Austin History Center

Austin (Tex.). Boards and Commissions. Austin Sesquicentennial Commission Records

An Inventory of the Collection

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Austin (Tex.). Austin Sesquicentennial Commission
Title: Austin (Tex.). Boards and Commissions. Sesquicentennial Commission Records
Inclusive Dates: 1983-1988
Bulk Dates: 1984-1986
Abstract: The City of Austin Sesquicentennial Commission Records contains documentation of the commission's activities in planning the city of Austin's celebrations of the Sesquicentennial of the state of Texas in 1986.
Identification: AR.X.014
Quantity: 2.48 linear feet (7 boxes)
Location: Archives stacks and qAR
Language: The records are in English.
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, 810 Guadalupe, PO BOX 2287, Austin, TX 78768

Administrative History

The Austin Sesquicentennial Commission was created by the Austin City Council in 1983 to plan, promote, and implement the City of Austin's celebrations of Texas's 150th birthday in 1986. The Commission was a separate organization from the statewide Texas Sesquicentennial Commission, which supported the Sesquicentennial Commissions of cities and counties throughout Texas, via planning support and a conference held in December 1985. Dr. D. Wylie Jordan, MD, an Austin psychiatrist and Texas history enthusiast, lobbied for the creation of the Austin Sesquicentennial Commission in 1982.

The primary functions of the Commission were to encourage community involvement in Sesquicentennial activities, celebrate the history and heritage of Austin, and raise funds to support both Sesquicentennial celebration events and projects of lasting value to the city. The Commission incorporated as a non-profit organization, the Austin Sesquicentennial Program of Austin TX, Inc., on September 22, 1983, in order to accept and distribute charitable funds to finance the events sponsored and developed by the Commission. A twelve-member board appointed by the City Council helmed the Commission. Dr. Jordan served as President of the Commission and the Corporation for the entirety of their existence.

The Commission encouraged, sanctioned, and funded Sesquicentennial events and activities planned by individuals and organizations in Austin. Numerous organizations held events sanctioned and supported by the Commission, including Ballet Austin, Texas Wagon Train, Austin Legal Secretaries Association, The Girl Scouts, Austin Friends of Traditional Music, and the Texas Historic Dress Workshop.

Funds were raised to support these events and to finance the activities of the Commission via several fundraising efforts. Noted artist Amado Peña was commissioned to create a poster commemorating the Austin Sesquicentennial celebrations, the sale of which provided a continuous revenue stream to the Commission. The Commission's primary fundraising event was the Capital Ball, held January 31, 1986. The proceeds from this event went directly to funding sponsored Sesquicentennial events. Additional operational funds were raised through the sale of Austin Sesquicentennial promotional memorabilia. The Commission's Ambassador Program used volunteers to seek financial sponsorship of events by local businesses.

In addition, the Commission designed and implemented a fundraising project, Gifts for Austin, which provided funding for "worthy capital projects" intended to serve as the lasting legacy of the Austin Sesquicentennial Commission. One of the largest Gifts for Austin projects was a plan for the renovation of Republic Square Park in downtown Austin.

The Austin Sesquicentennial Commission and the Austin Sesquicentennial Program of Austin, TX, Inc. were dissolved July 31st 1987 following the completion of their functions in the sesquicentennial year.

Scope and Contents

The materials date from 1983 to 1986 and consist primarily of the administrative documents, financial information, event documentation, and publicity materials of the Austin Sesquicentennial Commission and the Austin Sesquicentennial Program of Austin TX, Inc. The planning of Sesquicentennial-year celebrations and fundraising is documented, beginning with the Commission's inception in 1983. Formal documentation of the activities of the Boards of Directors of the Corporation and the Commission continues through August of 1986, the year of the Sesquicentennial. The records also document the other functions of the Commission: raising awareness of Texas heritage and history and fundraising for the Sesquicentennial and city projects. Event-related materials, although inconsistent, provide evidential record of major Sesquicentennial celebrations. Finally, the finances of the corporation are well documented through bank records, financial reports, and communications with the Commission's accountant.

The records are comprised of minutes, correspondence, blank letterhead and envelopes, speech notes, administrative forms, bound workbooks and handbooks (of both the Commission and other governmental and non-governmental organizations), pamphlets, catalogs, drafts and finished versions of publicity materials, advertisements, musical scores, event materials (including invitations and guest books), financial records (including receipts, bank statements, and tax forms), legal contracts, historical research materials in various states of completion, and manuscripts of creative works. Additionally, there are multiple files of newspaper clippings and graphic materials (including drafts and final versions of logos), and various official documents, including mayoral proclamations.

Other formats in the records include two copies of Amado Peña's Austin Sesquicentennial poster, photographs and slides (of general Sesquicentennial activities and of Southern Australia as part of a sister city initiative), micro-cassette tapes (recorded at meetings of the Corporation and the Commission), and various memorabilia (pins and buttons, commemorative coins, a bandanna).

The collection is arranged into five series. The Board of Directors series includes records of the leadership of the Commission from the formation of the Commission in 1983 throughout the life of the organization. The General Publicity series contains publicity materials developed, distributed, and collected by the Commission in support of its activities or as documentation of them. The Fundraising series contains the records of the fundraising activities of the Commission, including the sale of the Amado Peña Sesquicentennial poster. The Programs and Events series consists of documentation of the events, largely held and organized by other institutions, which were sanctioned and financially sponsored by the Commission. The first two sub-series contain assorted documentation of a number of Commission-sponsored events. Following sub-series contain records of particularly well-documented events: The Texas Wagon Train, an exhibit at the Austin History Center, and the San Jacinto Day Celebration. The Financial series consists of financial, banking, and tax records for the Commission.


The records of the Commission came to AHC with little if any of their original order intact. The organization of the records within the original folders was largely maintained, but the processors created the overall arrangement. Series and sub-series are ordered to forefront records of the greatest expected interest to researchers.
The collection is arranged into five series:
I. Board of Directors, 1983-1986, undated
II. General Publicity, 1984-1986, undated
III. Fundraising, 1984-1986, undated
IV. Programs and Events, 1983-1986, undated
V. Financial, 1983-1988


Restrictions on Access

Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use


Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Jordan, D. Wylie.
Brown, Peggy.
Cooksey, Frank C.
Peña, Amado.
Edwards, Ruth.
City of Austin Sesquicentennial Commission.
Austin Sesquicentennial Program of Austin, TX, Inc.
Texas Sesquicentennial Commission.
Texas Wagon Train Association.
Ballet Austin.
Austin (Tex.).
Austin (Tex.)--History.
Austin Sesquicentennial Celebration.
Document Types:
Financial documents.
Printed Materials.
Austin: An Illustrated History.

Related Material

The records of the Commission complement a number of collections already held at AHC, including the Peggy Brown Papers (the papers of a fund-raising chairperson for the Commission), the Austin, Its Architects and Architecture, 1836-1986 Manuscript Records (records related to a project completed for the Sesquicentennial), and the Austin (Tex.) City Council Boards and Commissions Records, which contain a series related to the celebration of the Sesquicentennial of the city of Austin in 1989, planned in part by members of the Commission's leadership. A copy of Austin: An Illustrated History, a text sponsored and promoted by the Commission, is also housed in AHC's library.

  • AR.2009.051 Peggy Brown Papers
  • AR.2009.005 Austin, Its Architects and Architecture, 1836-1986 Manuscript Records
  • A 976.431 HU AA Austin: An Illustrated History

Separated Material

Correspondence containing personal financial information and blank checkbooks were removed from the collection.

Administrative Information

Custodial History

The Records of the City of Austin Sesquicentennial Commission were donated to the Austin History Center (AHC) in multiple accessions by Dr. D. Wylie Jordan, MD and/or other unnamed representatives of the Commission. Dr. Jordan donated approximately half of the current collection to the AHC on November 12, 1986. Additional donations were made in 1986 and 1988. Donation records are missing for the 1988 donation.

Preferred Citation

Austin (Tex.) Boards and Commissions. Austin Sesquicentennial Commission (AR.X.014). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donor #: DO/1985/146

Donation Date: 1986, 1986, 1988.

Processing Information

Initial Inventory and Preliminary Processing By/Date: Tim Wilder/1991 and 1995

Final Processing and Finding Aid By/Date: Mark Cooper and Martha Tenney/2010

Detailed Description of the Collection

Board of Directors, 1983-1986, undated

Box Folder
1 1-2 Meeting minutes and supporting documentation, 1985-1986
7 Board and committee meetings - cassettes, 1985-1986
Box Folder
1 3 Austin Sesquicentennial Community Handbook, 1984
4 Blank board stationary, undated
5 Planning materials, 1983
6 Office of the President-speaking engagements, 1984-1986
7 General correspondence, 1983, 1985
8 Texas Sesquicentennial Commission materials, 1983, 1985-1986
9 Volunteer applications, 1985-1986

General Publicity, 1984-1986, undated

Box Folder
2 1 Sesquicentennial events pamphlets, 1986
2 Sesquicentennial activities slides and photos, 1986, undated
3-5 Newspaper and magazine clippings, 1985-1986
Box Folder
3 1 Mayoral proclamations, 1985-1986
2 Texas Heritage Calendar, 1984, 1986
3 Logo, undated
4 Telepages, 1986
5 Austin: An Illustrated History materials, 1985
6-8 Manuscripts and reviews, 1985-1986, undated
9 Assorted memorabilia (pins, coins, etc.), undated

Fundraising, 1984-1986, undated

Amado Peña Austin Sesquicentennial poster, 1986-1986
Location BoxItem
qAR 05/084-085 2 posters, 1985
Box Folder
4 1-3 Poster sales documentation, 1985-1986
4 Capital Ball, 1986-1986
5 Gifts for Austin, 1984-1986, undated
6 Republic Square, 1984-1985, undated
7 Ambassador program, 1985-1986, undated
8 Promotional products, 1984-1986, undated

Programs and Events, 1983-1986, undated

Box Folder
5 1-2 General events, 1983-1986, undated
3 Sanctioned events, 1985-1986
4 Texas Wagon Train Association, 1983-1986, undated
5 Austin History Center exhibit: Something Made Austin Grow, 1985
6 San Jacinto Day celebration, 1986
7 Guestbook, 1986
Location BoxItem
qAR 010/019 Capital Ball guestbook, 1986

Financial, 1983-1988

Box Folder
6 1 Accountant, 1985-1986, 1988
2 Tax materials, 1983-1987
3 Application for charitable solicitation permit, 1983-1985
4 Bank documents, 1985-1986
5-8 Paid invoices, 1985-1987