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Collection Number: 05057

Collection Title: Robert O. Huffman Papers, 1908-1994

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the section for more information.


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Size 0.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 250 items)
Abstract Robert Obediah Huffman (1890-1978) was a furniture and hosiery manufacturer, business and civic leader, and philanthropist of Morganton, Burke County, N.C. The collection consists of four scrapbooks, biographical material, and speeches of Robert O. Huffman. The scrapbooks and biographical material include newspaper clippings, correspondence, photographs, and printed material that document awards and honors Huffman received and his business accomplishments, civic activities and community, industry, and political contacts, chiefly during the 1950s and 1960s. The speeches were given at commencements and at meetings of the Newcomen Society and industry groups.
Creator Huffman, Robert O.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Robert O. Huffman Papers #5057, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Deposited by Ms. Burgess McSwain of Chapel Hill, N.C., in May and September 2001 (Acc. 98937 and Acc. 99079).
Sensitive Materials Statement
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, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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Robert Obediah Huffman (1890-1978) was born in Morganton, Burke County, N.C. He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1913 and immediately went to work for one of the family businesses, Drexel Knitting Mills. Under his leadership the business grew to include the Morganton Full Fashion Hosiery Mills and the Huffman Hosiery Mill. In 1935, he succeeded his brother, Frank O. Huffman, as president of the family's other business, Drexel Furniture Company. The furniture business eventually became known as Drexel Enterprises, Inc., which included the original Drexel Furniture Company, Morganton Furniture Company, Heritage Furniture Company, and Southern Desk Company. Huffman served as president of Drexel Enterprises, but he also remained active in hosiery manufacturing at the same time.

During and after World War II, Huffman served in the Office of Production Management, the War Production Board, the Office of Price Administration, and the Office of Price Stabilization. His business acumen also was tapped by the boards of many companies and organizations, including Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Company, First National Bank of Morganton, the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the Southern Furniture Manufacturers Association, among others.

Huffman was a noted civic leader and philanthropist. He was a deacon and active member of First Baptist Church in Morganton, and served as a trustee of the Morganton City School Board, Mars Hill College, and Grace Hospital of Morganton, as president of the Burke Farmers Cooperative Dairy, and as mayor of Morganton. He received many honors during his lifetime, including an honorary degree from the University of North Carolina in 1954 and "Man of the Year for 1955" from Morganton, N.C.

Huffman married Pearl Trogdon of Winston Salem, N.C., in 1915, and with her had three daughters.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection consists of four scrapbooks, biographical material, and speeches of Robert O. Huffman (1890-1978), a hosiery and furniture manufacturer, business and civic leader, and philanthropist of Morganton, Burke County, N.C. The scrapbooks and biographical material include newspaper clippings, correspondence, photographs, and printed material that document awards and honors Huffman received, his business accomplishments, civic activities, and community, industry, and political contacts, chiefly during the 1950s and 1960s. The speeches were given at commencements and at meetings of the Newcomen Society and industry groups.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Papers, 1908-1994.

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Processing Information

Processed by: Nancy Kaiser, November 2005

Encoded by: Nancy Kaiser, November 2005

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