Elton B. Stephens

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Elton Bryson Stephens Sr (born August 4, 1911 in Clio, Barbour County; died February 5, 2005) was the founder of EBSCO Industries and a Birmingham philanthropist.

Stephens was the son of James Nelson Stephens and Clara Stucky Stephens. He was born and raised in the town of Clio in Barbour County, Alabama.

Stephens attended college at Birmingham-Southern from 1928 to 1932, when he graduated with a bachelor of arts degree. He then went on to complete a law degree from the University of Alabama School of Law in 1936. Later, in 1960, he completed the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard School of Business.

Stephens married Alys Varian Robinson in 1935. The couple had two sons, J. T. Stephens and Elton Stephens Jr, and two daughters, Jane Comer and Dell Brooke.

Stephens supported himself through college by selling magazine subscriptions door-to-door. He continued in this industry even after receiving his law degree. In 1944, he and his wife formed a partnership named the Military Service Company to sell magazines, personalized binders, and racks to the U.S. Armed Forces. The partnership went on to start several additional business in support of this and acquire the Hartsfield Printing Company (now EBSCO Media), bringing them together under conglomerate EBSCO Industries, Inc. in 1958.

In the early 1990s, Stephens began a campain that successfully revived the Alabama Symphony Orchestra.

Things named after Elton B. Stephens