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Katharine and R.J. Reynolds : partners of fortune in the making of the new South / Michele Gillespie.


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Gillespie, Michele, author.
Publication date:
Copyright date:
Athens, Georgia : University of Georgia Press, [2012]
Copyright notice:
  • Book
  • xiii, 381 pages, 42 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Title Variation:
Partners of fortune in the making of the new South
Includes bibliographical references (pages 359-373) and index.
  • Introduction
  • Making a business of it
  • A hardworking, painstaking student
  • Making money
  • Dearest of all
  • Brains and backbone
  • A thousand cattle on a hill
  • A woman for a new day.
From relatively modest beginnings, R. J. launched the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, which would eventually develop two hugely profitable products, Prince Albert pipe tobacco and Camel cigarettes. His marriage in 1905 to Katharine Smith, a dynamic woman thirty years his junior, marked the beginning of a unique partnership that went well beyond the family. As a couple, the Reynoldses conducted a far-ranging social life and, under Katharine's direction, built Reynolda House, a breathtaking estate and model farm. Providing leadership to a series of progressive reform movements and business innovations, they helped drive one of the South's best examples of rapid urbanization and changing race relations in the city of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Together they became one of the New South's most influential elite couples. Upon R. J.'s death, Katharine reinvented herself, marrying a World War I veteran many years her junior and engaging in a significant new set of philanthropic pursuits. Katharine and R. J. Reynolds reveals the broad economic, social, cultural, and political changes that were the backdrop to the Reynoldses' lives. Portraying a New South shaped by tensions between rural poverty and industrial transformation, white working-class inferiority and deeply entrenched racism, and the solidification of a one-party political system, Gillespie offers a masterful life-and-times biography of these important North Carolinians.

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