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E. H. Little 1881-1981. Papers.

Identifier: DC003

Scope and Contents

The collection is organized into the following series: 1) Biographical Information; 2) Addresses; 3) Correspondence; 4) Printed Material; 5) Scrapbooks; 6) Oversize; 7) Photographs; and 8) Restricted Material. The biographical materials include marriage records and family information. The addresses include several speeches given as president of Colgate-Palmolive, his Commencement address at Davidson College in 1953, an introduction of Mr. Williams Sims II at the American Newcomen Society in 1956, and comments from the dedication of Davidson College's E.H. Little Library. The correspondence contains mostly letters concerning Colgate-Palmolive and Davidson College. The bulk of the collection is printed material, discussing Colgate-Palmolive, his contributions to various organizations, his contact with Davidson College, and his social and political activities. There are two scrapbooks, both from Davidson College. The first is from the dedication of the E.H. Little Library, and the other contains letters written by Davidson College students to Mr. Little thanking him for his contribution to the library. The oversize material includes the newspaper article "In Memoriam: Goodbye, E.H. Little" from the August, 1981 "Davidson College Update." There is also a color photograph from Davidson College's celebration of his 100th birthday, a sketch of the Crippled Children's Hospital in Memphis, TN, and several maps of Mr. Little's land near Huntersville, NC. The photographs include numerous pictures of Mr. Little, his family, business associates, and Davidson College. The restricted information contains donor records for the E.H. Little Library, a biography (unpublished) by Mr. LeGette Blythe, and correspondence between Mr. Little and Davidson College presidents D. Grier Martin and Sanuel Spencer. Artifacts and memoriablia belonging to E. H. Little are located in the Davidsoniana Room in Case I. This case contains scrapbooks, desk plaques, a horse whip, wallet, trowels, straw hat, books, and photographs.


  • Creation: 1881-1981


Biographical / Historical

Mr. Little was born on a farm near Huntersville, NC in Mecklenburg County. He was the fifth of twelve children of George and Ella Little. Upon his graduation from High School he entered the business world as a cotton buyer in Charlotte. In 1902 he became a soap and toilet article salesman for Colgate and Company. In 1906 he was made district manager for Colgate in Memphis, Tennessee, where he met Suzanne Trezevant. Before the two were married, they learned that Mr. Little had tuberculosis, and the two left immediately for Denver, Colorado, and were married shortly after their arrival on November 24, 1910. In 1914, after recovering, Mr. Little became a salesman for the B.J. Johnson Soap Company, which became the Palmolive Company in 1917. In 1918 he became District Manager in Los Angeles, and in 1919 held the same position in New York. In 1928, Palmolive merged with Colgate and Mr. Little was placed in charge of Foreign sales. In 1933 he became vice-president, and in 1938 became president. In 1953 he was made chairman of the board. Following his retirement from Colgate- Palmolive in 1960, Mr. Little devoted his time to philanthropy, particularly toward Southern colleges and universities. Mrs. Little died in 1964, and Mr. Little made many donations in her honor. Major benefactions went to Davidson College in Davidson, NC, the University of the South at Sewanee, TN, Queens College in Charlotte, NC and Southwestern at Memphis, TN.


2.3 Linear Feet (7 boxes + oversize + Davidsoniana Room cabinet)



Physical Location

Carrel lStorage

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mr. E.H. Little

Processing Information

Processed on 08/08/1994

E. H. Little 1881-1981. Papers.
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collections Repository