Austin History Center

Becker Family Papers

An Inventory of the Collection

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Becker family
Title: Becker Family Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1904-1967
Bulk Dates: 1920-1960
Abstract: Herman Becker founded the Becker Lumber Company in 1913 on Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas. In addition to milling and selling lumber the Becker Lumber Company financed and facilitated the building of homes for customers. The collection contains real estate transaction documents related to the building of homes and land sales, as well as materials related to the operations of the Becker Lumber Company.
Identification: AR.2011.015
Quantity: 2 linear feet (6 boxes)
Location: Archives Stacks
Language: The records are in English.
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, 810 Guadalupe, PO BOX 2287, Austin, TX 78768

Biographical Note

Hermann Becker was born in Germany circa 1860 and immigrated to the United States in 1884. His wife Pauline Becker was also born in Germany and she immigrated in 1887. The couple had four children: Hermine, Bertha, Herman E., and Theodor. Before opening Becker Lumber Company in 1913 Hermann owned a restaurant on E. 6th Street. In addition to running a restaurant and a lumber yard Hermann was an early real estate developer that bought and sold property in Austin and Travis County. In 1929 Hermann acquired the property at 308 E. 4th Street in which William S. Porter (O. Henry) lived with his wife and daughter from 1893 to 1895. Becker was an acquaintance and admirer of Porter and donated the house to the Rotary Club, which on January 23, 1934, donated it to the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, and the Daughters of 1812. The women in turn gave the house to the city of Austin on January 25, 1934, after the city council and Mayor Tom Miller agreed to accept the structure and turn it into a museum. Labor and materials for the restoration were donated by the Hermann Becker family as a memorial for their father, who had died the year before.

When Hermann died in 1933 he left the business and property assets (initially in a trust until the death of Pauline in 1950) to his children and designated that his son Herman E. Becker would continue to manage the lumber company and property. The husband's of the daughters, Paul Wilde (Hermine) and August Haenel (Bertha), along with Herman E. and Theodor had to agree about the sale of any property held by the Estate of Hermann Becker. The family donated 3 acres of Herman Becker's estate to the Austin Independent School District for a new school site and the Becker Elementary School was opened in 1936. The partnership between the siblings under the firm name Becker Lumber Company was dissolved by mutual consent in the early 1960s and the lumberyard was closed.

Scope and Contents

The collection is primarily composed of legal records related to real estate transactions and homes financed by Becker Lumber Company as well as Lumber Company business records. As Hermann Becker was the sole owner of Becker Lumber Company there is not always a distinct line between personal and Becker Lumber Company transactions. After his death the blurred line between personal and company records remained as his children were acting in the capacity of Executors and Trustees of the Estate of Hermann Becker.

The Real Estate Transaction Records series (1904-1965) contains Contracts of Sale, Warranty Deeds, Administrator Deeds, Transfers, Mechanics Liens, correspondence concerning real estate, financial records, plat maps, lease agreements and title searches for real property in Austin and Travis County. These materials were bundled together by the legal description of the property. Various types of transactions are represented from the buying and selling of property to contracts to finance and build homes. The Becker Lumber Company Legal Documents series (1914-1967) includes documents from customers stating that their residences have been completed to plan and specifications; Abstracts of Judgment; assorted Agreements and Mechanics Liens; and a Resolution of the Planing Mill Men's Association of Austin, Texas. Contractor invoices and bills of sale dating from 1930 to 1955 make up the Becker Lumber Company Business Records series. The Becker Lumber Company Financial Records series (1918-1961) contains Becker Lumber Company correspondence and deposit slips to and from the Gibraltar Savings & Building Association as well as assorted notes pertaining to the values of various properties. The Correspondence series (1911-1966) consists of correspondence with lawyers and customers. And lastly, the Estate Records series (1931-1937, 1950, 1961) included the legal documentation about the estate of Hermann Becker as well as legal records and correspondence related to the Estate of Agnes Ebner and the Estate of Albin Pils of which Hermann Becker and his son-in-law Paul A. Wilde were the Executors. Of interest in the Estate of Agnes Ebner materials is correspondence between Wilde and the person leasing the Ebner farm about whether he should join the 1934-35 Cotton Adjustment Program and reduce the amount of cotton he was planting. Also discussed are the prices of other crops such as corn.


Arranged into series:
I. Real Estate Transaction Records
II. Becker Lumber Company Legal Documents
III. Becker Lumber Company Business Records
IV. Becker Lumber Company Financial Records
V. Correspondence
VI. Estate Records


Restrictions on Access

Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use


Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Becker, Hermann.
Becker, Herman E.
Becker, Theodor.
Becker, Pauline.
Ebner, Agnes.
Haenel, August.
Haenel, Bertha.
Pils, Albin.
Wilde, Hermine Frieda.
Wilde, Paul A.
Wunneburger, W. H.
Austin Development Company.
Becker Lumber Company.
Gibraltar Savings & Building Association.
Planing Mill Mens Association of Austin, Texas.
Austin (Tex.)
Buena Vista Addition.
Isaac Decker League.
Fairgrounds Addition.
Grandview Addition.
D. C. Pace Addition.
Grooms Addition.
Highway Addition.
Hofheinz Subdivision.
Live Oak Subdivision.
Manor Hill Addition,
Original City.
Division B.
Division D.
Division O.
Penn Park Addition.
Plaza Place.
Sherwood Oaks.
Travis Heights.
Walling Place.
Land titles--Texas--Austin.
Real estate development--Texas--Austin.
Real property--Austin (Tex.).

Related Material

AF Biography-Becker, Hermann

AF Biography-Wilde, Rudolph

AF Subject-Lumberyards--Becker Lumber Company L3600(2)

Separated Material

Various Abstracts of Title were separated to the Abstracts of Title Collection (AR.1991.015)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Becker Family Papers (AR.2011.015). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donor #: DO/1976/074

Donation Date: 2000

Processing Information

Finding aid created and encoded by Molly Hults/2011.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Real Estate Transaction Records, 1904-1965

Box Folder
1 1 Lot 3 & 4, Desha Bunton Subdivision, Isaac Decker League, 1937-1962
2 "Brackenridge Tract", 3 acres Isaac Decker League, 1926-1932
3-4 Isaac Decker League (East Oltorf Street), 1954-1962
5 Lot 12, Block 8, Grandview Addition, 1920-1935
6 Lot 8 & 9, Block 1, Grooms Addition, 1931-1935
7 Various lots, Live Oak Grove Subdivision, Isaac Decker League, 1929-1962
8 Manor Hill Addition, 1950-1953
Box Folder
2 1 Lot 5 & 6, Block 42, Original City (Congress & 5th), 1904, 1911-1912, 1937, 1946
2 Lot 4, Block 43, Original City (Kreisle Building), 1919-1920
3-5 Block 180, Original City (87-97 Congress Ave.), 1913-1933, 1951-1952
6 Lots 5 & 6, Block 181, Original City (208-210 Willow St.), 1952
7-9 Lots 10-12, Block 181, Original City (200 block E. 1st St.), 1921-1961
10 Lots 4-6, Block 182, Original City, 1927-1965
Box Folder
3 1 Lot 12, Hofheinz Subdivision, Block 1, Outlot 45, Division B, 1927
2 Block 4, Outlot 46, Division B, 1919-1947
3 Lots 39-41, Outlot 55, Division B (L. C. Anderson property), 1932-1942
4 Lot 5, Block 17, Christian & Fellman Addition, Division C (2132 East Ave.), 1934-1947
5 Lots 10 & 11, Washington Square Subdivision, Outlot 72, Division D, Original City, 1927
6 Outlot 72, Division D, Original City, 1930-1931
7 Lots 6-7, Block 1, Pickle Subdivision, Outlot, 8, Division O, 1946-1950
8 Outlot 7, Division O (corner Chicon & 3rd St.), 1954-1956
9 Lots 18 & D. C. Pace Addition, Outlot 12, Division O, 1956-1963
10 Lots 8-9, Block 5, Fairgrounds Subdivision, Outlots 23 &, Division O, 1951
11-12 Highway Addition, Outlots 27 &, Division O, 1910-1939
Box Folder
4 1 Lot 16, Block 4, Buena Vista Addition, Outlot 9, Division O, 1928-1931
2 Lots 15-18, Block 5, Penn Park Addition, 1922-1929
3 Lot 8, Block L, Plaza Place, 1947
4 Lots 25-26, Sherwood Oaks, 1951-1963
5 Lot 11, Block 1, Travis Heights, 1925
6 Block 35-37, Walling Place, 1938-1940
7-8 Copies of Transfers, Assignments, Conveyances, 1928-1935
9 Oil and gas leases, Colorado Company, 1934-1960
10 5303 Grover Ave lease, 1960

II. Becker Lumber Company Legal Documents, 1914-1967

Box Folder
4 11 Assorted Agreements, Mechanics Liens, Transfers, 1914-1940
12 Acceptances (completed homes), 1921-1967
13 Abstracts of Judgment, 1926-1954
Box Folder
5 1 Planing Mill Mens Association, 1919

III. Becker Lumber Company Business Records, 1930-1955

Box Folder
5 2 M. L. Pearson contractor invoices, 1930
3-4 Assorted contractor invoices, 1948-1955
5 Bills of sale, 1935-1939, 1955

IV. Becker Lumber Company Financial Records, 1918-1961

Box Folder
5 6 Gibraltar Savings & Building Association, 1926-1930
7 Assorted financial records, 1918-1924, 1954-1961

V. Correspondence, 1911-1966

Box Folder
5 8 Correspondence, 1911-1966

VI. Estate Records, 1931-1938, 1950, 1961

Box Folder
5 9 Hermann Becker Estate, 1938, 1950, 1961
10-11 Agnes Ebner Estate, 1932-1936
Box Folder
6 1-3 Albin Pils Estate, 1931-1937