.loc.gov/item/sc0118/.

“Fort Hill, Clemson University Campus, Clemson, Pickens County, SC,” image, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA, accessed July 22, 2020, https://www.loc.gov/item/sc0118/.