James Edward Jordan Papers
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James Edward Jordan Papers

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Atlanta History Center
Creator: Jordan, James Edward, 1888-1977
Title: James Edward Jordan Papers
Dates: 1947-1963
Quantity: 0.25 linear ft.
Quantity: Extent: .25 linear ft. (one document box)
Identification: ahc.MSS565

Biographical/Historical Note

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.

Scope and Content Note

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.


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

Index Terms

African American businesspeople--Georgia
Atlanta (Ga.)--Commerce
Barbers' supplies industry--Georgia
Beauty shop supplies industry--Georgia
Cut-rate Sundries and Cosmetics Co.
Hy-beaute Chemical Company.
Jordan Shop of Quality.
Jordan, James Edward, 1888-1977
Loans, Personal--Georgia
Motion pictures in advertising -- Georgia
Photographic industry--Georgia
Real estate business--Georgia

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

James Edward Jordon Papers, MSS 565, Kenan Research Center, Atlanta History Center

Immediate Source of Acquisition

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

Description Control

Collection reprocessed in 2008


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.

Related Material

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

Container List




11Business Cards, 1948-1951, undated
2Business—"Cut Rate Sundries and Cosmetics", 1951-1952
3Business—General, 1953
4Business—"Hy Beaute Chemical Co.", 1947-1956
5Business—Photographic/Cinemagraphic, 1950-1951
6Business—Real Estate, 1948-1961
7Correspondence—Personal, 1950-1955
8Income Tax Statements, 1953, 1954, 1963
9Loans, 1950-1951
10Miscellaneous Unidentified, 1951-1952, 1957
11Religious Materials, 1957
12Sundries Advertisements—General, undated