Her head held high and bow drawn, Peg Drennan confidently demonstrates her archery skills during lessons in the gardens of the Joseph Manigault House. It was the early 1940s, and amidst World War II, The Charleston Museum had leased the 1803 structure to the United Service Organization (USO) for use as a Red Cross training facility and a “home away from home” for servicemen and -women. There, Drennan met her future husband, David Elder, a junior officer of the Army Air Corps. Drennan was both director of the National Catholic Community Service, an agency under the USO, and associate editor for “The Patriot” newsletter during the war. With her contributions, she became one of many talented women in the history of the Manigault House. In 1920, Susan Pringle Frost and friends founded the Society for the Preservation of Old Dwellings (later called the Preservation Society of Charleston) to save the residence from demolition. It has since become a house museum, under the auspices of The Charleston Museum, which will be leading tours there every Sunday in March in celebration of Women’s History Month—a great chance to learn more about the women who shaped this iconic home’s story.
Photograph courtesy of The Charleston Museum, Charleston, South Carolina