James Lide Coker was a leading businessman, agriculturalist, and philanthropist during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Coker was born on a plantation near Society Hill, South Carolina and attended The Citadel and Harvard University. Coker established the Southern Novelty Company (SONOCO), which manufactured paper cones and parallel tubes used for shipping yarn for textile mills. Today Sonoco is a multi-national corporation. Coker, with his son David R. Coker, developed on his farm near Hartsville one of the South's principal experimental agencies for seed-testing and plant development. In 1908 Coker donated land and funds for the establishment of a college for women in Hartsville, which became Coker College.