The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976

The S.P.A. and the N.R.A.: A Case Study
of the Blue Eagle in the South
JAMES E. FICKLE*
THE SOUTHERN PINE ASSOCIATION WAS ORGANIZED IN 1914 IN THE
wake of repeated and generally unsuccessful efforts during the preced-
ing half century to form effective manufacturers' associations to deal with
such chronic problems of the southern lumber industry as grading, trans-
portation, cutover lands, statistics, accounting, labor, advertising-trade pro-
motion, government relations, and forestry-conservation. The S.P.A. was
headquartered in New Orleans and soon represented southern pine manu-
facturers from Texas to the Atlantic coast. The organization was spawned
out of the dissolution the previous year of an earlier group which had been
declared in violation of the antitrust laws of the state of Missouri.? Like
most trade associations in this period, the S.P.A. balanced precariously
between respectability and that nebulous purgatory reserved by Progressives
for those who violated the nation's current commitment to unbridled
competition expressed through vigorous enforcement of the antitrust laws.
World War I brought the Southern Pine Association into official favor
as the organization was utilized by the federal government in its efforts to
mobilize southern lumbermen for the war effort. Nevertheless, in the 192Os,
with the war needs past, the S.P.A., like other trade associations, was again
caught in the ambiguity and vacillations of federal antitrust policy. Finally
in 1925, with the replacement of Attorney General Harry M. Daugherty
by Harlan Fiske Stone and the United States Supreme Court's decisions in
the Maple Flooring and First Cement cases, some of the nation's leaders
*Mr. Fickle is associate professor of history at Memphis State University. This study
was facilitated by a Faculty Research Grant from that institution.
xThe State ex. inf. Elliott W. Major, Attorney-General, v. Arkansas Lumber Company
et al., 260 Mo. 212 (1914). In 1908 the Missouri attorney-general instituted quo war-
ranto proceedings against several lumber companies who were members of the Yellow Pine
Manufacturers' Association, charging among other things that the association was used as
a medium whereby the prices and production of lumber were fixed by agreement or
understanding. The case was carried to the Missouri Supreme Court which in December,
1913, rendered judgments of ouster and heavy fines against the respondents. These fines
were reduced and the judgment of ouster suspend upon certain conditions, including
the requirement that the concerns show by affidavit that they had withdrawn from the
association and had agreed not to join another of like character. Thus, while the YPMA
was not formally found to be in violation of the antitrust laws, in a practical sense it was
on trial and found guilty.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101203/. Accessed December 18, 2014.