Manuscripts Collection
Louisiana Division
New Orleans Public Library

New Orleans Cotton Exchange
Records, 1880-1955

1 lin. ft.


The New Orleans Cotton Exchange was founded in 1871. Its constitution, adopted on January 24 of that year, stated the organization's purposes as:

...to provide and maintain suitable rooms for a "Cotton Exchange" in the City of New Orleans; to adjust controversies between members; to establish just and equitable principles, uniform usages, rules and regulations, and standards for classification, which shall govern all transactions connected with the cotton trade: to acquire, preserve and disseminate information connected therewith; to decrease the risks incident thereto; and generally to promote the interests of the trade, and increase the facilities and the amount of the cotton business in the City of New Orleans.
To further these goals, the Exchange had, in addition to its board of directors and officers, several committees, each devoted to a particular aspect of the institution's overall activities. These committees dealt with membership, information & statistics, trade, classification & quotations, finance, credits, and books.

By the early 1960s the Exchange was suffering from the decline in volume in trading of cotton futures. This, coupled with changes in the regulation of trading by the federal government, led to closure of the institution on July 9, 1964. An effort to revive the business as the New Orleans Cotton and Commodity Exchange in the mid-1970s did not succeed.

The Cotton Exchange occupied three successive buildings at the corner of Carondelet and Gravier Streets in the New Orleans Central Business District. While the last of these structures, built in 1920, remains standing and is known as the Cotton Exchange Building, it passed out of the hands of the Exchange in 1962.

The Library holds a collection of manuscript and printed materials donated to the Louisiana Division in two or more accessions and otherwise collected by the Library over the years. The manuscript materials include case file (arbitrations, claims, proceedings of the Committee on Membership, etc.), typewritten reports, and a subject file on the alleged oldest bale of cotton grown in America. Also included is a collection of photographic prints illustrating aspects of the Exchange's history. Printed materials include reports, pamphlets, programs, tickets, clippings, and published pictorial representations of the Exchange buildings.

Arbitration records are included for the following: Anderson Clayton & Co. vs Heller, Hyman & Co. (1919), R,W. Bennett vs Lehman, Stern & Co., Ltd (1919), Mason Smith & Co. vs Moyse & Holmes (1919- 1920), H. & C. Newman, Ltd. vs K. Tidemann & Co. (1920), and Goold & Co. vs Shepard & Gluck (1920). These files contain correspondence, bills at issue, inspection reports (in at least one case) and copies of the decision rendered by the Arbitration Committee.

Other case files include proceedings of the Committee on Membership on charges against E. Martin & Co. (1912-1913), comprised of four folders of correspondence, bills, and records of the Committee's deliberations. There is also files on the claim of Attwood, Violett & Co. vs F.L. Berge (1912) and on the failure of Max Schubert (1913).

The documentation on the oldest bale of cotton grown in America includes mostly correspondence tracing the history of the subject bale from its harvest in ca. 1862 through its donation to the Cotton Exchange in 1945. Allegedly grown by Levi Peeden in Oktibbeha County, Mississippi, the cotton bale (with several others) came into possession of the First National Bank of West Point (Mississippi). The bank exhibited the cotton at events such as the Columbian Exposition in Chicago (1893) and the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis (1904). Following the latter event it was sold to a St. Louis firm and later to another concern in that city, Lesser, Goldman & Co. A successor to the latter firm donated the bale to the Cotton Exchange in 1945.

Included in this subject file is correspondence with Mississippi Governor Theodore G. Bilbo and U.S. Senator Nathaniel P. Dial (South Carolina), as well as letters exchanged by the various business concerns involved in transferring and transporting the cotton. In addition to the correspondence there are several typewritten historical sketches of the bale, copies of newspaper clippings, and a photograph of the cotton following its receipt at the Exchange. A pencilled note on the reverse of the photograph indicates that the Exchange donated the bale to the LSU School of Agriculture in 1962.

Also among the records are typewritten reports on the actual stock of cotton in the port of New Orleans for all or part of the following years: 1903-1917, 1919, 1922-1927, 1930-1937, 1939-1945, 1948-1949, 1951-1953, and 1955. There are also reports of cotton exported from the U.S. for the years 1919 and 1920.

The printed materials, in addition to miscellaneous pamphlets, programs, pictorial items (letterheads, postcards, etc.), and the like, also include copies of the Exchange Secretary's reports (1893-1929).

See also the Library's collection of cataloged annual reports, charters, and other documents produced by the Exchange, as well as the larger collection of New Orleans Cotton Exchange records in Tulane University's Howard-Tilton Memorial Library.


The floor of the New Orleans Cotton Exchange during its trading heyday.


Inventory

Box 1

Case Files Arbitrations Anderson Clayton & Co. vs Heller, Hyman & Co. (1919) R.W. Bennett vs Lehman, Stern & Co., Ltd (1919) Mason Smith & Co. vs Moyse & Holmes (1919-1920) H. & C. Newman, Ltd. vs K. Tidemann & Co. (1920) Goold & Co. vs Shepard & Gluck (1920). Charges Proceedings of the Committee on Membership on charges against E. Martin & Co. (1912-1913) [4 folders] Claims Attwood, Violett & Co. vs F.L. Berge (1912) Other Papers relating to the failure of Max Schubert (1913) Miscellaneous Letters, 1948-1949 Printed Materials Pictorial Materials Miscellaneous printed materials Photographs Reports Actual stock of cotton in the port of New Orleans 1903-1919 1922-1955 Cotton exported from the U.S., 1919-1920 Secretary's Reports 1898-1900 1900-1910 1910-1920 1920-1929 Subject File "Oldest bale of cotton grown in America," 1905-1945 [2 folders]


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