Skip to main content

Carl Owens collection on Cracker Barrel Restaurants

Identifier: Q129

Scope and Contents of the Carl Owens Collection on Cracker Barrel Restaurants

The Carl Owens collection on Cracker Barrel Restaurants, 1991-2002 (bulk 1991-1997), comprises news articles, correspondence, press releases, financial reports, and one photograph. The material relates to the campaign started by Carl Owens challenging a Cracker Barrel policy that was discriminatory towards its LGBT employees.


  • 1991-2002
  • Majority of material found within 1991 - 1997


Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

To quote in print, or otherwise reproduce in whole or in part in any publication, including on the Worldwide Web, any material from this collection, the researcher must obtain permission from (1) the owner of the physical property and (2) the holder of the copyright. Persons wishing to quote from this collection should consult the reference archivist to determine copyright holders for information in this collection. Reproduction of any item must contain the complete citation to the original.

Historical Note

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. is a national chain of restaurants featuring a gift store with a southern country theme. Founded in 1969 by Dan Evins, the chain subsequently developed primarily along southeastern and midwestern highway exits. In 1991 the restaurant announced a policy of only employing people with "normal heterosexual values," and subsequently several gay employees were dismissed. The company soon reversed the policy but did not add sexual orientation to its nondiscrimination policy.

Carl Owens was a social worker and member of Queer Nation who lived in Atlanta, Georgia. He began the "Buy One" campaign as a response to Cracker Barrel's policy that was discriminatory against its LGBT employees. The "Buy One" campaign was an effort urging gays, lesbians, and friends of LGBT to buy a single share of Cracker Barrel stock, creating pressure on management to be transparent about its policies towards gay and lesbian employees, thus stopping the discrimination.

After a decade of disputes and pressure from stockholders, 1991-2002, the restaurant chain eliminated its anti-gay policy. In 2002, more than half of its shareholders voted in favor of adding sexual orientation to the company's nondiscrimination policy.


0.83 Linear Feet (in 2 boxes)

Language of Materials


Acquisition Information

Transferred from Atlanta-Fulton Public Library, 2012.

Related Archival Materials

Related Materials in This Repository

  1. Thomas H. Crim, Jr. papers, 1984-1993 (W105)
  2. Richard Rhodes papers, 1987-1993; 2012; undated (W138)
  3. Jeff Graham oral history interview, August 8 and September 25, 2014. (W101.11). Gender and Sexuality Oral History Project
  4. Gender and Sexuality Oral History Project, 2011- (W101)

Separated to Gender and Sexuality Periodicals Collection

Gender and Sexuality Periodicals Collection (Q-GS-Periodicals) see finding aid for access.

  1. Southern Voice: December 19-January 1, 1991 (vol.4, No. 22); March 19-March 25, 1992 (vol. 5, no. 4); December 2-December 8, 1993 (vol. 6, no. 41); June 9-June 15, 1994 (vol. 7, no. 16); December 1-December 7 (vol. 7, no. 41); December 6, 2002 (vol. 15, no. 43).

Collection Transfer Note

This collection was previously designated W129, but was assigned collection number Q129 with the formationĀ of the Gender and Sexuality Collection in 2018.

Processing Information

Processed by Special Collections student assistants, 2014.
Cracker Barrel Restaurants:
A Guide to the Carl Owens Collection at Georgia State University Library
Georgia State University Library
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2015: EAD edited by Hilary Morrish.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

100 Decatur St., S.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
404-413-2881 (Fax)