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Guide to the John B. McFerrin Collection of Caldwell and Company Records, 1896-1980

Abstract

John B. McFerrin was a professor of finance at the University of Florida, as well as a past president of the Southern Economic Association. He received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, writing his dissertation on Caldwell and Company. McFerrin's book, Caldwell and Company: A Southern Financial Empire, was first published in 1939 and updated in 1969.

Includes documents (the majority dating from the 1920s-1930s) gathered by McFerrin during the research and writing of his book Caldwell and Company: A Southern Financial Empire, and two copies of the book.

Descriptive Summary

Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Creator
McFerrin, John B. (collector)
Title
John B. McFerrin Collection of Caldwell and Company records 1896-1980
Language of Material
English
Extent
2.1 Linear Feet, 1000 Items
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

Includes two copies of John B. McFerrin's book, Caldwell and Company: A Southern Financial Empire, as well as supporting documents (the majority dating from the 1920s-1930s) gathered by McFerrin during the research and writing of his book. The materials represent a sampling of material from Caldwell and Company. Pre-financial collapse material consists largely of sales support, including information and literature meant for distribution by the Caldwell and Company salesmen. Topics range from municipal bonds, mortgage real estate bonds, securities and investment pamphlets, life insurance, and informational newsletters about Caldwell products. Post-1930 materials relate largely to the fallout from the financial collapse of Caldwell, including various court case briefs, indentures, a report from Lee Douglas and Rutledge Smith, Caldwell and Company Receivers, and a consolidated schedule with the financial records of the company and the Bank of Tennessee. Also included are newspaper clippings, dated 1896-1980; an article by McFerrin about the Kentucky Rock Asphalt Company; and other miscellaneous materials.

Administrative Information

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Contents of the Collection

Report of Lee Douglas and Rutledge Smith, Receivers of Caldwell and Company, 1930 November 13-1934 May 15
Box 1
Security Dealers of North America: A Reliable Service to Unlisted Securities, Pynchon & Co., 1929
Box 1
Kentucky and Tennessee Supreme and District Court briefs, undated
Box 1
John Berry McFerrin: 2 copies of Caldwell and Company: A Southern Financial Empire, 1939 and 1969 (reissued)
Box 1
Indenture of deed of trust or mortgage, Gibson Hotels, 1931 and 1937
Box 1
Information Regarding Southern States, Counties, and Cities for Buyers of Municipal Bonds, Caldwell and Company, 1929
Box 1
Information Regarding Tennessee Counties and Cities for Buyers of Municipal Bonds, Personal account belonging to Carr Payne, undated
Box 1
Stockfolders: lists of municipal bonds owned and offered by Caldwell Company, 1925-1928
Box 2
Stockfolders: lists of municipal bonds owned and offered by Caldwell Company, 1929-1934
Box 2
Lists of investment bankers and mortgage real estate bonds, 1921-1922 and undated
Box 2
Hotel mortgage bonds and plans, 1924-1937
Box 2
Consolidated schedule: financial records of Caldwell and Company and Bank of Tennessee, 1930
Box 2
Selected Securities pamphlets, 1925-1929
Box 2
Business and Investment pamphlets, 1925-1930
Box 2
A Selected List of Investment Securities and Investment Suggestions pamphlets, 1925-1930
Box 2
Missouri State Life Insurance Company: advertising, sales letters and booklets, undated

A booklet that gives a well organized presentation of recommended sales bites, sample letters to solicit investors, pictures of the office building and its directors, history of the company, and company information and statistics.

Box 2
John B. McFerrin, The Kentucky Rock Asphalt Company. University of Florida. Article reprinted from the Southern Economic Journal IV:4, 1938 April
Box 2
Information for Caldwell Salesmen, 1925
Box 2
Correspondence and informational newsletters, 1927-1930
Box 2
Newspaper clippings, 1896-1980
Box 2

Historical Note

John B. McFerrin was a professor of finance at the University of Florida, as well as a past president of the Southern Economic Association. His Ph.D. was from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with his dissertation on Caldwell and Company. McFerrin's book, Caldwell and Company: A Southern Financial Empire, was first published in 1939 and updated in 1969.

Caldwell and Company was founded in Nashville in 1917 by Rogers C. Caldwell. Originally a municipal bonds distributor, the company grew rapidly--first selling real estate bonds and industrial securities, and later acquiring ownership and interests in banks (including the Bank of Tennessee), newspapers, and other ventures, including Nashville's professional baseball team. By 1929, it was the largest investment banking house in the south.

All was not well with the company's finances, however. Rogers Caldwell charged his personal expenses to the company, securities were substituted unethically, and the business had inadequate cash reserves to legally cover its investments. Caldwell and Company also became involved in state politics, financially backing Colonel Luke Lea and his interests. (Lea was also from Nashville, a former United States Senator, and a newspaper publisher.) Lea's influence with the state government, including Governor Henry Horton, led to significant deposits of Tennessee money into Caldwell banks, bypassing competitive bidding for state-funded projects. In September 1930, bank examiners discovered the low cash reserves, and on November 7 the Bank of Tennessee was declared insolvent. The collapse of Caldwell and Company immediately followed, including runs on other company-owned banks across the South. On November 14, 1930, the company went into receivership.

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], John B. McFerrin Collection of Caldwell and Company Records, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University

Provenance

The John B. McFerrin Collection of Caldwell and Company Records were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in 2010.

Processing Information

Processed by Meghan Lyon and Rose Filler, September 2010

Encoded by Meghan Lyon, September 2010

This collection is minimally processed: materials may not have been ordered and described beyond their original condition.

Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 2010-0158

Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NCEAD guidelines, and local Style Guide.

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.