Atherton Family Papers, 1901-1939

Held by The Filson Historical Society

Creator:  Atherton family

Title:  Papers, 1901-1939.

Rights: For information regarding literary and copyright interest for these papers, contact the Curator of Special Collections.

Size of Collection:  .33 cu. ft.

Location Number:  Mss. A A869

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of the writings of John McDougal Atherton and his son, Peter Lee Atherton. There are original drafts of letters to the newspapers and copies of speeches given to various organizations as well as newspaper clippings of their letters. The subjects are all political problems of the era – mostly dealing with prohibition and its repeal, but also subjects such as school books and road bonds. Some of this collection has been digitized. To view PDF scans, click on the links provided in the folder list below.

Biographical Note

John McDougall Atherton was born on 1 April 1841. He married Maria B. Farman in 1861. He was the owner of the Athertonville Distillery in Athertonville, Kentucky during the 19th century. Atherton was a leader in the Kentucky distilling industry and testified before Congress about issues involving taxation and the bonding period for whiskey. He sold the distillery in 1899 to the Whiskey Trust and moved to Louisville, Kentucky and entered the real estate business.  John Atherton remained a spokesman for the distilling industry, writing many letters to the local papers arguing against the 18th amendment and for the repeal of prohibition. Atherton died on 5 June 1932.

Peter Lee Atherton was the son of John McDougall and Maria B. Atherton, born on 7 October 1862. He was married twice, first to Mary and then to Cornelia Atherton. He worked with his father at the Athertonville Distillery until it was sold, and then came to Louisville and entered the real estate business. He was president of the Atherton Realty Co., vice president of Louisville Realty Association, on the board of directors for the Lincoln Realty Co., Seelbach Realty Co., Federal Chemical Co., and Lincoln Savings Bank. He also served as president of the May Musical Festival in 1907 and as president of the Lincoln Central Road Association.  He was active in the Democratic Party and vocal on many issues, including prohibition. Peter Lee Atherton died on 10 January 1939.


Folder List

Folder 1: Correspondence, 1901-1935.

Folder 2: Correspondence, Undated. (click below to access PDFs)

Folder 3: Printed material.

Folder 4: Newspaper Clippings – Various subjects.

Folder 5: Newspaper Clipping – Prohibition. (click to access PDF)


Subject Headings

Alcohol – Law and legislation.

Alcohol – Physiological effect.

Atherton, John McDougal, 1841-1932.

Atherton, Peter Lee, 1862-1939.

Banks and banking – United States.

Bars (Drinking establishments) – Kentucky.

Bernheim, Isaac W. (Isaac Wolfe), 1848-1945.

Church and state – United States.

Coal – Taxation – Kentucky.

Constitutional amendments – Ratification.

Courier-journal (Louisville, Ky.).

Democratic Party (Ky.)

Distilling industries – Kentucky.

Du Pont, Bidermann, 1837-1923.

Elks (Fraternal order).

Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964.

Kentucky – Politics and government – 1865-1950.

Letterheads – Kentucky.

New Deal, 1933-1939.

Norris, George W. (George William), 1861-1944.

Pari-mutuel betting – Law and legislation.

Prohibition – Kentucky.

Roads – Finance.

Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945.

Roses – Varieties – Florida.

Silver question – Kentucky.

States’ rights (American politics).

Strikes and lockouts – Kentucky.

Temperance – Kentucky.

Textbooks – Law and legislation.

United States – Economic conditions.

Voter registration – Kentucky.

Watterson, Henry, 1840-1921.

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