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Chipman-Union Mill, Inc. Records

Identifier: MS155

  • Staff Only


Chipman-Union Mill was formed by the merger of Charles Chipman's Sons Company, Inc. and Union Manufacturing Company. These official records consist of legal, financial, and administrative documents spanning the company's entire history.


  • 1871-2001 (bulk 1968-1989)
  • Majority of material found within 1968 - 1989


General Physical Description note

(twenty document cases, four shoebox-size boxes, one oversize box)

Restrictions: Access


Restrictions: Use

Permission to publish materials from this collection must be obtained from the Head of Archives and Special Collections.


10.4 Linear Feet

Scope and Contents

The first series in the collection, comprised of materials from Chipman-Union Mill, Inc. and Union Manufacturing Company (UMC), contains the bulk of the records. An extensive history on the origins of the mill is well documented as a published book, which also includes rough drafts and correspondence related to the writing of the book. The original mill building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989 and a copy of the nomination form resides in the collection.

The Bryan family is traced through family trees written by several family members, personal letters, and copies of Jennie Lamb's will and scrapbook. Particularly significant is a slate diary written in 1871 by Maria V. Hart. She was the grandmother of Samuel "Hale" Sibley, the first president of UMC. A transcription of the diary was made, although little of the chalk has disappeared from the slate boards.

Chipman-Union was highly involved in Greene County and Union Point, Georgia. The company often contributed to local and national charities, evidenced by a significant amount of correspondence concerning their charitable contributions. One interesting signature on a thank you letter came from the Epilepsy Foundation of America, whose spokesperson was Henry Winkler. Chipman-Union also paid college tuitions for a number of students, many of whom were the children of employees.

UMC kept bound and unbound ledgers of financial information, including sales, production costs, and commercial accounts. The minutes of the Board of Directors' meetings, as well as the Annual Shareholders' meetings, were recorded from the early 1970s onward.

UNITE!, a textile workers' union, helped employees at Chipman-Union organize a union of their own in 1993. The employees' desire for unionization is documented in newspaper articles and illustrated by the negative comments toward management detailed in employee interviews and surveys.

The second series in the collection is concerned with Charles Chipman Sons, Inc. and the Chipman family. The newspaper articles, correspondence, newsletters, and advertisements relate the history of the company. One interesting item is a scrapbook of mill stickers and emblems used by the company in its role as a sales agent for other mills. Newspaper articles and legal documents document the Chipman family.

The third series in the collection is comprised of materials from other companies that dealt directly with Chipman-Union. It also contains catalogs and other printed material about the hosiery industry.

Administrative History of Chipman-Union Mill, Inc.

Charles Chipman's Sons Company, Inc. began in 1884 with Charles Chipman buying a hosiery mill in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Several years later in 1894, his sons Frank and Evan took over the company and relocated to Easton, Pennsylvania. They later moved to New York City after incorporating in 1915. They brought the Karl Leiberknecht Company, manufacturer of hosiery machines until the 1950s, over from Germany. The company also served as a sales agent for other mills, including Union Manufacturing Company.

Union Manufacturing Company was founded in 1896 in the agricultural town of Union Point, Georgia to provide a year-round payroll for the community. Headed continuously until 1998 by the Bryan family, the mill manufactured underwear initially, but produced men's and boy's socks after the turn of the twentieth century.

In 1972 the two companies merged, with their headquarters located in Union Point in a building listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They established their Bryan-Scott division, named for F. Sibley Bryan, Sr., and Owen O. Scott in Greensboro, and Plant Laurel division in Reynolds. A significant marketing innovation developed during this time was the packaging of multi-packs, particularly six-packs. They also developed in the early 1980s one of their more popular brands, Odor-Eaters.

In 1993, Chipman-Union employees voted to organize a union after several years of negotiations. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2001.


Missing Title

  1. SERIES 1. Chipman-Union Mill, Inc. (and Union Manufacturing Company), 1871-2001 [Boxes 1-21]
  2. SERIES 2. Charles Chipman's Sons Company, Inc., 1919-1986 [Boxes 21-24]
  3. SERIES 3. Other Companies, 1879-1998 [Box 24]

The first series is divided into 8 subseries: Subseries 1. History, 1954-1999; Subseries 2. Bryan Family, 1871-1996; Subseries 3. Administrative Documents, 1910-2001; Subseries 4. Correspondence, 1950-2001; Subseries 5. Printed Articles, 1948-1997; Subseries 6. Charitable Contributions, 1968-1997; Subseries 7. Community, 1963-1987; and Subseries 8. Other Divisions, 1898-1994.

The second series is made up of two subseries: Subseries 1. History, 1919-1986; and Subseries 2. Chipman Family, 1922-1967.

Other Finding Aids

A print copy of this finding aid is available in the Georgia Tech Archives reading room.


F. Sibley Bryan, Jr., former president of Chipman-Union Mill, donated these records in 2001 (Accession #2001.147).

Separated Materials

1.6 linear feet of photographs, slides, negatives, and official company artwork were separated into VAM155.

Two objects were separated as memorabilia: embossing stamp and unidentified handheld mechanical device.

Twenty-one videotapes were separated into the video collection.

Four published books were separated into the general collection:

Official American Textile. (1928)

Bassett, Beth. A Classic Bedtime Story. (1996)

Donohue, Sharon. Cherokee Town and Country Club. (1997)

Pogue, Jan. For One Glorious Purpose. undated

General Physical Description note

(twenty document cases, four shoebox-size boxes, one oversize box)

Processing Information

Yen M. Tang processed these papers in 2002.

Inventory of the Chipman-Union Mill Records, 1871-2001 (bulk 1968-1989)
Yen M. Tang
Copyright 2002.
Description rules
Finding Aid Updated Using Rlg Best Practice Guidelines For Encoded Archival Description
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, Library, Georgia Institute of Technology Repository

Georgia Institute of Technology
266 4th Street, NW
Atlanta 30332-0900 USA