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Cotten Alston photographs

Collection number: ahc.VIS247

Scope and Content

This collection contains aerial and street views of the Buckhead, downtown, and Midtown areas of Atlanta, Georgia. Included are images of Buckhead restaurants such as OK Cafe and Buckhead Diner. Also featured are the Atlanta History Center's Swan House, Lenox Square Mall, Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System, Underground Atlanta, the Georgia Dome, The Fox Theatre, High Museum of Art, The Varsity, Piedmont Park, and Clark College (later named Clark Atlanta University). Other images include natural and historic sites around Georgia, such as the Okefenokee Swamp, Etowah Burial Grounds, and Cumberland Island. The collection also features images of events and activities in and around Atlanta, including a parade celebrating Atlanta's successful Olympic bid in 1990; the Peachtree Road Race in 1992; and a parade in honor of the Atlanta Braves after winning the World Series in 1995. In addition, there are images of Atlanta organizations such as Cable News Network (CNN). These photographs feature images of news anchors, owner Ted Turner, and sports broadcasters Nick Charles and Fred Hickman. Also included are images of the Atlanta Hawks, the Atlanta Braves, and the Atlanta Police Department.


  • 1972-1998, undated


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

This material is 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.

Administrative/Biographical History

Cotten Alston (1945-) is a professional photographer and real estate broker in Atlanta, Georgia. He was born in Atlanta, Georgia to parents Robert C. Alston II (1917-1979) and Tudor Alston (1919-1988). He had one sibling, Daphne Alston Marane (1947-2015). Alston is married to Valerie Alston and has two daughters, May Alston Carr (1985-) and Honour Alston Thorton (1988-). He graduated from Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia, and from Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina, in 1967 with a Bachelors of Arts degree in French. Alston served in the United States Navy as a lieutenant junior grade from 1967-1969. Cotten Alston became a real estate agent in 1972. In 1976, he started his own commercial photography business, Cotten Alston Photography. He produced images for the architectural, real estate, and food industries. In 1998, he dissolved his photography business for a full time career as an associate broker for Harry Norman Realtors, in Atlanta.


3215 image(s) (1,626 color transparencies and 1,589 black and white prints)



System of Arrangement

This collection is arranged into three series: 1. Geographic Locations, 2. Events and Activites, 3. Organizations. The collection is arranged alphabetically within each series according to titles supplied by staff.

Physical Access

Some items 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.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, 2001

Description Control

This collection was processed in 2016.

Cotten Alston photographs
Tomeka Jackson
October 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 Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305