The Dicksie Bradley Bandy Memorial Lecture Series resumes next week with a lecture by Dr. Randy Patton, Shaw Industries Distinguished Chair and Professor of History at Kennesaw State University, who will speak on “Catherine Evans Whitener and the Tufting Industry.” The free program will be Thursday, February 24 at 7:30 p.m. at Dalton State College’s James E. Brown Center. It is the third in a series of four guest lectures that focus on Georgia women who have made significant contributions to the state’s rich textile history.
Dr. Patton is the author of two books on the history of the carpet industry in the South: Shaw Industries: A History and Carpet Capital: The Rise of a New South Industry (with David B. Parker). He earned his master’s and PhD degrees from the University of Georgia and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and currently teaches southern studies and business and labor history at Kennesaw State.
Catherine Evans Whitener was a Whitfield County girl who a hundred years ago developed a technique for tufting handmade bedspreads that is credited with spawning a lively cottage industry. The mass production of bedspreads and other chenille products eventually evolved into the tufted carpet industry and established Dalton as a global manufacturing hub. Of Mrs. Whitener it has been said, “While she never made millions with her ingenuity, she made millionaires out of many Georgia men and women.”
Mrs. Whitener actually shared bedspread patterns with Dicksie Bradley Bandy, for whom the lecture series is named, and helped her family launch a tufting business. Mrs. Bandy, an entrepreneurial Dalton wife and mother, was an early pioneer in taking Dalton’s burgeoning bedspread industry beyond Peacock Alley and into large metropolitan markets up and down the east coast. Mrs. Bandy was inducted into the Georgia Women of Achievement in 1993; Mrs. Whitener is a 2001 inductee.
The final program in this year’s Dicksie Bradley Bandy series will be Thursday, March 24, when Lydia Knight, Director of Dalton State’s Derrell C. Roberts Library will speak on “Women’s Work: Chenille as an Economic Resource for Northwest Georgia during the Great Depression.” For more information on any program of the Bandy Heritage Center, please contact Heather Shores at 706-272-4452.