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Adlai Robin Yates Papers

Identifier: Mss-0167

Scope and Content Note

The collection reflects Adlai Yates' fifty-plus years of thorough research and passionate interest in genealogy. Yates meticulously cross-referenced the various sources throughout his collection, from monograph to manuscript to microfilm and back. His detailed notes allow a first-time researcher to successfully navigate through and access references to many family histories. His wife, Gladys Collins Yates, helped a great deal in his research. The bulk of the collection dates from 1930-1979.

The Adlai Robin Yates Papers cover the period from 1892-1987, and are organized into three series: Families, Cemetery and Census Records, and Miscellaneous Research Materials. The folders in these series are generally arranged alphabetically by folder title and then chronologically within each folder. However, some of the material within the folders of the Cemetery and Census Records and the Miscellaneous Research Materials series are arranged alphabet-ically by family surnames. An effort was made to maintain as much as possible the original integrity and organization of the papers. Square brackets are placed around information provided by the processor; it was not originially part of the material or the folder title. Words in some of the folder titles are underlined to show the proper filing sequence. Generally, the dates on the folders are the span dates for the material filed within each folder. The majority of these dates repre-sent the time period when Yates collected his information. More than 1,000 books and 79 rolls of microfilmed census data have been separated from this collection. The books have been catalogued and are now part of the Special Collection's book collection. The microfilm is located with other census records on microfilm in the Clemson University Libraries.

The Families series contains the material that Adlai Yates gathered on many family histories. These families were located mainly in Louisiana, but were also from other Southern states such as Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. The majority of the material is in the format of notes Yates took from various federal, state and county records such as censuses, deeds and wills. However, some of the information also came from other individuals working on genealogy.

The Cemetery and Census Records series consists primarily of notes Yates took from the census records of 1790-1900. Most of the census material pertains to Louisiana but there is also information on Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. The level of information for each census year varies from state to state. In addition, some cemetery records can be found in this series. These cemetery records mainly concerns Louisiana. The Miscellaneous Research Materials series contains the material that does not specifically fit into the other two series. These miscellaneous materials includes some correspondence, county maps, death/funeral records, genealogy publications, histories of churches and counties and photocopied book excerpts. In addition, some information on such subjects as marriages, land grants, deeds and wills can be found in this series.

The Yates Papers are important to researchers interested in the histories of families of the Southern states, especially Louisiana. This collection contains a great deal of information on about more than 420 family histories. Moreover, researchers can see how a individual gathered genealogy information. These papers reflect Adlai Yates' long, passionate interest in genealogy and are a major contribution in this field for the Clemson University Libraries.


  • 1892 - 1987
  • 1930 - 1979


Restrictions on Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection beyond those of Special Collections.

Biographical Note

Adlai Robin Yates was one of five surviving children born to Robbins Pinckney Yates, a schoolteacher and railroad man, and Sallie Ellen Hogue Yates on August 12, 1900, in Sulphur Township, Miller County, Arkansas. He attended public schools in Arkansas and Texas. Yates was a self-educated man who took courses in such subjects as Traffic Management, Business Management and Commerce. He attended for two years the National Institute for Commercial Organization, Secretaries of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, for which he was sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce of the United States. He was also a graduate of the Southwestern Institute for Chamber of Commerce Executives at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

In 1919, Yates worked a short time as a cashier and rate clerk for a railroad company. A few years later he served as Traffic Manager for the Public Service Traffic Bureau (1921-1922) and a wholesale grocery business (1922-1925) in Shreveport, Louisiana. From 1927-1935 he was the Secretary Manager and Traffic Manager of the Chamber of Commerce of Natchitoches, Louisiana. Some of the organization's accomplishments during Yates' association included extensive city street and state highway paving programs, securing a federal fishery hatchery, getting funds for the Louisiana State Normal College (Northwest Louisiana State College), and organizing the Natchitoches Country Club. In 1935 Yates took a similar position as Manager of the Chamber of Commerce of Bogalusa, Louisiana, where he remained until his retirement in 1967. When Yates began working with this Chamber of Commerce, Bogalusa was a dying town because its major business, the Great Southern Lumber Company, was becoming defunct causing many people and businesses to leave the area. However, through the efforts of Yates and the Chamber of Commerce, the community remained intact and prospered despite the liquidation of the company. Yates' other contributions to this ogranization during his affiliation included sponsoring and putting through the Industry Inducement law for Louisiana, organizing the Bogalusa Community Chest in 1947 (also served as its Secretary-Treasurer), promoting the Pearl River Navigation Project, the "Pride in Bogalusa" beautify and cleanup programs and the Silver Jubilee Celebration for Bogalusa in 1939 with citizen participation of 2,000.

During World War II, Yates served as Reemployment Committeeman of the Washington Parish Selective Service Board and was awarded a Certificate of Merit and Selective Service Medal from President Harry S. Truman. Moreover, he established and served as the Archivist for the Washington Parish Archives for World War II Veterans. Yates was Secretary of all the War Bond Drives in Bogalusa and served in all the Salvage Campaigns for the War Effort. In 1953 Yates was awarded the Axson-Choppin Award "For Distinguished Service in the Cause of Public Health in Louisiana" by the Louisiana Public Health Association, which was the second such awards made in the state.

Besides these positions and his lifetime hobby of genealogical research, Yates was involved in other activities as well. He served as Director, Secretary-Treasurer, Vice President and President of the Louisiana-Mississippi Commercial Organizat-ion Association and in the same offices of the Louisiana Association of Chamber of Commerce Managers. In addition, he was involved with the American Chamber of Commerce Executives and the Southern Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. He was a Mason and a member of several local organizations such as the Rotary Club and the Bogalusa Country Club. He was the Deacon of the First Baptist Church of Bogalusa.

Adlai Yates married Gladys May Collins of Oil City, Caddo Parish, Louisiana, on October 28, 1922, in Morringsport, Caddo Parish, Louisiana. They had two daughters: Janice Marilyn Yates, born on November 24, 1928; and Sallie Frances Yates, born on January 6, 1934. Gladys Yates died on July 4, 1975 and five years later, due to ill health, Yates moved to Clemson, South Carolina to live with his daughter, Sallie Yates Box, and her husband Dr. Benton H. Box. He joined the Clemson First Baptist Church and became a member of the Pendleton District Genealogical Society. Adlai Robin Yates died on June 22, 1987. The biographical information about Yates came from material found within his donor file.


20 Cubic Feet (including 1 oversize folder, 3 folders of 59 photographs and 3 reels of microfilm)

Language of Materials



This collection consists of the personal papers of Adlai Robin Yates relating to his genealogical research of more than fifty years. His research mainly focused on Louisiana, but his work also included other Southern states such as Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Adlai Yates was not a professional genealogist by training but had a consuming passion for the subject and created a unique research collection.


The collection was donated to the Clemson University Libraries in 1992 by Janice Yates Peters and Sallie Yates Box.

Processing Information

The collection was processed and the register prepared by Laurie Varenhorst in 1996. Student assistant Jimmy Rayford helped with the processing.

The conversion of this finding aid to Encoded Archival Description format was made possible with a grant from the South Carolina State Historical Records Advisory Board in 2009-2010. The finding aid was prepared for encoding by Jen Bingham.


Adlai Robin Yates Papers
2010 July 19
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Repository Details

Part of the Clemson University Libraries Special Collections and Archives Repository

230 Kappa St.
Clemson SC 29634 U.S.A. US