Jonathan Westervelt Warner, 1917-2017



Jonathan Westervelt Warner, 1917-2017


Paper industry
Art collections


Jack Warner was born in Decatur, IL on July 28, 1917, to Herbert David Warner and Mildred Westervelt Warner. He moved to Tuscaloosa as a child when his grandfather Herbert E. Westervelt consolidated Gulf States Paper Corporation as Alabama's first modern pulp and paper mill in 1929.

Warner's father, Herbert David Warner was treasurer, then chairman of the board and finally chairman, emeritus, of Gulf States Paper Corporation. His mother, Mildred Westervelt Warner, served as president of Gulf States and was the daughter of the company's founder, Herbert Westervelt.

Jack Warner was married to the former Elizabeth Butler of Jacksonville, Florida, on August 26, 1939. They had two sons: J.W. (Jon) Warner Jr. and David Turner Warner, and three grandchildren. Following the death of his first wife, he married Susan Austin.

Warner graduated from Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana, in 1936. He attended Washington & Lee University from 1936 to 1940 and received a degree in business administration.

After college, Warner served in the U.S. Army from 1941-1945. He was a commissioned officer with the Mars Task Force in the Burma Theater of Operations.

Joining Gulf States following World War II, Warner headed production and sales activities of the company before becoming executive vice president in 1950. (He had worked an "apprenticeship " in various areas of the Tuscaloosa operation while still a youth.) In 1957, he was elected president, succeeding his mother. Warner became president and chairman of the board in 1959. From 1984 to 1994 he served as Chairman and C.E.O. of Gulf States. Warner retired from day-to-day management of the company on January 1, 1995.

Jack Warner started collecting art in the 1950s with a first acquisition of prints by John James Audubon (1785-1851.) While for some time the art was displayed at different Alabama locations, in 2003 he converted a former hunting lodge on Tuscaloosa Lake into a top of the line museum intended to house his entire collection. In 2011, this museum was closed.

Art pieces belonging to the Westervelt Company are displayed in the company headquarters in Tuscaloosa. American art drawn from the personal collection of Jonathan “Jack” Warner and his wife Susan Austin Warner are part of the Warner Foundation collection.

Warner’s collection reflects his passion for and understanding of American history through art. The paintings chronicle the American experience from 1799 to 1971 in portraiture, historical, genre, still life and landscape. Works by Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902), Mary Cassatt (1844-1926). Frederic E. Church (1826-1900), Thomas Cole (1801-1848), Childe Hassam (1859-1935), Winslow Homer (1836-1910), James Peale (1749-1831) and Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009) are featured in the exhibition.

The collection makes loans of artwork to museums and universities to further the understanding of American history through American art.

In recognition of a lifetime of support for American art and a generous gift by the Warner Foundation, a gallery of early Hudson River School paintings in the New American Wing of The Metropolitan Museum of Art has been designated the Jack and Susan Warner Gallery.

Jack Warner was also very active in local community activities and clubs such as the Chamber of Commerce, the YMCA, and the Druid City Hospital Foundation. He took an active part in professional organizations such as the American Paper Industry and the University of Alabama. He has received numerous awards for these activities and is a member of the Alabama Academy of Honor and was inducted into the Tuscaloosa County Civic Hall of Fame in 2003.

Jack Warner died at 99 on February 18, 2017.


Jon Warner


Elizabeth Bradt (Description)






Tuscaloosa (AL)

Original Format


Physical Dimensions

8 inches by 10 inches

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