Jeffrey R. Willis
Director of Archives and Special Collections, Andrew Helmus Professor of History Emeritus
BA, Furman University
MA, University of Virginia
PhD, University of Virginia
Jeff Willis received his undergraduate education at Furman University and M. A. and Ph.D. degrees in history from the University of Virginia. His fields of concentration are Modern European history, English history (with a special concentration upon Tudor and Stuart England), Irish history, and Russian history. He also has a special interest in the history of the South Carolina Upcountry, especially the history of Spartanburg and Greenville. He taught history for a total of forty-four years. He came to Converse in 1967 and retired from the History Department in 2005 as the Andrew Helmus Distinguished Professor of History. He is co-founder of the Converse Fall Term in London, which he directed from 1970 to 2005. He is the recipient of the Katheryne Amelia Brown Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Spirit of Converse Award. In 2012 he was made an honorary alumnus of Converse. Since 2005 he has served as the Director of Archives and Special Collections.
He is an avid collector of toy soldiers and of postcards and has published A Postcard History of Spartanburg and several books and articles on local history, including A Pictorial History of Converse College. He has also written for the Hub City Writers’ Project. He is past president of the South Carolina Historical Association and the Spartanburg County Historical Society. In 2007 he received the South Carolina Governor’s Award in the Humanities.