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Springs family papers

Identifier: MS0073

Scope and Contents

Papers of the Springs family of Mecklenburg County, N.C. and of York County, S.C. Contains four deeds (1773-1807) relating to property at the Square in uptown Charlotte, including a lot owned by Thomas Polk; a manuscript (ca. 1812), entitled "Lectures on Moral Philosophy," written or owned by John Springs III (1782-1853); and biographical sketches and photographs of Eli Baxter Springs (1852-1933), businessman, financier, and mayor of Charlotte (1897-99), and of his nephew Elliot White Springs (1896-1959), author, aviator, and owner of Springs Mills. Also includes samples of the rather bawdy Springmaid sheet advertisements developed by Elliot Springs, descriptions of the Springs family homes in Fort Mill, S.C., and a microfilm copy of the 4,500-item Springs Family Papers at UNC-Chapel Hill.


  • 1772-1976, 1996
  • 1845 - 1870

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

John Springs III (1782-1853), born in Mecklenburg County, was a financier, planter, S.C. legislator, agent to the Catawba Indians, and a trustee of Davidson College. He married three times, with his first marriage to Mary Springs (1778-1834) producing eight children. In 1805, he built a mansion, "Springfield," located between Pineville, N.C. and Fort Mill, S.C. Eli Baxter Springs (1852-1933), born in York County, S.C., was an entrepreneur and financier. He moved to Charlotte in 1870 and obtained employment with Carson and Greer, wholesale grocers, which later became E. B. Springs and Company. While in Charlotte he served as an alderman and as mayor (1897-99). In 1902, he moved to New York City, where he founded a brokerage company. He never married. Elliot White Springs (1896-1959), born in Lancaster, S.C., was the son of Leroy Springs, owner of Springs Mills, and nephew of Eli Baxter and grandson of John III. He initially developed a career as a successful writer of numerous stories for magazines and several books, including The Diary of an Unknown Aviator and Clothes Make the Man. He was also a skilled flying ace during World War I. After his father died in 1931, Elliot became head of Springs Mills. Through shrewd speculation and a risqué but humorous advertising campaign, he brought Springs Mills to the top of the post-Depression market. He married Frances Hubbard Ley and they had a son and a daughter. [For additional information, see Burke Davis, War Bird (1987); Leonard E. Johnson and Lloyd M. Smith, "Elliot White Springs," Men of Achievement in the Carolinas (1952): 323; Louise Pettus, The White Homestead (1992); Eli Baxter Springs, I Remember; and Katherine Wooten Springs, The Squires of Springfield (1965).]


1.33 Linear Feet


This collection contains a small amount of original and photocopied material about the Springs family. In addition, the UNC Charlotte Library also owns a microfilm copy of the Springs Family Papers on file at the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Springs Family Papers are organized in single, alphabetical series by folder title and format.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts of Mrs. Eli B. Springs II, 1981, 1987, 1992 ; Gift of Southern Historical Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill, 1992 ; Gift of Robin Brabham, 1996.

Related Materials

Springs Family Papers, UNC-Chapel Hill, SHC #4121.

Physical Description

37 items (includes 2 photographs and 10 reels of microfilm).

Springs family papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collections, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte 28223 United Stated

About this Site

Finding aids are guides to archival collections, including manuscripts, university records, and oral history collections. These guides help you find physical collections which can be viewed in the Dalton Reading Room on the 10th floor of Atkins Library. A small number of finding aids link to digital content online. Please contact us to learn more or to schedule an appointment:

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