Texas Wesleyan Foundation Records
An Inventory to the Collection
The need for a Swedish school of higher learning was expressed at a meeting of Methodist ministers in June, 1907. The idea was discussed at the meeting and a committee was appointed to investigate the idea and call a specific meeting devoted to the question. The committee consisted of Reverend O. E. Olander, Reverend O. F. Lindstrum, and R. T. J. Westerburg. These men called a meeting on August 8, 1907 and the motion to build the school was unanimously adopted. Dr. O. E. Olander was charged as financial agent to find a suitable location and financial backing.
At the next meeting in 1909, Dr. Olander reported that he had purchased the land and secured backing from the businessmen of Austin. Further funds were accrued by subscriptions solicited from interested Swedish Americans. At this meeting the first board of directors was elected.
In 1911, the incorporation papers for the school they named Texas Wesleyan College were filed and the constitution and bylaws drawn. Dr. Olander, who had previously held the property, deeded it to the Board of Trustees on August 31, 1911, citing the disciplinary clause of the Methodist Episcopal Church. This made the property trust under the authority and control of the Board of Education of the Methodist church.
The school opened on January 9, 1912 with an enrollment of 14. The school grew steadily and was able to make improvements in the building and grounds. On May 26, 1931, an offer by the University of Texas to purchase the school property for $135,000 was discussed and they made a resolution directing August Free, the Chairman of the Board to make the sale, reserving for the College the right to hold classes in 1932 and 1933. The sale was made and indebtedness paid off.
Treasurer David G. Carlson was directed to turn over the net proceeds to an educational fund of the Methodist church. This was done, but in 1933 the College requested the return of these funds because they decided to continue the school as long as the University of Texas would allow them to use the building. Also, there was some question of the validity of Dr. Olander's trust clause. If the trust clause was invalid, the property would be the private property of the Board rather than church property. The request for the return was made on July 14, 1933 and the request was submitted to arbitration. The arbitration board found the funds to belong to the College and returned the funds to the Board.
The charter was amended in 1935 to change the name to Texas Wesleyan Academy after the Texas Women's College in Fort Worth, Texas changed its name to Texas Wesleyan College. In June 1936, the Academy lent $100,000 to the College which was in danger of failure. Capitol National Bank of Austin became corporate trustee and David C. Carlson became individual trustee in place of the original Mississippi Valley Trust Co. and Orville Grove.
The doors of the Academy closed at the end of the May term in 1936, but the educational mission remained alive through the scholarship and loan fund begun in 1937.
In 1937 the trust clause again created problems. William J. Davidson, Secretary of the Board of Education of the Methodist Episcopal Church requested that the Academy give over its assets to the new Texas Wesleyan College as a gift. The Academy did assent to loan the college $100,000 to pay off its indebtedness receiving promissory notes as security. The College obtained backing for their contention that the funds from the sale of the Academy's property in 1931 were church funds and due them at the 1939 Southern Conference of the Methodist Church. The Fort Worth College then filed suit against the Academy. The Board of Education of the Methodist Church joined as Intervener.
The Academy's funds were enjoined pending the hearing. The trial took place March 5-11, 1941 with Honorable J. M. Patterson as attorney in charge of the defense assisted by Messrs. Wren and Jeffrey. The judgement was entered in June 1941, directing the Academy to turn all of its assets over to Texas Wesleyan College and cancel the five notes it held against the college. The Academy prepared for appeal, but a compromise was reached in August 1941.
The compromise left the Academy enough to continue their scholarship fund although the loan fund was discontinued due to increasing delinquency. In 1961, when articles of incorporation were up for renewal, the Academy changed its name to the Texas Wesleyan Foundation. The Scholarships to students of Swedish descent continued until 1976, when the Foundation was dissolved.
The records of the Texas Wesleyan Foundation provide a continuous chronicle of the organization's history from 1907 through 1976. The collection contains three series.
The first series, Board of Trustees (1908-1976, undated) contains general correspondence among the Board of Trustees members, correspondence regarding the scholarship and loan fund, and student scholarship applications along with the correspondence that accompanied each applicant's application. Also in this series are minutes from meetings of the Board of Trustees which reflect the school's activities, financial status of the funds, and lists of fund recipients. Also included are legal documents including deeds, deeds of trust, resolutions, contracts, insurance papers, leases, and bonds. Financial documents include ledger books recording subscriptions, cash books, financial correspondence, bonds, Internal Revenue Service forms and correspondence, receipts, annual financial statements, and treasurer's ledgers. Lastly, this series contains articles written by members of the Board of Trustees.
The second series, Texas Wesleyan College (1908-1969, undated), contains surface-level information regarding the school's activities. Included are a grade register, publications distributed by the school, programs from events, and newspaper clippings.
The third series, Attorney files of Honorable J. M. Patterson (1907-1942, undated), represents the legal documents of Patterson who was in charge of the defense in the case about Texas Wesleyan College's claim to the proceeds of the sale of the Texas Wesleyan Academy school site. The correspondence files are separated into correspondence between Patterson and S. J. Callaway, the attorney for the plaintiff Texas Wesleyan College, and correspondence between Paterson and Messrs. Wren and Jeffrey, who assisted in the defense. The reference files contain data on donors and trustees, statistical tables, and materials regarding the Board of Trustees that Patterson collected and used as research and evidence to claim that the Academy's trust clause was invalid and therefore the proceeds of the sale were not property of the church, but property of the Academy. These materials are in Patterson’s original order. The litigation material consists of material from three lawsuits. Cause No. 61568, Texas Wesleyan Academy v. Southern Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church consists of the initial pleading for payment of a small promissory note and the judgement in favor of Texas Wesleyan Academy. Cause No. 62446, Texas Wesleyan Academy v. Texas Wesleyan College, was a suit filed by the Academy in an attempt to take the offensive in their claim to the sale of the Academy's site but it was dismissed in favor of the College. Cause No, 23847-A, Texas Wesleyan College v. Texas Wesleyan Academy, contains the pleadings, injunctions, stipulations, auditor's report, exhibits, evidence files, judgement and appeal, and the transcripts of the case, which report the trial verbatim.
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Texas Wesleyan Foundation Records (AR.R.009). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: unknown
Original finding aid and processing by Leslie Forbis.
Finding aid revisions and encoding by Kendall Newton in 2016.
Detailed Description of the Collection