Is Coca-Cola About to Say Good-Bye to the Real Dr. Pemberton?

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Original 1888 Photograph of Soda Giant's Legacy up for Public Auction at James D. Julia, Inc. (PART 2).

Bottom: (L to R) Modern late 20th cen. artist's retouched Pemberton drawing / photo & Modern 20th cen. not properly authenticated silver-bromide photo of orig. bent / damaged 19th cen. albumen photo apparently now lost (Photo-RW Lipack).

Top: PEMBERTON EXEMPLAR/ PHYSIOLOGIC COMPARISONS (L to R) Apr. 18, 1886 Atl. Constitution engr.;1950's painting for Coca-Cola by Royal Stowell & "1888 Asa G. Candler & Co." Pemberton.

Also in the 1950's, The Coca-Cola Co. had artist Royal Stowell paint a portrait of Pemberton in an effort to resurrect Coca-Cola's founder from the ashes of his 1910 'cremation.'

On November 30, 2012, Fairfield, Maine art auctioneer James D. Julia, Inc. will sell the original Coca-Cola founding legacy and only known vintage "1888 Asa G. Candler & Co." 19th-century photograph of Dr. John Pemberton, Coca-Cola's celebrated inventor. The photo shows Pemberton standing in the open doorway of Coca-Cola co-founder Asa G. Candler's Atlanta pharmacy, where Candler himself stands nearby holding a piece of paper in his hand, beaming stern and proud.

It has been learned that spokespersons for some Atlanta historical societies are claiming Pemberton did not like Candler and would 'never have had his photograph taken with him.' This notion quickly dissipates by noticing how the grimacing Dr. Pemberton in the 1888 photo is the only one of seven facing the camera that is not actually looking at the camera - obviously shunning the picture taking - as he stands right by his name on the window!

This is believed to be the day of April 14, 1888, documented by Charles Howard Candler in his 1950 book on his dad: Asa Griggs Candler, published by Georgia's Emory University. A young man with a moustache standing between the two Coca-Cola founders may be Charley Pemberton. Candler was said to have purchased the Coca-Cola name from Charley, whose dying father John Pemberton would have been present only out of necessity, to witness the transaction. The piece of paper in Candler's hand is likely the contract signed with Charley Pemberton for the Coca-Cola name and / or the recipe. The store window behind Candler prominently reads: "Asa G. Candler & Co."

Significantly, Pemberton, a morphine addict legended to have developed his condition as a result of a Civil War injury, died of cancer on August 16, 1888; approximately four months after the "1888 Asa G. Candler & Co." photo was taken at 47 Peachtree St., Atlanta. By the end of 1891, Candler bought up other outstanding company shares by spending a total of $2,300 to acquire Cola-Cola Co.

In 1910, Asa Candler ordered all original Coca-Cola corporate documents burned, which Cola-Cola historian Mark Pendergrast clearly explains in his book For God, Country and Coca-Cola. This incident contributed to the original "1888 Asa G. Candler & Co." photo's exclusive rarity today and further clouds major elements in and/ or raises questions surrounding the photograph. Also according to Pendergrast, in 1914, original Coca-Cola Co. shareholder Margaret Dozier threatened legal action over an alleged forgery of her signature on her share title transfer document for the original 1888 founded company. The authenticity of Pemberton's 1888 title transfer signature was also raised at this time by Dozier, which Pendergrast mentions. Thus, this signature would have been provided by Pemberton on April 14, 1888, confirming the reason for his presence in the 1888 photograph.

The original only extant "1888 Asa G. Candler & Co." albumen was discovered at a Atlanta flea market back in the late 1990's by the auction consignor: author and historian Richard Warren Lipack - also credited with discovering the only extant manuscript journal on the world's first perfected commercial electric communications system (1840), of U.K. electric telegraph's inventor Wm. Fothergill Cooke.

Surprisingly, most recently and over a decade later, the "1888 Asa G. Candler & Co." photograph was discovered by historian Lipack illustrated in the 1950 Asa Griggs Candler book by the Candler son. The only details provided are the date taken and street location of the Candler pharmacy. This continued the erasure of the Pemberton memory and further elevated the Pemberton ''myth.'

Lipack subsequently worked with reference archivists at the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library at Emory, further documenting the "1888 Asa G. Candler & Co." albumen specifics. Damage and emulsion loss evident to the right hand edge emulsion section of the original 1888 albumen, was detected in the modern mid-20th century Kodak "Velox" copy photographs on file in the Asa Griggs Candler and Candler family papers at Emory. This indisputably proved that all of the known modern mid-20th century Kodak "Velox" copy photographs extant were made from the original "1888 Asa G. Candler & Co.' albumen. Reference archivists at the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library at Emory University believe this photograph to be the same one reproduced in Candler's son's 1950 historical tome.

Independent sources indicate the Candler family today believes that the 1888 albumen did not originate from the Candler estate, but from the estate of another person present in the photograph that worked for Asa Candler at the time of its taking by photographer W. T. Kuhns'. Does this mean Asa Candler was very thorough about destroying all Pemberton related company documents in 1910 and what other questions does it raise?

It is clear that the finest family copy of Charles Howard Candler's very limited personally signed privately printed 1950 book on his father, presented by him to Asa Candler's grandson Charles Howard Candler, Jr. accompanies the 1888 albumen in the James D. Julia, Inc. sale. An Asa Griggs Candler autograph also is affixed to the same signature page, adding to the rarefied importance of the special book - which covers three Candler family generations. The original 1888 albumen is found illustrated on page 68 of this book.

Spurred by the publication of the Candler work, it was also in the early 1950's, that The Coca-Cola Co. commissioned artist Wilbur Kurtz, Sr. to create a painting based on the modern Emory copy of the original "1888 Asa G. Candler & Co." albumen. Under the implied contract accompanying the Emory copy print, no commercial use is allowed. The Kurtz painting was apparently produced to circumvent this legality. It is seen briefly in the 2011 Coca-Cola company movie: "The Animated History of Coca-Cola."

Also in the 1950's, The Coca-Cola Co. had artist Royal Stowell paint a portrait of Pemberton in an effort to resurrect Coca-Cola's founder from the ashes of his 1910 'cremation.' Some purport the painting was based on a 1886 newspaper engraving of Pemberton. Yet when one compares the two, they are strikingly dissimilar. Most peculiar is that the Stowell depiction of Pemberton closely resembles the facial physiology of Pemberton in the "1888 Asa Griggs Candler & Co." albumen! Is it correct to assume that the two 1950's paintings reveal an initial combined effort by Coca-Cola to initially resurrect the correct Pemberton? The company even used the likeness on two occasions; the most familiar being the 1993 copyrighted Series 1, No. 1 Coca-Cola advertising card issued by the company.

Charley Pemberton, an alcoholic and drug addict had died on June 23, 1894 with a stick of opium found by his side, leaving no blood heirs. With the Pemberton bloodline ended and the 1910 incineration by Candler of the original 1888 founded Coca-Cola Company records, it appears this was done to accelerate Pemberton's fade from memory. It is interesting to note Pemberton's wife Anna Louise Clifford Lewis died in 1909. Then approximately forty years later, the old Coca-Cola kettle started to get stirred-up again!

A delightful documentary movie is available for viewing at the James D. Julia, Inc., auction website found at;

Other important links are as follows;

As a Coca-Cola collectible, the "1888 Asa. G. Candler & Co." photograph is the earliest known piece of Coca-Cola memorabilia extant. The Coca-Cola company museum in Atlanta does not possess a 19th-century original example of this historic albumen. With an estimated value of $50,000 to $75,000 set, the sale of the original only known "1888 Asa G. Candler & Co." photo is believed will finally set the record straight respective of the real Dr. Pemberton - once and for all.

(End of first of two parts)

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