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TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview of the Collection

Administrative History

Scope and Contents

Arrangement

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Separated Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

I. Travis Country Historical Commission, 1980-1991

II. Historical Markers, 1962-1992

III. Texas Highway Department, 1929-1991

IV. Travis County Sesquicentennial Committee, 1956-1985

V. Texas Barbed Wire Collectors Association, 1969-1991

VI. Botany, 1970

Austin History Center

James Mulkey Owens, Jr. Papers

An Inventory of the Collection



Overview of the Collection

Creator: Owens, James Mulkey, Jr.
Title: James Mulkey Owens, Jr. Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1956-1992
Bulk Dates: 1980-1991
Abstract: James Mulkey Owens, Jr. was an Austin, Texas resident with a passion for local history and researching, restoring and recording historic landmarks in Travis County and adjoining counties. The collection consists of materials related to his work with the Travis County Historical Commission, Travis County Sesquicentennial Committee, Texas Barbed Wire Collectors Association, Texas Highway Department and researching historical markers from the 1970s through the 1990s.
Identification: AR.1993.038
Quantity: 1.2 linear feet (3 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

Administrative History

James Mulkey Owens, Jr. was born in Grapeland, Texas, on August 13, 1908. He went to work for the Texas Highway Department (now called the Texas Department of Transportation) in 1928, retiring 45 years later as the District Engineer responsible for construction and maintenance of all state traffic ways in the Austin District. In addition to his professional career Owens was dedicated to preserving the history of central Texas by researching, recording and restoring historic landmarks in Travis and adjoining counties. He pursued this goal as a local citizen and as a member of the Travis County Historical Commission. He built a recording devise that allowed him to record all local dedication ceremonies as each state-approved historical marker was dedicated and would create a bound volume that included a transcript of the ceremony, photographs and the research submitted for the historic designation. He was also a member of Kiwanis International, Barbed Wire Collectors Association and was active in the Tarrytown United Methodist Church. Owens' work in the community was recognized and among the many awards and recognitions he received was the Austin Board of Realtors "Most Worthy Citizen" in 1977 and Texas Barbed Wire Collectors Association "Barbarian of the Year" in 1974.

Owens died on January 9, 1993.

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Scope and Contents

The James Mulkey Owens Papers consist of materials related to Owens' work with the Travis County Historical Commission, Travis County Sesquicentennial Committee, Texas Barbed Wire Collectors Association, Texas Highway Department and researching historical markers from the 1970s through the 1990s. The collection is arranged into five series: I. Travis County Historical Commission, II. Historical Marker Information, III. Texas State Highway Department, IV. Travis County Sesquicentennial Committee and V. Texas Barbed Wire Collectors Association.

The Travis County Historical Commission (TCHC) series (1980-1991) includes organizational records such as bylaws and revision suggestions; correspondence written by and to Owens as a member of the Commission; agendas and meeting minutes for regular Commission meetings as well as reports from the TCHC Dedication Committee and the Nominating Committee; and a list and information on proposed historic marker sites. Also included is the materials gathered to submit a nomination of TCHC member Jessie McIlroy to the Texas Women's Hall of Fame and a photograph of TCHC members at the October 2, 1991 HCHC meeting.

The Historical Marker Information series (1962-1992) contains material related to Owens' work identifying, researching and submitting landmarks for consideration for an Official Texas Historical Marker, as well as documenting the dedication ceremony. Booklets containing the transcript of the dedication ceremony, photographs, research materials and newspaper clippings about Travis County historic landmarks were moved to the General Collection but a few files remain in the collection for landmarks that did not get bound or did not get approved for a historical marker. These include the All Saints Episcopal Church, Brackenridge Hospital, Clayton Vocational Institute, The Lohmans Crossing Estates Farm, Manda Community, Threadgills, and Carl Widen. Also included is a bound booklet of Travis County Historical Markers complied by Owens that includes marker text, newspaper clippings and photographs as well as additional loose newspaper clippings and photographs of marker sites.

The Texas Highway Department series (1929-1991) consists of clippings and a scrapbook compiled by Owens titled "Some Highway Department Memories". Included in the scrapbook are photographs and captions depicting Department facilities, equipment, and employees dating from 1929 through the 1960s, and photographs of Burnet County Highway Department employees in 1991.

The Travis County Sesquicentennial Committee series (1956-1985) contains some general Committee administrative materials such as correspondence and minutes and agendas as well as printed materials about planning Sesquicentennial events and photographs of Travis County rural churches. The majority of the series, however, consists of materials related to the Farm & Ranch Life Exhibit Committee that Owens chaired that was responsible for creating an exhibit for the Sesquicentennial celebration. Included are the meeting minutes, agendas, reports, membership lists, correspondence as well as the research materials, text and photographs used for the exhibit.

The Texas Barbed Wire Collectors Association series (1969-1991) contains a paper by Owens titled "Texas Historical Marker Texts Relating to Barbed Wire & The Story of Barbed Wire," a few items of correspondence, and clippings.

Finally, the Botany series (1970) contains photographs and descriptions of various flowers of Texas sent to Owens by Mrs. Morris Faubion.

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Arrangement

Arranged into six series:
I. Travis County Historical Commission
II. Historic Marker Information
III. Texas Highway Department
IV. Travis County Sesquicentennial Committee
V. Texas Barbed Wire Collectors Association
VI. Botany

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Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use

None.

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Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Persons:
Owens, James Mulkey.
Organizations:
Texas Barbed Wire Collectors Association.
Texas. Dept. of Transportation.
Travis County Historical Commission (Tex.).
Travis County Sesquicentennial Committee (Tex.).
Places:
Austin (Tex.)--History.
Travis County (Tex.)--History.
Subjects:
Agriculture--Texas--Travis County.
Historical markers--Texas--Travis County.
Historical markers--Texas--Austin.
Historic sites--Texas--Austin.
Historic sites--Texas--Travis County.
Texas Sesquicentennial Celebration.

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Related Material

General Collection


  • A 976.431 OW Travis County Farm & Ranch Life Committee for Texas Sesquicentennial, 1986
  • A 976.40074 OW 1986 Travis County Historical Marker Texts, 1986
  • In addition there are several books about the history of Travis County bridges and churches written by Owens available

Archives and Manuscripts


  • AR.1994.081 Travis County Historical Commission Records

Austin Files


  • Biography - Owens, James Mulkey
  • AF Subject - Historic Landmarks H1200

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Separated Material

Booklets containing the transcript of the dedication ceremony, photographs, research materials and newspaper clippings about Travis County historic landmarks were moved to the General Collection (housed in file cabinet). Booklets for historic landmarks outside of Travis County were transferred to the Texas Historical Commission.

The audio recordings (91 audio cassette) of the dedication ceremonies were transferred to the Oral History Recording collection. See database for listings for specific landmarks.

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Administrative Information

Custodial History

Donated by the wife and daughter of the creator.

Preferred Citation

James Mulkey Owens Papers (AR.1993.038). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donor #: DO/1970/035

Donation Date: 1993, 1996

Processing Information

Finding aid created and encoded by Molly Hults/2012.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

 

I. Travis Country Historical Commission, 1980-1991

Box Folder
1 1 Organizational records, 1980-1981, undated
2 Correspondence, 1980-1986
3-4 Meeting minutes and agendas, 1980-1986
5 Dedication Committee, 1981-1989
6 Nominating Committee, 1981-1984
7 Proposed marker sites, 1980-1986
8 Smith Texas Women's Hall of Fame nomination, 1948, 1953, 1966-1986
9 Member photograph, 1991

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II. Historical Markers, 1962-1992

Box Folder
1 10 All Saints Episcopal Church, 1975
11 Brackenridge Hospital, 1984
12 Clayton Vocational Institute, 1984
13 J. Frank Dobie House, 1991
14 Lohmans Crossing Estates Farm, 1983-1984
15 Manda Community, 1985
16 Threadgills clippings, 1970-1992
17 Carl Widen, 1988
18 Printed materials, 1962, 1978, 1982-1991
19 Book revisions-Travis County Historical Markers, 1984-1990
Box Folder
2 Historical Markers scrapbook, 1969-1983, undated
1-2 Historical marker clippings, 1971-1991
3 Marker dedication photographs, undated
4 Presentations, undated

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III. Texas Highway Department, 1929-1991

Box Folder
2 5 "Some Highway Department Memories", 1929-1991, undated
6 Clippings, 1984

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IV. Travis County Sesquicentennial Committee, 1956-1985

General Committee materials, 1981-1986
Box Folder
3 1 Correspondence, 1984-1986
2 Meeting minutes and agendas, 1984-1986
3 Printed materials, 1981-1986, undated
4 Rural churches in Travis County photographs, undated
Location ArchivesCollection
Outer Vault Color Negatives drawer Rural churches in Travis County negatives, undated
Farm & Ranch Committee, 1956-1985
Box Folder
3 5 Correspondence, 1985
6 Meeting minutes and agendas, 1985
7 Farm & Ranch Life - essay #1, 1985, undated
8 Farm & Ranch Life - essay #1, 1985, undated
9 Farm & Ranch Life - essay #3, circa 1985
10 Additional essays, 1985, undated
11 Farm & Ranch Life exhibit photographs, undated
Location ArchivesCollection
Outer Vault B&W negatives drawer Exhibit negatives, undated
Box Folder
3 12 Research materials, 1956-1980s, undated

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V. Texas Barbed Wire Collectors Association, 1969-1991

Box Folder
3 13 Correspondence, 1976-1991
14 Printed materials, circa 1980s
15 Clippings, 1969, 1976

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VI. Botany, 1970

Box Folder
3 16 Flowers of Texas, 1970

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