Birmingham Architecture & Design Collection
Robert Jemison, Sr., 1853-1926

Robert Jemison, Sr., 1853-1926
AR 0048

Biographical Information

Robert Jemison, Sr.Robert Jemison, Sr. (1853-1926), a financial and industrial leader of Birmingham, was born in Tuscaloosa. He attended the University of Alabama and entered the mercantile business in Tuscaloosa upon graduation. In 1884, Jemison moved to Birmingham, a very young city at the time, where he became a successful businessman and pioneer developer of the city’s street railway system. Jemison served as the first president of the consolidated Birmingham Railway, Light, and Power Company, and was a director of Southern Railway, Alabama Great Southern Railway, and First National Bank. Jemison’s real estate developments included Glen Iris Park, Birmingham’s first subdivision designed by a professional landscape architect, and East Lake, one of Birmingham’s first residential suburbs. Jemison was active at the Church of the Advent and in many civic organizations and movements. He married Eugenia Sorsby Jemison of Tuscaloosa and they had six children: Robert Jemison, Jr., Mrs. A. H. Woodward, Mrs. Bessie J. Norris, John S. Jemison, Sorsby Jemison, and Albert S. Jemison.

Scope and Content

These papers include over 4,600 items that are primarily personal correspondence and business papers. Some memorabilia, maps, photographs, and ledgers are also included. Organizations named in the papers include Allen & Jemison Hardware Company, Avondale Mills, Birmingham Railway & Electric Company, Cahaba Coal Company, East Lake Land Company, First National Bank, Glen Iris Park, Jemison Real Estate & Insurance Company, Jemison & Company Incorporated, and the Southern Club.


Portrait of Robert Jemison, Sr. Portraits Collection. Birmingham Public Library. Department of Archives and Manuscripts.

“Robert Jemison, Sr., Dies,” Birmingham Age-Herald, 17 September 1926. File # Robert Jemison, Sr. Papers. Birmingham Public Library. Department of Archives and Manuscripts.

Morris, Philip A. and Marjorie Longenecker White, eds. Designs on Birmingham: A Landscape History of a Southern City and Its Suburbs. Birmingham, Alabama: Birmingham Historical Society, 1989
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