Lester Maddox Photographs
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Lester Maddox Photographs

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center. 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta, GA 30305. 404.814.4040. reference@atlantahistorycenter.com
Creator: Maddox, Lester, 1915-2003
Title: Lester Maddox Photographs
Dates: 1934-2000, undated
Quantity: 146.0 Image(s)
Quantity: Extent: 146 black and white and color photographic prints
Identification: ahc.VIS105

Biographical/Historical Note

Lester Garfield Maddox (30 September 1915-25 June 2003) was born in Atlanta, Georgia. He dropped out of high school in 1933 to work as a machine operator at the Atlantic Steel Company. Before working at Atlantic Steel, he had apprenticed as a dental technician. Maddox married Virginia Cox (1919-1997) in 1936, and in 1944 they opened a grocery store and restaurant. Building on the success of their first business they opened the Pickrick Restaurant in 1947. Maddox used the Pickrick as a platform for his political and segregationist views, and in 1965 he closed the restaurant rather than comply with the public accomodations section of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Maddox ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Atlanta in 1957 and 1961, and later served as governor of the state of Georgia from 1967 to 1971. Maddox was legally prevented from running for a second consecutive term as governor and instead ran for, and won, the position of lieutenant-governor of Georgia which he held from 1972 to 1974.

Scope and Content Note

The majority of this collection is comprised of images of Lester Maddox during his tenure as governor, and lieutenant governor of Georgia. Also included are campaign events during his run for mayor of Atlanta, and governor and lieutenant governor of Georgia. Most of the campaign photographs were produced during his run for lieutenant governor and were taken at events in rural Georgia. There are several photographs of Maddox riding on bicycles and speaking to crowds. Many of the photographs depict supporters holding signs that read “This is Maddox Country”. The collection also includes rare interior and exterior images of Maddox's restaurant, the Pickrick and his employees. Some of the photographs were taken shortly after Maddox closed the restaurant and depict signs he made to register his protests against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There are many images of people in the entertainment industry and in politics pictured with Maddox, mostly during his tenure as governor and lieutenant governor. Included are baseball player Hank Aaron, musicians Johnny Cash and Graham Jackson, and Georgia politicians, including Jimmy Carter, Zell Miller, Sonny Perdue, Ivan Allen, Jr., Charlie Brown, and Mugsy Smith. Also included are civil rights leaders, Hosea Williams, Joseph Lowry, and President Lyndon Johnson. The collection includes a 1934 group photograph of employees of Atlantic Steel Company in Atlanta that includes Maddox and also his employee identification card when he worked at Bell Aircraft in Buffalo, New York. There are also several images of Virginia Maddox in the collection. Copies of hand-written and typed notes, some signed by Lester Maddox and containing contextual information about particular photographs from his perspective are included with the prints.


This collection is arranged according to titles supplied by staff.

Index Terms

Aaron, Hank, 1934-
Allen, Ivan, 1911-2003
Atlantic Steel Company.
Carter, Jimmy, 1924-
Jackson, Graham Washington, 1903-1983
Maddox, Lester, 1915-2003
Maddox, Virginia Cox, 1919-1997
Miller, Zell, 1932-
Pickrick Cafeteria (Atlanta, Ga.)
Political campaigns--Georgia--1960-1970
Political campaigns--Georgia--1970-1980
Politics & government--Georgia--1960-1970
Politics & government--Georgia--1970-1980
Wallace, George C., (George Corley), 1919-1998
Wallace, Lurleen, 1926-1968
Williams, Hosea, 1926-

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Some of the images in this collection are located in cold storage (CS) as indicated in the descriptive inventory. Patrons must allow 24 hours after retrieval of cold storage item(s) before viewing material.

Administrative Information

Custodial History

These photographs were owned by the Maddox family and sold at auction after the death of Lester Maddox.

Preferred Citation

Lester Maddox Photographs, VIS 105, Kenan Research Center, Atlanta History Center

Acquisition Information

Purchase from the Estate Sale Company, 2003 (2003.099)

Processing Information

Collection processed in 2006


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright law. (Title 17, U.S. Code) Permission for use must be cleared through the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center. Licensing agreement may be required.

Container List




VIS 105.01VIS 105.01,CS Box 1Lester Maddox, 1934-1995,undated ( 21.0 Image(s) )



VIS 105.02 VIS 105.02,CS Box 1Personalities, circa 1966-2000 ( 12.0 Image(s) )



VIS 105.03 VIS 105.03,CS Box 1Campaign Events, 1961-1974, undated ( 58.0 Image(s) )



VIS 105.04VIS 105.04Gubernatorial Inauguration Ceremonies, 1966 ( 39.0 Image(s) )



VIS 105.05 VIS 105.05Gubernatorial Campaign Headquarters, 1966 ( 2.0 Image(s) )



VIS 105.06VIS 105.06Pickrick Restaurant and Employees, circa 1964 ( 14.0 Image(s) )