Skip to main content


Charlottesville Woolen Mills records

Identifier: MSS 16353

Scope and Contents

Charlottesville Woolen Mills, Charlottesville, VA. Business records, 1868-1956. Incorporated 1868 by H.C. Marchant; operated until 1962.

This collection is comprised of ledgers, papers, artifacts, a map, and a panoramic photograph. It is divided into two series: Business Records and Miscellaneous. The first series, Business Records contains ledgers and business related paperwork, such as correspondence and legal documetns. The second series, Miscellaneous, contains the remaining artifacts and materials not directly associated with the business dealings of the Charlottesville Woolen Mills.

A list of names located within this collection: Mr. George R.B. Michie, Mr. Edward Van Wagenen, Mr. P.M. Greene, Mr. John S. White, Mr. Rigby, W. Erskine Buford, Fred L. Watson, Archibald Lammey, Henry J. Wilkinson, George W. Sommers, Charles H. Dickinson, Jr., Donal G. Chester, George T. Huff, Austin Kilham, Clark E. Lindsay, Dr. John R. Morris, Jr., Herbert J. Smith, Jr., Duryee Van Wagenen, H.A. Dinwiddie, L.T. Hankel, John H. Robinson


  • Creation: 1868-1956

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

The tin advert sign is in poor condition and should not be handled. The sign is housed in a box with a tray so that lifting the tray with its handles will negate any need for touching the item itself.


“The library has not investigated the copyright status of these materials, and some or all may be protected by copyright. Users are responsible for making their own determinations about copyright status of these materials.”

Please refer to:

Historical Note

The Charlottesville Woolen Mills factory was incorporated in 1868 by H.C. Marchant and was located in the southeastern part of Charlottesville, VA.

From the 1830s until it's seizure by the Confederate governement in 1861, the building operated as a combination wool, cotton, flour and lumber mill, and later also included a blacksmith’s shop, corn mill, grist mill, plaster mill, and a store selling dry goods. During this time the land was sold a number of times until 1960, when the company was reorganized as the Charlottesville Manufacturing Company, with John A. Marchant, his son. Henry Clay Marchant, John Wood, H. L. Anderson, T. J. Wertenbaker, and John C. Patterson operating a joint stock company. The textile plant provided wool uniforms for the soldiers of the Confederacy during the Civil War. A second reorganization in 1964 made Henry Clay Marchant the sole owner. Following the destruction of the mill during the Civil War and after the war had ended, the factory was rebuilt, and, on December 18, 1868, Charlottesville Woolen Mills was chartered “for the manufacture, purchase and sale of woolen, cotton, silk and other fabrics ...”

The plant went on to provide high quality textiles used by Brooks Brothers clothiers, uniforms for the cadets of West Point, and police officers in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Los Angeles. At one point 90 percent of the country’s military schools, including the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, purchased uniforms made here. Coffin makers in Atlanta and Burlington, N.C., also used the soft cloth to line caskets.

Charlottesvills Woolen Mills survived the Great Depression of the 1930s mainly because of its uniform contracts. It experienced its greatest prosperity manufacturing uniforms for soldiers during World War I and II. During the height of World War II a work force of about 400 people was producing 15,000 yards of uniform cloth a month.

In 1959 Charlottesville Woolen Mills was bought by Kent Manufacturing Company, of Philadelphia. The introduction of synthetic fabrics in the late 1950s led to a decrease in demand for wool. In 1962 Kent Manufacturing Company dissolved the Charlottesville Woolen Mills.


Maurer, David. "Woolen Mills wove a tight community." The Daily Progress, 28 Aug. 2011.

Delesline, Nate. "Historic Woolen Mills under contract for sale." The Daily Progress, 20 March 2014.

Dailty Progress Staff. "Labor dispute at Woolen Mills leads to worker strike." The Daily Progress, 6 Feb. 2017.

Gianniny, Jr., Allan, Compiler. "Charlottesville Woolen Mills Chronology." Historic Woolen Mills, Accessed 19 Feb. 2018.

Britton, Rick. "The Charlottesville Woolen Mills, Clothing a Nation." Historic Woolen Mills, 2006.

Poindexter, Harry Edward. "A History of the Charlottesville Woolen Mills." Thesis (M.A.), University of Virginia, 1955.

Daily Progress Staff. "City's Oldest Industry is Regaining Health." The Daily Progress Charlottesville Bicentennial Edition, vol. 72, no. 89, 1962, p. 58.

Sandbeck, Peter. A History of the Charlottesville Woolen Mills.Nichols Student Papers, University of Virginia School of Architecture, 1975.


24.38 Cubic Feet (81 volumes, 3 cubic foot boxes, 4 document boxes, 5 oversized flat boxes, 4 oversized folders 1 odd sized artifact box, 2 artifacts)

Language of Materials



This collection is organized into two series: Business records and Miscellaenous materials. Series 1:

Business Records, 1868-1956 (20.63 cubic feet). This series is arranged at the file and item level and chronologically. In order to maintain original order, the titles of each item begin with the names of the individual administrative departments to which they belong. Because they all fall under the category of business records, one series by that name suffices for the purposes of this record.

This series contains 125 business ledgers that have been numbered sequentially, and other paperwork and material that directly related to the business dealings of the Charlottesville Woolen Mills. This includes loose legal documents, correspondence, newspaper clipping, or materials from the ledgers themselves, all part of the greater business records of the Charlottesville Woolen Mills.

Board of Directors and Stockholders: Ledgers 1-12, Loose materials in minute books, “Comparison of yearly earnings”, Stock sales register, and Loose Materials in Stock Ledgers

Executive: Ledger 13, and Correspondence

Financial: Ledgers 14-26

Superintendent: Ledgers 27-71

Sales: Ledgers 72-75

Labor: Ledgers 76-118, and Loose materials in timebooks

Production: Ledgers 119-125

Legal and Property: Abstract of title: Shadwell Dam, Virginia, Trademark patent, Data re. Sale to C + O RR Co of Shadwell Property, and Blueprint of “property to be acquired from Charlottesville woolen mills near Shadwell, VA”

Series 2:

Miscellaneous, ~1913-1933 (3.75 cubic feet). This series is arranged first chronoligically according to the dates provided. The materials in this series vary from tools used in the factory to samples used for sales. The date range is a rough estimate based on what dates are provided. Some artifacts have no dates attributed to them and may have been created prior to 1913. The fabric samples dated from 1913 to 1933 are themselves arranged numerically according to their respective pattern numbers. The tin advert sign was made in Philadelphia, PA.


Donated by the American Textile History Museum, 16 May 2017.

Charlottesville Woolen Mills records
Joseph Azizi
April 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library Repository

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
P.O. Box 400110
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22904-4110 United States