acumen 3.0ɑ
A. S. Williams III Americana Manuscript Collections

Guide to the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company records W.0104

ASSET VIEWER
Publication:

University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 35487-0266
205.348.0500
archives@ua.edu

December 2013

Creation:

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2013-12-20T15:40-0600

Language Usage:

English

Description Rules:

Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Collection Title:

Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company records

Unit ID:

W.0104

Repository:

University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

Quantity:

0.3 Linear feet

Dates:

1893-1901

Location:

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

General Physical Description note

The tax ledger is in poor condition, and the front and back covers are separating from the spine.

Abstract:

Two letterbooks, containing copies of letters written by Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company Assistant General Manager G. B. McCormack from 1893 to 1898. Also includes a ledger documenting the company's tax returns from 1894 to 1895.

creator

Allen, W. B.

creator

McCormack, G. B.

creator

Tennessee Coal, Iron, and Railroad Company.

creator

Williams, A. S., III

Acquisition Information:

Gift of A. S. Williams III, 2010

Preferred Citation:

Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company records, 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:

None

Scope and Contents note

This collection contains two letterbooks and one tax return ledger documenting the business operations of the Tennessee Coal, Iron, and Railroad Company.

Both letter books are approximately 700 pages long and contain typescript copies of letters written by Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company Assistant General Manager G. B. McCormack. These letterbooks primarily contain business correspondence related to the daily operation of company mills located in Birmingham and discuss company investments, furnace production rates, and shipping rates for iron.

The first letter book contains entries dated from May 1893 to August 1898, with the bulk of entries written between 1893 and 1895. It also contains an insert dated July 1901 which lists the names and occupations of TCI employees earning salaries of over $1,000 a year. The second letter book contains entries dated from August 1894 to June 1895. Notable entries include references to riots at the Pratt Mines.

The tax return ledger is 500 pages long and records the company's land tax returns for the years 1894 and 1895. The entries, written by company land agent W. B. Allen, describe plots of land owned by TCI in several Alabama counties, including Jefferson, Bibb, St. Clair, and Tuscaloosa.

Biographical/Historical note

One of the largest and most influential iron and steel companies in Birmingham, the Tennessee Coal, Iron, and Railroad Company (TCI) was founded in 1852. The company, originally named the Sewanee Mining Company, was founded by Tennessee entrepreneurs. TCI entered the Birmingham market in 1886 after investors Alfred Shook and T. T. Hillman sold their shares in the Alabama-based Pratt Coal and Coke Company to the company.

As a result of the merger, TCI gained control of 76,000 acres of coal producing land and two blast furnaces in Alabama. In 1895, the company moved its headquarters to Birmingham, and began producing pig iron, which was sold to northern markets, shipped, and converted to steel in Northern cities. The company grew rapidly in the 1890s, acquiring several Birmingham companies, including the DeBardelben Coal and Iron Company and the Sheffield Coal, Iron and Steel Company.

Following the financial panic of 1907, business owners sold the company to U.S. Steel. The company encouraged the development of financial plans such as "Pittsburgh Plus," programs that insured that the steel produced by TCI could not be sold at higher prices than steel produced in northern industrial centers. Such programs benefited northern investors at the expense of southern economic development.

U.S. Steel retained ownership of TCI, which gradually lost its status as an individual entity. In 1952, restructuring at U.S. Steel led to the the total absorption of TCI into the larger corporation.

Source: Encyclopedia of Alabama.

General note

Title on Spine: Letterbooks of T.C.I. Birmingham 1893-1895

Related Archival Materials note

The A. S. Williams III Americana Collection and the W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library contain several collections related to the steel and iron industry in Alabama. Please contact a staff member for assistance.

Source(s)

Williams, A. S., III (local)

Birmingham (Ala.) (lcsh)

Business records (lcsh)

Iron and Steel Industry (Local)

Iron industry and trade--Alabama--Jefferson County (lcsh)

Ledgers (account books) (aat)

Letter books (aat)

Letterbook, May 1893-August 1898 Item 1 Box W0104.01

Letterbook, August 1894-June 1895 Item 2 Box W0104.01

Tax return ledger, 1894-1895 Volume W0104.02