Manuscript MS-2007.07



SOURCE: William P. Slack
SIZE: 16 linear feet
PROCESSING: JJ 2007; FCJ 2007-8


Henry Richmond Slack was born in 1835 in Plaquemine, Louisiana, and died October 1, 1890, in Sewanee, Tennessee, the son of Eliphalet Slack and Abigail Cutter who had moved from Massachusetts to Louisiana. He was initially buried in LaGrange but later re-interred in Louisiana. He married July 11, 1860, in Iberville Parish, Louisiana, to Louisiana Tennessee Woolfolk. She was born August 3, 1840, in Jackson, Tennessee, and died May 12, 1920, in Alexandria, Louisiana. She was the daughter of Austin Woolfolk and Emily Sparks.

Henry Slack was an 1855 graduate of Yale University. He served in Co. A 1st Louisiana Regiment, in Gen. John B. Morgan's cavalry, and on the staff of Gen. James Longstreet in the Confederate Army. A Civil Engineer, he helped construct the Mississippi River levee system. The Slacks moved to LaGrange in 1880 to educate their children, LaGrange being a noted educational center. The senior Slacks moved back and forth between Louisiana, Tennessee, and Georgia, but their son, Henry Richmond Slack, Jr., remained in LaGrange. When his parents were not in LaGrange, he lived with the family of his mentor, Dr. Thomas Searcy Bradfield. Louisiana W. Slack and her children moved back to LaGrange in 1885. In 1890, she bought the old Baptist parsonage, formerly home of James Turner, which was later the Nurses Home of Dunson Hospital. The senior Slacks had four children, all of whom lived in LaGrange at one time: Dr. Henry R. Slack, Jr.; Rev. William Samuel Slack; Charles John Slack; and Louise Slack.

Dr. Henry Richmond Slack, Jr., was born May 7, 1862, at "Rosedale" plantation, Iberville Parish, Louisiana, and died January 16, 1944, in LaGrange. He graduated from LaGrange High School and studied pharmacy at Johns Hopkins, where he was a classmate of Thomas Woodrow Wilson in 1884-1885. He worked in Bradfield's Drug Store before receiving his M. D. at Atlanta Medical College in 1891 and opening a medical practice in LaGrange. He returned for a Master's in Pharmacy in 1891 at the University of Maryland. He was President of the Georgia Pharmaceutical Association as well as Secretary and Chemist of the Georgia State Board of Pharmacy 1888 to 1900. He completed post-graduate studies at Johns Hopkins (1895-96) and Harvard (1906). On April 1, 1900, he read a paper at the Georgia Medical Association entitled "Hydrophobia and the Necessity for a Pasteur Institute in Georgia." He founded the Pasteur Institute of Georgia in Atlanta and served as President until 1906 when it was taken over by the State as part of the Board of Health. In 1906, he presided over the American Medical Association in Boston. Dr. Slack was the first in Georgia to study hookworm disease and sanitarium treatment of tuberculosis and the first to use anti-toxin in diphtheria cases in Georgia. He was a trustee of the State Tuberculosis Sanitarium in Atlanta. His published medical papers included "Blue Pyoktanin in Treatment of Inoperable Malignant Growths" in the Journal of American Medical Association and "Some Unusual Cases of Intestinal Diseases." He was professor of chemistry and physiology at both LaGrange Female College and Southern Female College in LaGrange. He was instrumental in getting the Pure Drug Act passed in Georgia in 1889. He was an organizing director of Dixie Cotton Mills in 1895 and a Director of LaGrange National Bank. He served on LaGrange City Council in 1893. He and Dr. W. R. McCall built and operated the LaGrange Sanitorium, known locally as the Slack Sanitorium. It was open from 1903 to 1914 when it was converted into a hotel and restaurant. The City of LaGrange bought the buildings in 1916. The city, using funds to match a bequest in the will of Joseph E. Dunson, named it Dunson Hospital, the first public hospital in LaGrange. Dr. Slack was a member of the Troup County Board of Health, the LaGrange Board of Education, and a trustee of the LaGrange Settlement Work. In 1922, he was an exchange professor at Johns Hopkins Medical School. He enjoyed taking hunting and fishing trips in Alabama and Florida with friends.

Dr. Slack married September 14, 1887, in LaGrange to Ruth Bradfield. She was born September 10, 1864, in LaGrange, the daughter of Dr. Thomas Searcy Bradfield and his second wife Mary Elizabeth Loyd, and died April 6, 1943 LaGrange. Ruth Bradfield was an 1883 graduate of Southern Female College, organist at First Presbyterian Church for twenty years, and Vice President of the Presbyterian Society. Dr. Slack was an Episcopalian. They first lived on the northwest corner of Broad Street and North Greenwood Street in the Greenwood- Huntley house. In 1889, they built a house on the northeast corner of Lewis and Haralson Streets, designed by local architect W. S. Cox.

Dr. and Mrs. Slack had four children, all born in LaGrange: Dr. Henry R. Slack, III (who later in life used the suffix "Jr."); Searcy Bradfield Slack, who married Julia Pratt Smith; Ruth Slack, who married Hazen Eager Smith, brother of Julia Pratt Smith; and Mary Louise Slack, who married Scroop D. Hooker.


The Slack Family Collection relates to several generations of the Slack and Bradfield families. It focuses mainly on the life, career, and interests of Dr. Henry R. Slack, Jr., and his wife, Ruth Bradfield. It covers the wide range of activities in which they were involved, and there are items from such institutions as Southern Female College and LaGrange Female College. A majority of the collection is devoted to personal correspondence to and from family members, predominantly to Dr. and Mrs. Slack, Jr. The collection illuminates many aspects of local historical interest, but also gives a broad picture of this family's involvement in state and national affairs and events. These papers were preserved for several decades by Arline Taylor Slack, wife of Searcy Bradfield Slack, Jr., in the family home in Decatur and donated by her son, William P. Slack.


The collection is divided into four series. The first series, Correspondence, occupies the major portion of the collection. Letters have been sorted by the individual family members to whom they were addressed and placed in chronological order. The second series focuses on family and business ledgers and diaries and artifacts related to the family and their activities. Some are related to family expenses and some to medical and hospital affairs. The third series includes papers, programs, and clippings related to the family, LaGrange schools and organizations, and poetry and speeches written and given by the Slacks. The photographic series, series IV, is divided by family photographs, negatives, and pictures of various events.


Series I Correspondence
Box 1-6 Dr. Henry Richmond Slack, Jr., 1866-1943
Box 7-12 Mrs. Henry R. Slack, Jr., 1887-1942
Box 13-14 Ruth Bradfield (later Mrs. H. R. Slack, Jr.) 1878-1888
Box 15-16 Dr. and Mrs. Henry R. Slack, Jr., 1887-1940
Box 17 Henry R. Slack, III, 1896-1930
Box 18-19 Searcy B. and Julia Pratt Slack, 1896-1915
Box 20 Ruth Slack (later Mrs. Hazen Smith), 1893-1973
Box 21 Louise Slack (later Mrs. Scroop Hooker), 1902-1943
Box 22 Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Searcy Bradfield, 1851-1910
Box 23 Various People, 1851-1951

Series II Ledgers, Diaries, and Artifacts

Box 1 Artifacts:
School Banners
Searcy Slack's Military cap, pins, and hat.
Dr. H. R. Slack, Jr.'s spectacles, wallet
Note cards
Postcards, stamps, tickets, locks of hair

Box 2 Ledgers and Journals:
Dr. Henry R. Slack, Jr.'s ledgers, undated
Dr. Henry R. Slack, Jr.'s Index Book, 1908
Dr. Henry R. Slack, Jr.'s Journal, 1903
Personal ledgers, Dr. Henry R. Slack, Jr., dated 1878-1879, 1881-1887, 1889, 1890-1891, 1893, 1895, 1901, 1917, 1923-1927, 1931-1937
Memorandum Book, undated
Ledger, Mrs. Ruth B. Slack, 1920
Journal, 1870, no author given

Box 3 Ledgers and Journals:
Travel Journal, Searcy B. Slack, 1946
Assets & Liabilities McQueen Smith Farming Co. Dec. 31, 1932 (AL) Ledger, Ruth Slack Smith, 1939-1945
Journal, Henry R. Slack (Sr.) 1885 -1887
Pocket Medical Lexicon, Dr. H. R. Slack, Jr.
Personal ledgers, Searcy B. Slack, dated 1918-1941, 1943-1973

Series III Miscellaneous Papers

Box 1
1 LaGrange Female College program
2. Southern Female College program
3. LaGrange, Georgia, pamphlet
4. School Reports, Grades
5. Programs, tickets
6. Deeds
7. Lists of names
8. Newspaper clippings

Box 2
1. Poems, speeches
2. Speeches, toasts, biographical info on Dr. H. R. Slack, Jr.
3. Calling cards
4. Matrons Club papers

Series IV Photographs:

Box 1.
1. Searcy and Julia Pratt Smith Slack and family
2. Searcy Slack photographs
3. Trip to Maine
4. Family photographs
5. Landscape and house photographs
6. Various people
Box 2. Negatives
Box 3. Daguerreotype of elegantly dressed woman, maybe Louisiana Slack, c.1860
Box 4. Oversized photographs
Jefferson Davis in LaGrange at depot
Ida Cason Callaway
LaGrange Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy

Slack Family
LaGrange Sanitorium
Bradfield Family
LaGrange Female College
Southern Female College


MS-10 Mrs. Henry R. Slack Collection
MS-107 Forrest C. Johnson, III Collection (Bradfield, Slack families)