Southern Junk & Paper Company


Rosewood Drive
Columbia, SC


Southern Junk & Paper Company was established by German immigrant, Hugo Bruck (1896-1958). Hugo was a widower who immigrated to the United States via Cuba in 1940 and settled in Sumter County with his new bride Elsie Hayman Bruck (1910-1964). In 1941, Hugo launched Southern Junk & Paper Company at 333 East Liberty Street in Sumter. After he was denied permission to move his business to East Calhoun Street in 1945, Hugo and his family moved to Columbia where Hugo reopened his company on a large track of land on Rosewood Drive in 1946. For the next forty years, Southern Junk & Paper Company was affiliated with addresses ranging from 1308 to 1339 Rosewood Drive. There, Hugo traded in scrap metal and “broken, worn-out or unwanted items.”1 When a journalist for The Columbia Record, published an article on Southern Junk & Paper Company in 1957, he noted that “people wander into the junkyard at all hours of the day. Many of them are collectors, seeking a once-in-a-blue-moon bargain. Others are just curious and looking around hoping they may find something inexpensive that they didn’t know they wanted.”2 In addition to welcoming collectors and curious visitors, the Brucks also placed occasional advertisements in The State, highlighting recently acquired items of interest like boots, light fixtures, toilets, and tents. When asked about “restocking” his wares, Hugo noted that there was always more “merchandise” to acquire in his line of business because “every house has old things that could be sold for junk.”3 In 1950, Hugo hired Franz “Frank” Michael Bruck (1928-1992), his son from his first marriage, to serve as a company manager. In 1957, the Brucks incorporated their business under the name Southern Junk Co., Inc. Following Hugo’s death in 1958, Frank continued to run the business until his retirement in 1986.


1 David E. Abeel, “From Junk, to Goods, to Junk,” Columbia Record, January 2, 1957, 1.

2 Abeel, “From Junk, to Goods, to Junk,” 8.

Abeel, “From Junk, to Goods, to Junk,” 8.

Main Image: Advertisement for boots for sale at Southern Junk & Paper Company. Reprinted from The State, December 3, 1946.


Above Image: Advertisement for Southern Junk & Paper Company’s lavatory fixtures. Reprinted from The State, May 20, 1954.

The Jewish Merchant Project is supported by the generosity of the Henry & Sylvia Yaschik Foundation and the Stanley B. Farbstein Endowment at the Coastal Community Foundation.

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Sylvia Vlosky Yaschik Jewish Studies Center
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