Charles Mack

Obituary of Charles Randall Mack



Dr. Charles Randall Mack, (78) of Columbia SC passed away October 31, 2018.  Born in Baltimore, Maryland, he was the son of Mary Dirnberger Mack Sundbeck.  He attended schools in Alexandria, Virginia, and Rome, Italy and received his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 1962 and his Ph.D. in Art History from the same institution in 1973.  From 1962 to 1965, he served in the US Army Intelligence Corps and was stationed in Berlin, Germany, where he met and married Ilona Schulze in 1965.

            Mack joined the Department of Art at the University of South Carolina in 1970 as a specialist in Italian Renaissance and Ancient Art and Architecture and was promoted to Professor in 1985.  His teaching and research interests were broad, extending to the history of drawing and printmaking, the history of American and German ceramics, and the travel accounts of 19th century Americans in Europe.

            Mack was appointed the first William Joseph Todd Endowed Chair Professor of the Italian Renaissance in 1992 and received an additional appointment as Louise Fry Scudder Professor of Liberal Arts in 1995.  An enthusiastic teacher, he received the Golden Key Honor Society’s Award for Integration of Research and Undergraduate Teaching 1992 and twice was honored for his teaching by the USC Chapter of Mortar Board.  At his retirement in 2005, the USC Department of Art established the Charles R. Mack Undergraduate Art History Scholarship Fund in his honor  and also awards an annual book prize in his name to an undergraduate art history major. 

            Before his retirement in 2005, Mack played an active role on the USC Faculty Senate on which he served for four terms.  He also chaired or served on a wide variety of university committees, including the University Bicentennial Commission.  He was a member of the committee that created the University’s McKissick Museum in 1976 and served as the first chair of its Advisory Council.  He also was active at the Columbia Museum of Art, serving as its publications advisor and as a member of its Collections Committee.

            Mack was the author or co-author of several books and catalogues dealing with the Italian Renaissance, ancient art, the traditional folk potters of the American South, and nineteenth-century art and culture, as well as numerous chapters, essays and articles appearing in regional, national, and international publications, including several, co-authored with his wife, on German folk pottery and decorated European enamelwares.  His published research received several professional awards.  The Southeastern College Art Conference presented him with its Annual Award for Outstanding Exhibition and Catalogue of Historical Materials in 1993 and its Annual Award for Scholarly Research and Publication in 1998.  He also received the 2002 Outstanding Article Award from the Southeast Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians.  In 2004,  he was the recipient of the USC Educational Foundation’s Award for Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

            Mack was active in organizing art historical exhibitions for the McKissick Museum, the Columbia Museum of Art, and the Georgia Museum of Art, several of which traveled nationally and regionally.  The extensive collection of southeastern folk pottery which he and his wife assembled became part of the McKissick Museum in 1992 and other donations of a variety of the art works were made to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Ackland Art Center of the University of North Carolina, the Georgia Museum of Art, and the Columbia Museum of Art, which, in 2004, received much of the Mack’s collection of ceramics from the Bunzlau region of eastern Germany.

            A frequent presenter at professional conferences, Mack was a member of the board and served terms as president of both the Southeastern College Art Conference and the Southeast Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians.  He was a member of the National Executive Committee of the Folger Institute in Washington and served terms on the South Carolina Board of Review for the National Register of Historic Places.

            In addition to his scholarly and professional activities, Mack took a keen interest in horseback riding and frequently assisted at Columbia area equestrian events.  He also was an avid fan of the USC Soccer Team.

            Surviving are his wife Ilona Schulze Mack, their daughter, Katrina Mack Daniels, son-in-law, Russell H. Daniels, and grandchild Gabriele Nicole Daniels, all of Columbia.

            A Memorial service will be held at Rutledge Chapel of the University of South Carolina at a later date.  Donations in his memory may be made to the Charles R. Mack Undergraduate Art History Scholarship Fund at the USC Department of ART or to the National Parkinson Disease Foundation.


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