Elliott White Springs was a major influence in the textile industry and in the industrial development of South Carolina in the 20th century. Born in Lancaster, South Carolina, he flew as a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps in World War I and shot down 11 German planes, qualifying him as one of the top American aces of the war. He turned his war experiences into a number of short stories and articles, and his book, Warbirds: the Diary of an Unknown Aviator is considered the most important writing about World War I aviation ever produced. Assuming leadership of Springs Cotton Mills in 1931, he greatly expanded and upgraded the mills, making them one of the most successful textile organizations in the Southeast. The company contributed significant amounts of fabric and other goods to the American war effort in World War II. He was responsible for a controversial but effective advertising campaign for Springmaid sheets and other products that helped to make Springs Mills a household name throughout the country after the war.