Dan Powell Drawings and Papers
An Inventory of the Collection
Daniel Turner Powell, Jr. was born in Luling, Texas on June 23, 1923. The son of Daniel Turner Powell, Sr. and Jennie Mae Davis Powell, he had one brother, James. He married Maxine Alexander Linn in Austin.
Powell was a captain in the Air Force and served as Navigator for the 416th Night Fighter Squadron in World War II. He was a lifetime member of the Reserve Officers Association of the United States.
Powell studied Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin and was a member of the Delta Tau Delta Fraternity. He owned and operated Daniel Powell Builders in Austin for approximately fifty years, specializing in designing and building custom homes. He was a lifetime member of the Austin Association of Builders. In the 1980s, his projects were mainly focused in northwest Austin and Lakeway, areas experiencing rapid growth. The collection includes homes built in the following neighborhoods: Balcones Park, Barton Hills, Cat Mountain, Canyon View Estates, Lakeland Hills, Lakeside, Mesa Oaks, Mount Bonnell, Onion Creek, Spicewood Summit, Travis Vista, Village of the Hills, and West Lake Hills.
His wife, Maxine Linn Powell, owned Royce Studios, a commercial portrait studio, located on Lavaca Street and, later, Guadalupe in downtown Austin, from the 1940s through her retirement in 1983.
Daniel Turner Powell, Jr. died in Austin on January 5, 2004, at the age of 80. He is buried at Highsmith Cemetery near Luling, Texas with his wife, who died on February 12, 2010 at the age of 99.
The materials in this collection date from 1967 to 1997 and consist primarily of records generated by Powell in the course of residential and commercial building projects in Austin, Travis County, and the surrounding areas. During the 1970s and early 1980s, Austin experienced a development boom, particularly in the subdivisions outside of central Austin. Powell was the designer for many homes in these new areas of growth, including Balcones Park, Barton Hills, Cat Mountain, Canyon View Estates, Lakeland Hills, Lakeside, Mesa Oaks, Mount Bonnell, Onion Creek, Spicewood Summit, Travis Vista, Village of the Hills, and West Lake Hills.
The documents consist primarily of project files containing financial summaries, building permits, change orders, contracts with clients and contractors, correspondence, sketches, photographs, negatives, and occasional job bids. There are also several notebooks with details about prospective projects, correspondence and sketches filed and stapled within them. Other materials include newspaper clippings, an address book, legal documents regarding a lawsuit, and correspondence unrelated to projects. In addition, the Dan Powell collection includes hundreds of architectural drawings.
The Office Files series (1980-1994, undated) makes up the smallest portion of this collection. The material in this series consists of an address book, legal documents regarding a lawsuit, newspaper clippings and correspondence. The correspondence related to specific projects comes from two customers, Frank W. Mayborn and William J. Hudspeth, while correspondence unrelated to specific projects includes a letter from Senator John Tower and a receipt for an oriental rug from Hong Kong.
The Prospects series (1967-1993) consists of ten notebooks organized chronologically by year with information pertaining to potential projects, names and addresses of clients, sketches, preliminary project lists, and related correspondence. The information in these notebooks provides evidence of Powell's day-to-day operations as a designer and builder of residential homes and commercial buildings. He was consistently making connections and jotting down ideas and plans for potential projects. Some of the names jotted down in these notebooks later end up with complete project files of their own.
The Project Files series (1973-1997) makes up the largest and most significant portion of the manuscript materials in the collection. The material in this series consists of financial summaries, correspondence with clients and contractors, sketches, and other printed material related to the construction of these homes. The files are arranged alphabetically by client last name. Addresses, where known, are included with file titles. Many clients commissioned him for more than one project. Included among his top clients were Norman Hackerman, former president of the University of Texas at Austin and Rice University, and his wife Gene. Some of the project files contain negatives that were removed for preservation purposes and will be stored according to accession number and file name in the Outer Vault. Photograph prints will remain in the project files in which they were originally filed.
The Drawings series (circa 1970s-1990s) includes hundreds of sets of architectural drawings. These materials have not been processed as of yet.
The Photographs series (1987-1996, undated) consists of negatives and prints related to Powell's projects. They provide evidence of both the process and in some cases the finished product of the homes Powell built. Additionally, seemingly random shots, including photos of people and dogs, occur within the rolls. The photographs have been divided into three distinct groups. The first group is arranged chronologically by date, the second group alphabetically by project name, and the final group consists of all the unidentified and undated negatives and prints.
Restrictions on Access
Open to all users.
Restrictions on Use
Items donated by a family member.
Dan Powell Drawings and Papers (AR. 2011.017). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/2011/017
Donation Date: 2011
Due to deteriorating condition, project file folders were photocopied when Powell's handwritten notes were present. Materials not pertaining to the historical record of the construction process were deaccessioned.
Final Processing and Finding Aid By: Emily Bulger, Sydney Gulbronson, and Anne Kofmehl/2012.
Detailed Description of the Collection