Guide to the Charleston Cotton Exchange records, 1880-1952


The Charleston Cotton Exchange was founded in 1872 in the port of Charleston, South Carolina; one of its main functions was to provide commodity trading statistics to the mercantile community. Collection includes minutes of the meetings of the Board of Directors in 1884; financial statements, 1896-1898, 1929-1930; letters of invitation to prospective members, 1910; and groups of reports on the cotton market at Charleston, 1936-1944, 1948-1950. The volumes contain detailed statistics on the shipping of cotton and other goods at Charleston, 1880-1905; cotton receipts at ports in the United States, 1899-1906; price quotations from several markets in naval stores, 1881-1886; and the finances of the Exchange, 1888-1938.

Collection Details

Collection Number
Charleston Cotton Exchange records
Charleston Cotton Exchange (Charleston, S.C.)
3 Linear Feet, 729 Items
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Material in English

Collection Overview

These papers came to the library with those of the Cheshire, Sullivan and Canaday, cotton merchants of Charleston. Theophilus P. Cheshire and Solomon M. Canaday were presidents of the Exchange at various times during the 1930s to 1950s. The folder of cancelled checks, 1939-1952, contains checks bearing names of presidents during this period.

The chronological file of papers includes minutes of meetings of the Board of Directors in 1884, financial statements of 1896-1898 and 1929-1930, and a letter of invitation in 1910 to prospective members. A letter from President Cheshire in 1932 is a report on the finances of the exchange and the state of the cotton trade at Charleston. During 1948-1950, there are numerous reports of daily sales and inventories of cotton and frequent price quotations. A number of monthly reports record statistics on receipts and shipments of cotton.

Statistics on domestic and international shipments, inventories, and other data are in the Exchange's Report on Cotton Movement at Charleston, 1936-1944 that are filed in separate folders. The function of the Charleston Cotton Exchange as a provider of trading statistics to the mercantile community is represented by seven volumes. Marine News Clearances No. 2 (1880, July-1886, Aug.), and No. 5 (1899, Sept.-1905 Feb.) record shipping information: date of clearance, nationality, rig, name of vessel, master, destination, cargo (types of goods and their quantity), by whom cleared, and date of departure. Clearances No. 2, includes a List of Steamships Loaded at Charleston for Foreign Ports (1879, Sept.-1885, Sept.) that records the number of bales of Sea Island and upland cotton shipped, its destination, and other information. Marine Arrivals No. 3 (1886, Aug.-1892, Aug.), No. 4 (1892, Sept.-1899, Aug.), and No. 5 (1899, Sept.-1905, Feb.) list date of arrival, nationality, rig, name of vessel, master, place from which the ship had come, cargo (quantities not given), and consignee.

The Weekly Cotton Receipts at All U.S. Ports (1899, March-Sept., 1906) includes statistics for Galveston, New Orleans, Mobile, Savannah, Charleston, Wilmington, Norfolk, Baltimore, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and other ports. These statistics include cumulative totals and comparative figures for the preceding year. Naval Stores No. 2 (1881, Sept.-July, 1886) contains price quotations (several times daily) for rosin and turpentine on the markets at Wilmington, New York, London, and Liverpool. Figures are more numerous for Wilmington and New York. In 1883 price quotations were begun for the market at Savannah, and those for Liverpool were discontinued. On the inside front cover is the Annual Statement of Stocks, Receipts and Exports for the Year Ended March 31st, 1882, Wilmington, N.C. (cotton, turpentine, rosin, tar, and crude). Four volumes record finances of the Exchange: Cashbook, June 1888-Dec, 1898; Cashbook, Jan., 1916-Aug., 1931; Cashbook, Sept., 1931-Aug., 1938; and the Assessments of Members, 1891-1916.

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How to Cite

[Identification of item], Charleston Cotton Exchange records, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

Cashbook, 1888-1898
Box 1
Cashbook, 1916-1931
Box 1
Assessment of members, 1891-1916
Box 1
Record, 1950
Box 2
Reports on cotton movement at Charleston, 1936-1944
Box 2
Cancelled checks, 1939-1952
Box 2
Records, 1884-1949
Box 3
Charleston, South Carolina
Box 3
Marine arrivals, No. 3, 1886-1892
Box 4
Marine arrivals, No. 4, 1892-1899
Box 4
Naval stores, No. 2, 1881-1886
Box 5
Marine arrivals, No. 5, 1899-1905
Box 5
Cashbook, 1931-1938
Box 6
Weekly cotton receipts at U.S. ports, 1899-1906
Box 6

Related Material

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The Charleston Cotton Exchange records were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in 1971.

Processing Information

Processed by Rubenstein Library staff, December 2011

Encoded by Paula Jeannet and Matthew Warren, June 2014

Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 71-283