Friday, August 27, 2010

Vintage South Nashville: May Hosiery Mills

What now looks like this:

Sorry, it's fuzzy.

Used to look like this:

From the TSLA
Jacob May, a German-born Jewish man, opened the Chestnut Street location of May Hosiery Mills in 1907. According to this source, socks worn by the crew of Apollo 2 (of 1969 moon landing fame) were made here.

Jacob and his wife, Mortimer, rescued over 200 German Jews just before the start of World War II. Which might explain why I found the above picture in the 'History of Jews in TN' section of the TSLA. Jacob's son, Dan May, became chairman of the mill in the 40's. Dan was hugely instrumental in the desegregation effort in Nashville in the 1950's.

The May family sold the mill in 1965, although Dan May remained chairman until the mill closed in 1985.

On a related note, I found the following picture of May Hosiery Mill workers (ca. 1910) from the National Child Labor Committee Collection:

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