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Greenwood Plantation and Greenwood Seed Company records

Call Number: MS 2089

Scope and Contents

The collection comprises the records of Greenwood Plantation and Greenwood Seed Company of Thomasville, Georgia. It includes documentation of hybrid corn seed production, business records, finances associated with farm properties and employees, legal records compiled by the Whitney estate, and correspondence. The correspondence contains frequent farm reports to John Hay Whitney, mainly from farm manager E. V. Komarek, summarizing activities on the farm, including crop production, timber, sales, game management, staff behavior, vehicle issues, and property maintenance. The records also include photographs of the Whitney family and activities that occurred at the plantation, including quail and turkey hunting, horse racing, and water activities by Heard's Pond. The records also contain materials related to a fire at the property in 1993, including witness testimony and insurance papers compiled by Betsey Cushing Whitney.


  • 1878-2001


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the Yale community for research and teaching. Other researchers require the written permission of the Greentree Foundation to access the collection prior to January 1, 2050, after which the papers are open for research without restriction. Original audiovisual materials, as well as preservation and duplicating masters, may not be played. Researchers must consult use copies, or if none exist must pay for a use copy, which is retained by the repository. Researchers wishing to obtain an additional copy for their personal use should consult Copying Services information on the Manuscripts and Archives website.

Conditions Governing Use

Per agreement with the donor, Yale will not provide copies of materials in the Collection, regardless of the means of reproduction, to the Yale Community or to third parties, nor will it permit anyone in the Yale Community or any third party to have access to the Collection with any device capable of copying materials in the Collection, including cameras and portable devices that include cameras before January 1, 2050.

After January 1, 2050, reproduction is permitted but subject to applicable copyright laws. Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by Greenwood Plantation and Greenwood Seed Company was transferred to Yale University in 2019. These materials may be used for non-commercial purposes without seeking permission from Yale University as the copyright holder. For other uses of these materials, please contact Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exexclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the Greentree Foundation, 2018.


The collection is arranged in seven series: I. Business and Real Estate Files, 1938-2000. II. Financial Records, 1941-1995. III. Property Records, Insurance, and Title Documentation, 1918-2002. IV. Correspondence, 1934-1999. V. Photographs, Albums, and Guest Books, 1886-1999. VI. Greenwood Seed Company, 1946-1992. VII. Publicity, 1906-1999.


33.5 Linear Feet (76 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

Biographical / Historical

Greenwood Plantation comprises three non-contiguous tracts of land: Home Place; Mitchell-Swift; and Boston Farm. The smallest tract, Home Place, was designated as a National Historic Register site in 1976 and contains the main house, outbuildings, gardens, the hybrid seed company, and Big Woods, a rare forest of old-growth long-leaf pines.

Payne Whitney acquired the land in 1916 from his uncle, Colonel Oliver Hazard Payne, who purchased it in 1899. The collection includes photographs of staff who resided on the plantation at the time of purchase, and Whitney family members who resided on the property. John Hay Whitney inherited the property in 1944 with his wife, Betsey Cushing Roosevelt, and they lived in the Plantation’s main house. While under the ownership of John Hay Whitney, the Home Place tract served as a weekend home for family gatherings and other invited guests. Greenwood Plantation lands were also utilized for hybrid corn seed experimentation, timber experiments, and other agricultural studies under the management of Edward V. Komarek. Komarek introduced the practice of controlled burning of the forest floor and selective cutting of timber to support preservation and propagation of the woods.

Betsey Cushing Whitney left the Greenwood Plantation properties to The Greentree Foundation, the Whitney family’s philanthropic organization.

Separated Materials

Tribune Association stock certificates, Volume II, was moved from this collection to Series I of MS 1938, John Hay Whitney and Betsey Cushing Whitney family papers.

Guide to the Greenwood Plantation and Greenwood Seed Company records
In Progress
compiled by Rachel L. Mihalko
November 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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