Title: Oral History Interview with Jean Cole Hatcher, June 13, 1980. Interview H-0165.
Interviewer: Tullos, Allen
Interviewee: Hatcher, Jean Cole
Subjects: Charlotte (N.C.)--Social life and customs Cole Manufacturing Company
Abstract: Jean Cole Hatcher was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, around 1910. Hatcher outlines the ancestry of her family, both sides of which had lived in the area for several generations. She describes her family's farming history and its tradition of valuing education. She briefly focuses on the impact of the Civil War on her family, emphasizing its effect on the education of the women in her family. The majority of the interview focuses on Hatcher's family business, the Cole Manufacturing Company. Just before the turn of the twentieth century, Hatcher's father and uncle procured a patent for their new planting machine. In 1900, they established the Cole Manufacturing Company. Hatcher explains how innovations such as the planting machine revolutionized farming in the South. She describes the development of the company, its major competitors, the nature of skilled work in the company, the role of African American workers, and the company's evolution over the first half of the century. In 1953, Hatcher became president of the company—her first job—and she discusses briefly what it was like to manage the business. In addition, Hatcher describes the development of Charlotte in some detail. Focusing on the rise of Charlotte as an economic center in the South, she stresses the importance of the Southern Railroad and the building of roads to the city's industrial development. Finally, Hatcher describes her own civic volunteer work in Charlotte during the early 1930s. After graduating from Greensboro College in 1931, Hatcher participated in charity work in North Charlotte mill communities until she was married in 1933.