Kingsport: We ♥ donors

A year or so ago, a lovely gentleman walked into the archives and asked if we would be interested in a panoramic photograph in his possession of the Kingsport Silk Mills. The photo was housed in a beautiful frame he made himself and depicted the Mill’s employees lined up outside its  brick walls in 1935.

Brianne immediately hung it in her office. My favorite category of photograph in the archives are these employee photos. We have them for department stores, mills, insurance agencies, even drug store soda fountains. I love them. They remind us of a simpler time when employee loyalty was more common and pride in our work was expected.

Last week, a Mrs. Newsome entered the archives and offered to donate two more panoramic photographs of…you guessed it, the same mill, only these were dated 1939 and 1949.

As you can see, by 1939 the mill had become The Smoky Mountain Hosiery Mills. You have to love those uniforms. Mrs. Newsome’s father, Raymond Bennett, is the dark suited man in the center of the front row.The photograph has two damaging creases but it had been far better protected from sunlight than the first. Now, we have two more pieces of the puzzle and it is so exciting.

In this photograph, Mr. Bennett is far left on the front row. Our scanner could not accommodate the images in their entirety, but I just wanted to share a brief glimpse into Kingsport’s economic past. It is only through the generosity of patrons that the archives acquires these material representations of the city’s history. Mrs. Newsome was downsizing and did not have any relatives interested in her collections. Luckily she thought of us!

We love donors!

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