De Renne: Three Generations of a Georgia Family

By Pinckney, Elise | South Carolina Historical Magazine, July 2000 | Go to article overview

De Renne: Three Generations of a Georgia Family


Pinckney, Elise, South Carolina Historical Magazine


De Renne: Three Generations of a Georgia Family. By William Harris Bragg. (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1999. Pp. 632. $50.00, cloth.) The strong binding influence that Wormsloe Plantation exerts on generations of the De Renne family is fitting for a landmark that is itself so significant in Georgia history. The plantation, with its tabby dwelling and redoubt on the Isle of Hope near Savannah, dates back to Noble Jones' arrival in the new colony in 1733.

The young men of the sequence of Jones and De Renne generations went off to Harvard or Columbia Universities, to Switzerland or Germany for education; they traveled for pleasure across Europe or the orient; one even became a Texas rancher. But inevitably, Wormsloe recalled them back to the Georgia coastal plantation. Reconvened here, they expressed their interest in Georgia history in various ways.

Through the years they tirelessly sought out the rarest imprints and documents to increment the Wormsloe library. Significantly, the patriarch during the mid-nineteenth century was George W. J. De Renne (1827-1888), who initiated the Wormsloe Press. This brought six limited fine quarto editions of eighteenth-century manuscripts into print. The variety of southern subjects included J. DeBrahm's History of the Province of Georgia, and Journal and Letters of Eliza Lucas of South Carolina. The bibliophile repeatedly canvassed the Public Record office in London with the expert on colonial holdings, Noel Sainsbury. …

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