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Guide to the Alexander Sprunt and Son Records, 1779-1960

Summary

Cotton firm from Wilmington, N.C., that for a short period was probably the largest cotton exporting house in the United States. Collection includes account books, ledgers, journals, cashbooks, purchase and sales journals, inventories, other subsidiary books, and some office files and correspondence. Goods were purchased from the Carolinas, Georgia, Texas, and other states and processed in the firm's compress facilities and sold to Great Britain, France, Germany, and elsewhere in Europe.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.10194
Title
Alexander Sprunt and Son records
Date
1779-1960
Creator
Alexander Sprunt & Son (Wilmington, N.C.)
Extent
6082 items
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Materials in English

Collection Overview

The collection consists of an extensive, but incomplete, set of account books, remnants of the office file and James Sprunt's correspondence (personal as well as business letters and papers), and pictures. Among the account books there are long series of ledgers, journals, cashbooks, purchase books, and stock inventories that document the company's operations between the 1870s and 1950s. The ledgers date between 1889 and 1952, and there are private ledgers for 1907 through 1931. The volume of minutes covers 1919-1930, but there are a few others among the offices files along with financial statements, 1885-1915, important legal documents of the partnership and corporation, and assorted other papers.

Correspondence and other papers of James Sprunt and the company date between 1884 and 1952, but they are numerous only for 1904, 1906, 1909-1910, and 1919-1921. The letters date mostly to 1904-1910, and 1919-1921, and are largely files of James Sprunt, reflecting his activities in business and interests in secular and theological education, the Presbyterian church in the U.S., and North Carolina history. Notable correspondents and subjects are Alexander Sprunt (1815-1884), Alexander Sprunt (1852-1937), Alexander Sprunt (b. 1898), James Sprunt (1847-1924), Kenneth Mackenzie Murchison, Francis Herman Packer, John Miller Wells, John Campbell White, Edward Jenner Wood, The Laymen's Missionary Movement, and the Presbyterian mission at Kiangyin, China. Account books, minutes, and correspondence are available also for a number of domestic and foreign subsidaries and branch offices, but these are often quite fragmentary. More than thirty pictures, mostly photographs, illustrate the firm's staff, workers, physical plant, and employees as well as other scenes.

Also included are some papers representing various domestic and foreign subsidiaries and branch offices, especially Champion Compress and Warehouse Company, the Wilmington Compress and Warehouse Company, Alexander Sprunt & Son (of Delaware, a holding company), and the company's offices in New York City and Le Havre, France.

Information about the company's history can be found in: James Sprunt's letters of Nov. 6, 1908; Apr. 9, 1909; Jun. 7 and Oct. 22, 1919; an article in Wilmington's Morning Star from Feb. 11, 1921; and Dictionary of American Biography.

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How to Cite

[Identification of item], Alexander Sprunt and Son Records, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

1. Correspondence and Other Papers, 1818-1952 and undated

James Sprunt had very extensive correspondence files, of which only a small portion has survived. A year's letters were subdivided alphabetically and included both the incoming originals and the outgoing copies. The years represented by a sizeable body of papers are 1904, 1906, 1909-1910, and 1919-1921, but they are probably quite incomplete. All of the papers have been arranged chronologically. The series also contains "other papers," which cannot be identified with their original files. Most of the material came from James Sprunt's files.

The series represents a variety of Sprunt's personal and professional interests. Business operations, the cotton market, and domestic and foreign economic conditions are constant concerns. There was frequent communication between Sprunt and his relatives and business associates in Liverpool. His work as vice consul for Great Britain and Germany appears occasionally. Prominent among his activities and charities is the Presbyterian Church in the U.S., the southern body of the Presbyterians. He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church and assisted other congregations in Wilmington and Chapel Hill, where he financed the remodeling of the church as designed by architect Hobart Upjohn. He made substantial contributions to the mission in Kiangyin, China. The interdenominational Laymen's Missionary Movement and its general secretary, John Campbell White, are also prominent in the papers, along with the southern Presbyterian part of of that organization. Sprunt was a principle mover in the arrangements for a statue of George Davis, Confederate attorney general and native son of Wilmington, and there is much correspondence about it, including that with Francis Herman Packer, the sculptor. Sprunt was a trustee of the University of North Carolina and a benefactor of Davidson College, and there are communications between him and the schools' students and officials. Other educational institutions represented include Columbia Theological Seminary, Union Theological Seminary, the antecedents of North Carolina Central University, and other colleges and academies in the South, including several historically black colleges. River and harbor improvements at Wilmington are noted. Scattered political correspondence includes references to state elections, the N.C. Supreme Ct., and the U.S. District Court for Eastern N.C., and the Wilmington riots of 1898. There are several letters about the N.C. Literary and Historical Association and the N.C. Folklore Society, and about other episodes of state history, such as blockade running during the Civil War, President Taft's visit to Wilmington in 1909, Governor Benjamin Smith, and the monument for the Revolutionary battle at Moore's Creek. Correspondence with and about Woodrow Wilson mainly concerned a Carnegie pension for Henry Elliot Shepherd, an educator, but there are a few minor items of a political nature. Sprunt communicated with Senators Lee Slater Overman and Furnifold Simmons about various matters.

Several close relatives of James Sprunt had distinguished careers and are also represented by letters and references: his brother Alexander Sprunt (1852-1937), a Presbyterian clergyman at Charleston, S.C.; Kenneth Mackenzie Murchison, an architect in New York who was a brother-in-law; Edward Jenner Wood, a nephew and physician who was a pioneer in the campaign against pellagra; and Joseph Austin Holmes, another brother-in-law who was a geologist, chief of the technological branch of the U.S. Geological Survey in charge of the investigation of mine accidents, 1904-1907, and the first director of the Bureau of Mines established in 1910.

Information folder, undated
Box 1
1818-1904
Box 1
1905-1909 Jan.
Box 2
1909 Feb.-Sept.
Box 3
1909 Oct.-1910 Jan.
Box 4
1910 Feb.-1919 Mar.
Box 5
1919 Mar.-1920 Apr.
Box 6
1920 Apr.-1921 Feb.
Box 7
1921 Mar.-Dec.
Box 8
1922-1952 and undated
Box 9
Clippings, undated
Box 9

2. Office Files, 1914-1917

Includes incomplete assorted files from the operations of Sprunt and Son and its firms, such as Champion Compress and Warehouse Company.

Box 9
1456: Original letters from Frederick Huth and Co., showing basis of extra charge of 2 percent and collection of deposit in Deutsche Nationalbank and Sprun vs. Direction der Disconte Gesellschaft and London and Liverpool Bank of Commerce, 1914-1927
Box 9
5410: Chapman-Alexander Tabernacle, 1916-1917
Box 9
5472: Wilmington Terminal Warehouse Co., 1930
Box 10
6000: Private Letterpress Book, 1893-1900

Especially correspondence with Messrs. Laird and Gray of New York. Page 9 documents the purchase by the Sprunts of the Champion Compress and Warehouse Company's entire capital stock.

Box 10
6001-6002: Hyde Park. Copies of deeds, wills, and other papers on property around Lake Phelps, N.C., 1779-1900s
Box 10
6003: First National Bank of Wilmington, N.C. Stock certificate, 1892
Box 10
6004: The Caledonia Pottery Company. Charter, 1891
Box 11
6005: Deed to the library of W.S. Hancock at Wilmington, 1895
Box 11
6010: Champion Compress and Warehouse Co. inventories and documents on fire losses, 1899 and 1917
Box 11
6023: Champion Compress and Warehouse Co. charters and related papers, 1878-1923
Box 11
6028: Alexander Sprunt and Son. Financial statement, 1914-1915
Box 11
6030: First National Bank of Wilmington, N.C. Stock and papers on suspension of the bank and subsequent lawsuit, 1877-1895
Box 11
6051: Private letter file, 1904-1905

Especially correspondence with Liverpool agent.

Box 11
6078: Partnership agreements, 1884-1916
Box 11
6080: Torrey Meeting Account; St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church minutes of congregational meetings; St. Andrew's and First Presbyterian churches, statistics, etc., 1902-1909, 1920
Box 11
6083: W.H. Sprunt notebook, 1887, on businessmen in N.C. and S.C.; Cotton receipts, 1889-1890; Voters in the 2nd Ward, 1899; Speech: "Sprunt Monopoly in Control of the Port of Wilmington;" Military Draft, 1918; Summons: American Syndicate of New Jersey vs. James Sprunt et al., 1916; Purchase of Camino (ship), 1916, 1887-1918
Box 11
6110: Liverpool partnership agreement, 1911
Box 11
6116: Annual statements, 1885-1914
Box 11
6135: Mortgage: Murdock Black to James Sprunt, 1881
Box 12
6138: Old Papers of Alexander Sprunt, 1867-1878
Box 12
6143: Political correspondence preceding Wilmington Riot of 1898, 1898
Box 12
6144: Partnership certificates, 1908
Box 12
6159: Announcements of death of James Sprunt, 1924
Box 12
6243: Letters on change of Alexander Sprunt and Son to a chartered corporation, 1919
Box 12
6246: Corporation charter and amendments, 1919-1930
Box 12
6327: Notes and correspondence from trip to Europe by Alexander and W.H. Sprunt, 1922 May-July

Trip included France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Austria, and Italy.

Box 12
6386: Alexander Sprunt's naturalization papers, undated
Box 12
6410: Church of the Covenant: chimes donated by the Sprunts, 1923-1924
Box 12
6545: The Sprunt Corporation (Delaware): minutes of meetings of stockholders and of board of directors, and related papers, 1931-1937
Box 12
6901: Partnership discussion, 1937-1938
Box 12
Box 13
7184: Houston Branch blueprints of improvements, 1931-1938
Box 12
Box 13
7306: Champion Compress and Warehouse Co.: Stock certificates, 1891-1899
Box 13
7318: Correspondence at outbreak of World War I, 1914 Jun.-Oct.
Box 13
7319: Houston property, 1912
Box 13
7320: S.S. City of Savannah, undated
Box 13
7321: Various deeds, 1833-1873
Box 13
7322: Power of attorney from Alexander Sprunt to James Sprunt, 1876
Box 13
7323: Bremen Office profit and loss statement, 1909 Jun.
Box 13
7326: Christmas lists, 1909-1914
Box 13
7336: Aktien-Gesellschaft der Baltischen Baumwollspinnerei and Weberi-Reval, Estonia papers, 1930-1934
Box 14
7346: Munds Brothers journal (daybook: Drugs), 1883 Oct.-1885 Apr.
Box 14
8000: Wilmington Compress and Warehouse Co.

Not an original file. These records were found in Cashbook A. Balance sheets, 1880-1881 and 1885. Accounts of bales compressed, 1877-1878, and other accounts. Letter of 1885 about the firm's Tyler Press, built 1875.

Box 14

3. Pictures, undated

The Pictures Series includes both photographs and illustrated pictures and advertisements. The majority of photographs are of the Alexander Sprunt and Son employees and facilities in Wilmington, N.C., and include the main office building on Front and Walnut Streets; office staff, including some photographs of the Sprunts; the Champion Compress and Warehouse facility; the S.S. Winston Salem (1920). The series also includes portraits and photographs of the Sprunt family both in Wilmington and abroad. Other images in the collection are: postcards and advertisements, as well as a set of photos by Cirkut Photos by Coovert in Memphis, Tennessee.

Pictures, undated
Box 14
Pictures, undated
Box 15

4. Volumes, 1890s-1950s

The company's nomenclature for some of the account books was not apparent, and it was necessary to substitute titles that it is hoped are approximately accurate, if not always precise. In addition, there was some difficulty in distinguishing between those volumes that belonged to the main office at Wilmington and those that belonged to other offices and subsidiaries. The company was a complex operation, and its accounting procedures changed over the years. Many volumes did not have labels.

Audit reports, 1925

For period 1919-1923. Includes The Wilmington Corporation; the General Summary and Reconcilments; Walter P. Sprunt; William H. Sprunt; and Bremen Partnership.

Box 16
Letterbooks, 1906-1908
Box 17
Code books and Stock Ledger, 1919-1948
Box 18
Minutes of Meetings of Stockholders and Board of Directors, 1919-1930
Volume 1

Ledgers

The ledgers often contained records that are not necessarily part of a general ledger. These ledgers included such things as agent's ledgers, journals, account sales, consignments, claims, city cotton, check registers, cashbooks, trial balanaces, and others; some of which appear at other times as separate subsidiary account books. The inclusiveness of the ledgers is especially apparent during the late 1910s and 1920s.

Private Ledgers, 1907-1931
Volume 2-7
Ledger I, 1889-1890
Volume 8
Ledger I Index, undated
Volume 9
Ledger J, 1890-1891
Volume 9A
Ledger K, 1891-1893
Volume 10
Ledger L, 1893-1895
Volume 11
Ledger M, 1895-1896
Volume 12
Ledger M Index, undated
Volume 13
Ledger O, 1898-1901
Volume 14
Ledger, A-K, 1901-1905
Volume 15
Ledger, L-Z, 1901-1905
Volume 16
Ledger (includes some earlier accounts), 1905-1913
Volume 16A
Ledger, 1913-1914
Volume 17
Volume 14
Ledger, 1914-1915
Volume 18
Ledger, 1915-1916
Volume 19
Ledger, 1916-1917
Volume 20
Ledger, 1918
Volume 21
Ledger, 1919 Jan.-Jun.
Volume 22
Ledger, 1919, Jun.-Dec.
Volume 23
Ledger, 1920
Volume 24
Ledger, 1921
Volume 25
Ledger, 1922
Volume 26
Ledger, 1923
Volume 27
Ledger, 1924
Volume 28
Ledger, 1925
Volume 29
Ledger, 1926
Volume 30
Ledger, 1927, Jan.-May
Volume 31
Ledger, 1927-1928
Volume 32
Ledger, 1928-1929
Volume 33
Ledger, 1929-1930
Volume 34
Ledger, 1930-1931
Volume 35
Ledger, 1931-1932
Volume 36
Ledger, 1932-1933
Volume 37
Ledger, 1933-1934
Volume 38
Ledger, 1934-1935
Volume 39
Ledger, 1935-1936
Volume 40
Ledger, 1936-1937
Volume 41
Ledger, 1937 Apr.-May
Volume 42
Ledger, 1937-1938
Volume 43
Ledger, 1938-1939
Volume 44
Ledger, 1939-1940
Volume 45
Ledger, 1940-1941
Volume 46
Ledger, 1941-1942
Volume 47
Ledger, 1942-1943
Volume 48
Ledger, 1943-1944
Volume 49
Ledger, 1944-1945
Volume 50
Ledger, 1945-1946
Volume 51
Ledger, 1946-1947
Volume 52
Ledger, 1947-1948
Volume 53
Ledger, 1948-1952
Volume 53
Volume 54
Foreign Ledger, 1909-1910
Volume 55
Agents' Ledger, 1907-1909
Volume 56
Agents' Ledger, 1909-1911
Volume 57
Agents' Ledger, 1911-1912
Volume 58
Agents' Expenses, 1932-1933
Volume 59
Journal, 1878 Oct.-1883 Feb.
Volume 60
Journal, 1883 Mar.-1885 Dec.
Volume 61
Journal, 1891 Nov.-1893 Jan.
Volume 62
Journal, 1893 Oct.-1895 Mar.
Volume 63
Journal, 1894-1898
Volume 64
Journal, 1896 Nov.-1898 Oct.
Volume 65
Journal, 1898 Sept.-1901 Dec.
Volume 66
Journal, 1899 Oct.-1902 Oct.
Volume 67
Journal, 1905 Mar.-Sept.
Volume 68
Journal, 1905 July-1913 Aug.
Volume 69
Cashbook, 1884 Sept.-1888 Oct.
Volume 70
Cashbook, 1888 Oct.-1891 Oct.
Volume 71
Cashbook, 1891 Oct.-1894 Aug.
Volume 72
Cashbook, 1896 May-1899 Oct.
Volume 73
Cashbook, 1899 Oct.-1901 Oct.
Volume 74
Cashbook, 1903 Dec.-1906 Dec.
Volume 72
Volume 75
Cashbook, 1906 Dec.-1909 July
Volume 75
Volume 76
Cashbook, 1909 Aug.-1910 Aug.
Volume 77
Cash Journal, 1910 Sept.-1911 Aug.
Volume 78
Cash Journal, 1911 Aug.-1912 Aug.
Volume 79
Cash Journal, 1912 Aug.-1913 Aug.
Volume 80
Cash-Check-Journal Register, 1919
Volume 81
Cash-Check-Journal Register, 1924-1925 Mar.
Volume 82
Cash-Check-Journal Register, 1925 Apr.-Dec.
Volume 83
Cash-Check-Journal Register, 1934 Jun.-1935 May
Volume 84
Cash-Check-Journal Register, 1935 Jun.-1936 May
Volume 85
Cash-Check-Journal Register, 1936 Jun.-1937 May
Volume 86
Cash-Check-Journal Register, 1937 Jun.-1938 May
Volume 87
Cash-Check-Journal Register, 1938 Jun.-1939 May
Volume 88
Cash-Check-Journal Register, 1939 Jun.-1940 May
Volume 89
Cash-Check-Journal Register, 1940 Jun.-1931 May
Volume 90
Cash-Check-Journal Register, 1941 Jun.-1942 May
Volume 91
Cash-Check-Journal Register, 1942 Jun.-1943 May
Volume 92
Cash-Check-Journal Register, 1943 Jun.-1944 May
Volume 93
Cash-Check-Journal Register, 1944 Jun.-1945 May
Volume 94
Cash-Check-Journal Register, 1945 Jun.-1946 May
Volume 95
Cash-Check-Journal Register, 1946 Jun.-1947 May
Volume 96
Cash-Check-Journal Register, 1947 Jun.-1948 May
Volume 97
Cash-Check-Journal Register, 1948 Jun.-1954 May
Volume 98
Cash-Check-Journal Register, 1954 Jun.-1958 May
Volume 99
Cash-Check-Journal Register, 1958 Jun.-1960 Jun.
Volume 100
Purchases Book, 1898 Sept.-1899 Aug.
Volume 101
Purchases Book, 1906 Sept.-1907 May
Volume 102
Purchases Book, 1911 Sept.-1912 Sept.
Volume 103
Purchases and Sales Book, 1912 Sept.-1926 Dec.
Volume 104
Purchases and Sales Journal, 1925 Sept.-Dec.
Volume 105
Purchases and Sales Journal, 1926 Jan.-Jun.
Volume 106
Purchases and Sales Journal, 1926 Jun.-Dec.
Volume 107
Purchases and Sales Journal, 1927 Jan.-May
Volume 108
Purchases and Sales Journal, 1927 Jun.-1928 May
Volume 109
Purchases and Sales Journal, 1928 Jun.-1928 May
Volume 110
Purchases and Sales Journal, 1929 Jun.-1930 May
Volume 111
Purchases and Sales Journal, 1930 Jun.-1931 May
Volume 112
Purchases and Sales Journal, 1931 Jun.-1933 May
Volume 113
Purchases and Sales Journal, 1933 Jun.-1935 Nov.
Volume 114
Purchases and Sales Journal, 1935 Nov.-1938 Mar.
Volume 115
Personal Cotton Book, 1891-1893
Volume 115A
Cotton Receipts, 1893 Dec.-1895 Aug.
Volume 116
Record of Cottone Purchases, 1920 Mar.-1926 Dec.
Volume 117
Record of Cotton Purchases, 1933 May-1935 Nov.
Volume 118
Cotton Receipts by Railroad, 1925
Volume 119
Register of Cotton Buyers (including shipping records of Champion Compress and Warehouse Co.), 1897-1921
Volume 120
Invoices Examined, 1897 Dec.-1900 Oct.
Volume 121
Invoice Outturns, 1934-1936
Volume 122
Cotton Purchases and Sales (Wilson, Maxton, Smithfield, Clinton, Roseboro, Tarboro, Rocky Mount, Dunn), 1933-1934
Volume 123
Cotton Storage: Clinton, 1933-1934
Volume 124
Cotton Storage: Maxton, 1933 Sept.
Volume 125
Cotton Storage: Smithfield, Dunn, Goldsboro, 1933-1934
Volume 126
Cotton Futures Purchases and Sales, 1940-1949
Volume 127
Daily Market Position, 1939 Aug.-1940 May
Volume 128
Stock Inventory, 1895 Sept.-1901 Aug.
Volume 129
Stock Inventory, 1901 Sept.-1912 Mar.
Volume 130
Stock Inventory, 1911 May-1918 Feb.
Volume 131
Stock Inventory, 1918 Feb.-1920 Nov.
Volume 132
Stock Inventory, 1920 Nov.-1922 Dec.
Volume 133
Stock Inventory, 1925 Aug.-1928 Sept.
Volume 134
Stock Inventory, 1931-1933
Volume 135
Stock Inventory, 1935 Mar.-Jul.
Volume 136
Stock Record, 1936-1937
Volume 137
Daily Stick Sheets, 1920 Apr.-1923 Dec.
Volume 138
Consignment Receiving Register, 1901 Nov.-1902 Oct.
Volume 139
Invoice or Account Sales Ledger, 1893-1895
Box 140
Volume 140
Sales Record, 1914-1915
Volume 141
Sales Contracts, 1923-1924
Volume 142
Sales Confirmations, 1926 Dec.-1928
Volume 143
Register of Ships and Cargoes, 1897-1915
Volume 144
Steamer Charters, 1905-1918
Volume 144A
Shipping Invoice Register, 1895
Volume 145
Shipping Invoice Register, 1903 Sept.-1908 May
Volume 146
Shipping Book, 1906 Sept.-1907 Sept.
Volume 147
Foreign Currency Ledger, 1919-1924
Volume 148
Fertilizer Sales Book, 1881-1884
Volume 149

Champion Compress and Warehouse Company

This stock company was organized in 1878 and was the third cotton compress in Wilmington. It continued to function into the 1950s either as an independent firm or as part of Alexander Sprunt and Son, and it was chartered, rechartered, and dissolved several times. Company documents can be found in the following Office Files: No. 6010, No. 6023, and No. 7306. The purchase by the Sprunts of the firm's entire capital stock was noted in the Private Letterpress Book, 1893 (pg. 9). The surrender of the company's charter in 1946 was noted in the profit and loss account of Ledger of June-Sept. 1946. Operations and physical plant are illustrated in the Pictures Series. A guano warehouse was maintained so that the fertilizer was a significant part of the business in addition to cotton.

Minutes of the Meetings of the Stockholders and the Board of Directors, 1878-1911
Volume 150
Ledger B, 1889-1905
Volume 151
Ledger, 1930-1933
Volume 152
Ledger, 1933-1937
Volume 153
Ledger, 1937-1940
Volume 154
Ledger, 1940-1942
Volume 155
Ledger, 1942-1944
Volume 156
Ledger, 1945-1946
Volume 157
Ledger, 1946 Jun.-Sept.
Volume 158
Ledger, 1946-1953
Volume 159
Stock Inventory, 1899 Sept.-1901 Aug.
Volume 160
Cotton Storage, 1954-1955
Volume 160A
Tobacco Storage, 1954-1955
Volume 160B
Tobacco Storage, 1955-1956
Volume 160C
Tobacco Storage, 1955-1956
Volume 160D

Wilmington Compress and Warehouse Company

This company was owned by Alexander Sprunt and Son and appears as an asset in its financial statement of Aug. 31, 1915 (Office File 6028). The extent, nature, and duration of this ownership is not clear. The stock company was the second cotton compress established in Wilmington (1875), the first having been operated by the Confederate government (1864-1865). This information is found in James Sprunt's Information and Statistics Respecting Wilmington, N.C. (Wilmington, N.C.), pg. 143-144.

Ledger A, 1875-1893
Volume 161
Ledger B, 1893-1910
Volume 162
Cashbook A (there is no Cashbook B), 1875-1893
Volume 162A
Cashbook C, 1893-1907
Volume 163
Cashbook D, 1907-1910
Volume 164
Cash Journal, 1925 May-Jun.
Volume 165

Dalziel Cotton Warehouse Company

This company was organized in 1916 at Charlotte as the Sprunt-Charlotte Warehouse Company in which Walter P. Sprunt held 247 of 250 shares of capital stock ($25000). In 1918, the firm's name was changed to the Dalziel Cotton Warehouse Company which it remained until dissolution in 1927. The capital stock was soon transferred to business associates of the Sprunts. The latter owned the warehouse building and carried an account in their ledger for the same amount as the capital stock of the Dalziel Company.

Minutes of the Stockholders and of the Board of Directors, 1916-1927

Including financial statements, ledger of 1916-1917, stockholders' ledger, and register of original and re-issued stock certificates.

Volume 166
New York Office: Trial Balance Book No. 1, 1917 Jul.-1919 Nov.

Includes Cotton Future Contracts Traded, 1916-1924.

Volume 167
New York Office: Cash Journal, 1920 Oct.-1922 Dec.
Volume 168
New York Office: Futures Cashbook, 1922-1929
Volume 169
New York Office: Futures Cashbook, 1930
Volume 170
Cotton Futures Purchases and Sales, 1921-1924
Volume 171
Cotton Futures Purchases and Sales, 1924-1930
Volume 172
Cotton Futures Purchases and Sales, 1930-1931
Volume 173

The Sprunt Corporation and Alexander Sprunt and Son, Inc., Delaware

See Office File 6545 for minutes and other papers, 1931-1937.

Ledger, 1931-1937
Volume 174
Ledger, 1941-1942
Volume 175
Ledger, 1942-1943
Volume 176
Ledger, 1943-1944
Volume 177
Ledger, 1944-1945
Volume 178
Ledger, 1945-1946
Volume 179
Ledger, 1946-1947
Volume 180
Ledger, 1948-1949
Volume 181
Ledger, 1948-1953
Volume 182
Charlotte Branch Letter Book: H-K, 1930-1933
Volume 183
Charlotte Branch Ledger, 1915-1917
Volume 184
Charlotte Branch Cotton Received and Shipped, 1916 Oct.-1922 Oct.

Includes negotiable receipts, 1916 Nov.-1922 Oct.

Volume 185
Boston Branch Cashbook, 1909 Aug.-1920 Apr.
Volume 186
Dothan Branch Ledger, 1932-1934
Volume 187
Dothan Branch Call and Cotton Purchases Journal, 1932-1934
Volume 188
Bremen Branch Letter Book, 1909 Jun.-1911 Sept.

Especially Frederick Huth and Co. and German Bank of London.

Volume 189
Bremen Branch Letter Book, 1909 Jun.-1913 Mar.

Especially Konig Brothers, London.

Volume 190
Bremen Branch Letter Book, 1910 Jun.-1911 Mar.

Especially Deutsche Nationalbank, Bremen.

Volume 191
Bremen Branch Letter Book, 1911 Oct.-1914 Mar.

Especially Frederick Huth and Co. and German Bank of London. See Office File 7323 for profit and loss statement of 1909.

Volume 192
Le Havre Branch Ledger, 1911-1912
Volume 193
Le Havre Branch Ledger Index, 1911-1912
Volume 194
Le Havre Branch Ledger No. 1, 1912-1913
Volume 195
Le Havre Branch Ledger No. 1 Index, 1912-1913
Volume 196
Le Havre Branch Ledger No. 2, 1913-1914
Volume 197
Le Havre Branch Ledger No. 3, 1914-1915
Volume 198
Le Havre Branch No. 3 Index, 1914-1915
Volume 199
Le Havre Branch Ledger No. 4, 1915-1916
Volume 200
Le Havre Branch Journal, 1913 Sept.-1914 Nov.
Volume 201
Le Havre Branch Journal, 1914 Nov.-1915 Nov.
Volume 202
Le Havre Branch Journal, 1915 Nov.-1916 Sept.
Volume 203
Le Havre Branch Journal, 1916 Sept.-1917 Jun.
Volume 204
Le Havre Branch Journal, 1918 Apr.-1919 Sept.
Volume 205
Highland Farms Journal, 1924-1925
Volume 206
 

Historical Note

Alexander Sprunt & Son, Inc., cotton exporters, was established in 1866 by Alexander Sprunt (1815-1884), an immigrant from Scotland. He was associated with and succeeded by his sons, James Sprunt (1847-1924), and William H. Sprunt, the former being the senior partner of the business. During part of the company's history, it was the largest exporter of cotton in the country. It had a significant effect upon the structure of the cotton market and upon the growth of Wilmington as a port. Before 1881 that city was not regarded as a cotton port, but thirty years later it was one of the most important ports in the country. In 1907 alone Sprunt shipped 501,000 bales, operated six compresses, and employed 1000 workers.

The company drew its business chiefly from Georgia and the Carolinas. Before 1875 the movement of the crop depended upon factors, or agents of teh planters at convenient ports, port buyers, and the receivers in the North who sold it to domestic and foreign mills. In 1879 Sprunt pioneered teh practice, later adopted at other Southern ports, of the direct employment of transatlantic steamers which eventually eliminated the middlemen and their commissions. By 1908, more than fifty steamers were being chartered annually by the company which eight years later purchased The City of Wilmington, the first transatlantic steamer owned by an individual or corporation in North Carolina.

Sprunt relied upon the compress operation for his profit, rather than upon a margin in the price of cotton. The farmer received the Liverpool or continental market price, less the cost of transportation only. The compresses were primarily the facilities of the Champion Compress and Warehouse Company and also teh Wilmington Compress and Warehouse Company. The Ship Channel Compress Company of Houston, Texas, was part of the firm's expansion outside of the Southern Atlantic states. Branch offices functioned at various times in New York City, Boston, Savannah, Memphis, Charlotte, and elsewhere. Numerous offices and agencies were maintained in Europe, such as those at Liverpool, Bremen, Le Havre, and Rotterdam. The firm operated in Wilmington until the 1950s when it was moved to Memphis, Tennessee.

There were various changes in the partnership agreements and in the later corporate structure of the business, many of which are recorded in the minutes or in the office files described in this inventory. Sprunt and Hinson was the initial firm. It was dissolved and replaced by Alexander Sprunt and Son in 1875. The partnership gave way to a corporation in 1919 with the chartering of Alexander Sprunt and Son, Inc., which remained its basic form. The Sprunt Corporation, a holding company, was established in 1931 in Delaware for tax purposes; its name was changed in 1937 to Alexander Sprunt and Son, Inc.

For more information, see: Killick, J.R. "The Transformation of Cotton Marketing in the Late Nineteenth Century: Alexander Sprunt and Son of Wilmington, N.C., 1884-1956." The Business History Review Vol. 55, No. 2 (Summer, 1981): 143-169.

Separated Material

Separated Materials

Several collections were acquired with the Alexander Sprunt and Son Records but were separated for individual cataloging. 1. Great Britain Vice Consulate Papers. Wilmington, N.C. 2. N.C. Board of Commissioners of Navigation and Pilotage for the Cape Fear River and Bar Records. 3. Seamen's Friend Society of Wilmington Records. 4. Universal Oil and Fertilizer Co. Records. 5. Thomas F. Wood, Inc. Records. 6. David Gaston Worth Papers. 7. William E. Worth and Co. Records.


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Provenance

The Alexander Sprunt and Son Records were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in 1969.

Processing Information

Processed by: RL Staff.