Grover Simpson Papers
An Inventory of the Collection
Grover Simpson (1918- 1985) was a game warden for the state of Texas for 34 years, serving primarily in Travis County and the surrounding area. Simpson was born in McKenzie, Tennessee but was sent to an orphanage in Waco, Texas after his father's death in 1930. After attending the North Texas State Teachers' College in Denton, then serving in the National Guard, attending the National School of Business, and a few months at Baylor University studying chemistry, Simpson was accepted into the four-month game warden program at Texas A & M University. Simpson became game warden on June 1, 1948. He was responsible for Travis County and the surrounding counties of Bastrop, Hays and Williamson. He also had secondary responsibility for Blanco, Burnet and Llano counties.
Simpson was an employee of the Game, Fish and Oyster Commission, which was renamed the Game and Fish Commission in 1951, and merged with the State Parks Department in 1968 to become the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. At this time his duties were defined as "enforcing statutes covering all game, fish, pollution, shell and gravel and fur bearing laws of the state" and enforcing such nongame statutes such as the Texas Water Safety Act; prohibiting shooting from the road and trespassing; disseminating information about wildlife and fish conservation; performing game census counts; assisting in the statewide water sampling program; rescuing drowning victims and helping prevent boating and hunting accidents.
His position as a public figure meant that he was often in the news, usually as the arresting officer in cases of poaching, but also in his capacity as an educator for adults and children on the subject of wildlife and fish conservation. Simpson encountered several notable figures of his time, ticketing Lyndon Johnson in 1956 for shooting doves illegally, and citing Charles Whitman in 1963 for unlawful possession of a deer. Simpson also wrote articles for Texas Game and Fish and The Texas Game Warden.
Simpson had health problems throughout his working life, stemming mostly from contracting tuberculosis while in the National Guard and resulting in repeated hospitalizations. He suffered from a serious hemorrhage in 1957 that led to a statewide appeal for blood and resulted in a flood of public sympathy and donations.
He worked closely with area landowners, helping to establish the Hays-Travis County Game Protective Association. Through the development of such relationships, Simpson had many powerful friends to lobby for his continued station within Travis County when his superiors wanted to move him to Johnson County in 1962. Frank McBee, who was a justice of the peace and later a judge, was an ally and good friend. Honors awarded to Simpson include a Simple Resolution 316 passed in the Texas House of Representatives in 1965 for 17 years of service, the Most Worthy Citizen Award for the year 1961, and the Shikar Safari Award in 1976.
Simpson's work entailed risks. He was charged with assault in 1957 for the shooting of a fleeing suspect, although the jury ultimately deadlocked. He also sustained injuries as a result of his work, including a black widow spider bite (1955) and a pellet-gun shot to the face (1957).
Simpson's family included his wife Melba, who passed away in 1971, and two children, David (Bubba) and Sharon. Grover Simpson passed away in 1985 due to illness.
The Grover Simpson Papers at 4 linear feet span the years of 1932-1993. The Papers primarily contain journals, photographs, reports, letters, news clippings, and awards that reveal the daily activities of Grover Simpson during his work as game warden for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. Papers assembled by his daughter, Sharon Simpson Anderson, are compiled as draft material for a book about Grover Simpson.
The papers are arranged in two series, Grover Simpson and Sharon Simpson Anderson. The first series, Grover Simpson (1937-1986, 2.4 linear ft), is divided into two subseries, Professional and Personal. The Professional (ca. 1940s-1986) subseries reflects Simpson's career as a game warden from the late 1940s through several years after his retirement in 1982. Further divisions are made according to format or activity: Journals and Address Book, 1949-1982; Fieldwork, 1948-1973; Game Warden Training, 1948-1980; Educational, undated; Creative Works, 1948-1986; Credentials and Recognition, 1948-1986 and undated; Scrapbooks, 1948-1980 and undated; Photographs, 1948-1985; and Assorted, 1974-1979.
Grover Simpson's daily activities and fieldwork are illuminated by his journals, incident briefs, disposition reports and photographs. His role as an educator is documented by a speech to children ("Kids, Kwestions, Konservation," undated), along with photographs and letters. His own education is recorded in his notes from game warden school (1948). Creative Works (1963-1986) illustrates his wildlife expertise and records incidents of interest. Local wildlife information also appears in Simpson's school notebook and pamphlets, clippings, and photographs. Credentials and Recognition contains newspaper clippings, letters, certificates and other documentation of tributes to Simpson's career, including material related to his retirement. The scrapbooks include one large bound book and one folder containing pages that were removed from a binder. Both scrapbooks primarily contain newspaper clippings featuring or mentioning Grover Simpson, as well as clippings that are about hunting and wildlife subjects.
The Personal subseries (1937-1985) contains Simpson's high school diploma, an appointment from the National Guard, army discharge records and correspondence. Also included is material devoted to the funerals of Grover Simpson and his wife Melba.
The majority of the Sharon Simpson Anderson series (1932-1984, 0.8 linear ft) is divided in two subseries, Grover Simpson Book Project (1932-1984) and Personal (1985-1993). The Grover Simpson Book Project subseries (1932-1984) in turn is divided into Book Draft Material (1932-1984 ) and Reference Material (1961-1989, undated).
The Book Draft Material is predominately comprised of chronological draft material. This material was stored by Sharon in two binders, organized by time period and demarcated into chapters (e.g., "1962, transfer"), and her order is preserved. Chronological Draft Material consists of newspaper clippings; photocopies of photographs; transcripts of interviews that took place in 1983-1984, largely with Grover Simpson; handwritten and typed notes; photocopied personnel records; and pieces of Sharon Simpson Anderson's book about her father, covering the years 1918 through 1948. The material form types are not consistently distributed through all sections: Grover's early life is mainly represented in interview transcripts, while the last decades of his career are addressed mostly through duplications of personnel records. Incidents publicized in the media are well documented while records of his family life rarely appear. The records do not indicate how Sharon selected the material for inclusion into the binders.
Most of the items in the Sharon Simpson Anderson series are duplicates or notes derived from material within the Grover Simpson series, notably his game warden notebook, case reports and journals. She ordered the material for use in writing the book about her father and the organization of each unit of material reflects this purpose. Prewriting (1955-1984) consists of topical research, notes about the overall structure of the book, and writers' reference works. Topical material is grouped by subjects that recur in Grover Simpson's career, such as pollution, types of wild animals, drownings, and a list of his hospitalizations, and is largely culled directly from his papers rather than outside sources. Indexed Research Notes (undated) is similarly organized, and was apparently intended as a way for Sharon to cross-reference dates and names in different types of material such as the game warden journals and the interview transcripts. Sharon Simpson Anderson's material is detailed and exhaustive about specific episodes while the funeral material and the creative works about Grover Simpson, both found in his series of the papers, provide context to this biographical material.
Restrictions on Access
Open to all users.
Restrictions on Use
Donated by Sharon A. and David B. Simpson on July 25, 2006. Additional materials donated by David B. Simpson on August 12, 2010.
Grover Simpson Papers (AR.2006.026). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/2006/062
Donation Date: 2006, 2010
Processing and Finding Aid by: Liza Banks, Nick Homenda, Martha Horan/2008. Finding aid revised and encoded by Ashley Adair/2011.
Detailed Description of the Collection