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From Home Furnishing Business

Hall of Fame Foundation Publishes Two New Oral Histories

The American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame Foundation has published two new oral histories of furniture industry leaders and Hall of Fame members Jerry Epperson and Hassell Franklin.

The hardcover books include company and family photos.

A founder and managing partner of Mann, Armistead & Epperson LLC and 2002 inductee of the Hall of Fame, there is no greater observer of the industry than Jerry Epperson. He provides a unique view of the industry through his comprehensive knowledge of not only the industry, but of the fascinating threads that connect companies and families.

Hassell Franklin, the founder, chairman and CEO of Franklin Corp., has transformed a small, family-owned business into one of the largest, privately owned furniture manufacturers in the nation. His innovative mindset has been the cornerstone of his success, and his $1 million endowment to Mississippi State University to help build the Franklin Furniture Institute is a testament to his enthusiastic support of the industry.

Foundation officials said 12 other oral histories are in the publishing process: Amini Audi, John D. Bassett III, Don Belgrad, Bernard Castro, Joe Cory, Jena Hall, Hymie Itzkovitz, Michael Massood Sr., Eugene Rosenberg, Bob Timberlake, Ron Wanek, and John and Gerald Wolf.

Forty-nine other oral histories already have been published.

In 2008, the Hall of Fame Foundation received a grant from the Furniture Foundation to digitize the transcripts and tapes of 33 previously recorded oral interviews that were in danger of being lost. These interviews, along with 14 additional new oral histories, are available online at Individual copies cost $25 each.

The Foundation continues to grow its oral history program and is accepting recommendations for other industry leaders whose stories need to be captured.  To send suggestions or receive more information, please contact Lauren Estep at

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