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TABLE OF CONTENTS


Descriptive Summary

Biographical Note

Scope and Contents

Restrictions

Index Terms

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Series I: Office Files, 1939-1947 (Boxes 1-29)

Series II: Publications, 1933-1959 (Box 30)

Series III: Brazos River Harbor Navigation District, 1927-1962 (Boxes 31-34)

Series IV: Scrapbooks, 1939-1942 (6 volumes)

Woodson Research Center, Rice University

Guide to the J. Russell Wait Port of Houston papers, 1927-1962



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Wait, J. Russell
Title J. Russell Wait Port of Houston papers
Dates: 1927-1962
Abstract: Business and personal records of J. Russell Wait, Director of the Port of Houston from 1930-1947, offering a comprehensive history of the Port of Houston's construction, facilities, finances, clients and operations from 1931-1962. During this time, the Port of Houston grew from the nation's twelfth largest port to its third largest. Materials also relate to the Brazos River Harbor Navigation District, Houston Ship Channel maps, and scrapbooks on WWII and Japan.
ID MS 346
Extent 29 linear ft. (36 boxes plus oversize material)
Language Materials are in English.
Repository: Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University, Houston, TX

Biographical Note

J. Russell Wait was General Manager of the Port of Houston from 1930 to 1947. He was born in New Jersey in 1882 and graduated from Lehigh University in 1906. Prior to his coming to Houston, Mr. Wait had been director of the Port of Charleston, South Carolina, and had spent a year at the Port of Beaumont. Four years after retiring from the Houston Port Authority, Mr. Wait came out of retirement in 1951 to serve the Brazos River Harbor Navigation District as general manager and re-retired to Kerrville the following year.

While General Manager of the Port of Houston, Mr. Wait was responsible for the dredging of the ship channel from Galveston to the Turning Basin and under his leadership Houston grew from twelfth to the nation's third largest port. During these years, Wait amassed detailed information on the history and activities of the port: its construction, facilities, finances, clients and operations. While with the Brazos River Harbor Navigation District he expanded his collection to include District Annual Reports for the years 1952 through 1958, with supplementing documents and detailed, annotated photographs of the harbor construction, which had taken place from 1952 to 1956.

Although not a Rice alumnus or official faculty member, Wait lectured frequently at Rice and developed a fondness for the university. At the time he announced the gift of his collection to the university he said, "Most of my work was done in Houston, and most of the pictures and many of the books and papers have Houston origins. It seemed to me that this great university should have them."

Excerpted from "Treasures in the Attic" by Alan Harris Bath, featured in Fondren Library's The Flyleaf, Summer 2000.

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Scope and Contents

Business and personal records of J. Russell Wait, Director of the Port of Houston from 1930-1947, offering a comprehensive history of the Port of Houston from 1931-1962. Materials also relate to the Brazos River Harbor Navigation District, Houston Ship Channel maps, and scrapbooks on WWII and Japan. Formats include correspondence, reports, maps, blueprints, scrapbooks, photographs, and more. The bulk of the Wait papers retain their original office filing system and are filed alphabetically according to Wait's subject headings. These headings include correspondence and reports relating to Wait's time as Port Manager, 1939-1947.

Two large scrapbooks in the collection document Houston area daily newspaper coverage of WWII from late August 1939 to June 1942, providing insight into the increasing impact of the war upon American life. A set of four scrapbooks document Wait's 1939 business trip to Japan.

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Series I: Office Files, 1939-1947 (Boxes 1-29)
Series II: Publications, 1933-1959 (Box 30)
Series III: Brazos River Harbor Navigation District, 1927-1962 (Boxes 31-34)
Series IV: Scrapbooks, 1939-1942 (6 volumes)

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Restrictions

Access Restriction

This material is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish materials from this collection must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.

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Index Terms

Subjects (Organizations)
Port of Houston Authority -- history
Brazos River Harbor Navigation District -- history
Subjects
Freight and freightage -- Houston, Tex.
Harbors--Texas--Houston
Harbors -- design and costruction
Harbors -- photographs
Harbors -- United States.
Harbors -- maintenance and repair
Harbors -- safety measures
Harbors - traffic control
Harbors -- speeches
Subjects (Places)
Houston (Tex.)--Commerce -- 20th century
Formats
Correspondence
Reports
Photographs
Scrapbooks

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

J. Russell Wait Port of Houston papers, MS 346, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.

Acquisition Information

Donated to the Woodson Research Center by J. Russell Wait, 1967.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

 

Series I: Office Files, 1939-1947 (Boxes 1-29)

The bulk of the Wait papers retain their original office filing system and are filed alphabetically according to Wait's subject headings. These headings include correspondence and reports relating to Wait's time as Port Manager, 1939-1947.
box folder
1 1 A-1 Acts of legislature pertaining to the Port of Houston
2 A-1 Acts of legislature pertaining to the Port of Houston
3 A-2 Addresses-1947 roster of officers and committees of AAPA
4 A-3 American Association of Port Authorities
5 A-3 AAPA general
6 A-3 AAPA reports
7 A-3 AAPA correspondence, 1940-41
box folder
2 1 A-3 AAPA correspondence, 1943-47
2-3 A-3-a AAPA Committee on Port Practices, Rules and Terminal Rates
4 A-3-b AAPA Harbor Dues Study
5 A-3-c AAPA Shipside Study
6 Proceedings of 24th Annual Convention and Annual Meeting of AAPA
7 Houston/Galveston, 11/11-15/35, volumes 1 & 2
box folder
3 1 A-5 Auditor-General Manager correspondence
2-3 A-6 Advertising for Port of Houston
4 A-8 American Society of Civil Engineers correspondence
5 A-9 Ammonium nitrate-correspondence and instructions on handling
6 A-10 Administration of publicly owned rail-water terminal facilities
7 A-11 Airport-info. and corresp. re Houston airport
8 B-2 Barbour agreement (Morgan’s Point) correspondence
box folder
4 1 B-3 Bridges-correspondence and information
2 B-4 Burchfield Valuation Study-appraisal of land in ship channel industrial area
3 B-7 Bond elections, Harris County Navigation District
4 B-8 Board of Commissioners, Harris County/Houston Ship Channel Navigation District correspondence and reports
5 B-10 Boats-descriptions and specifications
6 C-1 Carloading contract between ship channel and railroad
7 C-2 Coal-corresp. and newsclippings
8 C-4 Customs brief on custom house proposal for Houston ship channel
9 Chamber of Commerce 1961
box folder
5 1 C-7 Chamber of Commerce committees
2 C-7 Chamber of Commerce committees
3-6 C-8 Contracts with Harris County Navigation District
7 C-9 Crossing signals correspondence
8 C-10 Clients-addresses of engineering clients
box folder
6 1 C-10 Clients-Will L. Clayton
2 C-10 Clients-Knappen Engineering Co.
3 C-10 Clients-Nelson Rockefeller
4 C-10 Clients-Humble Oil & Refining Co.
5 Clients-Rohm & Haas
6-7 C-11 Channel (main Houston Ship Channel)
8 C-12 Channel (upper Houston Ship Channel)
9 C-13 Channel (tributaries)
10 C-14 Channel fuel wharf
11 C-15 City wharves-reports, agreements, photos, correspondence
12 C-16 Counsel-Navigation District attorneys corresp.
13 C-17 Contract with Freese, Nichols and Turner engineers
14 D-1 Drum handling device-photos, blueprints, reports
15 D-2 Drydock-corresp., reports
16 D-3 Dikes (oil terminals) corresp.
17 D-4 Demurrage
18 D-5 Dispatching reports and corresp.
box folder
7 1 D-7 Diesel locomotives reports, corresp.
2 E-1 East Texas iron ore-clippings, reports, corresp.
3 E-1 East Texas iron ore-1910-11 Catlett rookery ATSF
4 E-1 East Texas iron ore-1927-28 Heisig
5 E-1 East Texas iron ore-1930
6 E-1 East Texas iron ore-1937 agreement
7 E-1 East Texas iron ore-1937-38
8 E-1 East Texas iron ore-1939-42
9 E-2 Explosive dock corresp.
10 E-3 Equalization agreement-reports on equalized rates
box folder
8 1 E-4 Engine terminal-specs and bid to build terminal at ship channel
2 E-5 Editorials
3 E-6 Esperson dock and terminal project
4 F-2 Fireboat corresp. and reports
5-8 F-3 Flood control
box folder
9 1-2 Flood control reports
3 F-5 Foreign Trade Association corresp.
4 F-6 Foreign Trade Zone corresp., reports
5 F-6 Foreign Trade Zone
6 F-7 Finances (Navigation District)
box folder
10 1 F-7 Finances (Navigation District)
2 F-8 Ferguson Patent reports and corresp.
3 F-9 Fuel oil terminal
4 G-3 Grain elevator corresp., reports
4 G-3 Grain elevator corresp., reports
5 G-3 Grain elevator
6 G-4 Grain treatment-drawings, dust explosion info.
7 G-5 Green’s Bayou reports
8 G-6 Gulf Ports Association membership, by-laws, corresp.
9 H-1 Harbor lines-blueprints, corresp., reports, brief
10 Harbor Traffic Control
11 H-3 Houston Port and Traffic Bureau
12 Houston Port and Traffic Bureau-rate book, by-laws
box folder
11 1 H-3 Houston Port and Traffic Bureau
2 Houston Ship Channel improvements
3 H-6-a Handling equipment-general
4 H-6-b Handling equipment-vacuum device
5 H-6-c Handling equipment-heavy lift
6 H-6-d Handling equipment-towmotors
7 H-6-e Handling equipment-sweeper
8 H-6-f Handling equipment-cranes
9 H-6-g Handling equipment-car dumper
10 H-6-h Handling equipment-pallets
11 I-1 Industrial maps
12 I-2 Intracoastal Canal Association
13 I-3 Insurance (Navigation District)
14 I-4 Inspection trips of Navigation District
15 L-1 Land appraisals and valuation of harbor property
16 L-3 Locomotive terminal
17 L-4 Land purchases
18 L-5 Legislation
19 M-1 Manchester Basin
20 M-3 Maritime Commission
box folder
12 1 M-5 Morgan’s Point
2 M-6 Mehrtens, George-corresp.
3 M-8 Misc.-business
4 N-1 North Side Belt Railroad
5 N-3 Navigation District auditor’s reports
6 N-3 Navigation District auditor’s reports
7 N-3 Navigation District auditor’s reports
folder box
13 1 O-1 Organization (Navigation District)
2 O-2 Oil (drilling in the Bay)
3 O-3 Operations-accounts, balance sheets, etc.
4 O-3 Operations-accounts, balance sheets, etc.
5 P-1 Permits, building-for structures on navigable waters
6 P-2 Pictures-from newspapers (ship channel, Wait)
7 P-3 Pilots-corresp. and reports
folder box
14 1-2 P-3 Pilots
3 P-4 Ports, general
4 P-4 Ports-Albany, NY
5 P-4 Ports-Atlanta, GA
6 P-4 Ports-Baltimore, MD
7 P-4 Ports-Bayonne, NJ
8-9 P-4 Ports-Beaumont, TX
folder box
15 1 P-4 Ports-Boston, MA
2 P-4 Ports-Broward Co., FL
3 P-4 Ports-Brownsville, TX
4 P-4 Ports-Chambers-Liberty Co., TX
5-7 P-4 Ports-Charleston, SC
8 P-4 Ports-Chester, PA
9 P-4 Ports-Cleveland, OH
10 P-4 Ports-Chicago, IL
11 P-4 Ports-Concord, NH
12 P-4 Ports-Corpus Christi, TX
13 P-4 Ports-Freeport, TX
folder box
16 1 P-4 Ports-Galveston, TX
2 P-4 Ports-Goose Creek, TX
3 P-4 Ports-Greenville, NC
4 P-4 Ports-Gulfport, MS
5 P-4 Ports-Halifax, Nova Scotia
6 P-4 Ports-Hamilton, Canada
7 P-4 Ports-Hampton Roads, VA
8 P-4 Ports-Honolulu, HI
9 P-4 Ports-Jacksonville, FL
10 P-4 Ports-Lake Charles, LA
11 P-4 Ports-Long Beach, CA
12 P-4 Ports-Los Angeles, CA
13 P-4 Ports-Matagorda Co. Navigation District
14-15 P-4 Ports-Matagorda Co. Navigation District, Bay City, TX
folder box
17 1-2 P-4 Ports-Matagorda Co. Navigation District, Bay City, TX
3 P-4 Ports-Memphis, TNX
4 P-4 Ports-Miami, FL
5 P-4 Ports-Milwaukee, WI
6 P-4 Ports-Mobile, AL
7 P-4 Ports-Montreal, Canada
8 P-4 Ports-New Haven, CT
9 P-4 Ports-New Orleans, LA
10 P-4 Ports-New Orleans, LA
folder box
18 1 P-4 Ports-New York City, NY
2 P-4 Ports-New Westminster, British Columbia
3 P-4 Ports-Newark, NJ
4 P-4 Ports-Newport Harbor, CA
5 P-4 Ports-Norfolk, VA
6 P-4 Ports-Oakland, CA
7 P-4 Ports-Ottawa, Canada
8 P-4 Ports-Panama City Port development
9 P-4 Ports-Philadelphia, PA
10 P-4 Ports-Port Isabel, TX
11 P-4 Ports-Portland, ME
12 P-4 Ports-Portland, OR
13 P-4 Ports-Providence, RI
14 P-4 Ports-Puerto Rico
15 P-4 Ports-Richmond, VA
16 P-4 Ports-Rochester, NY
17 P-4 Ports-Rotterdam, Holland
18 P-4 Ports-Sacramento, CA
19 P-4 Ports-Saint Lawrence project
20 P-4 Ports-San Diego, CA
21 P-4 Ports-San Francisco, CA
22 P-4 Ports-San Jose, CA
23 P-4 Ports-San Jacinto (Harris Co.) Burchfield Plan
24 P-4 Ports-Savannah, GA
25 P-4 Ports-Seattle, WA
26 P-4 Ports-Shreveport, LA
27 P-4 Ports-St. John, New Brunswick
28 P-4 Ports-State of New Jersey (S. Jersey Port Comm.)
29 P-4 Ports-Stockton, CA
30 P-4 Ports-Tacoma, WA
31 P-4 Ports-Tampa, FL
32 P-4 Ports-Texas City, TX
folder box
19 1 P-4 Ports-Toledo, OH
2 P-4 Ports-Toronto, Canada
3 P-4 Ports-Trinity River Project
4 P-4 Ports-Vancouver, British Columbia
5 P-4 Ports-Wilmington, DE
6 P-4 Ports-Wilmington, NC
7 P-5 Projects-estimates of work in Port Houston
8 P-6 Peggy Lake-surplus ship storage, dredging
9-11 P-8 Publicity, general
folder box
20 1-3 P-8 Publicity, general
4 P-8-a Publicity by Ella Tarbell
5 P-9 Policy-corresp. and reports
6 R-1 Railroad (PTRA general)
folder box
21 1-4 R-1 Railroad (PTRA general)
folder box
22 1-2 R-1 Railroad (PTRA general)
3 R-1-a Railroad statistics
4 R-1-b Railroad (PTRA contracts)
5 R-1-c Railroad switching
6 R-1-d Railroad (PTRA Booth yard)
7 R-2 Railroad (Harbor Belt RR)
folder box
23 1 R-7 Rates-freight
2 S-1 Shipyard (Todd-Houston)
3 S-2 Smog-produced by Champion Papers & Fiber Co.
4 S-3 Southwest Tonnage Study
5 S-4 Speeches by Wait
folder box
24 1-3 S-4 Speeches by Wait
4 S-5 Steamship lines
5 S-6 “Switching” editorials
6 S-7 Steel plant (corr. soliciting shipments)
7 S-8 Statistics on trade through the port
8 S-9 San Jacinto water supply
9 S-10 Solicitation
folder box
25 1 S-11 Sheffield Steel Plant
2 S-12 Shipside rail-water terminal
3 S-14 San Jacinto Battleground and Monument
4 S-15 Seatrain
5 T-1 Taxes (Harris Co.)
6 T-4 Tunnels
7 T-5 Terminal practices
8 T-6 Testimonial dinners
9 T-7-b Trips-West Coast
10 T-7-c Trips-Algonquin
folder box
26 1-4 T-7-d Trips-Japan
folder box
27 1 T-7-d Trips-Japan
2 T-7-e Trips-Carlsbad Caverns, NM
3 T-9 Texas Ports Association
4-8 T-10 Tariff
folder box
28 1 T-10 Tariff-Houston, Galveston, Texas City, New Orleans, Texas lines
2 T-12 Textiles industry corresp.
3 T-13 Toredo and termites
4 T-14 Tin smelter
5 T-15 Tidal lands
6 T-15 Tidal lands
7 T-16 Turning basin
8 U-1 United States services-list of Army engineers supervising River and Harbor projects, 1867-1947
9 V-1 Vegetable oil plant
10 W-2 World Ports magazine
11 W-4 Water supply reports and corresp.
12 W-5 Wharves and docks-Wharf Characteristics, Port of Houston
folder box
29 1-3 W-5 Wharves and docks
4 W-5-a Wharves and docks-Frank White report

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Series II: Publications, 1933-1959 (Box 30)

folder box
30 1 The Port of Houston-How It Came to Pass by Col. Thomas H. Ball, 1936
2 Principal Industries, Port Facilities and Points of Interest Along the Houston Ship Channel, 1959
3 Report of Survey for Revision of Warehouse Lease, June 20, 1933
4 Proposed Houston-New York-Boston Steamship Service
5 Before the Navigation and Canal Commissioners of Harris County Houston Ship Channel Navigation District (Barbour Terminals, Inc., Complainant) Brief and Argument in Behalf of Complainant, [1937?]
6 Presentation of Harris County Houston Ship Channel Navigation District to Mayor Oscar F. Holcombe and City Council on Buffalo Bayou Upper Channel Improvements, 1935
7 Twenty-Seventh Annual Report of the Director of the Port, Houston, Texas, 1946
8 General Education Board Houston visitation, April 9, 1947
9 Navigation District 1958 Annual Review
10 “Wild River” ...yet untamed; A Pictorial Presentation of Factual Information especially prepared for the Members of the 46th Legislature

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Series III: Brazos River Harbor Navigation District, 1927-1962 (Boxes 31-34)

folder box
31 1 Mr. J. Russell Wait’s Report to Brazos River Harbor Navigation District, 1950
2 Data for survey report, 1948
3 Survey Report to Brazos Harbor Navigation District by J. Russell Wait, May 1, 1950
4 Document No. 10 for Creation of Brazos River Harbor Navigation District of Brazoria County, 1927
5 Specifications
6 Financial data, 1956-62
7 Soil and foundation investigation
8 Data to Quartermaster, 1953
9 Facts-study on Brazos River and Freeport harbor
10 Jetty alignment approval
11 Information on interest to Pilot and Canal Commissioners re: S/S Marinero, 1957
folder box
32 1 Proposal for location of new shipbuilding-repair yard
2 Port Tariff; Rates, Rules and Regulations Governing the Navigation District and its Public Facilities, 1957, 1960
3 Statement of Brazos River Harbor Navigation District of Brazoria County with reference to Flood Control and Related Improvements in Brazoria County, Texas, 1962
4 Brazos River at Brazoria, Tex., and Water Overflowing into Buffalo Camp Bayou near Brazoria, Tex. Discharge for Flood Period April- June, 1957
5 Stenographer’s Minutes Before the Interstate Commerce Commission, Docket No. 33558 In the Matter of Brazos River Harbor Navigation District of Brazoria County, Texas v Abilene & Southern Railway Company, et al, Dallas, Texas, March 1961 [volumes I-V]
folder box
33 1-3 Improvements
4 Annual Report 1952
5 Annual Report 1953
6 Annual Report 1954
7 Annual Report 1956
8 Annual Report 1957
9 Annual Report 1958
10 Harbor construction photos, 1952-53
folder box
34 1-2 Harbor construction photos, 1953-54
3 Harbor construction photos, 1954-55
4 Harbor construction photos, 1954-55

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Series IV: Scrapbooks, 1939-1942 (6 volumes)

Two large scrapbooks in the collection document Houston area daily newspaper coverage of WWII from late August 1939 to June 1942, providing insight into the increasing impact of the war upon American life. A set of four scrapbooks document Wait's 1939 business trips to Japan, featuring typewritten notes, published booklets, clippings, and postcards.
World War II newsclippings scrapbooks, 1939-1942 (Vols. I and II)
Trips to Japan (Vols. I - IV)

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