Charles A. Newning Papers
An Inventory of the Collection
Charles A. Newning moved from New York to Austin, Texas in March, 1878. From 1878 to 1881 Newning was employed by the German American Bank and Foster and Co., as a bookkeeper. Newning owned property in Austin and was involved in numerous real estate dealings. From 1890 to 1894 Newning served as County Commissioner of Travis County, Texas. He and his partner, William S. Parker, obtained patents for several inventions including cement and clay pipe and wrenches. Newning also edited and managed a publication entitled Texas Industrial Review to Aid Southern Development. Newning had an inventive mind, possessed a social consciousness, was an excellent financier, and was socially accepted by Austin society of his day.
The personal life of Charles A. Newning is best revealed in his handwritten notes to Annie Brush during their courtship. The correspondence includes several invitations to concerts, operas, and social events such as picnics. A previous wife is mentioned in early correspondence. Charles A. Newning and Annie Brush were married on March 18, 1880. Annie was nineteen years old. Charles refers to Annie in one of his notes as, "the gentlest woman he ever knew who is entirely devoted to me and my interests."
Charles Newning was never idle and he suffered from health problems attributed to overwork. In August 1881, feeling worn out, Charles and Annie Newning accompanied by George Warner, took a three month trip to New York. Newning and Warner had been business partners for several months at this point. On return from that trip they brought Charles' mother with them to make her living with them in Austin. Charles' mother was to manage the house for them, while Newning managed the household finances.
Based on the correspondence, Newning's major problem was his brother Ollie, who often asked Charles for money. Based on correspondence from his mother, Ollie was a financial drain to his brother. Ollie Newning's lack of appreciation for his brother is illustrated by the fact that Ollie claimed a share of Fairview Park, property owned by Charles, even though he owed Charles over one thousand dollars.
A relative of Charles, Harry Newning was a lieutenant in the Marines during World War I. Later he was involved in business ventures in Mexico, and was an active member of the American Legion.
This collection includes business records, correspondence, and legal documents relating to Charles Newning and Harry Newning. The materials date from 1878 to 1950. The first section of the correspondence relates to the courtship between Charles Newning and his fiance, Annie Brush. A letter of particular interest is dated May 31, 1879 which includes the first mention of a previous wife of Newning.
Between 1890 and 1894 Charles Newning and William S. Parker obtained patents for several inventions. The collection incudes correspondence, legal documents, and a drawing of the cement pipe they developed which was patented. These materials are among the Business Records and Legal Documents.
Of particular interest is a document handwritten by Charles Newning in which he describes with a great deal of personal insight the status of his financial and family matters, the trip to New York (which was emotionally significant), and he professes his love for his wife Annie. In this document he also describes in detail his problems with his younger brother Ollie. This document is in the Manuscripts (no date) folder.
Correspondence dating between 1917 and 1925 is between Harry M. Newning (1893-), a lieutenant in the United States Navy during World War I and his friends from service, business associates in Mexico, and fellow members of the American Legion. There are also a number of autographed black and white photographs to Jerry Cooper, dating from the 1950s.
Restrictions on Access
Open to all users.
Restrictions on Use
Collection was transferred to the Austin History Center from the University of Houston Libraries. The collection was a gift of Mr. Peter Pratt to UHL. UHL was unable to provide any information concerning the provenance of the collection.
Charles A. Newning Papers (AR.2009.031). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/2004/136
Donation Date: 2009-03-11
Finding aid was prepared by Marilynn Green in 1995 and formatted by Molly Hults in 2009.
Finding aid was encoded by Evan Usler in May 2010.
Detailed Description of the Collection
These papers include business records, correspondence, legal documents and photographs.