Robert W. Woodruff Collection of D. Russell Clayton

Manuscript MS-2014.01


SOURCE: Don Russell Clayton

SIZE: 9 lf

SHELVING UNITS: 2 manuscript boxes                       

                             1 media box         

                             1 oversized box

                             5 ft. loose shelving space

PROCESSING: Russell Clayton, 2014




Robert Winship Woodruff (1889-1985) headed The Coca-Cola Company for sixty-plus years. He made the iconic American drink that was concocted, in 1886, in Atlanta into one of the most recognized products in the world.  

Mr. Woodruff’s philanthropy reached across Atlanta and the entire State of Georgia. His kindness was extended to Russell Clayton, beginning in 1977, when Clayton was given two shares of stock in The Coca-Cola Company by June Boykin Tindall for high school graduation. Clayton wrote to Mr. Woodruff to inform him about a new owner. A pen pal relationship between the two continued for several years. Clayton knew Joseph Jones, Woodruff's assistant and who also served as senior vice-president of The Coca-Cola Company.  

Robert W. Woodruff became a major patron of Atlanta artist Athos Menaboni. During an exhibition in New York City in the late 1930s, an executive with The Coca-Cola Company noticed a painting, by Menaboni, of a covey of doves in a forest of longleaf pine trees. The executive, along with others, who had been guests at the Woodruffs’ plantation known as Ichauway, almost immediately thought about Mr. Woodruff. The group purchased the work, and presented it to “The Boss.” The Woodruffs prominently placed the painting in the living room of their home at Ichauway and soon discovered the artist lived in Atlanta.  Mrs. Woodruff decided to use the painting on their 1941 Christmas card. The tradition continued until 1984 (Mr. Woodruff died in 1985) producing forty-four cards.  The Woodruffs also commissioned many other Menaboni paintings of birds, dogs, and plantation maps for their homes and friends.



Don Russell Clayton (1959- ), a retired educator from Marietta, Georgia, began this collection at age thirteen because of his interest in the history of The Coca-Cola Company. Clayton has long admired Mr. Woodruff because he was an exceptional businessman, and one of the most generous philanthropists in the history of the United States.

Russell Clayton became a personal friend of Sara and Athos Menaboni as a direct result of being a pen pal of Robert W. Woodruff. Clayton assembled an extensive art and memorabilia/research collection regarding the life and works of Athos Menaboni which was gifted, in 2007, to Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia. The archival collection was transferred to the Troup County Archives in 2013.

The Don Russell Clayton Gallery, located in the Zuckerman Museum of Art on the campus at KSU, was built with a generous gift of $1 million from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation. The gallery opened in 2007. The Woodruff Foundation gave an additional $300,000 in 2010 to the university to expand the art museum, which opened in 2014, because of the Athos Menaboni Art Collection given by Clayton and other donors. The Don Russell Clayton Gallery was moved from its original location to the Phase II addition in 2014.



The Robert W. Woodruff collection is organized into three series: Books (1959-1995); Subject files (1937-2011); and Photographs (1986-2012). Other materials at the Troup County Archives related to Robert W. Woodruff, including books and the Woodruff/Menaboni Christmas card series, can be found in the Athos Menaboni Collection of D. Russell Clayton. There is also correspondence in the Athos Menaboni Collection of Cason Callaway/Callaway Gardens.  

BOOKS (1959-1995) range from biographies of Robert W. Woodruff and others, to histories of The Coca-Cola Company. All include references to Woodruff. One book, A Biography of The Boss: Robert Winship Woodruff, was a gift to Russell Clayton from Woodruff in 1979. Of particular interest is another publication, The Coca-Cola Company: An Illustrated Profile, which was personally signed for Clayton by Mr. Woodruff. Another interesting book was published for Woodruff’s 70th birthday celebration.  

SUBJECT FILES (1937-2011) includes articles, magazines, other publications, correspondence, and a miscellaneous file filled with items related to Mr. Woodruff. The articles are from newspapers and magazines, and concern the life and work of Robert W. Woodruff. The collection also includes “It’s Human Relations that Count” written by Mr. Woodruff (no date).  Articles that appeared in newspapers at the time of Woodruff’s death give detailed accounts of his life, career, and philanthropy in Atlanta and across Georgia. Of particular interest is a publication of The Coca-Cola Company that was prepared as a tribute to Mr. Woodruff following the anniversary of his sixty-first year of active service to the Company. Woodruff died just after Boss Emeritus was published and it was then offered as a memorial to his lifetime of accomplishments.

Correspondence files include letters from Woodruff to Clayton, and letters and other items from Joseph W. Jones to Clayton. The miscellaneous file is a variety of materials including an autographed photograph which Woodruff inscribed to Clayton, exhibitions about Mr. Woodruff, and brochures from institutions associated with Woodruff. There is a printout of a program from a dinner given in honor of Woodruff on his birthday in 1949 signed by such notables as Morton Downey, Graham Jackson, James Farley, and Bobby Jones. A audio-visual recorded interview of Russell Clayton, conducted by an archivist from The Coca-Cola Company, includes discussions on Mr. Woodruff and Athos Menaboni. 

PHOTOGRAPHS (1986-2012) found in the collection were taken by Russell Clayton in the offices of Robert W. Woodruff and in other areas at The Coca-Cola Company. Additional photographs were made during a visit to Woodruff’s South Georgia plantation, and in the Robert W. Woodruff Room at the Capital City Club and in the room dedicated to Woodruff at The Commerce Club in Atlanta. Photographs were also taken at the home of Mr. Woodruff’s wife’s niece.



SERIES I: BOOKS (1959-1995) (listed chronologically)

Robert W. Woodruff’s Birthday, 1959. A series of essays by authors honor Mr. Woodruff’s life and career. There are also unique photographs. Also included is the seating chart for the dinner at the Capital City Club on December 6, 1959.

Robert Winship Woodruff, by E. J. Kahn, Jr., 1969. Gift to Russell Clayton from June Boykin Tindall. Given to Tindall by Joseph W. Jones.

Mayor: Notes on the Sixties, by Ivan Allen, Jr., 1971. See index. Inscribed by the author to Russell Clayton.

The Coca-Cola Company: An Illustrated Profile, 1974. Woodruff personally autographed his photograph. Gift to Russell Clayton by Joseph W. Jones.

Ichauway Plantation, by Charles Elliot, 1974.  A book about Woodruff's south Georgia home. Gift to Russel Clayton by Joseph W. Jones. 

Three Strong Pillars, by Harold Martin, 1974. See index.

William Berry Hartsfield: Mayor of Atlanta, by Harold Martin, 1978. See index. Personal inscription by the author to Russell Clayton.

Coca-Cola: An Illustrated History, by Pat Waters, 1978. See index. Personal inscription by the author to Russell Clayton. 

A Biography of The Boss: Robert Winship Woodruff, by Charles Elliott, 1979. Gift to Russell Clayton from Robert W. Woodruff.

Mr. Anonymous: Robert W. Woodruff of Coca-Cola, by Charles Elliott, 1982. Personal inscriptions by the author, Joseph W. Jones, and Nell Woodruff Hodgson Watt (niece of Mrs. Robert W. Woodruff) to Russell Clayton.

Great Georgians, by Zell Miller, 1983. See Table of Contents. Autographed by the author.

The Schmidt Museum Collection of Coca-Cola Memorabilia, by Bill and Jan Schmidt, 1983. Several references to Woodruff. Personal inscriptions by the authors to Russell Clayton.

The Wonderful World of Coca-Cola, by Martin Shartar and Norman Shavin, 1985. Several references to Woodruff.

Carl Sanders: Spokesman of the New South, by James F. Cook, 1993. See index. Personal inscription by Governor Sanders to Russell Clayton. 

Secret Formula: How Brilliant Marketing and Relentless Salesmanship Made Coca-Cola the Best-Known Product in the World, by Frederick Allen, 1994. See index.  Personal inscription by the author to Russell Clayton.            

An Outdoor Life: The Autobiography of Charlie Elliott, by Charlie Elliott, 1995. Several references to Robert W. Woodruff.





1    Articles - Related to Robert W. Woodruff, 1959-1977

2   Articles - Refresher USA, April-June, 1973; Atlanta Journal and Constitution Magazine, May 9, 1976; Refresher USA, March-April, 1985; Journey, Dec. 1989

3   Boss Emeritus, 1985

4   Christmas Cards Sent by the Woodruffs - 1937, 1939-1940

5   Correspondence - Robert W. Woodruff to Russell Clayton, 1979-1980

6   Correspondence/Various Items - Joseph W. Jones to Clayton, 1977-2000

7   Items Related to Robert W. Woodruff, 1990-2011

8   Coca-Cola Fact Sheet, 1972


BOX 2 (Oversized)


1   Articles - Related to Robert W. Woodruff, 1977-1987

2   Autographed (1977) Photograph of RWW inscribed to Russell Clayton, 1961

3   Program (printout) - Dinner in Honor of Robert W. Woodruff, 1949 and Napkins - Ichauway Plantation, “Wind Ship” (Coca-Cola plane named for RWW)



Audio-Visual Recording - Clayton Interviewed by The Coca-Cola Company Archivist Jamal Booker and Discusses Mr. Woodruff and Mr. Menaboni






1  Office of Robert W. Woodruff at The Coca-Cola Company, 1986 and at The Coca-Cola Company (Board Room and Other Areas), 1986

2  The Robert W. Woodruff Exhibit at The Coca-Cola Company, 1987

3  Ichauway Plantation, 2001

4  The Robert W. Woodruff Room at the Capital City Club, 2011 and the Robert W. Woodruff Room at The Commerce Club, 2012

5  The Home of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Watt, 2008



MS-080m        Athos Menaboni Collection of Cason Callaway/Callaway Gardens

MS-2014.02    Athos Menaboni Collection of D. Russell Clayton

VF-C              Athos Menaboni Conservation Fund in Memory of Geraldine Barmore Clayton

VF-M             Athos Menaboni Exhibits and Newsletters