Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans
Letitia "Lettie" Pate Whitehead Evans (born Letitia Pate cite web | title = Lettie Pate Whitehead Biography | publisher = Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation | url = http://www.lpwhitehead.org/bio.asp | accessdate = 2007-02-04 ] in 1872, died
November 14, 1953) was an American businesswoman and philanthropist. She was the first woman to be on Coca-Cola's board of directors.
Born in Bedford County,
Virginiato Cornelius Pate and Elizabeth Stagg Pate, [ cite web | last = Pate Lee | first = Jinks | url = http://genforum.genealogy.com/pate/messages/3135.html | work = [http://genforum.genealogy.com/pate/ Pate Family Genealogy Forum] | title = Re: Lettie (Letitia) Pate ] Lettie enjoyed private education and other luxuries afforded to a member of one of Virginia's most established families. She married Joseph Brown Whitehead, an attorney, in 1895, and the couple moved to Chattanooga shortly thereafter. They had two sons, Joseph Brown Whitehead, Jr., and Conkey Pate Whitehead.
The Whiteheads' successful business careers began in 1899, when Joseph Whitehead and an associate approached
The Coca-Cola Companywith the idea of bottling their beverages. The company granted Joseph Whitehead and his associate an exclusive contract. The Whitehead family moved to Atlanta in 1903 in order to expand their thriving bottling business. Lettie and Joseph Whitehead soon became business and community leaders in the area.
In 1906, Joseph Brown Whitehead died from
pneumonia. Lettie, age 34, immediately took over the family's business affairs and real estate assets. She assumed leadership of the Whitehead Holding Company and Whitehead Realty Company.
In 1934, Lettie was appointed to the Board of Directors for The Coca-Cola Company, a position she held for nearly twenty years. Lettie was one of the first women to serve on the board of directors for any major American corporation. cite web | title = Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Biography | publisher = Lettie Pate Evans Foundation | url = http://www.lpevans.org/biography.html | accessdate = 2007-02-04 ]
Lettie donated millions of dollars to more than 130 different organizations during the course of her life, particularly in
Virginiaand Georgia. She served as a trusteeof Emory University, Agnes Scott College, the Virginia Museum of Fine Artsand the American Hospital of Paris. She donated significantly to the Georgia Institute of Technology, the College of William and Mary, and Washington and Lee University, as well as other educational and religious institutions. In 1945, Lettie created the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation, dedicated to charity, education and religion, to which she left her estate when she died in 1953. cite web | title = Lettie Pate Evans | work = Georgia Women of Achievement Honorees | publisher = Georgia Women of Achievement | url = http://www.georgiawomen.org/_honorees/evanslp/index.htm | accessdate = 2007-02-04 ]
Lettie survived both her husbands and her two sons. In memorial upon her death the Coca-Cola Board noted that "Endowed with material things, she had a conviction that she held them as trustee for the poor, the meek and the unfortunate." Her oldest son, influenced by Lettie's generosity, created the Joseph B. Whitehead Foundation as a memorial to his father. A special collection in the
Robert W. WoodruffLibrary at Emory Universityholds many of Lettie's papers and writings. Several academic buildings are named in her honor, including the Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Administration Building at Georgia Tech, the Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Hall and Evans School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Berry College, and the Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Graduate Housing Complex at the College of William and Mary. [ cite web | url = http://www.wm.edu/reslife/residenceHalls/graduate.php | accessdate = 2007-02-04 | title = Graduate Housing | work = Resident Life | publisher = The College of William and Mary] Additionally, a brand-new freshman residence hall at Emory University will be dedicated in her honor in October 2008 by the name of Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Hall.
* [http://www.lpevans.org/index.html The Lettie Pate Evans Foundation]
* [http://www.lpwhitehead.org/ The Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation]
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