Lowell, Ma— In a tribute to America’s spirit of enterprise, five individuals and companies were inducted into the American Textile Hall of Fame. The program is housed at the American Textile History Museum where the Hall of Fame’s board of governors and the Museum’s board of trustees hosted a luncheon and induction ceremony celebrating the honorees.
Class of 2008 inducted into American Textile Hall of Fame
Pendleton Woolen Mills
Pendleton Woolen Mills traces its origins to Thomas Kay, an English weaver who settled in Oregon in 1863. Kay’s eldest daughter, Fannie learned the mill business before marrying retail merchant C. P. Bishop. In 1909, the Bishops and their three sons, Clarence, Roy and Chauncey, started a family textile business that has taken Thomas Kay’s legacy into the sixth generation. Pendleton Woolen Mills began operations making robes for American Indians. These colorful blankets with intricate patterns were used as basic wearing apparel and as a standard of value for trade and credit. Following Clarence’s leadership, Thomas Kay’s great grandsons, C. M. (Mort) Bishop, Jr. and Broughton H. (Brot) Bishop, expanded the offering of vertically manufactured 100% pure virgin wool apparel and home products, and built new distribution channels with retail stores, catalogs and a website. The Bishop family remains active in managing this company internationally renowned for products made in its Pacific Northwest mills.
James C. Self
Born in 1876, James C. Self withdrew from Clemson College to help support his family eventually earning enough money to attend business school in Virginia. In 1908, he took over the debt-ridden Greenwood Cotton Mill, and convinced the Draper Corporation to give him several hundred looms on credit. Self’s talent, persistence and sound business skills kept the Greenwood Cotton Mill alive and made “The Greenwood Story” possible. The company weathered the depression and continued on to enjoy growth and expansion during the 1950s. The first 100 percent filament plant was built in 1950 followed by a print cloth facility completed in 1953. Created in 1942, The Self Foundation makes grants in higher education and health care, primarily in South Carolina. Mr. Self is a memberof the South Carolina Business Hall of Fame and received the Man of the South award in 1952.
Edward Brooks Stevens
Edward Brooks Stevens was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University in 1944, served in the United States Army during World War II, and joined the family’s textile business in 1946. He became President of Ames Textile Corporation in 1966, and has served as Chairman of the Board since 1977. Headquartered in Lowell, Massachusetts the company has been family owned and operated since 1865, and is a diversified textile manufacturer producing specialty yarns and fabrics. Edward is a Trustee Emeritus of the Lahey Clinic, and a Board of Trustees member of the Lowell Boys Club and Challenge Unlimited. He serves as Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Trustees of the American Textile History Museum where he has been honored with the Community Service Award and the President’s Distinguished Service Award.
Levi Strauss & Co.
Levi Strauss & Co. was founded in San Francisco in 1853 by Bavarian immigrant and successful dry goods wholesaler, Levi Strauss. In 1872, tailor Jacob Davis presented Strauss with the idea of using metal rivets to make pants stronger. Together they patented and applied that process to denim cloth, inventing the world’s most popular piece of apparel – blue jeans. Strauss remained active in his business throughout his life and was an ardent philanthropist. Today, Levi Strauss & Co. is one of the world’s largest brand-name apparel manufacturers and is the largest jeans marketer in the world. The company has achieved this high level of success by consistently providing quality products and by earning the trust of consumers through responsible, progressive and accountable business practices. The core values of Empathy, Originality, Integrity, and Courage are fundamental to their success.
G. Gordon Osborne
Gordon Osborne was born in India and grew up in Canada and the US. He received a B.S. from Lowell Technological Institute, and a M. S. and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, after an Economics fellowship at Harvard. Gordon joined Warwick Mills in 1934, became vice president in 1943, and president and treasurer in 1948. Warwick Mills was a pioneer in the development of cloth for the first balloons in space and of specialized synthetic fabrics. Gordon was recognized for his contributions to the World War II effort. He joined the Northern Textile Association in 1927, served as chairman, treasurer and director and was the only member to win its bronze, silver and gold medals. As a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Textile History Museum he was instrumental in establishing its research library. Gordon died in 2000 at the age of 93.