J.P. Stevens and Co. was founded in 1813 in North Andover,
Massachusetts by Captain Nathaniel Stevens and later incorporated on New Years Eve of 1923. The company started in a converted grist mill producing woolen broadcloth in 1813. When the company was taken over and divided up
in 1989 by Odyssey Partners, West Point-Pepperel Inc., and Bibb Co., it had mills from Maine to Georgia making everything from cotton and woolen yams and fabrics to carpets and synthetics. At the time of the 1989 takeover Stevens also
owned two subsidiaries, Stevens Aviation and Stevens Graphics.
The 175 years between 1813 and 1989 saw many changes for J.P. Stevens and Company, Incorporated, including several name changes. The company started as Nathaniel Stevens and was changed to Nathaniel Stevens and Son in 1850, when Moses T. Stevens became a partner. Captain Nathaniel Stevens gave up active management of the company in 1860 and he later died in 1865. In 1885 the name of the company changed to M.T. Stevens & Sons. The company later
incorporated in 1901 and changed its name to M.T. Stevens & Sons Company. In 1883, John P. Stevens (nephew of Moses T.) went to work for the commission house of Faulkner, Page & Company. In 1899, he formed a partnership
commission house to sell the products of M.T. Stevens & Sons and A.D. Gleason. The company was named J.P. Stevens and Co., and later incorporated in 1923.
By 1903, J.P. Stevens and Co. was the selling agent for the woolen mills
owned by M.T. Stevens and Sons Co. located in Andover & North Andover, MA, Franklin, NH and the woolen mill owned by Stevens and Co. located in Haverhill, MA.
The Nevins Co. of Boston, MA was the selling agent for the Stevens Linen Works in Webster, MA. Except for the linen works
and the Osgood Mills, all the mills produced woolen dress goods and dyed and finished their own fabrics. Along with dress goods, individual mills produced flannels, broadcloths and carriage cloths. The linen works produced linen crash
toweling, while the Osgood Mills made worsted yarns.
In 1935, J.P. Stevens and Co., Inc., became a Delaware corporation when it merged with the Milton Corporation. J.P. Stevens and Co., Inc., was the continuing corporation. In 1946, J.P. Stevens and Co. Inc. merged with M.T. Stevens and Sons Co. and Slater-Carter-Stevens, Inc. The resulting corporation continued under the name of J.P. Stevens and Co., Inc. In addition, J.P. Stevens and Co., Inc. bought out cotton and rayon yarn and cloth mills in Virginia and North and South Carolina, including the Aragon-Baldwin Mills, Dunean Mills, Piedmont Manufacturing Company, Republic Cotton
Mills, Victor-Monaghan Company, Wallace Manufacturing Company, Inc. and Watts Mills. These corporations and mills along with M.T. Stevens and Sons Co. became
subsidiary corporations of J.P. Stevens and Co., Inc.
By 1960, J.P. Stevens and Co., Inc. had 50 plants in 41 locations and
offices in New York, Greenville, SC and Greensboro, NC.
The company grew to become the nation's second-largest publicly traded textile producer by the time it was acquired by WestPoint Pepperell in 1988.
J.P. Stevens & Company had a famous run in with the union, which was documented in the film Norma Rae. The Academy Award winning movie Norma Rae was based on the real life story of Crystal Lee Sutton. Sutton, who was a mill worker in a J.P. Stevens mill in Roanoke Rapids NC, was fired after trying to unionize employees. Shortly after Sutton's famous "stand," the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU) began to represent workers at the plant on August 28, 1974.
Close Up of Vignette:
Capital Stock Certificate, specimen, 1970’sPrinter: American Bank Note Company Dimensions:
8” (h) x 12” (w)State: MA-Massachusetts Subject Matter: Textiles and Related
| Clothing and Accessories
| Specimen Pieces Vignette Topic(s): Female Subject
| Male Subject
| Industrial Scene Condition:
No fold lines, punch hole and stamp cancels in the signature areas and body, and some toning and edge faults from age.