Skip to main content

Woodward Iron Company records

Identifier: W-0061

Scope and Contents

This collection contains correspondence, financial and legal records, annual reports, and employee newsletters produced by the Woodward Iron Company and members of the Woodward Voting Trust. Much of the correspondence, dated from 1950-1961, discusses investments, meetings, and other activities of the Woodward Voting Trust. Press releases and stockholder reports on strikes in 1957 and 1959 are included, as well as information related to the company's merger with Mead Corporation in 1968.


  • 1945 - 1977


Conditions Governing Access


Biographical / Historical

Founded in December 1881 by brothers Joseph Hersey Woodward and William Harvey Woodward, the Woodward Iron Company produced pig iron in Birmingham, Alabama. In 1885, W. H. Woodward resigned his position as president of the company, leaving J. H. Woodward to manage the company. He continued to expand production, opening a second furnace in 1886 and creating the town of Woodward in 1887.

J. H. Woodward's son, Alan Harvey "Rick" Woodward, became the company's general manager. Under Rick Woodward's management, the company faced two staggering blows. First, a furnace expoded in 1926, killing several employees. Next, the company failed to weather the economic downturn of the 1930s, filing for bankruptcy in 1936. Thanks to a boom in steel demand during World War II, the company recovered its losses and expanded, opening a fourth furnace in 1951.

The Woodward family maintained controlling interest in the company through a voting trust formed in 1948. The trust was made up of J. H. Woodward's seven grandchildren and their descendants. This voting trust managed the company's investments until the trust was dissolved in 1961. In 1968, the Woodward Iron Company merged with the Mead Company. The mills ceased production in 1973.

Source: Fazio, Michael W. "The Making and Unmaking of the Woodward Iron Company." Alabama Heritage 68 (Spring 2003): 6-17.


0.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Correspondence, financial and legal records, annual reports, and employee newsletters produced by the Woodward Iron Company and members of the Woodward Voting Trust, from 1945-1977.

Physical Location

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


Gift of A. S. Williams III, 2010

Related Materials

Woodward Family papers (MSS1577), University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama.

The A. S. Williams III Americana Collection and the W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library hold other materials relating to the Woodward Iron Company. Please contact staff for assistance.


Title on phase box spine: History of the Woodward Iron Company of Birmingham

Processed by

Haley Aaron and Martha Bace, 2013



Guide to Woodward Iron Company records
October 2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266