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Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills Photograph Collection

Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills Photograph Collection

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Descriptive Summary

Title: Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills Photograph Collection
Identification: VAM004
Date: 1872-1973
Size: 2.6 linear feet
Language: This collection is written in English.
Creator: Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills.
Repository: Archives & Records Management, Library, Georgia Institute of Technology
Abstract:The photographs in this collection include images of Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills' buildings and environs, employees, and machinery.

Biographical/Historical Note

The beginnings of the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills can be traced to Atlanta in 1868, when Jacob Elsas, an immigrant of German Jewish descent who had recently arrived in Atlanta from Cincinnati, began work in the city in the rag, paper, and hide business. Elsas soon recognized the need of his and other area businesses for cloth and paper containers to house their goods. Within two or three years Elsas had switched to the new business of manufacturing cloth and paper bags and had joined forces with fellow German Jewish immigrant Isaac May. In January 1872, the new company became known as Elsas, May and Company. Located in the former Atlanta slave market house, the company expanded during the 1870s; by the end of the decade, the firm consisted of a bleachery, print shop, and bag mill, and it employed between 100 and 160 workers, including women and children.

After receiving financial backing from Cincinnati banker Lewis Seasongood, the company began construction of a new complex of buildings on the south side of the Georgia Railroad line, east of downtown. By 1881 the company had become known as the Fulton Cotton Spinning Company, adding a bag factory to the new site in 1882. By the end of the 1880s the partnership between Jacob Elsas and Isaac May had discontinued. One part of the company evolved into the Elsas, May Paper Company and the other, led by Jacob Elsas and incorporated in 1889, became the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill Company.

Within a few years Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill Company had outgrown the capacity of the existing buildings, resulting in the construction of a second mill on the Atlanta site in 1895, with more than 40,000 spindles. A third mill added 50,000 additional spindles by 1907. In addition, a neighboring village with housing for the mill workers was well established by the turn of the twentieth century. Bag plants in New Orleans and St. Louis were bought during the 1890s, and mills in New York and Dallas began operation in the early years of the twentieth century. Additional plants in Minneapolis and Kansas City were established during and after World War I, and a plant in Denver was added in 1945, at the end of World War II. Expansion of the Atlanta plant also continued throughout the first half of the twentieth century: Offices, two picker buildings, and several warehouses were constructed during these years, and the Jacob Elsas Clinic and Nursery was established in the early 1940s.

Despite the early prosperity of the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills, the company was troubled by periods of labor unrest. A wage dispute resulted in a two-day strike in November 1885. A second brief strike occurred in August 1897, when white workers protested the hiring of black women. The 1897 strike was settled after five days. A lengthier strike took place in 1914-1915, triggered by management's disapproval of the growing efforts among the workers to join the United Textile Workers. Besides the issue of unionization, the strikers demanded an increase in wages, a 54-hour work week, and a decrease in the use of child labor. The strike gained national notoriety when it drew the attention of the newly formed U.S. Commission on Industrial Relations, who sent representatives to Atlanta to gather testimonies in March 1915. The strike ultimately failed in May of that year.

Many of Jacob Elsas' large family assumed management roles in Atlanta as well as in the other locations of the company. After his retirement at age 70, Jacob turned over the Presidency of the firm to his son Oscar in 1914. Sons Victor, Louis, and David worked in New Orleans, New York, and Dallas, respectively. Another son, Benjamin, succeeded Oscar as President in 1924. In 1942 a grandson, Norman Elsas, assumed the Presidency of the firm, followed by a second grandson, William Elsas, who served briefly as President in 1950. Following William's sudden death, Clarence Elsas, also a grandson, took over the Presidency in 1951. Clarence Elsas served as President until 1956, and again held the position from 1960 to 1968.

Jacob Elsas played an instrumental role in the founding of the Georgia Institute of Technology. He became one of the early customers of the Georgia Tech shops, and he enrolled his son Oscar at the school for two years. Other family members, including Jacob's grandson William, also attended Tech. Elsas' activities also extended to philanthropy, particularly in the support of the Grand Opera House, the Hebrew Orphan's Home, and Grady Hospital in Atlanta. The elder Elsas died in 1931.

Changes in packaging after World War II sparked changes within the company. Products such as multiwall paper bags, canvas goods, osnaburgs and barrier materials replaced some of the old products, to respond to the new market opportunities presented in the postwar era. In 1956, Eastern and Midwestern investors bought controlling interest in the company, the nine bag manufacturing companies were sold, and in 1960 the parent company became Fulton Industries Inc. The Atlanta mill, which remained known as Fulton Cotton Mill, continued in operation under the management of Elsas family members until 1968. In that year Fulton Industries Inc. was sold to Allied Products Corporation. Fulton Cotton Mill's last President, Meno Schoenbach, served in that position from 1971 until 1978, the year the Atlanta mill finally closed its doors.

In 1997 Aederhold Properties redeveloped the historic Fulton Cotton Mill in Atlanta into a mixed-income community of 182 loft apartments.


Scope and Content Note

The Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills photographs cover the period between 1872 and 1973. Series 1 includes photographs of company executives. Series 2 is derived from glass plate negatives made around 1900 and includes street scenes, interiors, exteriors, and photographs of workers. Series 3 includes the groundbreaking for the bleachery building in August 1952, building exteriors, and scenes in Cabbagetown Mill village. Series 4 contains photographs from other Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill sites, including the mills in St. Louis, New Orleans, and Dallas. Series 5 consists of textile machinery photographs. Series 6 contains the negatives and transparencies. Negatives and transparencies are housed in the negative drawer or in Box 2. Series 7 is material transferred from Emory University. Material in this series includes early images of the Atlanta mill, images of FBCM's other locations, company executives, FBCM baseball teams, and the Jacob Elsas Clinic and Nursery.

This collection mainly contains gelatin silver prints; however, there are several cabinet cards, negatives, and copy prints. The majority of the photographs are in fair condition, with fading and silver mirroring.


Arrangement

The photographs are arranged into seven series:

SERIES 1. Company executives

SERIES 2. Glass plate negatives (copies)

SERIES 3. Bleachery groundbreaking and Cabbagetown village

SERIES 4. Other Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill sites

SERIES 5. Machinery

SERIES 6. Negatives and transparencies

SERIES 7. Materials from Emory University


Index Terms

Buildings--Georgia--Atlanta.
Elsas, Clarence E.
Elsas, Norman E.
Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills.
Industrial buildings--Georgia--Atlanta.
Jacob Elsas family
Neighborhood--Georgia--Atlanta.
Photographs.
Stone, Troy
Talmadge, Herman E., (Herman Eugene), 1913-2002
Textile industry--Georgia--Atlanta.
Textile machinery.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Because of the age and size, many of the oversized materials in this collection are fragile. Please use the copy photos of oversized images whenever possible. When viewing an original item is necessary, careful handling is recommended.


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Please cite [Photograph Title, Series Title,] Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills Photograph Collection VAM004, Archives, Library and Information Center, Georgia Institute of Technology.

Provenance

This collection was donated by the Fulton Cotton Mill in 1985. Accession Number: 1985.0801 (old number: 1985-08-01). Series 7 was transferred from the Emory University's Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL) in late 2007 (Accession #2007.109).

Processing Information

Anne Salter and Jody Thompson processed these papers in 2000 and 2003. Mandi D. Johnson processed Series 7 in September 2010.

Revisions to Finding Aid

2005:
  • Finding aid converted from Encoded Archival Description Version 1.0 to Version 2002. September 2010: Series 7 (50 items, approximately 2.0 lf) added to collection. September 2010: Finding aid imported into Archivists' Toolkit.

  • Restrictions

    Restrictions: Access

    None.

    Restrictions: Use

    All photograph copyright restrictions under the laws of the United States Copyright must be obeyed. All photographs in this collection are subject to approval before publication may be permitted.


    Separated Material

    Paper materials have been separately arranged and described as MS004, Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills Records.


    Container List

    Request Items

     

    SERIES 1: Company executives, 1911-1918; undated

    Box

    Fldr

    11Thomas Raymond Berry, undated
    12Stephen C. Hale, undated
    13Norman Elsas, undated
    14Oscar Elsas, undated
    15Fred McCall, undated
    16Troy Stone, undated
    17Charles P. Wood, undated
    18Troy Stone, Norman Elsas, Herman Talmadge, undated
    19Male, unidentified, undated

    Box

    Fldr

    213Mark McDonald, ca. 1911
    214A.T. Osbron, ca. 1918
     

    SERIES 2: Glass plate negatives (copies), ca. 1900-1915

    Box: 4 (original glass-plate negatives)

    Box

    Fldr

    110Interior--yarn spinning, undated
    111Interior--sewing, undated
    112Interior--looms, undated
    113Interior--threading, undated
    114Street scene, undated
    115Street scene--Pickett Street, undated
    116Street scene, undated
    117Street scene, undated
    118Street scene, undated
    119Street scene, undated
    120Street scene, undated
    121Women workers, undated
    122Mill--exterior, undated
    123Mill--exterior (rendering), undated
    124Letter, 1915
    125Mill--interior--office, 1907
     

    SERIES 3: Bleachery groundbreaking and Cabbagetown mill village, 1946-1963; undated

    Box

    Fldr

    126Mill exterior, office door of #170 Building, undated
    127Mill buildings in Atlanta, 1946; undated
    128Bleachery groundbreaking, August 1952
    129Bleachery groundbreaking, August 1952
    130Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill scenes of building, streets, backyards, bleachery, ca. 1950
    131Cabbagetown, street scenes, ca. 1950
    132Nursery, July 1954; undated
    133Infirmary, July 1954
    134Mill workers, ca. 1953
    135Miscellaneous shots inside the mill, 1963
    136Revival meeting at Fulton Bag ballpark, 1953
    137Machinery, ca. 1955
     

    SERIES 4: Other Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill sites, 1945-1953; undated

    Box

    Fldr

    138St. Louis multiwall plant, 1953
    139Savannah plant, undated
    140New Orleans multiwall plant, July 1953
    141Dallas mill, undated
    142Dallas mill (rendering), undated
    143Denver plant, October 1945
    144Kansas City plant, 1953
    145Los Angeles plant, 1952; undated
    146Minneapolis plant, 1953; undated
    147St. Louis textile plant, 1953; undated
    148Exterior of mill (Georgia Tech Archives employee took the photograph when moving the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills collection to the Archives), undated
    149Photographs from interior, drawer #33. Photographs are not from the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill. Mill is unidentified, undated
     

    SERIES 5: Machinery, 1947; undated

    Box

    Fldr

    150Textile machinery, undated
    151Textile machinery, undated
    152Textile machinery, undated
    153Potdevin machinery, February 1947
    154Potdevin machinery, undated
    155Press, undated
    156Press, undated
    157Press, undated
     

    SERIES 6: Negatives and transparencies, 1963; undated

    Box

    Fldr

    21Negative--VAM4-40, undated
    22C.B. Cottrell and Sons Machinery #9340, undated
    23C.B. Cottrell and Sons Machinery #8370, undated
    24Press, undated
    25Press, undated
    26Press, undated
    27Press, undated
    28Textile machinery, undated
    29Textile machinery, undated
    210Press, undated
    211Power plant (transparencies), undated
    212Transverse section of Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill, undated

    Box

    Negative BoxVAM4-64a-s: Unidentified individuals, undated
    Negative BoxVAM4-65a-uu: Open House, December 1963
    Negative BoxVAM4-66a-l: Merrit Awards, February 1963
    Negative BoxVAM4-67a-i: Children's party, undated
    Negative BoxVAM4-68a-m: Good Housekeeper award, undated
    Negative BoxVAM4-69: Machinery, undated
    Negative BoxVAM4-70: Machinery, undated
    Negative BoxVAM4-71: Machinery, undated
    Negative BoxVAM4-72: Machinery, undated
     

    SERIES 7: Materials from Emory University, 1872-1973 and undated

    Box

    Fldr

    215Atlanta Buildings and Plants, 1881-1973 and undated
    VAM004-077 [original at 3b:13]: Fulton Cotton Spinning Company, view of houses and factory from Oakland Cemetery [copy photo], 1881
    VAM004-081: "Proposed" bird's eye view drawing of FBCM plant, view from Boulevard and railroad [copy photo], ca. 1925
    VAM004-082: Bird's eye view drawing of FBCM plant, view from Boulevard and railroad [copy photo of VAM004-080], undated, ca. 1955
    VAM004-083: Bird's eye view drawing of FBCM plant, view from Boulevard and railroad; used for letterhead in 1955 [photocopy], ca. 1955
    VAM004-084: Fabrics America plant (former FBCM) land plat [photocopy], 1973
    VAM004-085: Display of original factory bell [color transparency], undated
    VAM004-086: Storage tanks [photo], undated

    Box

    Fldr

    31Atlanta Buildings and Plants, 1887
    VAM004-078 [original at 3b:14]: Elsas, May and Company, Atlanta plant, 1887
    Atlanta Buildings and Plants Original Photos

    Drawer

    Fldr

    3b13VAM004-077 : Fulton Cotton Spinning Company, view of houses and factory from Oakland Cemetery, 1881

    Drawer

    Fldr

    3b14VAM004-078 : Elsas, May and Company, Atlanta plant, 1887
    32Atlanta Buildings and Plants, ca. 1940s
    VAM004-126: The Jacob Elsas Clinic and Nursery, exterior, ca. 1940s
    VAM004-127: The Jacob Elsas Clinic and Nursery, interior--supplies station for nurses, ca. 1940s
    VAM004-128: The Jacob Elsas Clinic and Nursery, interior--kitchen, ca. 1940s
    VAM004-129: The Jacob Elsas Clinic and Nursery, interior--room with cots and folding chairs, ca. 1940s
    VAM004-130: The Jacob Elsas Clinic and Nursery, interior--auditorium, ca. 1940s
    VAM004-131: The Jacob Elsas Clinic and Nursery, interior--library, ca. 1940s

    Oversize

    1Atlanta Plant and Buildings, undated, ca. 1955
    VAM004-080: Bird's eye view drawing of FBCM plant, view from Boulevard and railroad [view reproduction of item at VAM004-082], undated, ca. 1955
    216Construction, 1903
    VAM004-088: View of construction, 24 June 1903
    VAM004-089: View of construction, 24 June 1903
    VAM004-090: View of construction, 06 July 1903
    VAM004-091: View of construction, 06 July 1903
    VAM004-092: View of construction, 21 July 1903
    VAM004-093: View of construction, 29 July 1903
    VAM004-094: View of construction, 29 July 1903
    217Other Locations, ca. 1934
    VAM004-087 [and duplicates]: Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills: Atlanta, New Orleans, St. Louis, Dallas, Brooklyn, and Minneapolis, ca. 1934
    VAM004-075: Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills textile plant New Orleans, ca. 1934
    VAM004-076: Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills plant Minneapolis, ca. 1934
    218People, ca. 1860-1968
    VAM004-095 [and duplicate]: Jacob Elsas, ca. 1860-1875
    VAM004-096: Clarence Elsas, ca. 1951-1968
    VAM004-097: Ted Forbes, Roscoe Ailor, Clarence Elsas, William B. Hartsfield, Howard Dobbs, Jr. Ground-breaking ceremony for the new bleachery building, August 1952
    VAM004-098: Cotton Manufacturers' Association of Georgia, group photo, 1906
    33People, ca. 1910s
    VAM004-099: First annual meeting Georgia Manufacturers' Association, Atlanta, 10 February 1916
    VAM004-100: Group of men in suits (managers?) in front of Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills building, ca. 1910s
    VAM004-101: Group of men in suits (managers?) in front of Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills building, men in dark suits in middle of front row, seated in chairs, appear to be Jacob and Oscar Elsas, ca. 1910s
    219Last Bag, ca. 1956
    VAM004-102 [and duplicate]: Clarence Elsas holding the last printed bag from the Atlanta plant, ca. 1956
    VAM004-103: Clarence Elsas and unidentified man holding the last printed bag from the Atlanta plant, ca. 1956
    220Related Items, ca. 1872-1930s
    VAM004-104 [duplicate in 3:4]: Photograph of window display of articles made from cotton bags for Nation Cotton Week, ca. 1930s
    VAM004-105: Horse-drawn carts of cotton lined up at Lee Wilson and Company gin in Wilson, Arkansas, ca. 1920s-1930s
    VAM004-106: Photo of check from Elsas May and Company, 19 August 1872
    VAM004-107 [and duplicate]: Photo of Jacob Elsas' stock certificate number 1, 01 April 1889
    VAM004-108 [and duplicate]: Photo of advertisement or sign for Elsas, May and Company, ca. 1872-1881
    221Scrapbook 1--loose photos, 1916-ca. 1950s
    VAM004-109: J.M. Elsas, ca. 1950s
    VAM004-110: Clarence Elsas at his desk, ca. 1955
    VAM004-111: Group of unidentified men at meeting table, ca. 1940s-1950s
    VAM004-112: Group of men looking at blueprints in front of sign reading "Future Home of Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills" (includes J.M. Elsas, possibly New Orleans), ca. 1950s
    VAM004-113: Group of men looking at blueprints (includes J.M. Elsas, possibly New Orleans), ca. 1950s
    VAM004-114: Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills Sales Conference, Roosevelt Hotel, New Orleans; LJ Even, KH Kerr, AW Moenkhaus, RJ Gigler, GW Williams, JJ McDermott, JF Ryan, TR Derry, OF Littlefield, OG West, LH Merrill, CA Anderson Jr., GR Cross, HW Meyerhoff, TR Moorer, AJ Reinberg, JW Paulsen, PH Walmsley, FG Barnet, JM Elsas, CE Elsas, EM Hornsby, JF Greeley, EB DuBois, 07-09 December 1955
    VAM004-115: Unidentified group of men standing on outside steps, includes Clarence Elsas, ca. 1950s
    VAM004-116: Photograph of window display of Fulton bag products at Northwestern National Bank (Minneapolis), 1954
    VAM004-117: Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills exhibit booth (St. Louis), 1916
    222Scrapbook 1--loose photos [scrapbook is located in MS004], ca. 1920-1927 and undated
    VAM004-118 [original in 3:5]: FBCM baseball team, in Atlanta League 1925 Won 14 games Lost 6; in Atlanta League 1926 Won 16 games Lost 4; in Atlanta League 1927 Won 15 games Lost 5, 1926
    VAM004-119 [original in 3:5]: FBCM baseball team: 1st Row—Emmett Guthrie, “Jimmie” Hewell, Marlin Sargent[?], -att Robertson, Grover [?] Clancey[?]. 2nd Row—Leonard Prince, ---k” Anchors, Tony Stone, ’Rastus Holloway, Richard Tood[?], Lester Duckett Mgr., 1925
    VAM004-120 [original in 3:5]: FBCM baseball team: 1st Row—J.L. Head, “Jimmy” Hewell, M.E. Calbsell[?], “Dick” Wright[?], Roy Butler. 2nd Row—’Rastus Holloway, Troy Stone, ----? Robertson, Fred Whitner, A.H. Ogletree. 3rd Row—Joe ---ant[?], John Walker, Leonard Prince, Lester Duckett Mgr., 1927
    VAM004-121: Cotton picking time on Coker Farms, no date
    VAM004-122: Cotton field near Covington, GA, no date
    VAM004-123: Cotton field, no date
    VAM004-124: Fighting the "Father of Waters" from Leslie's Illustrated Weekly, Part I, ca. 1920-1923
    VAM004-125: Fighting the "Father of Waters" from Leslie's Illustrated Weekly, Part II, ca. 1920-1923

    Drawer

    Fldr

    3b15Scrapbook 1--loose photos [scrapbook is located in MS004], 12 May 1930
    VAM004-079: Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills, Atlanta, mill and environs from the northeast corner, 12 May 1930