Order of the Palmetto
Governor John C. West presented the first Order of the Palmetto in the summer of 1971 as a means of recognizing outstanding service to the state and industrialists who had located facilities in South Carolina. Over the years, the use of the award has varied from administration to administration and has been used to recognize outstanding achievements of South Carolina citizens, contributions to South Carolina and as a political reward. Concern by the public over misuse of the award led Governor Hodges to set up a non-partisan panel in 1999 that established criteria and a nomination process for this award and the Order of the Silver Crescent.
The South Carolina Department of Archives and History maintains a historical list of recipients of the Order of the Palmetto. This list of recipients of the Order of the Palmetto is as complete as possible based on the extant gubernatorial records transferred to and available at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History. This list does not include the names of individuals who have received the Order of the Palmetto from the sitting governor. Those names are available from the Office of the Governor and will be added to the historical list after the sitting governor leaves office. Other names may be missing from this list because of incomplete recordkeeping by the various gubernatorial staffs, especially during the early years of award. At least two major gaps are known to exist: a twelve month gap during Governor West's administration (January to December 1974) and a twenty month gap during Governor Riley's administration (January 1979 to August 1980).
Several sources were used by Archives staff in compiling this list: lists compiled by the Archives staff from two Order of the Palmetto folders in Governor West’s Gubernatorial Papers at the Archives; an alphabetical card file of the honorees kept by the staff of Governor Edwards (1975 to 1979); a chronological printout from a database maintained by the printing services area of the Governor's Office (September 1980 to May 1999); a chronological printout from a database of recipients maintained by Governor Campbell's staff, (1987 to 1994); an awards database maintained by Governor Hodges’ staff (1999 to 2003); and lists compiled by Archives staff from Order of the Palmetto nomination files maintained by Legal Counsel's Office of Governor Sanford's and Governor' Haley's administration.
Recipients who received the Order of the Palmetto before January 2017 and whose names do not appear in the extant gubernatorial records may contact the South Carolina Department of Archives and History about being added to the list.
Order of the Silver Crescent
The Order of the Silver Crescent was established by Governor David Beasley in 1997 as a companion award to the Order of the Palmetto for those eighteen or younger. In 1999, Governor Jim Hodges converted the Silver Crescent award into an auxiliary award to the Order of Palmetto regardless of age. This list includes no records for the young recipients of the Order of the Silver Crescent prior to its redefinition in May 1999. Data was obtained from an awards data base maintained by the most recent administrations.