Miss Alma Botts

Here is a gem for those researching the genealogy of the BOTTS or BURBAGE families.  It involves J C Collier and is a reflection of his business manner.

J C Collier was a prolific writer, authoring over 100 letters on a busy day. He began his business career in a time before telephone usage was widespread, so written correspondence was the business norm. Even when phones became more common, calls out of Barnesville, Georgia to places of his business interests, such as New York, Chicago, and Boston, were charged as expensive, “long distance” calls.  J C hired stenographers who not only typed his outgoing letters, but transcribed and typed incoming mail.  Multiple carbon copies of correspondence were made using thin, onion skin paper.

J C typically posted notices of openings for stenographers in distant newspapers. This is a response to one of his ads from Alma Botts of Abbeville, South Carolina. It is dated September 1, 1925. The sincerity and excitement as 19-year old Alma Botts begins her career is obvious.

Piedmont Development Co.
Barnesville, Ga

Dear Sir:

Having read your ad in the paper for an experienced stenographer, I am writing for you to consider me an applicant for the position.

I am 19 years old, five feet, four inches tall and weigh 112 pounds.

I am a graduate of Abbevile High School, Abbeville, S.C., and of Greenwood Business College.

For the past few months I have worked in the Private Office of the Business College, where I had excellent training in letter writing and general office work. I also have had some experience in a Real Estate Office.

I write and read my notes very rapidly and have a good rate of speed with my typeing (sic).

I could come to begin work at any time you would desire.

I would be willing to begin working at a very reasonable salary. I am very energetic and am not afraid of work.

I have worked very hard to secure my education and I must make good.

If you would only give me a trial I would do all in my power to render you my best service at all times.

Thanking you for any consideration that you may give my application, I am
Yours sincerely,
(Miss) Alma Botts

Miss Alma Botts
211 North Main St.
Abbeville, S.C.

1925_09_01 Letter Alma Botts to JCC


Always one to make clear his expectations, J C Collier wrote back on September 3, 1925 with details about the job.

1925_09_03 Ltr JCC to Miss Alma Botts


To which Miss Botts responded in a September 4 a telegram with notice of her acceptance.

1925_09_04 Telegram Alma Botts to JCC


And on September 5, she sent J C Collier a telegram of her expected arrival time.

1925_09_05 Telegram Alma Botts to JCC


Further information regarding Alma Botts was not available in J C Collier’s papers.  In attempt to reach any of her family, the following was found in an online genealogy site.  It appears Miss Botts had returned to Abbeville by 1926 when she married Harold Burbage.  Her obituary states she was the last member of her immediate family.  This post is made hoping some extended family member will find the story of this young lady.

Alma Botts Burbage



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