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Scots and Scots Descendant in America
Part V - Biographies
James Roberton MacColl


JAMES ROBERTON MACCOLL is a resident of Providence, Rhode Island, and is a prominent manufacturer of cotton and worsted goods. He is the son of Hugh and Janet (Roberton) MacColl; born in Glasgow, Scotland, April 2, 1856; educated in Anderson’s Academy and Glasgow High School; took courses in designing and weaving at Glasgow Technical College, and learned the business of manufacturing fancy dress fabrics with Henry Fyfe & Son.

When comparatively a young man, at the age of twenty-two, he began business on his own account as a partner in the firm of Thomson & MacColl. In 1881, while visiting the United States, he was introduced to Messrs. W. F. and F. C. Sayles, who were then organizing the Lorraine Manufacturing Co. as a branch of their business. Accepting a position with this concern, he came to this country permanently in 1882. He was agent for fourteen years, and when the Lorraine Manufacturing Co. was incorporated, in 1896, he acquired an interest and was appointed Treasurer and Secretary, which positions he now holds.

Under the management of Mr. MacColl, the company has had steady and continuous development in size of plant and quality of production. The mills located at Pawtucket and Westerly employ 2,000 people, spin cotton and worsted yarns, and with 2,750 looms produce a large variety of fine dress goods, shirtings, linings, etc. At the Paris Exposition of 1900, the company obtained the only "Grand Prix" for fine coloured goods in competition with the best European manufacturers.

In 1905, Mr. MacColl was elected President of the New England Cotton Manufacturers’ Association. Under his administration the policy of the association was broadened, and its name changed to the National Association of Cotton Manufacturers. He was prominent in the development of closer relations with foreign manufacturers and southern cotton growers, and was President of the International Conference of cotton growers and spinners held in Washington in 1906, and in Atlanta in 1907. From 1908 to 1910, he was President of the Home Market Club of Boston, and has been a persistent advocate of adequate protection as the best means of building up the industries of the country, and at the same time increasing our foreign trade. He served as President of the Rhode Island Anti-Tuberculosis Association from its organization in 1907 until 1913. In 1914, he was elected a director of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, which was founded by President Taft, for the purpose of bringing the business interests of the country into closer advisory relations with our legislators in Congress.

He is a director in several manufacturing corporations and of the Industrial Trust Company, of Providence, and the Providence Tribune. He is a member of the Union League Club, New York; Country Club, Brookline, Mass.; Hope, Squanturn and Agawam Clubs, Providence; and the Rhode Island Country Club.

In 1884, he married Agnes, daughter of William and Jessie (Yuille) Bogle, and had five sons and one daughter. The latter, Margaret, died in 1893 when 5 years of age. The sons are Hugh F., a graduate of Harvard, 1907; William B., graduate of New Bedford Textile School and now General Superintendent of the Lorraine Mills; J. R., Jr., Princeton, 1914; and Norman A. and Kenneth W. who are still attending school. Mr. MacColl’s brother is the Rev. Alexander MacColl, DD., of the Second Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia. Mr. MacColl attends the Central Congregational Church of Providence.


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