James E. Sifford Papers

ca. 1938-1977. ½ box (17 folders), 34 items. MSS. COLL. #213

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 James E. Sifford Papers contain photographs and printed materials relating to one of the first supermarkets in Greensboro, the A&P store on Commerce Place. Jim Sifford began his career with A&P in Hickory, North Carolina, in the mid-1920s. Several years after moving to Greensboro in the mid-1930s, he was selected to manage the new Commerce Place location. The majority of the collection consists of photographs, including many interior and exterior images of local and regional A&P stores. The collection also contains newspaper clippings with biographical information about Jim Sifford and other A&P managers, as well as an article about the closing of the Commerce Place store in the 1970s.

Arrangement: This collection is organized into two series, and within each series materials are arranged by document type or subject. The series are: Photographs, ca. 1938-1976; and Printed Materials, ca. 1938-1977.

Provenance: This collection was donated by Sifford’s daughter, Marion S. Clendenin, in April 2012 and assigned accession number 2012.17.1.

Processing: This collection was organized by volunteer Alice Bailey in early 2014. The finding aid was begun by Alice Bailey and completed by volunteer Kim Lanham in November 2014.


James “Jim” E. Sifford was born in Salisbury, North Carolina, in 1900. After serving in the Navy during World War I, he worked for American Woolen Mills in Salisbury for five years. Beginning his career with The Great Atlantic & Pacific (A&P) Tea Company as a clerk in Hickory, he rose through the ranks to manage stores in Mooresville, Lexington, and Winston-Salem before moving to Greensboro in 1934 to head the store at 220 W. Market St. When A&P opened its first supermarket in Greensboro on Commerce Place on March 10, 1938, Sifford was its manager. After being promoted to supervisor of all Greensboro-Durham area stores in the 1950s, Sifford retired from A&P in 1964. He married Gertrude Self of Spencer in 1923, and had one daughter, Marion. Sifford died on March 6, 1982.

Biographical Sources:  The sources used to compile this biographical note include newspaper clippings in the collection and Sifford’s obituary (The Greensboro Record, March 8, 1982).


The majority of this collection consists of photographs of the interiors and exteriors of A&P stores. The locations range from the Commerce Place A&P, where Sifford was manager, to Charlotte, Graham, and Winston-Salem stores. Several photographs are of employees or employee-related activities. The collection includes four images of Sifford. It also contains several newspaper clippings about his various positions with A&P, other store managers, and his life after retirement.


1. Photographs.  14 folders (34 items).  ca. 1938-1976.

Most of the photographs feature product displays inside various A&P stores, but some images of store exteriors are included. While most were taken at the Commerce Place store (1:3-6), a few photos show the store on Liberty St. in Winston-Salem (1:11). Some highlight events such as an employee banquet in 1951 (1:2), a car give-away in 1954 (1:9-10), and a managers’ meeting (1:8). Only three photos shed light on Sifford’s life beyond his work for A&P: one showing him with other members of the Greensboro Rifle Club (1:12) and two of him and his wife with the toys they made and sold in retirement (1:14).

2. Printed Materials.  2 folders (4 items).  ca. 1938-1977.

The printed materials consist of newspaper clippings, most of which are affixed to three loose scrapbook pages. They contain articles about Jim Sifford’s promotion and retirement, other store managers, and the closing of the Commerce Place store in the 1970s (2:1). Also included are two clippings with images of Girl Scout events in which Sifford’s daughter Marion participated.


11Photographs-- A&P (Charlotte) -- Exterior (1938)
2-- A&P (Commerce Pl.) -- Employee Banquet (1951)
3-- A&P (Commerce Pl.) -- Exterior
4-- A&P (Commerce Pl.) -- Meats
5Photographs-- A&P (Commerce Pl.) -- Miscellaneous Goods
6-- A&P (Commerce Pl.) -- Produce
7-- A&P (General) -- Employees in Costume (Promotional)
8-- A&P (General) -- Managerial Meeting
9Photographs-- A&P (Graham) -- Car Give-Away (1954, Exterior)
10-- A&P (Lee St.) -- Car Give-Away (1954)
11-- A&P (Winston-Salem) -- Interior
12-- Sifford, Jim -- Greensboro Rifle Club
13Photographs-- Sifford, Jim -- Portrait
14-- Sifford, Jim -- Toy-Making (ca. 1976)
21Printed Materials-- A&P -- Scrapbook (ca. 1938-1970s)
2-- Sifford, Jim -- Newspaper Clipping (1977)