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J. Alex McMillan papers

Identifier: MS0263

Scope and Contents

The J. Alex McMillan Papers, 1952, 1972-1982 (Mss 263), include the papers of a prominent politician and businessman from Charlotte, North Carolina. This collection contains papers related to McMillan’s career as a Mecklenburg County Commissioner, and especially his work in promoting and developing Spirit Square as a performing arts venue. Some of the issues he dealt with and generated documentation for as a county commissioner are his positions on: education, long range financial planning, the physical environment, social services, public schools, county-city consolidation, educational television, and public television. His work with Spirit Square resulted in the greatest amount of documentation and constitute about half of this collection. In addition to papers, there are also nineteen photographs.


  • Creation: 1952, 1972-1982


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

McMillan, J(ohn) Alex(ander), III, (prominent Charlotte businessman, Mecklenburg County Commission, U.S. House of Representatives) was born in Charlotte, NC on May 9, 1932 to John Alexander Jr. and Mildred Shepherd McMillan. He graduated from Woodberry Forest School in Central Virginia in 1950. In 1954, he received his B.A. in History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He served in the United States Army as a special intelligence agent from 1954-1956. In 1958, he received his M.B.A. from the University of Virginia. On November 21, 1959, he married Caroline Hill Houston. They have two children, Elizabeth Houston and John A. IV. McMillan III was an active member of the Charlotte business community. He served as vice president of Carolina Paper Board Company from 1958-1960. From 1960-1963, he was vice president of the Charlotte-based John C. Shepherd Lumber Company, and as the vice president of R.S. Dickson & Co. from 1963-1968.

From 1968-1983, he served as secretary vice president, and vice president of finance for the Ruddick Corporation of Charlotte. He also served as CEO of Harris Teeter Food Stores, a subsidiary of the Ruddick Corporation, in 1984. In 1972, J. Alex McMillan III ran as a Republican candidate for the Mecklenburg County Commission. He was elected and served from 1973-1975. McMillan served as chairman of the board for the Mecklenburg Board of Social Services from 1974-1977. He also served as chairman of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Broadcasting Authority from 1978-1983. In 1985, he was elected to the 99th Congress and served five consecutive terms as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives until his retirement in 1995.

McMillan III was very active in community affairs and instrumental in the development of Spirit Square. He served on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Arts and Science Council from 1974-1979 and was a proponent of county funding for the support of the arts. He and his wife were key figures in the fundraising effort to purchase and restore the First Baptist Church at the corner of North Tryon and 7th street into what is now Spirit Square.


3 Linear Feet (circa 5,400 items)

Language of Materials



Papers relating to McMillan's services as a member of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners (1972-74) and as the principal organizer and president of the Spirit Square Development Group (1975-82). Includes correspondence, campaign material, reports, and newspaper clippings.


The collection is arranged into one series (Photographs - Prints) while the rest of the files are arranged into a single, alphabetical folder title series.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of J. Alex McMillan III, August, 1999.

Related Materials

Martin Evans Boyer Papers (UNC Charlotte Manuscript 94) ; Spirit Square Center for Arts and Education, Inc. Records (UNCC Manuscript 241) ; J. Alex McMillan Commercials, University of Oklahoma ; J. Alex McMillan Papers, UNC-Chapel Hill (SHC #4741).

Processing Information

Processed by Chris Knott, 1999.

Papers of J. Alex McMillan
Finding aid written by Chris Knott
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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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 NC 28223 United States

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