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The Gilman Paper Company was a paper producer that was started in the 1880s by Isaac Gilman in Gilman, Vermont. In the 1940s his son Charles Gilman built an additional mill in St. Mary's, Georgia. The company was capable of producing 2.6 million pounds of paper per day, employed 1,100 workers and 1,500 independent contractors, with an office in at 111 West 50th Street, New York. At the death of Charles Gilman in 1967, the company was run by his two sons, Charles (Chris) Gilman Jr and Howard Gilman. During this period the photography collection was started by Charles's wife Sondra Gilman, with the support of Chris and Howard. At the death of Charles Jr, in January 1982, Howard bought the balance of the company from Charles's estate and both Gilman Paper and Sondra Gilman continued to collect photographs. During Howard's tenure as Chairman of the company, the mill was sold to Durango Paper Company, and soon afterwards went bankrupt, leaving thousands without jobs. Today, many former employees still have not received their final paychecks, retirement benefits, or separation pay.
Howard Gilman led a double life. He ran a group of companies that churned out the most mundane products you could imagine: paper bags, bleached cardboard and two-by-fours. Yet he could be found hosting glitzy functions where he would sip champagne with the likes of actress Isabella Rossellini, or entertaining dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov at his elegant plantation near Jacksonville, Florida, which Gilman transformed into a dance center and wildlife preserve.
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