Ceasar Cone II Papers

ca. 1933-1965 [bulk 1953-1965]. 2 boxes (15 folders), ca. 76 items. MSS. COLL. #122

NOTE: The numbers cited in parentheses, e.g. 1:5, refer the researcher to the Series#:Folder# in which that name/topic will be found.


The Ceasar Cone II Papers consist of printed materials, photographs and correspondence that primarily document Ceasar Cone II’s involvement in civic affairs, particularly with the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce. Also included are materials pertaining to his daughter Martha Cone’s social debut at the seventh annual Greensboro Debutante Ball in 1960.

Arrangement: This collection is arranged into four series and organized within each series by document type and creator. The four series are: Civic Activities, 1933-1960; Cone Family, 1958-1965; Cone Mills, 1957-1963; and Personal, 1928-1962.

Provenance: This collection was donated by the Ceasar and Martha Cone Estate and assigned accession number 1994.149.53.

Processing: This collection was organized and the finding aid was prepared by volunteer Alice Bailey in July 2013.


Ceasar Cone II (1908-1986) was born in New York City on January 30, 1908, to Jeanette Siegel Cone and Ceasar Cone. His father and his uncle, Moses Cone, were the sons of Herman Cone, a first generation Jewish-German immigrant whose business investments enabled the brothers to found the enterprises that ultimately formed the Cone Mills Corporation.

Growing up in Greensboro, Ceasar Cone II attended Cypress Street School and Central High School before completing his education at Oak Ridge Academy, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Harvard Business School. After receiving his Master’s of Business Administration in 1930, Cone began work as a salesperson for Cone Export & Commission Company and in 1938 he married Martha Westmoreland Abercrombie (1912-1993), a Gentile. Martha and Ceasar Cone had three children: Ceasar Cone III (1940- ), Martha “Marty” Cone (1942- ), and Laurence “Larry” Cone (1947-1989).

Ceasar Cone II’s personal interests included aviation, radio transmission and, in later life, family history. He became interested in Greensboro civic affairs and philanthropy in 1938 after returning from Arizona, where he was treated for tuberculosis. During his life he was involved in the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, the Greensboro High Point Airport Authority, Guilford College, the Jewish United Charities, the Merchants and Manufacturers Club, the Miss North Carolina Pageant, Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital, the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and the Rotary Club. He donated a total of $100,000 for the construction and improvement of the Hayes-Taylor YMCA in Greensboro.

Cone was named president of Cone Mills, Inc., later Cone Mills Corporation, in 1945 and served in that position until he retired in 1973. In 1983, he sold his holdings in the company when it was taken off the stock exchange. He died on November 14, 1986.

Biographical Sources: The biographical information was gathered from the finding aid for the Martha A. and Ceasar Cone II Papers held by the Cemala Foundation and from items in the civic activities and Cone family series in this collection.


This collection contains miscellaneous printed material, photographs and correspondence dating primarily from the late 1940s and 1950s. Its main strength is the variety of printed material about the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce and Greensboro-based industries and community. The latter items, many of which were published by the Chamber of Commerce and the News & Record, are interesting both for their informational value as well as the unconventional manner in which information is presented.

Most items in the Cone Family series date from 1960, and focus on Martha Cone’s personal life from the perspective of her social position as a debutante. Of particular interest to an historian of Greensboro families are the emendations in Laurence Cone’s high school directories, indicating other members of the Cone’s social network. Directories for both Grimsley and Page High School are included and have emendations, although Laurence Cone only attended Page.

This collection has several weaknesses. It does not shed much light on the personal or professional life of Ceasar Cone II, nor on the operation of the Cone Mills Corporation. Beyond demonstrating his civic involvement, the civic activities series (except 1:1) does not document his participation in any organizations on an operational level. Ceasar Cone II’s personal and public life are well documented in the Martha A. and Ceasar Cone II papers, held by the Cemala Foundation, while materials relating to the operations of Cone Mills Corporation can found at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


1. Civic Activities.  5 folders (ca. 43 items).  1933-1960.

This series consists primarily of printed materials produced by the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce during the 1950s, including annual reports and issues of the newsletter Glimpses of Greensboro (1:1). Also included are photographs of the Greensboro Generals hockey team (1:2) and Greensboro-area informational and promotional publications (1:4-5).

2. Cone Family.  5 folders (27 items).  1958-1965.

This series contains correspondence and printed materials relating to the Cone children, primarily Martha Cone (2:1,3-4). The correspondence (2:1) consists of invitations sent to Martha during her 1960 debutante season. Some of these events are also documented in the newspaper clippings (2:4). Also in this series are a Page student handbook (1963-1964) and directories for Page and Grimsley High Schools dating from 1962 to 1965 (2:2).

3. Cone Mills.  2 folders (2 items).  1957-1963.

This series consists of materials produced by Cone Mills Corporation and its predecessor, Cone Mills, Inc. It includes a 1963 annual report from Cone Mills Corporation (3:1) and, perhaps of greater interest, a fabric sample book produced by Cone Mills, Inc. in 1957 (3:2).

4. Personal.  3 folders (4 items).  1928-1962.

Composed of printed materials unrelated to Ceasar Cone II’s civic activities, this series includes commercial catalogs (4:1), an issue of the New York Post with a headline about the Cone family attending the World’s Fair (1939, 4:2), and a copy of the 1928 Yackety-Yack, UNC-Chapel Hill’s yearbook (4:3).


11Civic Activities-- Greensboro Chamber of Commerce (1948-1956)
2-- Greensboro Generals (photographs)
3-- Greensboro Municipal Government (1933)
4Civic Activities-- Miscellaneous (1937-1960)
5-- Periodicals (1954-1955)
21Cone Family-- Correspondence (1960)
2-- Directories (1962-1965)
3-- Event Programs (1958-1963)
4Cone Family-- Newspaper Clippings (1960)
5-- Wallpaper Samples (1950s)
31Cone Mills-- Annual Report (1963)
2-- Fabric Sample Book (1957)
41Personal-- Commercial Catalogs (1958-1962)
2-- The New York Post (1939)
3-- Yackety-Yack (UNC yearbook, 1928)