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Lawrence Wood Robert, Jr. papers, 1806-2017 (bulk 1920-1965)

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322



Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/tnzcj

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Robert, Lawrence Wood, 1889-1976.
Title: Lawrence Wood Robert, Jr. papers, 1806-2017 (bulk 1920-1965)
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 1405
Extent: 99 linear feet (104 boxes), 4 oversized papers folders (OP), 2 extra-oversized papers (XOP), and AV Masters: 1 linear foot (1 box)
Abstract:Papers of Lawrence Wood Robert, Jr., architect, engineer, and civil servant, including personal papers and correspondence, professional and political papers, records of engineering firm Robert and Company, and records of Robert's service in the United States Department of the Treasury.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Special restrictions apply: Use copies have not been made for audiovisual material in this collection. Researchers must contact the Rose Library at least two weeks in advance for access to these items. Collection restrictions, copyright limitations, or technical complications may hinder the Rose Library's ability to provide access to audiovisual material.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Separated Materials

The Rose Library also holds books formerly owned by Lawrence Wood Robert, Jr. These items may be located in the Emory University online catalog by searching: Robert, Lawrence Wood, former owner.


Gift of Alice Birney Walker Robert, 2017

Custodial History

Alice Birney Walker Robert, daughter of Lawrence Wood Robert, Jr., and Susan Robert, granddaughter-in-law of Lawrence Wood Robert, Jr., implemented preliminary organization and identification of the files within the collection. The collection was originally housed at the Robert residence. Randy Gue transferred the items to the Rose Library in 2017.


[after identification of item(s)], Lawrence Wood Robert, Jr. papers, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Appraisal Note

Acquired by Randy Gue, Curator of Modern Political and Historical Collections, as part of the Rose Library's holdings in Southern history and politics. Two boxes of duplicates and memorabilia, including souvenir coins and stationery were removed from the collection and returned to the Robert family. Appraisal decisions were made by Project Archivist NaVosha Copeland in consultation with Interim Head of Manuscript Processing, Sarah Quigley, and Randy Gue.


Arranged and described at the file level by NaVosha Copeland, 2017-2019. The organization of this collection was primarily devised by NaVosha Copeland during processing. However, the collection reflects a combination of Robert's and the Robert family's original order within each folder and archivist-imposed arrangement at the collection and series level.

This finding aid may include language that is offensive or harmful. Please refer to the Rose Library's harmful language statement for more information about why such language may appear and ongoing efforts to remediate racist, ableist, sexist, homophobic, euphemistic and other oppressive language. If you are concerned about language used in this finding aid, please contact us at rose.library@emory.edu.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

Lawrence Wood "Chip" Robert (1887-1976) was born in Monticello, Georgia, in 1887 to Lawrence Wood and Minne Preston (Newton) Robert. He attended the Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, Georgia), graduating with a degree in Civil Engineering in 1909. In 1917, he founded Robert and Company, Incorporated in Atlanta, an architectural engineering firm focused on the industrial development of the American South. In the 1920s, the company built manufacturing plants, power plants, and sewage disposal and water treatment plants, as well as hospitals, prisons, hotels, and schools. During the Great Depression, Robert and Company spearheaded numerous public works projects across the country. In the 1940s, the company constructed the Bell B29 Bomber Plant and partnered with the Army Corps of Engineers to provide design and construction services during World War II. In the mid-twentieth century, the firm focused on commercial and military aviation, as well as civic and community projects, such as Callaway Gardens (Pine Mountain, Georgia) and the Atlanta Civic Center. The company continues to operate from its headquarters in Atlanta.

Robert was a prominent fundraiser for the Democratic Party, including for James M. Cox and Franklin Roosevelt during the 1920 presidential campaign. When Roosevelt was eventually elected President of the United States in 1932, he appointed Robert the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in charge of Public Works. Robert served in this capacity from 1933-1936. After this, he became Secretary of the Democratic National Committee. He also served as delegate to every Democratic National Convention until 1976. He was a member of numerous professional organizations such as the American Society Civil Engineers, American Institute Electrical Engineers, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Robert married Louise Godwin Ayers in 1910 and the couple had two children: Lawrence Wood Robert, III, and Louisa Ayers Robert. They divorced in 1935, and Robert married Evelyn "Evie" Walker (1909-1972). They had one daughter, Alice Birney Walker Robert. He was an avid traveler and was one of the first American businessmen to travel in the Soviet Union. He founded the Red Carpet Industrial Tour of Georgia, which was active from 1950-1976, and brought Northern businessmen to the South to attract new business partners and investors to Southern industries and businesses. Robert died in 1976.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the papers of Lawrence Wood "Chip" Robert, Jr., from 1806-1976 and includes personal papers and correspondence, professional and political papers, records of engineering firm Robert and Company, and records of Robert's service in the United States Department of the Treasury. Correspondence and personal papers contain personal letters between Robert and his family and peers, his birth certificate, biographical sketches and narratives, passports, clippings of Evelyn Robert's weekly newspaper column, and photographs of the Robert family and Robert's hometown, Monticello, Georgia. The bulk of the series documents Robert's attendance of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Other professional and political papers documents Robert's career outside of Robert and Company and the United States Department of the Treasury and includes correspondence between Robert and James Farley, Robert W. Woodruff, William B. Hartsfield, Herman E. Talmadge, Monie A. Ferst, and Walter B. Spivey, as well as documentation of Robert's work with the Red Carpet Industrial Tour of Georgia, the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation, and the Georgia Warm Springs Memorial Commission. Robert and Company records include correspondence, photographs, and reports and document the engineer firm's projects with various manufacturing companies and government agencies. The United States Department of the Treasury records consist of correspondence, booklets, essays, newspaper clippings, reports, and photographs documenting Robert's service as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and his work on New Deal initiatives during the Great Depression.

Arrangement Note

Organized into four series: (1) Correspondence and personal papers, (2) Other political and professional papers, (3) Robert and Company records, and (4) United States Department of the Treasury records.

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Description of Series