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Alston family papers

Collection number: ahc.MSS1068

Scope and Content

This collection includes legal documents, genealogical materials, and personal and legal correspondence pertaining to the wills and trusts of members of the Alston family and the family's "home place" in Barbour County, Alabama. Also of interest are materials relating to a visit to Atlanta in 1941 by Edward Frederick Lindley Wood, 1st Earl Halifax, the British ambassador to the United States, as well as the Alston family genealogy, which includes two large parchment indentures made out to ancestors of the Alston family in 1663 and 1681. Of special interest are materials relating to the Ansley Park Civic Association and its reaction to demographic shifts in their neighborhood with regard to "hippies," "homosexual prostitutes," and African Americans in the late 1960s.


  • 1612-1973, undated
  • Majority of material found within 1917 - 1968


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Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright.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

The Augustus Holmes Alston family of Alabama and Georgia descends from John Alston and his wife Anne Wallis Alston, English settlers who arrived in North Carolina in 1691. Augustus Holmes (A.H.) Alston (1847-1918), a judge and Confederate States Army veteran, married Anna Maria Ott (1845-1928), a distant cousin, and they settled in Clayton, Barbour County, Alabama. The couple had ten children, eight of whom survived to adulthood: Augusta Holmes Alston Lee (1869-1957); Edward Ott Alston (1871-1969); Robert Cotten Alston (1873-1938); Louise Alston Adams (1876-1971); Philip Henry Alston, Sr. (1880-1962); Elizabeth Drake Alston Grubbs (1884-1945); William Ott Alston (1887-ca. 1940); and Augustus Holmes Alston, Jr. (1890-1936).

Administrative/Biographical History

All of the Alston sons graduated from the University of Alabama and all but William became attorneys. Eventually, Robert, Philip, William, and Augustus, Jr. settled in Atlanta, Georgia, and were known as prominent members of Atlanta society. Robert and Philip founded the law firm Alston, Miller, and Gaines, predecessor of Alston & Bird LLP. Philip's son, Philip H. Alston, Jr. (1911-1988), was a confidante of President Jimmy Carter, and served as United States ambassador to Australia and Nauru from 1977 to 1981. His other son, Robert C. Alston, II (1917-1979), was prominent in civic affairs in Atlanta, founded the real estate firm Dorsey Alston, and was the attorney for the Ansley Park Civic Association for many years. William's daughter, Margaret Alston Refoule (1916-1947), was a socialite whose murder remains one of the oldest cold cases in Georgia. Many of the family have been active members of St. Luke's Episcopal Church on Peachtree Street for decades and dedications to generations of Alstons can be found throughout the building.


4.25 linear ft. (six document cases, two flat files, two oversize boxes, and four oversize folders)



Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, 2015

Related Archival Materials

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

Alston family papers
Lindsay Resnick
January 2016
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 the Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305