Project Staff The women behind the scenes.

Produced mostly by women, “Edgewood: Stage of Southern History” captures the people and important events that unfolded within the walls of the Pickens-Salley House. Formerly known as Edgewood, the plantation house is the oldest building on the USC Aiken campus. It was relocated in 1986, 11 years after the death of Eulalie Salley, who dismantled the house and moved it from Edgefield, SC, to Kalmia Hills in Aiken at the height of the Great Depression.

“This is a place that drew amazing people to it. It’s a place that, even in disrepair, people loved. That compelled us to tell its story.”
Deidre Martin, Executive Producer
Salley and Lucy Holcombe Pickens, first ladies of the house a century apart, were two of Edgewood’s most colorful residents. Their tales are among those told in the film, recounted by the “voice” of the house itself. In it, Edgewood reminisces about the Antebellum era, the War Between the States, the Pickens’ visit to Czarist Russia, the Suffrage movement, the Winter Colony settlement in Aiken, the creation of the Savannah River Site, and the Civil Rights Era.

“Some houses can become sanctuaries of sorts,” Edgewood says when the film begins. “They become living monuments to new people who enter their doors. I have a door. I have a story. I have a name.”

When Dr. Deidre Martin wanted to tell that story, she assembled a team of women to write, direct and produce the film. “This is a place that drew amazing people to it,” Dr. Martin said. “It’s a place that, even in disrepair, people loved. That compelled us to tell its story.”

There was no conscious decision behind using women in so many roles, Dr. Martin says. “But I feel like it was meant to be.”

Among the women attracted to the film were:

Executive Producer: Dr. Deidre Martin

Dr. Deidre Martin serves as Vice Chancellor for University Advancement at the University of South Carolina Aiken. She joined the university in 1988 and in her current position is responsible for marketing, media relations, web development, graphic design, alumni relations, continuing education, fundraising and donor relations. Her office is in the Pickens-Salley House (formerly Edgewood), and she has become its unofficial historian. Years before the film was ever thought of, in 2003, Dr. Martin created the Pickens-Salley Symposium on Southern Women, an annual event that honors the memory of Lucy Pickens and Eulalie Salley and the many contributions of Southern women.

Director: Chris Koelker

From corporate commercials to fine photography and feature films, Chris Koelker has worked in various media formats and has experience in virtually all the roles of production. Whether it’s applying makeup to an actor, writing lines or focusing a camera lens, Koelker is comfortable in whatever the moment requires. The docudrama “Pressure,” written and produced by special-needs students under Koelker’s direction won awards and accolades in Southern California. A more recent accomplishment was the completion of a five-year project that brought video science labs to life for sixth- through 12th-grade students. “Hometown Heroines: Four Southern Women Remember World War II,” a 16-minute documentary she co-directed and edited, was featured at the 2008 Pickens-Salley Symposium for Southern Women.

Assistant Director:  Dr. Maggi Morehouse

Dr. Maggi Morehouse is a professor of history at Coastal Carolina University. Formerly she was an associate history professor at USC Aiken. Her teaching and research interests include contemporary U.S. History, African-American history, American history and women’s history. She is the author of “Fighting in the Jim Crow Army: Black Men and Women Remember World War II.” She also has produced video documentaries including: “Hometown Heroines: Four Southern Women Remember World War II” and “Short Stories of Southern Living.” Many of the actors who portrayed slaves in “Edgewood” came from Dr. Morehouse’s classes.

Narrator: Judith Goodwin

Judith Goodwin works in the university’s development office. Originally, the production team considered finding a prominent actress to serve as the voice of Edgewood, but Goodwin asked to audition “and blew us away,” director Chris Koelker recalls. Goodwin had previously starred in commercials, local TV and community theater, a background that made her comfortable in the role.

Historical Stylist: Barbara Morgan

Barbara Morgan is a former deputy solicitor for South Carolina’s Second Judicial Circuit, which encompasses Aiken, Bamberg, and Barnwell counties. When she was elected in 1989, only one other woman had been voted in as a solicitor in South Carolina and she had not been re-elected. The odds weren’t in Morgan’s favor, either. She was 34, divorced and a single parent, factors that impressed voters less than her professional qualifications when she began her first term in 1990. Morgan retired 10 years later and today serves on the boards of a therapeutic children’s home and a community medical clinic in Aiken. She also is active in the Rotary Club and teaches Sunday school.