Author of The South Carolina State Hospital: Stories from Bull Street to hold talk, book signing at Sumter County Museum



Sumter County Museum

Community contributor

The Sumter County Museum will hold a talk and book signing with author William Buchheit for his fascinating new novel, The South Carolina State Hospital: Stories from Bull Street, at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 19, in Ross S. McKenzie Hall of the museum, 122 N. Washington St.

Nearly two decades after it closed, the South Carolina State Hospital continues to hold a palpable mystique in Columbia and throughout the state. Founded in 1821 as the South Carolina Lunatic Asylum, it housed, fed and treated thousands of patients incapable of surviving on their own. The patient population in 1961 eclipsed 6,600, well above its listed capacity of 4,823, despite an operating budget that ranked 45th out of the 48 states with such large public hospitals. By the mid-1990s, the patient population had fallen under 700, and the hospital had become a symbol of captivity, horror and chaos. Buchheit details this history through the words and interviews of those who worked on the iconic campus.

Buchheit received a Bachelor in English from Rhodes College in 1998. After earning a Master in American Literature at the University of South Carolina, he began reporting for Spartanburg's Hometown News weekly newspaper chain in 2001. He received the South Carolina Medical Association's Print Journalism Award in 2005 and was named the 2011 Reporter of the Year by the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

This event is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase. A reception will follow the talk.