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James Edward Jordan Papers

Collection number: ahc.MSS565

Scope and Content

The bulk of this collection concerns the many business activities of James Edward Jordan. Although much of this collection is of a general business nature, there are some records specific to his beauty and barber supplies, photographic sales, movie production, and real estate businesses. Of particular importance, within the Business— Photographic/Cinemagraphic file is correspondence showing Mr. Jordan’s interest in producing commercials and movies. Some business cards in the collection suggest Jordan’s interests may have included distributing film with a religious content. The collection also contains income tax statements for 1954 and 1963. It also includes a small number of personal letters to James Edward Jordan from his children as well as several unknown authors. The abundance of advertisements and business cards in the collection are, in all likelihood, directly related to his business associations and the products he made or sold in his several shops. However, direct correlations can not be fully determined.


  • 1947-1963


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. All requests to publish, quote, or reproduce must be submitted through the Kenan Research Center.

Administrative/Biographical History

African-American businessman James Edward Jordan (1888-1977) was born in Wrightsville, GA, and moved to Atlanta in 1919. His career included beauty and barber-supply sales, tailoring, clothing sales, real estate, photography, and motion-picture production. Mr. Jordan is recognized as an early entrepreneur in the Atlanta African-American community. He ran the Jordan Shop of Quality, maintained a tailor shop in the Odd Fellows Building, and purchased the Pioneer Mercantile Company. In 1947, Jordan opened a photography studio at 268 Auburn Avenue, which he operated until the late 1960s. During much of this period, Auburn Avenue, known as “Sweet Auburn,” was the central business and cultural street for Atlanta’s African-American community. His real estate holdings included several homes in Atlanta; he also owned properties in New York City. Mr. Jordan’s businesses were family operated enterprises. Married to Anna Hobbs in Wrightsville, GA, the couple had seven children to live to adulthood: James, Narvie, Harvey, Edward, Anna Pearl, Robert, and Juanita. Each worked for some time in the Jordan businesses. Mr. Jordan also placed a great deal of emphasis on education, funding several scholarships to Booker T. Washington High School in the early 1930s. 1 No other biographical information is currently available.


0.25 linear ft.



System of Arrangement

This collection is arranged in alphabetical order, subject headings provided by archivist.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mrs. Narvie Jordan Harris, 1985 (1985.064)

Related Materials

Related visual arts collections include VIS 44 James Edward Jordan Photographs, Kenan Research Center, Atlanta History Center.

General Physical Description note

Extent: .25 linear ft. (one document box)

Description Control

Collection reprocessed in 2008

An Inventory of His Papers at the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center
Finding aid prepared by Finding aid prepared by Inventory prepared by Mike Brubaker
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305