The Y. Frank Freeman Photograph Collection contains photographs documenting Freeman’s life, particularly as it related to his career as an executive with Paramount Pictures. The collection is full of photographs of entertainers, movie stars, movie executives, and world political figures. There is also a series of personal images, including images related to his childhood, Georgia Tech, and baseball.
(approximately 258 photographs)
Many of the photographs in this collection were taken by professional photographers or Paramount Pictures, therefore, Georgia Tech cannot assume any copyright transfer occurred when the materials were donated by the Freeman family. Permission to publish materials from this collection must be obtained from the Head of Archives and Special Collections.
2 Linear Feet
The Y. Frank Freeman Photograph Collection, 1982-1992, contains photographs documenting Freeman’s life, particularly as it related to his career in the movie industry. The majority of images document events attended by Freeman, many of these events included celebrities or political figures from around the world. There is a series of personal images, including images related to Freeman's childhood, Georgia Tech, and baseball. There is also a series of photographs documenting the Freeman Room and exhibits at the Georgia Tech Library after the materials were donated to Tech. The collection contains mostly black and white photographs and some prints. The few color images found in this collection are generally mass-produced commercial prints, such as NASA prints or portraits of US presidents, or the photos of the Freeman Room and exhibits.
When the collection was first donated, an inventory was made and many items were given a number. However, because not all items were numbered, new identification numbers were given to each item when the collection was processed. Numbers from the original inventory are given in parentheses after the item description.
The majority of photographs are identified. Most often the people appearing in the image are identified, as is the event; however, not all the events are dated.
Y. (Young) Frank Freeman, son of Young Frank and Mary Thrash Freeman, was born in Greenville, Georgia on 14 December 1890. In 1905, he enrolled in the preparatory department of Emory College, Oxford, Georgia and in 1907 he entered Georgia Tech. While at Tech, he was a member of the varsity baseball team, captain of the scrub football team, a member of Alpha Tau Omega, Theta Nu Epsilon, and ANAK. In addition, he was on the editorial board of the 1910 Blueprint and was vice-president of his senior class. He graduated from Georgia Tech in 1910 with a BS in Electrical Engineering.
Shortly after graduation, Freeman purchased a telephone company in Ocilla, Georgia. After the death of his father in 1912, Freeman took over the family cotton business. When the cotton markets weakened, Freeman began working for his father-in-law John Harris. From 1915-1916, Freeman managed a theater owned by Harris, the Amusu Theater in Fitzgerald, Georgia. This was the beginning of Freeman’s career in the movie industry. For nearly ten years, from 1915-1922, Freeman worked a variety of jobs in theater management and motion picture distribution. In 1916, Freeman left Fitzgerald to work for S.A. Lynch Enterprises of Atlanta, a distributor for Paramount Pictures. That same year he was made sales manager for Triangle Pictures, for which Lynch had distribution rights.
In 1917, Freeman went to New York to head the Triangle System. When Lynch withdrew from Triangle distribution in 1919, Freeman returned to Atlanta to help organize Southern Enterprises, Inc., jointly owned by Lynch and Paramount. Freeman was named vice president and general manager of that company. In 1922, Lynch sold out to Paramount, and he and Freeman entered the real estate business. They built the Columbus Hotel and Exchange Office Building in Miami, Florida; the Lynch building in Jacksonville, Florida; the Paramount Theatre and acquired the Atlantan Hotel, both in Atlanta. After the real estate market declined, Freeman joined Paramount in New York in 1933 to supervise their real estate holdings.
The return to Paramount was the beginning of a long career in the movie industry. Freeman was placed in charge of national theater operations for Paramount in 1934 and made vice president of the Board of Directors in 1936. In 1938, he was named vice president in charge of studio productions and relocated to Hollywood. He held that position until 1959 when he stepped down for health reasons. He continued with Paramount in a consulting role until his retirement in 1967. He died 05 February 1969 and is buried in Westview Cemetery in Atlanta.
In addition to his career in the movie industry, Freeman was also active in numerous organizations and institutions. He was a member of the Georgia Tech Alumni Association and served as its first president. Freeman was fundamental in establishing the Georgia Tech Foundation and was named as the Foundation’s first president in 1932. He was also a member of the Georgia Tech Athletic Association. From 1940-1945, Freeman was president of the Association of Motion Picture Producers and was Chairman of the Board of that association from 1959-1964. Additionally, he served as chairman of the Motion Picture Research Council and governor of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. As a respected business leader, he was named chairman of the Los Angeles branch of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank System for six years, and director of the Hilton Hotel Corporation. Positions in civic organizations included president of the Motion Picture Permanent Charities Committee, director of the Southern California Committee of the Olympic Games, member of the council of regents of the Forest Lawn Memorial, and trustee for the University of Southern California and Georgia Tech (until Georgia adopted a regents system).
Y. Frank Freeman was married to Margaret Elisabeth Harris of Atlanta. They wed in March 1913. The couple had one child, Y. Frank Jr. who was born in 1916. Y. Frank Freeman Jr. was also a Tech alumnus, graduating in 1937. He was a movie producer whose work included Omar Kahyyam, War of the Worlds, and The Biscuit Eater. Y. Frank Freeman Jr. died in 1962.
Arranged into eight series:
Series 1, Family and Education, contains photographs relating to Freeman's personal life. Materials include photographs of family, baseball, Georgia Institute of Technology, Freeman and Chip Robert, and puppies.
Series 2, New York Years, contains photographs related to the period Freeman lived in New York City and worked for Paramount, 1933-1938. Items include photos of Paramount Pictures New York events and the 20th Century Limited train.
Series 3, Celebrities, contains photographs of celebrities including historical figures, presidents, world politicians, entertainers, and others. The photographs in this series are divided into two parts: celebrities, and celebrities pictured with Freeman.
Series 4, Samson and Delilah, contains still photographs from the movie, released in 1949. There is also a bound copy of the camera directions, scene descriptions, and script, accompanied by individual film frames; signed by Cecil B. DeMille.
Series 5, Awards/Dinners, contains photographs of the many events attended by Freeman. Many of these were awards or honorary ceremonies for Freeman. People pictured include movie stars, world leaders, people in the movie industry, political figures, and many others. Events include General Camacho at Paramount Studios, Association of Motion Picture Producers' Honorary Dinner for Freeman, Photoplay Award Dinner, Hollywood Studio Girls' Club, Motion Picture Director's Guild Honorary Dinner for Freeman, Ceylonese Prime Minister Dinner, Dinner with Lord Mountbatten of Great Britain, Pakistan Prime Minister Dinner, Japanese Moral Re-Armament Luncheon, Spanish Visit with Marquesa de Villaverda, Honorary Degree, and Miscellaneous Events.
Series 6, Federal Reserve Bank, contains photographs of the Board members in 1960.
Series 7, Miscellaneous, contains many commercially printed souvenir-type images from NASA including those of astronauts, space craft, and views from space.
Series 8, Exhibits and Freeman Room, contains color photographs of the Y. Frank Freeman Room, its exhibit case, and the second exhibit. The Freeman Room and the exhibits were in the Library; the second exhibit was located on Ground Floor-West. The exhibits showcased items from both Y. Frank Freeman and his son, Y. Frank Freeman, Jr.
A print copy of this finding aid is available in the Georgia Tech Archives reading room.
Visual materials from accession #1985.0701.
These visual materials have been separated from the unprocessed Y. Frank Freeman Manuscript Collection (MS003).
(approximately 258 photographs)
Denise A. Wallace and Mandi D. Johnson processed these photographs in April 2008.
Part of the Archives and Special Collections, Library, Georgia Institute of Technology Repository