Subseries 1.5
William Greene Raoul, Jr. papers, 1880-1949
Boxes 18-19

Biographical Note

William Raoul, Jr. was born in Macon, Georgia, on April 30, 1872. He received his education at various Savannah and New York schools and the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, from which he was expelled in 1889. After working for a year in the New York architectural firm of Bradford Gilbert, he rejoined the family in Atlanta in 1893. In the mid-1890's, William endeavored unsuccessfully to establish a career in the developing Southern textile industry. He worked in cotton mills in Atlanta, Lindale, Roswell, and West Point, Georgia, and spent a brief apprenticeship at mills in Lawrence and Lowell, Massachusetts. His next business venture was with the Southern Saw Works in East Point, Georgia, from 1899 to 1901. William was secretary-treasurer of the firm and also mayor of East Point during this period. After 1902, he was associated with the South Atlantic Car and Manufacturing Company in Waycross, Georgia. While in Waycross, he became interested in Socialism and devoted the next several years to Socialist activities, editing a Socialist newspaper in Birmingham in 1910 and organizing for the Socialist Party of Montana in 1911. Subsequent ventures included homesteading, shipping and investing in the New York stock market, where he made and lost a sizeable fortune between 1924 and 1930. He made his home in various places after 1911 settling finally near Atlantic Highlands in New Jersey. William was married first to Ruth Cunningham from 1901 until her death in 1905. His second marriage in 1915 to his first cousin, Winifred Wadley, ended in divorce on March 12, 1917. On March 16, 1917, he married Margaret Lente of New York. William had one child, a son John Cummingham (b. 1901), who lived only a few hours.

Scope and Content Note

Spanning the years 1880 to 1949, papers of William Greene Raoul, Jr. include letters to his mother and other members of the family as well as miscellaneous materials. Several folders of letters from his wife Ruth Cunningham Raoul to her mother-in-law are also located in the subseries.

William Raoul's early letters were written from the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey (1888), from New York City (1892-1893), from the Chicago World's Fair (1893), and from the family's new home in Atlanta (1893-1894). Letters from Lowell, Massachusetts recount his experiences in the "card" and "picker" rooms and his attempts to supervise the mill hands (1895). Subsequent letters concern his work with the Southern Saw Works in East Point, Georgia (1899-1901), and the Irwin County Cotton Mills and the South Atlantic Car and Manufacturing Company in Waycross, Georgia (1902-1906). These latter letters discuss his financial and marital difficulties as well.

William Raoul's letters for 1910 and 1911 relate almost entirely to his newly-embraced Socialism. Letters from Birmingham where he edited a Socialist newspaper, The People's Voice, discuss his activities and friends, his philosophical ideas, and his upbringing (1910). Letters written from Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Washington, and Montana discuss the status of Socialism in the West and his activities as an organizer for the Socialist Party of Montana (1911). There are only scattered letters after 1911.

Miscellaneous materials include handbills for William's appearances in Montana and a typescript sketch, "Uncle Loring: Georgia Scene of the 1880's." Ruth Cunningham Raoul's letters to her mother-in-law (1902-1904) written from Asheville and various Georgia towns, primarily concern her health problems and miscarriage.

Arrangement Note

Arranged in chronological order.

Letters of William Greene Raoul, Jr.
Box Folder Content
18 1 1880-1891
18 2 1892, March-October
18 3 1892, November-December
18 4 1893, January-April
18 5 1893, May-August
18 6 1894-1895
18 7 1896, 1898-1899
18 8 1900, January-March
18 9 1900, June-September
18 10 1901-1902
18 11 1903-1904
19 1 1905-1909
19 2 1910, January-April
19 3 1910, May-September
19 4 1911
19 5 1913-1949
19 6 Undated
19 7 Miscellaneous
Letters of Ruth Cunningham Raoul
19 8 1902-1903
19 9 1904, January-June
19 10 1904, July-October
19 11 Undated