Lester Maddox collection
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Lester Maddox collection

Descriptive Summary

Repository: University of West Georgia
Creator: Maddox, Lester, 1915-2003.
Title: Lester Maddox collection
Dates: 1947-1990
Quantity: 7.02 Linear feet (5 boxes, 4 scrapbooks, 2 OV items, 1 map tube, 1 OV map folder)
Abstract:Personal papers of Lester Maddox who served as elected governor of Georgia in 1966 and lieutenant governor in 1971.
Identification: POL-0015

Biographical/Historical Note

Lester Maddox was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1915. He went to work in 1933 to help his family by working at Atlantic Steel and for the Works Progress Administration. He married Virginia Cox in 1936 and opened a very successful restaurant in 1947 called The Pickrick. Always very opinionated, Maddox began to run "Pickrick Says" advertisements that promoted the restaurant and allowed him a forum for political commentary. After unsuccessful bids for mayor in 1957 and lieutenant governor in 1962, Maddox focused his energy toward the Pickrick and his strong beliefs in segregation. On July 3, 1964, Maddox and supporters wielded ax handles to thwart the African-American activists who attempted to enter the Pickrick. Maddox later closed the restaurant rather than desegregate.

In 1966, Maddox entered the political arena again and faced off against Bo Callaway for governor of Georgia. Callaway won the popular vote, but failed to gain the majority of the votes because of a write-in for former Governor Ellis Arnall. Democrats who controlled the Georgia legislature decided the election in favor of Maddox. As governor, Maddox was not as controversial as some had feared. He appointed more African-Americans to government positions than all previous Georgia governors combined and backed some issues important to African-Americans, including prison reform. However, Maddox still believed deeply in segregation and never altered his views or apologized. In addition, he fought heavily against civil rights causes. Despite these facts, Maddox remained a popular governor and was often celebrated for his unique antics such as riding a bicycle backwards and wearing "Phooey" tee shirts that symbolized his displeasure with various political events. He also hosted "Little People's Day" where people were encouraged to meet with him at the Governor's mansion twice a month.

Maddox was elected lieutenant governor in 1971 and was often at odds with his political rival, Governor Jimmy Carter. Maddox ran for governor again in 1974 and ran for president in 1976—both attempts unsuccessful. Maddox returned to private life and embarked on various endeavors including operating a furniture store and selling real estate. Over the course of his life, Maddox suffered from various degenerative diseases and cancer. He died at 87 years old.


Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of artifacts, memorabilia, photographs, and documents relating to the life and political career of Lester Maddox.


Arrangement

Arranged into four series: Series 1. Manuscripts; Series 2. Scrapbooks, Series 3. Artifacts, and; Series 4. Oversized.


Index Terms

Civil rights--Georgia.
Georgia--Politics and government--1951-
Governors--Georgia.
Lieutenant governors--Georgia.
Maddox, Lester, 1915-2003.--Archives.
Segregation--Georgia.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Lester Maddox collection. Annie Belle Weaver Special Collections, Irvine Sullivan Ingram Library, University of West Georgia.

Provenance

Collection was purchased for Special Collections from an estate sale in August 2003

Processed By

Processed by Shannon Danielle Smith, 2010

Sponsorship

Finding aid converted with funds from a UWG FY14 Presidential Assistance Grant.

Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

Open to all users; no restrictions

User Restrictions

As stipulated by U.S. copyright laws


Container List

 

Series I: Manuscript Collection

Lester Maddox's autobiography, photographs, and documents relating to his life and political career.

Box

Fldr

11Augusta Courier
2Autobiography 1 of 11
3Autobiography 2 of 11
4Autobiography 3 of 11
5Autobiography 4 of 11
6Autobiography 5 of 11
7Autobiography 6 of 11
8Autobiography 7 of 11
9Autobiography 8 of 11
10Autobiography 9 of 11
11Autobiography 10 of 11
12Autobiography 11 of 11
13Biographical Information
14Birthday Celebration—Eightieth
15Book Material
16Book Proposal
17Boyd, Bill newspaper clippings
18Bumper Stickers

Box

Fldr

21Campaign Ads
2Campaign, 1970
3Campaign, 1974
4Campaign, 1990
5Carter, Jimmy
6Christian Anti-Communism Crusade
7Correspondence
8Georgia Government Documentation Project
9Georgia House of Representatives
10Governorship
11House Resolution
12King, Martin Luther, Jr.
13Lester Maddox Company
14Lieutenant Governorship
15Maddox Country Stamp
16Maddox Publications
17McDonald, Larry

Box

Fldr

31Miscellaneous
2News Releases
3Notes
4Photographs
5Photographs purchased from Estate
6Pickrick Restaurant
7Pins
8Presidential Campaign
9Published Material
10Realty

Box

Fldr

41Revolution Lobby
2Senate Resolution
3Social Issues
4Tributes
 

Series II: Scrapbooks

Four scrapbooks that contain numerous newspaper articles relating to Maddox and Georgia politics.

scrapbook

1"Lester G. Maddox Lieutenant Governor 1971", black cover, 23 inches in length by 19 inches wide

scrapbook

2"Lester Maddox", 1966-1973, brown cover, 25 inches in length by 19 inches wide

scrapbook

3Untitled, 1960-1986, brown cover, 25 inches in length by 19 inches wide

scrapbook

4Untitled, 1962-1966, black cover, 23.5 inches in length by 19 inches wide
 

Series III: Artifacts

Objects, memorabilia, and photograph albums relating to Maddox's Pickrick Restaurant, his campaigns, and his political life.

Box

5One wooden ax handle engraved, "Lester Maddoxes' Pickrick Drumstick" measuring approximately 36 inches in length

Box

5One men's large Lester Maddox tee-shirt, "Make Freedom Ring"

Box

5One small tee-shirt w/ Lester Maddox on bicycle, "Phooey"

Box

5One children's medium tee-shirt w/Lester Maddox on bicycle, "Phooey."

Box

5One blue photo album with the address of Lester Maddox on exterior containing black 'n white and color photographs of Lester Maddox, his wife and fellow political figures

Box

5One black photo album with a gold motif on left side containing pictures of the capital, pictures of Maddox, and numerous pictures of his wife, Virginia

Box

5Wind-up alarm call with rendering of Maddox on a bicycle with words, "Wake Up America"

Box

5"Phooey Balancer-Whistle-Chicken Leg souvenir

Box

5Two cassette tapes and 2 CD's titled, "God, Family and Country—Lester Maddox" containing various spiritual songs such as "I'll Fly Away" and "Room at the Cross"

Box

5Brown photo album with "Inauguration Governor Lester G. Maddox, January 11, 1967" engraved on exterior containing photographs of the inauguration

Box

5Album recorded by Maddox titled, "If I go to Jail"

Box

5Small poster with cartoon rendering of Maddox on a bicycle that reads, "Sorry you've been ailing friend—but now that's under control so get that bike into 10 speed and show 'em you're ready to roll!" signed "Best Wishes Keats Petree"

Box

5One 14 by 11 inch color photograph of the governor's mansion with "Best Wishes-Lester Maddox" on front and "Lester Maddox only Georgia governor to live in the old Governor's mansion and this new one (1967-1971)" written on the back

Box

51972 issue of The Atlanta Journal and Constitution with Maddox on the cover.
 

Series IV: Oversized

Box

6(tube)"Re-elect Lester Maddox Governor 1990" campaign sign

oversize_folder

1Lester Maddox signed print, "Best Wishes, Lester Maddox, January 1968" Campaign sign "Re-elect Lester Maddox our governor for a more representative, efficient, and honest government"
One framed print titled, "The Men who Governed Georgia"
One framed document commissioning Maddox as the Lieutenant Governor of Georgia in 1971