Skip to main content

Charlotte and Alvin Ferst, Jr. papers

Collection number: ahc.MSS1038

Scope and Content

This collection contains reports, correspondence, meeting minutes, and memoranda from organizations in which either Alvin or Charlotte Ferst were active during their professional and civic careers. Among these organizations are the High Museum of Art, the Museum Trustees Association, Rich's Department Store, Central Atlanta Progress, TransFact Inc., the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, and the United Way. The collection also contains personal correspondence from Charlotte and Alvin Ferst, handwritten notes, financial papers, and papers related to the Fersts' support of national and local political candidates, including President Jimmy Carter.


  • 1954-2009, undated


Conditions Governing Access

This 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Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright.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

Alvin Ferst, Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia on May 6, 1922 to Alvin Ferst, Sr. and Doris Marks Ferst. Ferst graduated from the Georgia School of Technology in 1943 after completing a degree in industrial management. He enlisted in the United States Navy in the USA Constitution Battalion (Seabees) division during World War II. In 1946, Ferst returned to Atlanta where he was hired as an industrial engineer and manager at Rich's department store. Ferst married Charlotte Boyette, who also worked at Rich's department store, in March 1950. Their first daughter, Mary Lane, was born in 1952 followed by twin girls, Sylvia Leigh and Doris Leslie, in 1954. Alvin Ferst, having risen to become Executive Vice President and Treasurer, retired from Rich's after thirty-five years of service to establish his own business and real estate consulting firm, Alvin Ferst Associates, Incorporated. In addition to his business responsibilities, Ferst was a leading philanthropist. He served as an executive member in local chapters of national organizations, including the Atlanta Kiwanis Foundation, the United Way, and the Young Men's Christian Association. He was also an active civic leader and served on the board of Central Atlanta Progress, TransFact Incorporated, and the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. He died in 2009. Charlotte Ferst was primarily a homemaker until the 1960s when she became a patron of the Atlanta Arts Association, an organization which evolved into the High Museum of Art. Ferst later served as a board member of several other Atlanta arts organizations, including the Atlanta Arts Alliance, the Woodruff Arts Center, and the Atlanta College of Art. She was named Atlanta Woman of the Year in the Arts for her work in 1968. In 1977 President Jimmy Carter appointed Ferst to the newly formed Institute of Museum Services. She also became involved with the National Museum Board, the Museum Trustees Association, and the American Association of Museums. She remained active with the High Museum of Art serving as a board member and a life trustee until her death in 2003.


29.09 linear ft. (71 document cases and one reel-to-reel)



System of Arrangement

This collection is organized into five series: I. Personal papers; II. Civic papers; III. Alvin Ferst business papers; IV. Charlotte Ferst arts papers; and V. Political papers. Each series is arranged alphabetically according to titles supplied by staff, or chronologically.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Audio recording was made on 7 1/2 ips reel-to-reel and can be made accessible only through conversion to digital surrogates. Patrons who request access to the audio content in this collection are responsible for digital conversion costs.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, 2008 with subsequent additions

Related Archival Materials

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

Description Control

This collection was processed in 2013.

Charlotte and Alvin Ferst, Jr. papers
Alyssa Foley
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305