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A. S. Williams III Americana Manuscript Collections

Guide to the Dallas Iron Works letterbook W.0097


University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 35487-0266

December 2013


This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2013-12-17T16:25-0600

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Description Rules:

Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Collection Title:

Dallas Iron Works letterbook

Unit ID:



University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama


0.1 Linear feet




The A. S. Williams III Americana Collection, Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library, The University of Alabama


Contains the Reconstruction-era letterbook of the Dallas Iron Works in Selma, Alabama.


Dallas Iron Works.


Williams, A. S., III

Acquisition Information:

Gift of A. S. Williams III, 2010

Preferred Citation:

Dallas Iron Works letterbook, A. S. Williams III Americana Collection, University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

Processing Information:

Processed by

Haley Aaron, 2013

Access Restrictions:


Related Archival Materials note

The A. S. Williams Collection contains several collections related to the iron and steel industry in Alabama. Please contact a staff member for assistance.

General note

Title on phase box spine: Dallas Iron Works, Selma - Letterbook - 1867

Biographical/Historical note

The Dallas Iron Works was one of thirteen iron works located near the Confederate arsenal and naval foundry in Selma, Alabama. These factories were responsible for supplying the Confederate army with a significant amount of ammunition, weapons, and naval warships. During the Civil War, Alabama produced the most iron ore and coal of any Confederate state. On April 2, 1865, Union Brigader General James H. Wilson shattered Confederate defenses and captured the city of Selma. Following the city's capture, the arsenal and the supporting iron works and factories were destroyed.

Despite the widespread destruction and financial upheaval, the Dallas Iron Works Company survived. The company was purchased in 1918 by Carl F. Gerlinger, who renamed the company the Dallas Machine and Locomotive Works. In 1956, the company merged with the Towmotor Corporation. In 1965, the company was subsidized by the Caterpillar Tractor Company.

Sources: Armes, Ethel. The Story of Coal and Iron in Alabama. (Birmingham: Chamber of Commerce,1910), 135.

Hebert, Keith. "Battle of Selma," Encyclopedia of Alabama.

Rohde, Sue Hunter and Debra Lea Meaghers. Dallas. (Charleston:Arcadia Publishing, 2012), 51.

Scope and Contents note

This 498-page letterbook contains financial records and copies of business correspondence related to the daily operations of the Dallas Iron Works located in Selma. The first seventy-seven pages contain copies of letters, most of which are written by company secretary P. D. Barker, and date from December 1866 to March 1868. The letterbook also appears to serve as an account book. Account entries begin on page eighty-five and extend through the end of the book. Entries are dated from December 1876 to October 1879 and document purchases of seed and other goods presumably purchased by iron works employees at the company store.


Williams, A. S., III (local)

Financial records (aat)

Iron industry and trade--Alabama (lcsh)

Letter books (aat)

Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877) (lcsh)

Selma (Ala.) (lcsh)

Letterbook Box W0097.01