Austin (Tex.). Boards and Commissions. Austin Sesquicentennial Commission Records
An Inventory of the Collection
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.
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.
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Restrictions on Use
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.
Austin (Tex.) Boards and Commissions. Austin Sesquicentennial Commission (AR.X.014). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/1985/146
Donation Date: 1986, 1986, 1988.
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