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John Cothran papers

Identifier: ahc.MSS1131

Scope and Content

This collection primarily contains documents from John Cothran's military service during World War II and as a member of the Organized Army Reserve. Material includes records of service, orders and memos, and discharge papers. Additional items include family papers such as his brother James Jr.'s baby book, diplomas, and awards. Of particular note is material given to discharged soldiers after World War II to aid their return to civilian life.


  • 1902-1953, 1995, 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Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright.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

James Robeson Cothran (1890-?) and Ruth Palmer (1894-1917) lived in Atlanta, Georgia and had two sons, James Robeson Jr. (1919-1941) and John McElmurray (1922-2003). John graduated from Boys High in 1940 and the Georgia School of Technology in 1943, where he studied Civil Engineering. Between June 1942 and March 1943 Cothran served in the organized Army Reserve, after which he enlisted in active duty. After training at Camp Davis and Fort Benning to become an officer, he served in the Southern Philippines Campaign on Mindanao Island, rising to the rank of first lieutenant in the 34th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division. For his service he was awarded several medals, including a Bronze Service Star. He rejoined the United States Army Reserve from 1946 until 1953, the same year he married Pearl Ann Smith (1929-1996). They had two children: Julia and Jamie. Cothran founded the company Smith-Cothran, Inc., Contractors and worked there until his 1988 retirement.


0.517 linear ft.



System of Arrangement

This collection is arranged alphabetically according to titles supplied by staff.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, 2004, 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 2017.
John Cothran papers
Leah Lefkowitz
August 2017
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