Callanwolde was the home of the family of Charles Howard Candler (1878-1957) from 1920 until 1959.
Howard Candler was the oldest son of Asa Griggs Candler (1851-1929), the Atlanta pharmacist who, in 1891 purchased the rights to the formula for Coca-Cola, which had been developed by another Atlanta pharmacist, John S. Pemberton, in 1886 as a tonic for most common ailments.
Howard Candler attended public elementary schools in Atlanta and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Emory College (a Methodist Episcopal institution that was at that time located in Oxford, Georgia). While in Oxford in 1895, Howard Candler received a keg of Coca-Cola syrup from his father that he shared with his classmates -- the first Coca-Cola ever seen there.
After graduating from Emory in 1898, Howard Candler attended Atlanta College of Physicians and Surgeons for two years and the University of Bellvue Hospital Medical College for one year. Much later in life, in 1942, he received the Doctor of Laws degree from Emory University, which was by then located in Atlanta.
In 1903, Howard Candler married Flora Harper Glenn. The couple had three children, Charles Howard, Jr. (born 1904), Catherine Harper (Mrs. William Warren) (born 1906), and Mary Louisa (Mrs. Alfred Eldridge) (born 1912).
The Candlers, Coca-Cola and Emory University
Emory University has been, and still is today, frequently called "Coca-Cola U" because of the long and generous history of patronage by both the Candler family and the Coca-Cola Company that they founded.
In 1914, the decision was made to move Emory College from Oxford, Georgia. Howard's uncle, Bishop Warren Akin Candler, was President of Emory College and the Chairman of the Methodist Episcopal Education Commission. Atlanta's Chamber of Commerce pledged $500,000 if the new Emory University would locate in the city, and in 1915 Asa Griggs Candler donated a $1,000,000 endowment to the institution.
In 1915, Henry Hornbostel was engaged to design the new Emory campus in the Druid Hills neighborhood of Atlanta. The following year, Howard Candler, who had been a vice president of Coca-Cola since 1906, became the company's president, a position he held until his retirement from the company in 1923 (following its acquisition by the Woodruffs). His new position as head of the company meant that Howard Candler would now be the principal benefactor of Emory University. Work on his new home, Callanwolde, was begun the following year near the Emory campus and designed by Hornbostel.
In 1929, Howard Candler became chairman of the board of trustees of Emory University, a position he held until his death in 1957. He continued the family's history of generous financial support of the institution as well. In 1947, for example, he gave the University assets valued in excess of $15,000,000.
And, two years following Howard Candler's death, his widow donated the Callanwolde estate, along with many of the original furnishings, to Emory University. Emory subsequently sold the property to the First Christian Church, which retained ownership until the citizens of DeKalb County rallied to acquire Callanwolde in 1971.
Candler Ancestry and the Callanwolde Name
Candler family lore holds that William Candler of Newcastle-upon-Tyne served as an officer in Cromwell's Army during the Irish Rebellion of the mid-17th century. Candler served in Sir Hardress Waller's Regiment and after the end of the campaign was elevated to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel for "meritorious conduct in the field" by a grateful Cromwell and Parliament and granted lands in the Barony of Callan, County Kilkenny. He brought his wife, Anne Villiers, widow of Capt. John Villiers, and family over to Ireland and made their Irish home at Callan Castle. The name "Callanwolde" is based on this family connection to the Irish town of Callan and the Old English word for "woods" ("wolde").
Recent genealogical research suggests that parts of this legend are, in fact, true, although as happens with all things, some details have been lost, changed, and exaggerated over the years.