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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.


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


Restrictions on Access

Collection is open for research use. Some records containing personal information are available only in redacted form.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Georgia State University is the owner of the physical collection and makes reproductions available for research, subject to the copyright law of the United States and item condition. Georgia State University may or may not own the rights to materials in the collection. It is the researcher's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and obtain permission from the copyright holder before publication, reproduction, or display of the materials beyond what is reasonable under copyright law. Researchers may quote selections from the collection under the fair use provision of copyright law.

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.


1.0 Linear Feet (in 3 boxes)

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

Files arranged aplhabetically.

Acquisition Information

Transferred from Atlanta-Fulton Public Library, 2012.

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. Further material added in 2023 by Hilary Morrish.


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

  • 2023: Further material added, including box 3.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

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