Southern Methodist University

Clark Wright family and business papers

A Guide



Overview

Creator: Wright family.
Title: Clark Wright family and business papers
Dates: 1865-2000, bulk 1940s-1970
1940s-1970
Abstract: The Wright Collection, a Texas bookseller, has been in operation for four generations. This family archive includes family and business correspondence, invoices, photographs of the installation of the centennial monument at the Alamo, bookseller advertisements, and a postage stamp collection. Also included are letters from Hans Buchele, a former WWII German prisoner of war seeking Clark Wright's assistance with immigration to the United States in the 1940s.
Accession No: MSS 106
Extent: 2 boxes (1.5 linear feet)
Language: Material is in English
Repository DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

Biographical Note

Clark Wright (1892-1965), born in Las Vegas, New Mexico, grew up in El Paso, Texas. He graduated from the law school at the University of Texas and worked for the Texas State Board of Control before entering the Army as a captain in World War II. He married Bessie Letts in 1934 and the couple settled in El Paso after the war. It was at this time that he decided to begin a bookselling business with his wife, who had previous experience.

Bessie Wright (1901-1996) grew up with adoptive parents, Rev. and Mrs. Elijah Shettles. Rev. Shettles was a well-known bookseller who retired from the ministry in 1920. Bessie graduated the University of Texas with an M.A. degree in history; for a short while, she ran a bookselling business called Book Exchange in Austin before she married Clark Wright. Together Clark and Bessie began a mail order business called Clark Wright Bookseller. They specialized in selling books about the Southwest, Mexico, and the Americas. After Clark’s passing in 1965, Bessie took over the business and moved it to Waxahachie in the 1980s. In the 1990s, her son, Hugh, took over the business and renamed it The Wright Collection. Today Hugh and his son, Chris, continue the family business.

Clark was a major in the United State Army, and he and his wife Bessie are buried at Ft. Bliss National Cemetery. They had two sons, Clark Jr. and Hugh.

Sources:

Clark and Bessie Wright biographical essay, Box 1, Folder 9

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. “National Cemetery Administration.” http://www.cem.va.gov/cems/nchp/ftbliss.asp. Accessed September 1, 2015

The Wright Collection. “About our store.” http://www.thewrightcollection.com/?page=shop/aboutus. Accessed September 1, 2015


Scope and Contents of the Collection

The collection contains family and business records of the Clark Wright family. The bulk of the collection contains business correspondence and invoices with notable Texas people such as Dudley and J. Frank Dobie, Edward Eberstadt, J. Evetts Haley, Carl Hertzog, Wright Howes, John Jenkins, Al Lowman, the Maverick family, Elijah Shettles, and Thomas Streeter.

The family papers consist of letters, genealogy, diplomas, a postage stamp collection, and a folder of letters from Hans Buchele. Buchele met Clark Wright while held as a prisoner of war in Texas. Included are letters sent from England on “prisoner of war” letterhead, as well as photographs of his family. He wrote to Wright seeking assistance to immigrate to Texas after the war, and it is unclear if he was successful.


Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is organized into four series:
Series 1: Family correspondence, 1940-1991
Series 2: Family papers, 1865-1959
Series 3: Business correspondence, 1922-2000
Series 4: Invoices and advertisements, 1940s-1970

Restrictions

Access to Collection:

Collection is open for research use.

Publication Rights:

Permission to publish materials must be obtained from the Director of the DeGolyer Library.

Copyright Statement:

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain copyright authorization.


Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following terms in the Southern Methodist University Libraries' online catalog. Researchers desiring related materials may search the catalog using these terms.
Wright family.
Wright, Clark.
Wright, Bessie.
Shettles, Elijah L., 1852-1940.
Buchele, Hans.
Wright Collection (Waxahachie, Tex.)
Booksellers and bookselling – Texas.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, German.
Letters.
Invoices.
Booksellers' advertisements.
Postage stamps.
Photographs.

Related Materials

Elijah L. Shettles papers on the founding of Southern Methodist University, SMU 1991.0014

James T. DeShields papers and collection of Texana, A1991.1750

Dudley R. Dobie and J. Frank Dobie collection, A1993.1878

Collection of Carl Hertzog letters, A1988.1494c

John Holmes Jenkins papers, A2015.0001


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Clark Wright family papers, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University.

Acquisition Information

Purchase, 2007.

Processing Information

Business correspondence files were created for notable figures as well as for associates with substantial correspondence. All other correspondence was arranged chronologically.

Processed by

Cynthia Franco, 2015.

Finding aid written and encoded by

Cynthia Franco, 2015.


Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Family correspondence, 1940-1991
8 folders

This series contains family correspondence with the exception of the Hans Buchele letters to Clark and Bessie Wright. Buchele met Clark Wright while held as a prisoner of war in Texas. Included are letters sent from England on “prisoner of war” letterhead, as well as photographs of his family. He wrote to Wright seeking assistance to immigrate to Texas after the war, and it is unclear if he was successful.
Box Folder
1 1 Clark to Bessie, 1955
2 Clark to son, Hugh
3 Bessie, 1940-1968
4 Hugh, 1949
5 Clark [Jr.?] to Mama, 1991
6 Family letters, 1943
7 Craig Martin correspondence, 1973-1974
8 Hans Buchele, 1946-1950



Series 2: Family papers, 1865-1959
11 folders

This series contains Clark Wright’s personal documents and a postage stamp collection.
Box Folder
1 9 Clark and Bessie Wright biographical essay
10 Genealogy
11 Army Officers’ Wives’ Club membership lists; two letters from the librarian for the Post Library, White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, 1959
12 Clark Wright high school diploma, 1911
13 Walter Letts masonic certificate, 1915; Walter Letts v-mail Christmas card; Leslie Crockett membership card for Austin Yacht Club, 1939
14 Photographs of the installation of the centennial monument across from the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas
Box Folder
2 5 Postage stamps, 1865-1867
6-9 Postage stamps



Series 3: Business correspondence, 1922-2000
1 box

The family’s bookselling business began with Rev. Elijah Shettles’ book collecting and bookselling in the 1920s-1930s. In the 1930s, his daughter Bessie Letts began a business in Austin called Book Exchange. She and her husband, Clark Wright, continued the business after they married and changed the name to Clark Wright Bookseller. Since the 1990s, the family business has been known as the Wright Collection.
Correspondents with more than several letters have their own file and are arranged alphabetically. All other business correspondence is organized chronologically.
Box Folder
1 15 Ramon F. Adams, 1946-1964
16 Jesse Az[?], 1940
17 Ed Barker, 1948
18 Book Club of Texas Christmas card, 2000
19 Ed Burk, 1951-1976
20 Price Daniel, 1961-1966
21 Peter Decker, 1942-1950
22 James T. DeShields, 1949
23 Dudley R. Dobie, 1944-1965
24 J. Frank Dobie, 1942-1968
25 Jeff Dykes, 1943-1966
26 Edward Eberstadt, 1938-1940
27 El Paso Public Library, 1938-1958
28 Herbert Fletcher, 1940-1963
29 J.N. Gregory, 1957-1963
30 J.S. Guyer, 1946-1949
31 J. Evetts Haley, 1946-1988
32 Carl Hertzog, 1959-1968
33 Highland Press, 1948-1965
34 Wright Howes, 1936-1966
35 Hobart Huson, 1961-1974
36 Jenkins Publishing Company, 1963-1969
37 Elmer Kelton, 1971
38 L.W. Kemp, 1947-1949
39 Al Lowman, 1963-1969
40 George Maverick estate, 1953-1959
41 Maury Maverick, 1949
42 W.M. Morrison, 1952-1965
43 Overland Bookshop, 1950-1955
44 George Ruhlen, 1954
45 Elijah Shettles, 1922-1954
46 Chas. F. Smith, 1940-1941
47 T.C. Smith, 1954-1955
48 C.L. Sonnichsen, 1957-1990
49 Southwest Collection, Texas Technical College, 1957-1963
50 F. Stanley, 1964-1973
51 Thomas W. Streeter, 1946-1950
52 Taos Book Shop and Mission Shop, 1953-1965
53 Texas State Historical Association, 1943-1968
54 Texas State Library, 1963-1964
55 University of Texas, 1949-1968
56 Earl Vandale, 1938-1951
57 Owen and Mike White, 1946-1970
58 Bill Witliff, 1964
59 John H. Wright, 1938-1948
60 E.R. Wyatt, 1951-1971
61 1934
62 1937
63 1938
64 1940
65 1941
66 1942
67 1946
68 1947
69 1948
70 1949
71 1950
72 1951
73 1952
74 1953
75 1954
76 1955
77 1956
78 1957
79 1958
80 1959
81 1960
82 1961
83 1962
84 1963
85 1964
86 1965
87 1966
88 1967
89 1968
90 1969
91 1971
92 1972
93 1975
94 1976
95 1981-1988
96 1991-1996
97 Undated



Series 4: Invoices and advertisements, 1940s-1970
6 folders

Box Folder
1 98 Clark Wright Book Dealer invoices, 1947-1961
99 Invoices to Clark Wright, 1941-1970
Box Folder
2 1-4 Book announcements and catalogs