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Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company Records

 Collection
Identifier: W-0104

Scope and Contents

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.

This collections also contains 517 photographs of TCI industrial complexes.

Dates

  • 1893-1901

Creator

Physical Description

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

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

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.

Extent

0.3 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

English

Overview

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, and photographs depicting TCI industrial complexes.

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of A. S. Williams III, 2010

Related Materials

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.

Physical Description

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

General

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

Processing Information

Haley Aaron, 2013; Photographic collection processed by Marina Klarić, October 2019.

Creator

Source

Title
Guide to the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company records
Status
Completed
Date
December 2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266
205.348.0500