Woodson Research Center, Rice University

Guide to Walter W. and Ella F. Fondren Papers, 1838-1973



Descriptive Summary

Title: Walter W. and Ella F. Fondren Papers,
Dates: 1838-1973
Abstract: The Fondren Papers provide a record of the Fondren family's acquisition and dispersal of money in Houston and across Texas during the first three-quarters of this century and offers additional information on the financial workings of several well-known institutions and corporations. Formats include correspondence and financial documents.
Identification: MS 390
Extent: 7.75 Cubic Feet
Repository: Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University, Houston, TX

Biographical Note

Walter W. Fondren was born in 1877 in Tennessee, the son of a farmer, who moved the family to Arkansas in 1883. Orphaned at the age of nine or ten, W. W. Fondren began working on farms in Arkansas and Texas. Then in 1897 he worked as a helper on a drilling rig at Corsicana, Texas, developing rapidly and becoming an independent driller during the first decade of this century. While he was working at Corsicana, he met and married Ella F. Cochrum.

Born at Hazel, Kentucky, Ella Cochrum was in her mid teens when her father died, making it necessary for her to quit school to care for her sister and five brothers. She and Walter Fondren were married on Valentine's Day, 1904 in Corsicana, and soon thereafter moved to Houston, where a son and two daughters were born to them and where they lived for the remainder of their lives.

Mr. Fondren was elected a director of the Humble Oil Company, then controlled mostly by Ross. S. Sterling, in 1912. In 1917 the Humble Oil and Refining Company was formed, and Walter Fondren was elected vice president. He assumed responsibility for drilling on the Gulf coast when Humble was affiliated with Jersey Standard in 1919. When W. S. Farish was elected Jersey director (1933), while retaining the Humble presidency, W. W. Fondren retired. After several years of heart trouble, he died suddenly early in 1939.

The Fondren's interest in aiding worthy institutions led to the establishment of the Fondren Foundation in 1948 to manage the resources of an estate valued at over thirty-three million dollars at the time of Mr. Fondren's death. Prominent among the recipients of this generosity have been St. Paul's Methodist Church, Methodist Hospital, Methodist Homes for Older People and the YMCA, all in Houston and Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Mrs. Fondren's concern with health care and the training of nurses led her to charter the Texas Association of Hospital Auxiliaries in 1943. Over the years she also provided money for scholarships and awards for nursing students. At the time of her death in 1982, Ella F. Fondren had devoted much of this century to local philanthropy.


Scope and Contents

Walter W. Fondren performed a conspicuous part in the development of the petroleum industry in Texas. The considerable wealth generated by his success in this field was later, through the agency of Ella F. Fondren and the Fondren Foundation, made available to several civic, religious, and educational organizations, predominately in Texas. The Fondren Papers, occupying approximately 7.75 cubic feet, provide a record of the Fondrens's acquisition and dispersal of money during the first three-quarters of this century and offers additional information on the financial workings of several well-known institutions and corporations.

The Fondren Papers comprise fourteen Hollinger boxes that include passbooks, ledgers, and other financial records. Books in a tin deed box (ca. 1890-1910) labeled with W. W. Fondren's card were reboxed but the box was retained. Constituted almost completely by correspondence and documents concerning financial matters, the collection is arranged in a single alphabet, the papers in each folder being further arranged in chronological order.


Restrictions

Access Restrictions

This material is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from the Fondren Papers must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.

The original instructions regarding the use of the Fondren Papers was governed by an Agreement dated February 23, 1984, which remained in force until February 24, 1999 and required researchers to sign the "Fondren Collection Agreement" form.


Index Terms:

Subjects (Organizations)
Humble Oil and Refining Company (Incorporated in Tex.)
William M. Rice Institute.
Fondren Library.
Houston YMCA (Houston, Tex.)
St. Paul's Methodist Church (Houston, Tex.)
Methodist Hospital (Houston, Tex.)
Southern Methodist University.
Subjects
Methodist universities and colleges--Texas.
Universities and colleges--Texas.
Academic libraries--Texas.
Young Men's Christian associations--Texas.
Methodist Church--Texas.
Hospitals--Texas.
Charities--Texas.
Petroleum industry and trade--Texas.
Real property--Texas.
Farms--Texas.
Ranches--Texas.
Houston (Tex.)--Education--Universities and colleges.
Texas--Education--Universities and colleges.
Dallas (Tex.)--Education--Universities and colleges.
Houston (Tex.)--Libraries.
Texas--Libraries.
Houston (Tex.)--Societies, etc.--YMCAs-YWCAs.
Texas--Societies, etc.--YMCAs-YWCAs.
Houston (Tex.)--Churches and religious affairs--Methodist.
Texas--Churches and religious affairs--Methodist.
Houston (Tex.)--Medical affairs--Hospitals, sanatoriums, etc.
Texas--Medical affairs--Hospitals, sanatoriums, etc.
Houston (Tex.)--Charitable and social work.
Texas--Charitable and social work.
Houston (Tex.)--Business, industries, and trades--Petroleum.
Texas--Business, industries, and trades--Petroleum.
Texas--Land.
Texas--Agriculture.
Subjects (Correspondents)
Fondren, Ella F., 1881?-1982.
Formats
Bankbooks.
Correspondence.

Related Material

Fondren Family Collection, MS 340, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Walter W. and Ella F. Fondren Papers, 1838-1973, MS 390, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University

Acquisition Information

The Fondren Papers were given by Doris Ledwidge Fondren, the Fondren's daughter-in-law, on October 13, 1983. A second lot of papers was given by Mrs. W. W. Fondren III on December 15, 1988, and integrated into the papers processed in 1986.

Processing Information

Processed by Tony Narkin 1986, 1988-89.


Detailed Description of the Collection

 
Box Folder
1 1 A: miscellaneous correspondence, 1931-1967



 
Box Folder
1 2 Abstracts of title, 1899-1909



 
Box Folder
1 3 Abstracts of title, 1910-1911



 
Box Folder
1 4 Abstracts of title, 1911-1919



 
Box Folder
1 5 Abstracts of title, 1928-1931



 
Box Folder
2 1 Abstracts of title, 1932-1933



 
Box Folder
2 2 Abstracts of title, 1933-1936



 
Box Folder
2 3 Abstracts of title, 1949



 
Box Folder
2 4 Abstracts of title, 1949



 
Box Folder
2 5 Allday, Edwin: correspondence, deeds, titles, 1956-1963



 
Box Folder
3 1 B: miscellaneous correspondence, deeds, titles, stock certificates, accounts, 1903-1965



 
Box Folder
3 2 Barrett, C. E.: land titles, deeds, 1901-1908



 
Box Folder
3 3 Baytown Hardware Company: correspondence, accounts, 1948-1956



 
Box Folder
3 4 Brahman cattle inquiries: correspondence, 1945-1965



 
Box Folder
3 5 C: miscellaneous correspondence, 1913-1972



 
Box Folder
3 6 Christian Rural Overseas Program [CROP]: correspondence, brochure, photos, 1957-1959



 
Box Folder
3 7 Commerce Street [2301-2307] property, Houston, Texas: correspondence, titles, notes, 1930-1972



 
Box Folder
3 8 Curiosities [n. d.]



 
Box Folder
4 1 D: miscellaneous correspondence, deeds, titles, stock certificates, 1910-1965



 
Box Folder
4 2 Davis Hill Oil Company: correspondence, maps, 1935-1953



 
Box Folder
4 3 E: miscellaneous correspondence, 1930-1946



 
Box Folder
4 4 Edwards Family land deal: titles, legal testimony, correspondence, 1887-1929



 
Box Folder
4 5 F: miscellaneous correspondence, deeds, titles, 1930-1962



 
Box Folder
4 6 Farm accounts and correspondence, 1940-1965



 
Box Folder
4 7 Fondren, A. L.: correspondence, accounts, notes, 1926-1936



 
Box Folder
4 8 Fondren, E. F.: will, 1939-1956



 
Box Folder
4 9 Fondren, W. W.: will and estate, 1925-1942



 
Box Folder
4 10 Fondren Foundation: correspondence, charters, 1955-1967



 
Box Folder
4 11 Fondren Lectures, Southern Methodist University: correspondence, 1927-1931



 
Box Folder
4 12 Fondren Oil Company: correspondence, accounts, 1907-1940



 
Box Folder
5 1 Fondren Scholarship Fund, Southern Methodist University: correspondence, 1927-1948



 
Box Folder
5 2 Fondren Trust [no. 1]: correspondence, charters, 1928-1944



 
Box Folder
5 3 Forest Park Cemetery: correspondence, deeds, plans, photos, 1939-1961



 
Box Folder
5 4 G: miscellaneous correspondence, deeds, titles, 1918-1969



 
Box Folder
5 5 General Hospital Board, Methodist Hospitals: correspondence, 1931-1942



 
Box Folder
5 6 Gibraltar Savings and Building Association, Houston, Texas: correspondence, 1931-1938



 
Box Folder
5 7 Green's Bayou, Harris County, Texas property: county survey deeds, titles, 1838-1904



 
Box Folder
5 8 Gulf Coast Gross Production Reports, 1923, 1927



 
Box Folder
5 9 Gulf Oil Corporation: correspondence, 1943-1968



 
Box Folder
5 10 H: miscellaneous correspondence, deeds, titles, 1919-1971



 
Box Folder
5 11 Hammett Oil Company: correspondence, 1924-1928



 
Box Folder
6 1 Harris County, Texas. Grand Jury report, (November term, 1927):1928



 
Box Folder
6 2 Harris County Flood Control District: correspondence, maps, 1958-1963



 
Box Folder
6 3 Houston District Board of Missions and Church Extension: correspondence, 1937-1938



 
Box Folder
6 4 Houston Lighting and Power Company: correspondence, maps, deeds, 1939-1962



 
Box Folder
6 5 Hubbard, Ida Cochrum and Mary Ida: Humble Oil Stocks: correspondence, accounts, 1939-1964



 
Box Folder
6 6 Humble Field: titles, deeds, 1902-1966



 
Box Folder
6 7 Humble Oil and Refining Company: correspondence, deeds, 1914-1971



 
Box Folder
6 8 Humble Oil and Refining Company: Report on the Power Supply for the East Texas Field, 1931



 
Box Folder
6 9 Humble Oil and Refining Company: Valuation … as of charts January 5, 1939:



 
Box Folder
7 1 Humble Oil and Refining Company: Valuation … as of narrative and exhibits January 5, 1939:



 
Box Folder
7 2 I: miscellaneous correspondence, 1939, 1961



 
Box Folder
7 3 Income tax reports, 1922-1940



 
Box Folder
7 4 Jackson, J. C.: correspondence, titles, deeds, 1943, 1948



 
Box Folder
7 5 Joint Educational Commission, Methodist Schools: correspondence, 1933-1937



 
Box Folder
7 6 Jones, Jesse H.: correspondence bond, 1923, 1931



 
Box Folder
7 7 K: miscellaneous correspondence, 1930-1962



 
Box Folder
7 8 L: miscellaneous correspondence, 1922-1964



 
Box Folder
7 9 Lynd, J. H.: correspondence, 1936-1938



 
Box Folder
7 10 M: miscellaneous correspondence, titles, deeds, 1906-1971



 
Box Folder
8 1 Methodist Brotherhood: correspondence, 1937-1962



 
Box Folder
8 2 Methodist Conferences: correspondence, 1934-1938



 
Box Folder
8 3 Methodist Home, Waco, Texas: correspondence, 1943-1966



 
Box Folder
8 4 Methodist Homes for Older People, Houston, Texas: correspondence, maps, easement, deeds, 1962-1964



 
Box Folder
8 5 Methodist Hospital, Houston, Texas: deeds, titles, statements, correspondence, 1926-1969



 
Box Folder
8 6 Montrose Blvd. [3410], Houston, Texas: correspondence, deeds, accounts, clippings, 1911-1965



 
Box Folder
8 7 Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas: correspondence, 1926-1932



 
Box Folder
8 8 N: miscellaneous correspondence, 1926-1958



 
Box Folder
8 9 National Bank of Commerce, Houston, Texas: correspondence, 1926-1943



 
Box Folder
9 1 O: miscellaneous correspondence, 1913-1957



 
Box Folder
9 2 Oil Companies, minor, 1902-1943



 
Box Folder
9 3 Oklahoma tax records, 1922-1939



 
Box Folder
9 4 P: miscellaneous correspondence, 1903-1973



 
Box Folder
9 5 Pano Tech Exploration Corporation: correspondence, 1955-1967



 
Box Folder
9 6 Patents and correspondence concerning W. W. Fondren inventions, 1918-1927



 
Box Folder
9 7 Q: miscellaneous correspondence, 1938



 
Box Folder
9 8 R: miscellaneous correspondence, titles, deeds, 1906-1971



 
Box Folder
9 9 Rice Institute, Houston, Texas: athletic tickets, correspondence, 1926-1951



 
Box Folder
10 1 Rice Institute, Houston, Texas: Fondren Library: correspondence, plans, 1946-1949



 
Box Folder
10 2 River Oaks Country Club, Houston, Texas: correspondence, 1927-1937



 
Box Folder
10 3 S: miscellaneous correspondence, deeds, bonds, stock certificates, 1906-1972



 
Box Folder
10 4 Saint Paul's Methodist Church, Houston, Texas: correspondence, accounts, 1922-1968



 
Box Folder
10 5 San Jacinto Trust Company, Houston, Texas: correspondence, 1929-1940



 
Box Folder
10 6 Scarritt College for Christian Workers, Nashville, Tennessee: correspondence, 1942-1950



 
Box Folder
10 7 Seaboard Life Insurance Company, Houston, Texas: correspondence, 1925-1931



 
Box Folder
10 8 Smith, A. Frank, Bishop: correspondence, accounts, 1931-1937



 
Box Folder
10 9 Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas: correspondence, deeds, titles, accounts, 1919-1970



 
Box Folder
11 1 Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas: Fondren Library: correspondence, deeds, titles, 1935-1970



 
Box Folder
11 2 Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas: Fondren Science Building: deeds, titles, correspondence, 1946-1953



 
Box Folder
11 3 Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas: Kirby Fig Farm, Algoa, Texas: correspondence, 1926-1937



 
Box Folder
11 4 Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas: correspondence, 1926-1952



 
Box Folder
11 5 Sparkman, Lizzie and F. L.: deeds, titles, correspondence, 1912-1939



 
Box Folder
11 6 Standard Oil Company: correspondence, 1920-1923



 
Box Folder
11 7 State Building and Loan Association: deeds, titles, accounts, correspondence, 1923-1936



 
Box Folder
11 8 Sterett, Camp: correspondence, 1921-1934



 
Box Folder
11 9 T: miscellaneous correspondence, deeds, titles, 1909-1973



 
Box Folder
12 1 Tabb's Bay Oil Company, Houston, Texas: correspondence, 1938-1958



 
Box Folder
12 2 Tax receipts (State, county, city): 1907-1939



 
Box Folder
12 3 Texaco: correspondence, 1921-1972



 
Box Folder
12 4 Texas A & M College: correspondence, deeds, titles, 1951-1955



 
Box Folder
12 5 Texas Hotel Supply Company, Houston, Texas: correspondence, stock certificates, 1928-1933



 
Box Folder
12 6 Texas Methodist Foundation: correspondence, 1937-1938



 
Box Folder
12 7 Tidewater Oil Company, Houston, Texas: correspondence, 1923-1938



 
Box Folder
12 8 Trammell, A., H. L. and W. B.: deeds, correspondence, 1921-1937



 
Box Folder
12 9 U: miscellaneous correspondence, 1924-1938



 
Box Folder
12 10 University of Houston: correspondence, 1954-1967



 
Box Folder
12 11 V: miscellaneous correspondence, 1923-1971



 
Box Folder
12 12 W: miscellaneous correspondence, volt meter disc, deed, 1925-1964



 
Box Folder
12 13 Westmoreland Ave. [401], Houston, Texas: construction contract, builder's account, views, 1905



 
Box Folder
12 14 YMCA, Houston, Texas: correspondence, photos, accounts, 1921-1943



 
Box
13 Unfoldered items:



 
Box
13 Bank Book: The National Bank of Commerce, Houston, Texas [W. W. Fondren], 1918-1939



 
Box
13 Bank Book (record of payments): The Union National Bank, Houston, Texas [W. W. Fondren], 1913-1923



 
Box
13 Cash Book [W. W. Fondren], 1925



 
Box
13 Cash Book, 1926-28



 
Box
13 Journal [W. W. Fondren], 1929-1938



 
Box
13 S. E. Ledger [W. W. Fondren] 1917-1922



 
Box
13 S. [E.] Ledger [ "Mr. Fondren's Personal Income"], 1919-1920



 
Box
13 S. E. Ledger: W. W. Fondren, San Jacinto Trust Co. Account [1927-1928]



 
Box
13 Post binder: W. W. Fondren Income beginning 1923



 
Box
13 Post binder: "Inactive Ledger" [W. W. Fondren Estate and Ella F. Fondren], 1939-1971



 
Box
13 Standard Columnar Book [W. W. Fondren], 1929-1932



 
Box
14 Post binder: [miscellaneous accounts], 1918-1936



 
Box
14 Post binder: "The Journal and Ledger Accounts of the Fondren Foundation," 1948-1969