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Dallas Iron Works letterbook

Identifier: W-0097

Scope and Contents

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.


  • 1866-1879


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Due to the nature of certain archival formats, including digital and audio-visual materials, access to certain materials may require additional advance notice.

Biographical / Historical

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.


0.1 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



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

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

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


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

Processed by

Haley Aaron, 2013



Guide to the Dallas Iron Works letterbook
December 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