North Carolina Textile Industry Items
Staff Person: Dale Sauter
During the late nineteeth and early twentieth centuries, the textile industry flourished in North Carolina, and many other areas of the American South. In 1860, there were approximately 45 textile mills in the state of North Carolina. By 1923, the total had risen to 351. Troubles plagued the industry throughout the twentieth century, including child labor protests and unionization attempts. Beginning in the 1980s, much of the industry moved to overseas production for cheaper labor. In 1996, there were 2,153 textile and apparel plants in North Carolina employing 233,715 people. By 2006, there had been a 40% decline in the number of plants, to 1,282 plants, and a 65% decrease in employment to 80,232 workers.
Today’s staff pick features a few items related to North Carolina’s and the South’s once thriving textile industry. Included on the left is a letter to Mr. H. F. Seewell (sic) from A. H. Carr, Vice President and Treasurer of Durham Hosiery Mills, dated October 29, 1928. (Herbert Floyd Seawell, Sr. Papers #497). Also included (pictured on the right) is a Southern Cotton Mill Stocks Quotation List by A. M. Law & Company, Inc., Spartanburg, S.C. dated June 17, 1924 (Alice Green Hoffman Papers #127). This list contains stock quotes for several mills throughout the United States southern region.
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