Beth Macy

Factory Man: End Notes


Below is the bibliography for “Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local — and Helped Save an American Town.” All additional articles, papers and news sources cited are listed in the chapter-by-chapter “Notes” section at the end of the book. Before the bibliography is a space set aside for clarifications, corrections or updates on the printed text. If you have an update to share that you’d like to see included on this list, please e-mail it to me, including any relevant links and sources.



8/7/14 — noted by Howard Klion, who managed the J.C. Penney account for Bassett Furniture with his father, Herb Klion, for many years. On p. 262, I say Joe Meadors was the retired Bassett sales executive who “scored” the J.C. Penney account. Herb Klion initially nabbed the Penney account, and Meadors managed sales for many years from the factory side, according to both Klion and Meadors.

8/5/14 — noted by amateur Henry County historian Truman Adkins, who furnished me a copy of Mary Hunter’s will. On p. 51, according to records provided by the Bassett Historical Center and Bassett family lore, family maid Mary Hunter left her estate to the Bassett family, with instructions that it be put toward the education of black children. Adkins provided a copy of the will (below), showing that her estate, valued at $782.64 in cash, plus personal property totaling $10.75, actually went to John Bassett Sr.’s four children. One of those children, Doug Bassett, was chairman of the school board in 1956, when the black elementary school opened and was named in Mary Hunter’s honor. The will disputes the account in the book that originated with the school’s principal, John B. Harris, who quoted Mister J.D. claiming that Mary Hunter had amassed $40,000 over her lifetime. “I wouldn’t be surprised if that wasn’t the story Mister J.D. told,” Adkins said. “That’s how legends start,” Adkins added, surmising that the Bassett family probably pushed for the school to be named in her honor. I love the detail that Mary Hunter bequeathed her bed, with furnishings, to her younger maid coworker, Gracie Wade, valued at $5 — and that she paid for every detail of her burial and funeral, including the labor costs for the little fence surrounding her grave, provided by Bassett Furniture workers at a cost of $2.40.mary hunter will jpeg

8/2/14 — noted by Bernard “Bunny” Wampler — on p. 178, it states that Bob Spilman and John Vaughan were roommates in college; Vaughan and Wampler were actually roommates, but they all attended college together at North Carolina State.

7/28/14 — noted by Anna Logan Lawson re Jane Bassett Spilman. On p. 106, fourth complete graph, it should read:  She nailed the ask for [the new Wyndham Robertson Library at Hollins University], charming Wyndham’s billionaire brother, Julian Robertson, and securing three million dollars toward the fourteen-million-dollar project in a single visit.

7/15/14 — noted by John Bassett III. On page 394, third complete paragraph, it should read: A segment of John’s opposition, led by Ashley Furniture, was in appeals court suing to get a portion of that money, arguing that even though they had opposed the coalition at the ITC, it had still been making furniture domestically when the petition was filed. . . .

6/17/14 — noted by the author. Page 279: The number of American furniture and related jobs lost to offshoring was mistakenly overstated in the first printing of the hardback, though the correct number — an estimated 300,000 — is accurately reflected on page 378. (The estimates are correct on both pages in all e-book editions.) In fact, the true job-loss number is impossible to calculate, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not take into account workers displaced from workplaces with fewer than 50 employees; it’s also difficult to ascertain which jobs were displaced by technology vs. offshoring. Calculating the ripple effects of offshoring is equally imprecise, as it’s hard to quantify all the diners, groceries and other businesses that were once thriving when the factories existed but have since closed or cut back considerably on employment. Between 2001 and 2011, the trade deficit with China has eliminated or displaced more than 2.7 million American jobs, three-quarters of them in manufacturing, according to economist Robert Scott of the Economic Policy Institute. For more details on the costs of the growing trade deficit with China, see Scott’s report, with state-by-state impact and analysis.

4/25/14 — RIP Reuben “Scotty” Scott who died at 93. From his bed at the Stanleytown Health & Rehabilitation Center in Bassett, Scotty recounted life in the factory town throughout “Factory Man.” He recalled walking along the railroad tracks to apply for his first Bassett Furniture job at 15 (toting along the family Bible as proof of his age) and running the J.D. Bassett Manufacturing factories for decades. “Don’t put in anything bad I said,” he told me at the end of our first interview in 2012. “But if you do, tell ’em I said it’s the goddamned truth!”

4/22/14 — Announcement of furniture factory closing featured in chapter twelve of “Factory Man,” this one the Kincaid Furniture plant in Hudson, N.C. The plant’s 100 workers were told that La-Z-Boy, which bought Kincid in 1988, will close the doors for good in September.

4/1/14 — Announcement of impending closure of Stanley Furniture in Robbinsville, N.C., featured in chapter 26 of “Factory Man.” As rough end operator Chase Patterson told me shortly after the announcement, “To me, I think American quality’s better, but what costs us $400 to make here, they can have it made overseas for $200.” He hopes to land a job at the casino they’re planning to build the next county over, he said.

Chase Patterson overseeing the rough end department at Stanley Furniture in 2012.



Autor, David H., with Dorn, D. and Hanson, G., “The China Syndrome: Local Labor Market Effects of Import Competition in the United States,” American Economic Review, 2011.

Bamberger, Bill and Davidson, C., “Closing: The Life and Death of an American Factory,” 1998.

Barlett, Donald L. and Steele, J., “The Betrayal of the American Dream,” 2011.

Barr, Matthew, “With These Hands: The Story of an American Furniture Factory,” 2009

Bennington, Richard R. “Furniture Marketing: From Product Development to Distribution,” 2004.

Bassett Furniture Industries, “Thirty Years of Success: A History of Bassett Furniture Industries,” 1932.

Cater, John James, “The Rise of the Furniture Manufacturing Industry in Western North Carolina and Virginia,” 2005.

Chang, Leslie T. “Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China,” 2008.

Chatham, Anne Bassett Stanley, “Tidewater Families of the New World and Their Westward Migrations,” 1996.

Clark, Mona and Ross, Anne Marie, “In Search of Mary Hunter,” 1978.

Cleal, Dorothy, and Herbert, H. “Foresight, Founders, and Fortitude: The Growth of Industry in Martinsville and Henry County, Virginia,” 1970.

Dugan, Michael K. “The Furniture Wars: How America Lost a Fifty Billion Dollar Industry,” 2009.

Fayette Area Historical Initiative and the Virginia Foundaiton for the Humanities, “Fayette Street, 1905-2005: A Hundred-year History of African American Life in Martinsville, Virginia,” 2006.

Feinberg, David (editor), “Slavery in Virginia,” 2007.

Friedman, Thomas L. “The World is Flat,” 2004.

Fulmer, William E., “The Negro in the Furniture Industry,” 1973.

Green, Hardy. “The Company Town: The Industrial Edens and Satanic Mills that Shaped the American Economy,” 2010.

Henry County Women’s Club, “Martinsville & Henry County — Historic Views,” 1976.

Jacques, Martin, “When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order,” 2012.

Kern, John, “Jim Crow in Henry County, Virginia: ‘We Lived Under a Hidden Law,’ ” 2010.

Kletzer, Lori and the Peterson Institute for International Economics, “Globalization and Its Impact on American Workers,” 2007.

Levinson, Marc, “The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger,” 2006.

Liveris, Andrew N., “Make It In America: The Case for Re-Inventing the Economy,” 2012.

McCormack, Richard (editor), “ReMaking America,” 2013.

McIngvale, Jim, with Duening, T., and Ivancevich, J. “Always Thinking Big: How Mattress Mack’s Uncompromising Attitude Built the Biggest Single Retail Store in America,” 2002.

Oliver, J.L., “The Development and Structure of the Furniture Industry,” 1966.

Pappas, Gregory, “The Magic City: Unemployment in a Working-Class Community,” 1989.

Pew Center, “Covering the Great Recession,” Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, 2009.

Pope, Liston, “Millhands and Preachers,” 1942.

Ransom, Frank E., “The City Built on Wood: A History of the Furniture Industry in Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1850-1950,” 1955.

Stevens, William, “Anvil of Adversity: Biography of a Furniture Pioneer,” 1968.

Thomas, David N., “Getting Started in High Point,” 1967.

United States International Trade Commission, “Wooden Bedroom Furniture From China,” Investigation No. 731-TA-1058 (preliminary), 2004.

Waldrep, G.C., “Southern Workers and the Search for Community,” 2000.

Wiencek, Henry, “The Hairstons: An American Family in Black and White,” 1999.

Word, Tom, “The Price of Admission,” 2011.

* As noted in the book’s “Acknowledgments” and throughout the “Notes” section at the end of my book, I’m especially indebted to the work of so many past and present business and trade-publication beat journalists, particularly those at Furniture/Today (Thomas Russell, Powell Slaughter, and Clint Engel), the Wall Street Journal (Timothy Aeppel and James R. Hagerty), the Martinsville Bulletin (Ginny Wray and Debbie Hall), the Roanoke Times (Duncan Adams, Megan Schnabel, George Kegley, Jeff Sturgeon, Matt Chittum and Ben Beagle), the Galax Gazette (Chuck Burress), Virginia Business magazine (Estelle Jackson) and Fortune magazine (Thomas O’Hanlon).


The first known photo of Bassett Furniture — aka “Old Town.” | Photo courtesy Bassett Historical Center


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