Benson Family Scrapbooks and Papers
A Preliminary Inventory of the Collection
Walter S. Benson Jr. was born in 1917 in Austin. He graduated from Austin High School and the University of Texas. Walter worked at W. S. Benson Publishers, an educational book publishing company started by his father in 1918. His wife, Frances Byrd Bolton Benson, was born in 1922 in Jacksonville, Texas. Frances attended Lon Morris College and was a Stephen F. Austin University student when World War II began. Marriage to Walter in 1945 interrupted her plans to attend the University of Texas. Frances was an active member of the Junior League of Austin.
Walter and Frances had two children, Barbara Bolton (born 1946) and Walter Scott III (born 1953).
Barbara Bolton Benson-Padgett graduated from Austin High School, attended Marjorie Webster and the College of Artesia. She was a 1967 debutante and a member of the Junior League and the Cotillion Club. Barbara married Gary Emerson Duck in 1971, from whom she was divorced in 1991. Barbara remarried in 1997 to William B. Padgett. Barbara is a member of the Austin Woman's Club and the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Walter III earned a business degree from St. Edwards University. He continues to operate the publishing company W. S. Benson and Company. He married Cindy Archer from Tyler, Texas in 1982. They had 2 children, Walter IV (born 1989) and Courtney Amanda (born 1992). Courtney died in 2003.
Frances died on November 21, 2005.
The bulk of the collection consists of two scrapbooks. One of the scrapbooks highlights Frances Benson's involvement in the Junior League of Austin and her participation in many of the fashion shows held by the organization during the 1950s and 1960s. The scrapbook also contains clippings from the Austin society pages that mention Frances and her husband Walter S. Benson, Jr.
The second scrapbook is a collection of all the photographs, newspaper clippings and ephemera collected during Barbara Benson's debutante year. Barbara "was presented to Austin society at the annual Presentation Ball at the Driskill Hotel" in December of 1967. Some of the items in the scrapbook are annotated by Barbara. Items that were not secured in the scrapbook were removed and put in folders. The majority of this removed material is cards and invitations.
In addition to the scrapbook there is a small amount of financial documentation pertaining to the purchase of stock of The Driskill Hotel Corporation in 1971. There is also a limited amount of correspondence and other ephemera from Congressman J. J. Pickle (Frances's brother-in-law) and Allan and Marialice Shivers (neighbors of the Bensons).
Restrictions on Access
Open to all users
Materials donated by the Benson family.
Benson Family Scrapbooks and Papers (AR.2009.064). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/2009/046
Donation Date: 2009-08-13
Initial Inventory and Preliminary Processing By/Date: Molly Hults/2009-08-30
Detailed Description of the Collection