Skip to main content

George Conoly Phillips Papers

Collection ID: MG 15

Scope and Contents

The papers of George Conoly Phillips date from 1909 to 2010. The collection contains material related to his automotive business, political career, religious background, and personal life.


  • circa 1906-2010, undated
  • Other: Date acquired: 03/24/1977



19.60 Linear Feet

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to researchers without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from Special Collections and University Archives, and the holder of the copyright, if not Old Dominion University Libraries.

Biographical or Historical Information

George Conoly Phillips was born on December 17, 1931, in Daytona Beach Florida. He married Charlotte Baird Ferebee, and had three children, Elizabeth Meade, James Conoly, and Charlotte Baird. Phillips was an honor graduate of Maury High School of Norfolk in 1949. He later graduated with his Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of Georgia in 1953. At the University of Georgia he was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, the National Leadership Honor Society, and a Cadet Colonel of the Air Force R.O.T.C. He received his MBA degree from Old Dominion University in 1976. He served two years as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. In 1956, Conoly Phillips and his brother, Tench Phillips opened the Phillips Brothers used car dealership. They founded Phillips Brothers Automoville in 1964. The brothers acquired the Rambler franchise in 1960. In 1964, Tench received the Oldsmobile franchise, and Conoly continued with the Lincoln-Mercury franchise. Conoly Phillips was President, and the later chairman, of Conoly Phillips Lincoln-Mercury. He retired from daily management in 1999 when his company merged with Freedom Automotive. He currently remains a partner in Freedom Automotive. Conoly Phillips' civic activities have been numerous. He was President of the Tidewater Better Business Bureau in 1967 and 1968, President of the United Drug Abuse Commission from 1970-1976, President of the Northside Rotary Club, First Vice-President of the United Way of Virginia, Member of the Central Budget Committee of the United Communities Fund, Former Representative of the City of Norfolk on the Adult Continuing Education Committee, Vice-President of the Sales and Marketing Executives Club of Tidewater, President of the Tidewater Automobile Dealers Association in 1963, Vice-President and legislative chairman of the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association, Member of the Lincoln-Mercury National Dealer Council, Member of the Board of Directors of the Retail Merchants Association of Tidewater Virginia, Chairman of the Finance and Budget Committee for the Assembly on the Dimensions of Hunger-Malnutrition, member of the Junior Board of Directors Central Y.M.C.A. of Norfolk, Chairman for the Brotherhood Dinner sponsored by the National Conference of Christians and Jews, Board member for the Norfolk Symphony Association, Member of the Men's Advisory Board to the Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters, and Member of the Norfolk and Virginia State Chambers of Commerce. Conoly Phillips has been active in politics since the mid-1970's. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Southeastern Tidewater Opportunity Project, was a member of the Community Development Committee of the Virginia Municipal League, and a member of the Community Development Policy Committee of the National League of Cities. He was first elected to the Norfolk City Council in 1976 and served until 1980. He was reelected to the Norfolk City Council in 1986. He continues to serve on the Norfolk City Council as the chairman of the Council's Finance and Infrastructure Committee. He is also chairman of the Ward's Corner Task Force, Hampton Boulevard Task Force, and the Norfolk Highway Commission. Mr. Phillips is a representative for the City of Norfolk on the Southeastern Public Service Authority (SPSA), and on the Empowerment 2010 Board. He has also chaired the Mayor's Task Force on Drugs and the Norfolk Task Force on Juvenile Incarceration and Foster Care, as well as the Youth Forum Task Force. Conoly Phillips ran unsuccessfully for a U.S. Senate Seat in 1978, considering his campaign a "ministry of the Lord in calling Christians to active political participation." His religious activities have been very important to him, and included membership in the First Presbyterian Church of Norfolk. He was active in his church serving as a Bible teacher and elder. He was President of the Board of Directors of the Union Mission and Hope Haven Children's Homes, co-founder and president of Proclaim Evangelistic Association (a half-way house for drug addicts). He was assistant to the chairman of the Tidewater Virginia Billy Graham Crusade in 1974, and a member and vice-chairman of the Continuing Crusades Committee. Mr. Phillips also supported the Christian Broadcasting Network, and is a personal friend to Pat Robertson. George Conoly Phillips passed away on April 22, 2020 in Norfolk, Virginia.

Note written by Mel Frizzell

Language of Materials



Norfolk City Council member. Served as President of the United Drug Abuse Council and was active in the Inter-Christian Fellowship, the Christian Broadcasting Network, and the United Community Fund. Documents his activities in politics, business and civic affairs.

Arrangement Note

The collection is organized into the following series: Series I: Auto Dealership; Series II: Religious Activities; Series III: Community/Civic Memberships and Activities; Series IV: Political Activities; Series V: Personal Information; Series VI: Writing and Speeches; Series VII: Multimedia; Series VIII: Artifacts; and Series IX: Oversize.

Source of Acquisition

George Conoly Phillips

Method of Acquisition

Gift. Accession #A77-77-19

Accruals and Additions

Additional accessions made in 1978, 1981, 2005, and 2011.

Related Materials

Oral Histories in the Perry Library: G. Conolly Phillips

A Guide to the George Conoly Phillips Papers
Mel Frizzell
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the ODU Community Collections Repository

3000 Perry Library
4427 Hampton Blvd.
Norfolk VA 23529 US