Archives & Manuscripts - Guide to the Collections
The collections of the Birmingham Public Library Archives contain more than 400,000 photographs and 30,000,000 documents, including government records, business records, maps, letters, diaries, scrapbooks and architectural drawings.
The Collections
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Kaul Lumber Company, Kaul Land and Lumber Company, Sample Lumber Company
Records, 1836-1966
John Kaul learned the lumber business by working in his father’s companies in his native Pennsylvania, and in 1889 he toured the South searching for investments. He bought part interest, and later full interest, in the Sample Lumber Company at Hollins, Alabama. In 1902, he changed the company’s name to the Kaul Lumber Company and incorporated the Kaul Land and Lumber Company, which would buy and hold land. The mill at Hollins was shut down in 1911. In 1912, near the city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the company built its new mill and company town. The town of Kaulton, with its wide lots, churches, clubs, and well designed houses, was a model of what owner John Kaul called the “new welfare emphasis in the southern lumber industry.” John Kaul died in 1931, and operation of the company was taken over by a group of trustees, headed by John’s son Hugh. In 1931 the Kaulton mill ceased operations. The Kaul Lumber Company still owned large tracts of land, and throughout the 1930s until the early 1960s the company continued to operate out of its Birmingham offices. The records include voluminous land records relating to tracts, rights-of-way, and timber rights purchased by the company in Tuscaloosa, Hale, Perry, Bibb, Shelby, Coosa, and Clay counties, Alabama. These files, which generally run from the 1880s through the 1920s, contain land grants, deeds, mortgages, court papers, and correspondence. An index to these land records, listing owners by name and county, is available as part of the published guide to the collection. The collection also contains material relating to the southern lumber industry, industrial paternalism, and the company's role during World War II. Lesser amounts of material relate to the company during the Great Depression and New Deal. Scattered but significant amounts of material relate to race relations and labor-management relations, the operation of the company's railroad, and the company's relationship with state and local governments. The records of the Sample Lumber Company provide greater detail about the daily operation of a lumber mill. Photographs in the collection show the Kaulton mill and houses, lumber camps, and timberlands. To conserve office space the company instituted a policy in 1916 of systematically destroying inactive files. This process seems to have been accelerated following the shut down of the Kaulton mill, and almost no employee personnel records have survived, nor have most of the files relating to the town of Kaulton.
Size : 40 boxes
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Keller, Helen (1). Scrapbook
Scrapbook, 1902-1968
Newspaper clippings compiled by the staff of the Birmingham Public Library’s Southern History Department.
Size : 1 flat box
Collection Guide Available : No
Keller, Mary E.
"Sketches in Black and White: A History of Inter-Racial Work, Synodical of Alabama, 1916-1944"
At the time this work was apparently written Mary E. Keller served as office secretary at Woodlawn Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama. This collection contains a photocopy of a typescript entitled "Sketches in Black and White: A History of Inter-Racial Work, Synodical of Alabama, 1916-1944." The history deals with the Presbyterian Church and African Americans in Alabama.
Size : ¼ linear foot (1 box)
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Kelly, Samuel Camp
Diary, 1862-1865
This diary chronicles the activities of Kelly, a native of Alabama, as an officer in the Confederate army.
Size : 1 box
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Kenilworth Club
Records, 1907-1917
The Kenilworth Club is a Birmingham literary club organized in 1907. The collection contains a minute book for the period 1907 to 1912, a membership roll and cashbook for the period 1907 to 1917, and yearbooks.
Size : 1½ linear feet (5 clamshell boxes)
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Kennedy, Robert F.
Civil Rights Files on Alabama, 1961-1963
This collection, photocopies of documents from the John F. Kennedy Library, contains correspondence and other material collected by Attorney General Kennedy relating to the Freedom Rides, the integration of the University of Alabama, civil rights activities in Birmingham and Gadsden, and meetings held with Alabama businessmen, attorneys and religious leaders.
Size : ¾ linear foot (1 box)
Collection Guide Available : Yes (online)
Kessler, W. H.
Business Papers
W.H. Kessler was a landscape architect in Birmingham. These files contain business papers relating to individual jobs, drawings and photographs.
Size : 8 boxes
Collection Guide Available : Yes (online)
Kettig, Laura Moody
“Her Diary and Impressions,” circa 1938
This travel diary of Laura Kettig was compiled by her daughter Dorothy.
Size : ⅛ linear foot (1 box)
Collection Guide Available : No
Kidd, Virginia A.
This scrapbook was compiled by a young Alabama woman who lived in Marengo County. The scrapbook is typical of the kind created by young women in the mid to late 19th century and includes romantic prose and poetry clipped from newspapers and magazines, engravings and etchings, lithographs, announcements of weddings and other material.
Size : 1 volume
Collection Guide Available : No
King, Martin Luther, Jr.
Scrapbooks, 1956-1968
Newspaper clippings compiled by the staff of the Birmingham Public Library’s Southern History Department on King’s civil rights activities
Size : 2 flat boxes
Collection Guide Available : No
King, Vera Garlington
Papers, 1905-1909
This collection contains high school examination papers of King while she was a student at the Southern Industrial Institute in Camp Hill, Alabama and a small amount of correspondence and other material.
Size : ¼ linear foot (1 box)
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Knesseth Israel Congregation
Cemetery Records, 1908-1948
This cemetery record contains a listing of burials by lot number, maps and an alphabetical index to names.
Size : 1 box
Collection Guide Available : No
Koenig, Frederick G., Jr.
Short Stories and Poetry
Frederick Koenig was a lawyer, manufacturing executive, and an active member of the Birmingham business community. Born in 1915 in Birmingham, Koenig earned a bachelor’s degree from Birmingham-Southern College in 1935 and an LL.B. from Harvard University in 1938. He worked as a lawyer in Birmingham until he enlisted in the U.S. Infantry in 1942. Koenig returned to Birmingham in 1946 and worked for Alabama By-Products, the company he remained with for the rest of his life. He served on various boards and as the director of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce. He died in Birmingham in 1978. This collection contains a form rejection letter from The New Yorker and one bound volume of typescripts of stories and poetry relating to World War II entitled “War Stories and Poems.” The stories were probably written in the 1940s when Koenig was in the Infantry and then working for the Tennessee Valley Authority. At least one of the poems may have been written while he was a student at Harvard in the late 1930s. None of the material is dated, but most of the stories have return addresses. The stories and poems are about espionage, love, and betrayal, and are populated with handsome men in uniform and alluring women either mourning a soldiers’ departure or themselves agents in international intrigue.
Size : 1 volume and 1 file
Collection Guide Available : Yes (online)
Kroman, Edna
Literary Manuscripts, circa 1920s
Edna Kroman moved to Birmingham with her parents and siblings in 1897. As an adult, Kroman worked as a stenographer and later as a reporter for the Birmingham News. In 1953, she opened the Junior Shop in Homewood and later operated Edmans Shoes in Mountain Brook before returning to writing for the Birmingham News. This collection largely consists of rough drafts and typescripts of articles, stories, and plays by Kroman, written in the 1920s and 1960s. Several of the folders contain rejection slips from Harper's, Atlantic Monthly, and The Saturday Evening Post. Kroman's works often concern social issues such as the education of women, the role of women in society, and anti-Semitism.
Size : ½ linear foot (1 box)
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Ku Klux Klan
Newspaper Advertisements, 1923, 1924
This collection contains one full-page Klan advertisement from the April 15, 1923 Birmingham News congratulating the Mason on the opening of their new Masonic Temple and one half-page advertisement from the June 24, 1924 Birmingham Age-Herald announcing “Everybody Welcome” to a Klan “Naturalization” (initiation ceremony) at East Lake Park. The event included an “All Day Barbecue, Bicycle Races, Aquatic Events, Ball Game, Fire Works, Public Speaking.” The page includes a handwritten note: “Join or beware.”
Size : 1 flat box
Collection Guide Available : Yes
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