The Loyola Archives and Special Collections is now the home of the Follett Archives. During the past year, Kathy Young, University Archivist and Curator of Rare Books, worked closely with Todd Litzsinger, CEO of Follett Corporation, Jean Follett, Historian, Loyola’s Family Business Center, and Quinlan School of Business to bring the collection to Loyola.
Founded as a used bookstore in 1873 by Charles M. Barnes, C. W. Follett joined the company as a stock clerk in 1901. In 1924, Follett purchased the company then known as J.W. Wilcox & Follett Company. Follett’s four sons joined him at the company, eventually founding Follett Publishing in 1925, Follett College Book Company in 1930, and Follett Library Book Company in 1940. The company was renamed Follett Corporation in 1957. In February of this year, the Follett Family sold the company to a private investment company, Jefferson River Capital LLC.
The Follett Archives consist of business records from the 19th and 20th centuries, photographs, original book illustrations by artists including Ken Freeman and Knickerbacker Davis, paper sculptures by artist Calvin Nicholls, artifacts, and a collection of 1,000 books published by Follett Publishing.
The addition of the Follett Archives increases our collections in Chicago history and 20th century business history. As part of the Chicago community, Follett Corporation long advocated for social justice through their business practices, including having an integrated work force and creating and publishing the first integrated textbook for the Detroit school system in the 1930s.
In addition to the archives, the Follett Family has donated $200,000 to the Loyola Archives and Special Collections. This gift will support processing of the collection and establishing an annual visiting scholar/researcher award.
The Follett Family will continue their work in education by supporting family business education and other programs through the Follett Educational Foundation.
To learn more about the Loyola Archives and Special Collections, visit LUC.edu/archives.
By Kathy Young