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Open under the rules and regulations of the Louise Pettus Archives and Special Collections
24 bound volumes, 3.0 linear feet
William H. Grier, Sr. was born on November 21, 1901 in Fort Mill, S.C. After graduating from Clemson College in 1923, Grier worked in textile operations in Massachusetts, Georgia, and Oklahoma for 10 years before joining RHPFC. He became associated with the RHPFC as a divisional superintendent in 1933 and eventually retired from the company as president in 1972. He worked his way up the ladder to president of the Finishing Division of M. Lowenstein & Sons, Inc., the parent company of RHPFC and later became an executive vice president of Lowenstein. From 1953 to 1975, Grier served as chairman of the Winthrop College Board of Trustees, providing inspired leadership throughout a period of rapid change and controversy over coeducation. Winthrop honored Grier with an honorary doctorate in 1979. He was the first male to receive the honor. Grier died on May 15, 1983 and is buried across the street from the old Bleachery in Laurelwood Cemetery.
Scope and Content Note
The William H. Grier, Sr. Papers include correspondence, clippings, memoranda, copies of the company newsletter, telegrams, and other papers, relating to the history of the Rock Hill Printing Company (RHPFC) and to the career of William H. Grier, Sr. (1901-1983) who was a company executive and trustee to Winthrop College (1953-1975). The Rock Hill Printing and Finishing Company was founded in 1929 in Rock Hill, SC and was known locally as “The Bleachery.” It was one the nation’s largest textile finishing plants at its height. The Rock Hill plant bleached, dyed, printed and finished cloth and employed nearly 5,000 workers at its height in 1965. The plant site was placed on the National Register of Historic places in 2013. From 1936 to 1976 William H. Grier kept scrapbooks relating to his activities and the activities of the company. These materials are an excellent source for the history of “The Bleachery” and the textile industry in general. The 24 bound scrapbooks contain plant memoranda, newsletters, photographs, newspaper clippings, postcards, correspondence, promotional material, fabric samples, and other material relating to RHPFC. The memoranda and correspondence include information about raises, incentives, the annual Christmas Tree Celebration for the children of the workers, and other topics. The newspaper clippings relate such information as advances by the plant as well as trouble with organized labor. The photographs are of the plant, the workers, Grier and other officers, the area around the plant, and Rock Hill. “The Bleachery” printed and finished the first Rayon woven and printed in the South in 1938. There are fabric samples of the rayon in one of the scrapbooks. RHPFC put forth a great effort on the home front during WWII. They not only had a large number of their workers volunteer for military service but they also printed American flags and contributed other textile products to the war effort. The 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s were a time of change for the textile industry and these issues are reflected in the scrapbooks as well.
The papers of William H. Grier, Sr. were deposited with the Winthrop College Archives on February 23, 1984, by William H. Grier, Jr.
For information concerning copyright please contact the Louise Pettus Archives and Special Collections at Winthrop University.
Finding Aid Citation
Louise Pettus Archives and Special Collections, Winthrop University, "William H. Grier, Sr. Scrapbooks - Accession 567". Finding Aid 833.