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Alston and Glenn family papers

Collection number: ahc.MSS1262

Scope and Contents

This collection contains papers from the Alston and Glenn families of Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. These families were joined by marriage when Jack Glenn married Anne Amanda Alston in 1935. The Alston family papers include correspondence and legal documents pertaining to several generations of Alstons. Correspondence features discussions regarding finances, land plot purchases, education, historical society applications, and legal documents such as wills and estate planning. Also included are original documents and genealogical research conducted after 1920. Of particular interest are plantation drawings, land grants from Georgia Governor Wilson Lumpkin, and land indentures from King Charles II and King George II to early Alston settlers of South Carolina. There is also a receipt for the purchase of an enslaved person dated 1827 to William Ott.

The Glenn family papers include documents of William Harper Glenn, his sons Jack Glenn and Billy Glenn, and his daughter-in-law Anne Amanda Alston Glenn. Included are certificates, correspondence, genealogy research, newspaper clippings, magazines, annual reports, and financial reports. Scrapbooks document the early life and wedding of Anne Amanda Alston and Jack Fitten Glenn.


  • 1612-2017, undated
  • Majority of material found in 1900-1975


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright.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

Biographical / Historical

The Alston family of Alabama and Georgia descends from John Allston (1666-1719) and his wife Elizabeth Turgis (1674-1745), English settlers who arrived in South Carolina in 1694. Augustus Holmes Alston (1847-1918), a judge and Confederate States Army veteran, married a distant cousin, Anna Maria Ott (1845-1928), and they settled in Clayton, Barbour County, Alabama, where Augustus Holmes Alston was appointed Judge of Probate in 1884 and served until 1892. They had ten children, including: Edward Ott Alston (1871-1969); Robert Cotten Alston Sr. (1873-1938); Anna Louise Alston Adams (1876-1971); Philip Henry Alston Sr. (1880-1962); William Ott Alston (1887-1940); and Augustus Holmes Alston Jr. (1890-1936).

Robert Cotten Alston Sr. married Caroline Lamar du Bignon (1876-1960) in 1900 in Chatham County, Georgia. He graduated from the University of Alabama and Atlanta Law School in approximately 1893. In 1933 he was elected president of the Atlanta Bar Association. At the time of his death, Robert Cotten Alston Sr. was a member of the firm Alston, Alston, Foster, & Moise with his brother Philip Henry Alston Sr.

Anna Louise Alston Adams married Carlton “Carl” Fendley Adams (1889-1934) in 1912 and resided in Clayton, Alabama. They had one daughter, Augusta Alston Adams (1918-1919). They divorced in 1931 when her husband relocated to California. She was employed by the Alabama State Board of Education and the Child Welfare program.

Philip Henry Alston Sr. married May Birnie Lewis (1890-1962) in Georgia in 1910, and they had five children: Philip Henry Alston Jr. (1911-1988); May Birnie Alston (1912-1990); James "Jim" Lewis Alston (1914-2013); Anne Amanda Alston Glenn (1915-1993); and Robert "Bob" Cotten Alston II (1917-1979). Philip Henry Alston Sr. earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1900 and a Bachelor of Law degree in 1902, both from the University of Alabama. In 1903, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia, to join a law firm with his brother Robert Cotten Alston Sr. He then served as a judge advocate in the 20th Division of the United States Army during World War I. He was the president of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce in 1929 and became the president of the Atlanta Bar Association in 1940.

Philip Henry Alston Jr. graduated from the University of Georgia in 1932 and earned a law degree from Emory University in 1934. He married Margaret Elkin Goddard (1917-2011) in 1939 and they had two children. Philip Henry Alston Jr. began practicing at the law firm that would become Alston, Miller, and Gaines (later known as Alston & Bird LLP), where he became a partner in 1942. From 1942 to 1945, Alston served in the United States Navy and returned to his legal practice following the end of World War II. In 1976, Alston became chairman of Jimmy Carter's presidential campaign committee. President Carter then appointed him ambassador to Australia in 1977 and Nauru in 1979 where he served in those roles concurrently until 1981.

Robert “Bob” Cotten Alston II was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and was named after his paternal uncle. In 1939 he worked for the Atlantic Steel Company. He graduated from the Williams Army Flight School in 1942 and then served in the United States Army Air Force during World War II. He married Mary Tudor Morsell in approximately 1945 and had two children, Robert Cotten Alston III (1946-) and Daphne Preston Alston Marane (1947-2015). After graduating from the University of Georgia, Alston co-owned the Dorsey-Alston Insurance Company. Alston was a resident and active member of the Ansley Park Civic Association.

William Harper Glenn (1871-1940) was born to Wilbur Fisk Glenn (1839-1922) and Flora Harper Glenn (1845-1927) in Cave Springs, Georgia. He graduated from the Georgia School of Technology (later known as Georgia Institute of Technology) where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering in 1891. He served as a trustee of the college as president of the Georgia Tech National Alumni Association, and as an alumni member of the Georgia Tech Athletic Association. Glenn was Vice President of Georgia Railway & Power Company before working as President of Shipper’s Compress Company. He was an active member of the Druid Hills Golf Club, Piedmont Driving Club, Atlanta Athletic Club, Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, First Methodist Church, and the Homosassa Fishing Club. William H. Glenn married Anne Martin Fitten (1880-1971) and they had two sons, John "Jack" Fitten Glenn (1910-2002) and William "Billy" Harper Glenn Jr. (1913-2000).

John "Jack" Fitten Glenn graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in general science in 1932. He worked for the Coca-Cola Company from 1932-1935 and for Courts & Company from 1936-1942. He took a leave of absence from work for active duty in the United States Navy during World War II from 1942 to 1945. After his military service, he rejoined Courts & Company where he stayed until 1950 after which he joined Citizens & Southern National Bank as assistant president and director in 1951. He was elected chairman of the Board of Citizens & Southern National Bank in 1967.

William "Billy" Harper Glenn Jr. graduated with honors from Georgia Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in general science in 1935. He served in the United States Navy during World War II. He was president of Ivan Allen Company and Rotary Club of Atlanta. He was also a member of Piedmont Driving Club, Capital City Club, and Peachtree Golf Club. Billy Glenn married June Selma Spalding (1918-1983) in 1940, and they had three children, Anne Fitten Glenn Weltner (1944- ), Alice Stewart Glenn (1949- ), and William "Bill" Harper Glenn III (1951- ).

Anne Amanda Alston Glenn (1915-1993) was born to Philip Henry Alston Sr. and May Lewis Alston. Anne graduated from Washington Seminary in Washington, Pennsylvania, in 1933 and Ogontz School for Girls in Rydal, Pennsylvania, in 1935. She was presented at the Court of St. James at Buckingham Palace before King George V and Queen Mary of England in 1935. She married Jack Glenn in 1935, and they had four sons: Jack F. Glenn Jr. (1937- ); Alston Glenn (1939- ); Robert J. Glenn (1942-2016); and J. Lewis Glenn (1946- ).

Alston Glenn attended The Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Georgia, Darlington School in Rome, Georgia and graduated from Auburn University in 1961. He married Elizabeth Marie Glenn in 1962. Glenn worked in banking and was vice president of the Citizens & Southern National Bank Buckhead branch in 1979. He served on the board of Goodwill Industries of Atlanta starting in 1975 and became Chairman of the Board in 1979. Glenn began working at BankSouth in 1981 and became Senior Vice President in 1985. He was Executive Director of Atlanta Botanical Garden from 1993-2002.


23.51 linear ft. (30 document cases, eight oversize boxes, and one flat file)




This collection is arranged into two series: Series I. Alston family papers; and Series II. Glenn family papers. Each series is arranged alphabetically according to titles supplied by staff.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, 1984, with subsequent additions

Related Materials

Alston family photographs, VIS 236, Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center.

Separated Materials

Visual materials have been separated from the collection. Please contact an archivist for access to these materials.

Bias in Description

As archivists, we acknowledge our role as stewards of information. We choose how individuals and organizations are represented and described in our archives. We are not neutral, and bias is reflected in our descriptions, which may not accurately convey the racist or offensive aspects of collection materials. Archivists make mistakes and might use poor judgment. In working with this collection, we often re-use language used by the former owners of the material. This language provides context but often includes bias and prejudices reflective of the time in which it was created. The Kenan Research Center’s work is ongoing to implement reparative language where Library of Congress subject terms are inaccurate and obsolete.

Kenan Research Center welcomes feedback and questions regarding our archival descriptions. If you encounter harmful, offensive, or insensitive terminology or descriptions, please let us know by emailing Your comments are essential to our work to create inclusive and thoughtful description.


MSS 1262 was previously processed as MSS 1068 and MSS 758.

Processing Information

This collection was reprocessed in 2023.

Alston and Glenn family papers
Sara Matthews and Ginny Van Winkle
August 2023
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305