Subseries 1.1
William Greene Raoul paper, 1875-1913
Boxes 1-2

Biographical Note

William Greene (W.G.) Raoul was the son of Gaston Turner (born Gaston Cesar Raoul de Champmanoir) and Emily (Davidson) Raoul. Born July 4, 1843, and raised in Livingston Parish, Louisiana, he served with the Washington Artillery, a New Orleans regiment, during the Civil War, achieving the rank of Captain in 1864. He remained in Louisiana after the war to operate the family's railcar construction business until its failure in 1870. That year, under the auspices of his father-in-law William Wadley, Raoul moved to Georgia to begin his career with the Central of Georgia Railway Company. Between 1870 and 1880, he held various positions within the Central system, including roadmaster, superintendent, and vice-president. In 1883, he was elected to succeed William Wadley as president of the Central, a post he held until 1887 when he was defeated for the office by E. P. Alexander. He subsequently served as president of the Mexican National Railway Company (1887-1904), the Atlantic and Birmingham Railway Company (1902-1905), and the Southwestern Railroad (1901-1913). Raoul actively supported the work of the Associated Charities of Atlanta and established the W. G. Raoul Foundation to combat tuberculosis in Georgia. He died in Atlanta on January 17, 1913 and is buried in Westview Cemetery. For an account of Raoul's association with the Central of Georgia Railway Company, see Maury Klein's, The Great Richmond Terminal, 1970 (HE2771/Al3K53).

Scope and Content Note

William Greene Raoul's papers include letters to his family, primarily to his wife, Mary Wadley Raoul, and his eldest daughter, Mary Raoul Millis (1882-1907); general and business correspondence (1875-1905); and miscellaneous materials mainly relating to his railroad career.

W. G. Raoul's letters to his wife concern his travels, family matters, his children's development, the development of Albemarle Park in Asheville, business ventures of his sons, and Tom's tuberculosis. There is also some coverage of his business activities.

William Raoul's earliest letters to daughter Mary question her about her acquaintances and the quality of her education (1886-1887). Long letters from Cuba and Mexico discuss his unfavorable impression of the natives and his difficulties in learning the language. Later letters comment on his support of bi-metalism (1895-1896) and national politics (1896).

The general correspondence consists mainly of letters to Raoul and relates primarily to W. G. Raoul's business interests, particularly the Central of Georgia Railway Company. The bulk dates from the time of his controversial election as president of the Central (1882-1883), and includes numerous letters of congratulation. Other correspondence concerns his subsequent loss of the presidency (1886), his attempt to be appointed a U.S. Railroad Commissioner (1887), his election to the presidency of the Mexican National Railway Company (1887), his Civil War service (1905), William Jennings Bryan's visit to Atlanta (1907), and the death mask of Napoleon owned by Raoul (1909). Letters to Raoul from various relatives, including his father are also contained here. Prominent correspondents include E. P. Alexander, Augustus 0. Bacon, Joseph E. Brown, William Jennings Bryan, Porfirio Diaz, Atticus Greene Haygood, Leander Newton Trammell, William Wadley, and Tom Watson. Miscellaneous materials relate to Raoul's car-axle box invention, the Mexican National Railway Company, and Raoul 's death in 1913.

Arrangement Note

Arranged by record type.

Letters, 1882-1907
Box Folder Content
1 1 1882-1883
1 2 1884-1886
1 3 1887-1890
1 4 1892-1898
1 5 1899, January-May
1 6 1899, August-December
1 7 1900, February-June
1 8 1900, July-December
1 9 1901, January-March
1 10 1901, July-December
1 11 1902, January-June
1 12 1902, July-September
1 13 1903-1904
1 14 1905-1907
1 15 Undated
General correspondence and miscellaneous
2 1 General correspondence, 1875-1883, January 2
2 2 General correspondence, 1883, January 3-1884
2 3 General correspondence, 1886-1889
2 4 General correspondence, 1890-1904
2 5 General correspondence, 1905-1909 and undated
2 6 Car-axle box patents and papers, 1881-1882
2 7 Clippings re career
2 8 Mexican National Railway Company - miscellaneous
2 9 Last Will and Testament, 1887
2 10 Obituaries, 1913
2 11 Resolutions passed at his death, 1913