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Y. Frank Freeman Papers

Identifier: MS003

  • Staff Only


Y. Frank (Young Frank) Freeman (1890-1969) graduated from Georgia Tech in 1910 and quickly became involved in the film industry, eventually becoming an executive at Paramount Pictures. He also was active in numerous organizations and institutions in the fields of banking, higher education, and athletics. His papers include correspondence, financial records, legal records, and certificates, primarily documenting his career with Paramount (1933-1967) as well as his activities in the hotel and banking industries.


  • 1865-1972 (bulk 1935-1955)
  • Majority of material found within 1935 - 1955


Restrictions: Access


Restrictions: Use

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


7 Linear Feet

Scope and Contents

These papers include correspondence, financial records, legal records, and certificates, primarily documenting Freeman's career with Paramount (1933-1967) as well as his activities in the hotel and banking industries.

Biography of Y. Frank Freeman

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.

Other Finding Aids

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


Margaret Harris Freeman donated these papers (Accession number 1985.0701; old number: 85-07-01).

Separated Materials

Visual materials and most artifacts have been separated from this collection, and will be processed separately.


In an effort to provide broader access, this finding aid has not been fully expanded, but presented as a collection summary, with a rudimentary box list. Georgia Tech Archives and Records Management seeks to expand online access to this collection in the near future.

Processing Information

Christine de Catanzaro encoded this collection summary in March 2006.

Y. Frank Freeman Papers: Collection Summary, 1865-1972 (bulk 1935-1955)
In Progress
Christine de Catanzaro
Copyright 2006.
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