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TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview

Agency History

Scope and Contents of the Records

Arrangement of the Records

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

House of Representatives Special Subcommittee to Visit the State Penitentiary records, 1876,

Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Texas Legislature, House of Representatives, Committee on State Penitentiaries, Special Subcommittee to Visit the State Penitentiary:

An Inventory of House of Representatives Special Subcommittee to Visit the State Penitentiary Records at the Texas State Archives, 1876



Overview

Creator: Texas. Legislature. House of Representatives. Committee on State Penitentiaries. Special Subcommittee to Visit the State Penitentiary.
Title: House of Representatives Special Subcommittee to Visit the State Penitentiary records
Dates: 1876
Abstract: A Special Subcommittee to Visit the State Penitentiary of the House Committee on State Penitentiaries was appointed in May 1876 (15th Texas Legislature, Regular Session) to investigate reports of mistreatment of convicts and mismanagement of state property by the lessees of the state penitentiary, Ward, Dewey & Co. Records consist of correspondence and summaries of the testimony of two witnesses, all dating 1876.
Quantity: fractional
Language: These materials are written in English.
Repository: Texas State Archives

Agency History

In May 1876 the 15th Texas Legislature, Regular Session resolved to appoint a Special Subcommittee to Visit the State Penitentiary of the Texas House Committee on State Penitentiaries to investigate matters at the state penitentiary. The legislature was concerned about reports of mistreatment of convicts and mismanagement of state property by the lessees of the state penitentiary, Ward, Dewey & Co. At this time, the everyday operations of the penitentiary were run by the private company under a lease contract with the State of Texas. The special subcommittee visited the penitentiary in Huntsville in June to investigate. In their report to the Speaker of the House on June 23, 1876, the subcommittee reported enough evidence of cruelty to convicts and fiscal mismanagement by Ward, Dewey & Co. that the lease was not renewed, and called for major changes in the operation of the state penitentiary.

(Sources include: the guide survey completed for this material.)

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Scope and Contents of the Records

A Special Subcommittee to Visit the State Penitentiary of the Texas House Committee on State Penitentiaries was appointed in May 1876 (15th Texas Legislature, Regular Session) to investigate reports of mistreatment of convicts and mismanagement of state property by the lessees of the state penitentiary, Ward, Dewey & Co. Records consist of correspondence and summaries of the testimony of two witnesses, all dating 1876. The correspondence consists of four letters between the subcommittee and Ward, Dewey & Co. and a letter from a witness to the subcommittee. The correspondence with Ward, Dewey & Co. concerns the request of the lessees to cross-examine witnesses during the investigation and the subcommittee's refusal to allow the cross-examination of any convicts or state officials. The testimony of one of those state officials, a director of the penitentiary, was summarized and includes testimony on the living conditions and punishment of the convicts, the financial stability of the lessees, and the working relationship between the directors and the lessees.

To prepare this inventory, the described materials were cursorily reviewed to delineate series, to confirm the accuracy of contents lists, to provide an estimate of dates covered, and to determine record types.

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Arrangement of the Records

These records are arranged in chronological order by State Archives staff.

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Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

Materials do not circulate, but may be used in the State Archives search room. Materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage areas by staff members.

Restrictions on Use

Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted and may be freely used in any way. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).

Technical Requirements

None.

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Index Terms

The terms listed here were used to catalog the records. The terms can be used to find similar or related records.
Corporate Names:
Texas State Penitentiary.
Huntsville Penitentiary.
Subjects:
Convict labor--Texas.
Prisons--Texas.
Prisons--Texas--Finance.
Prisons--Texas--Huntsville.
Places:
Texas--Governmental investigations.
Document Types:
Correspondence--Texas--Governmental investigations--1876.
Testimony--Texas--Governmental investigations--1876.
Functions:
Administering governmental investigations.

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Related Material

The following materials are offered as possible sources of further information on the agencies and subjects covered by the records. The listing is not exhaustive.

Texas State Archives
Records relating to the Penitentiary, 1846-1921, undated, 87.85 cubic ft.
Texas Governor O. B. Colquitt, Records, 1905-1915, bulk 1910-1915, 66.29 cubic ft. [Includes file for Board of Prison Commissioners, Penitentiary Investigatory Committee, 1913.]
Texas Legislature, House of Representatives, Committee to Investigate the Retrieve Prison Farm, Report, 1935, fractional
Texas Legislature, Joint Committee of Investigation into the Prison Commission and Lease of Blue Ridge Farm, Proceedings and testimony, 1919, 0.3 cubic ft.
Texas Legislature, Joint Committee on the Penitentiary, Records, 1863, 0.15 cubic ft.
Texas Legislature, Joint Committee to Investigate the State Penitentiary System, Proceedings, 1925, 0.75 cubic ft.
Texas Legislature, Joint Committee to Visit the State Penitentiary, Records, 1887, fractional
Texas Legislature, Joint Penitentiary Investigating Committee, Records, 1920-1921, bulk 1921, 0.75 cubic ft.
Texas Legislature, Senate Penitentiary Investigating Committee, Reports and proceedings, 1915, 0.4 cubic ft.
Texas Prison Centralization Commission, Enabling legislation and report, 1929, fractional
Publications
Texas. Legislature. House of Representatives. Journal of the House of Representatives of the state of Texas, 15th Legislature, Regular Session. Austin: Standard Office, 1876.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the item), House of Representatives Special Subcommittee to Visit the State Penitentiary records, Committee on State Penitentiaries, Texas Legislature. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information

Accession number: 1988/066

These records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by an unknown agency during the 20th century. An accession number was assigned on January 21, 1988.

Processing Information

Guide survey information compiled by Paul Beck, November 1987

Finding aid encoded in EAD Version 2002 as part of the TARO project by Rebecca Romanchuk, March 2012

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Detailed Description of the Records

 

House of Representatives Special Subcommittee to Visit the State Penitentiary records, 1876,
fractional

Box
1988/065 Correspondence, summaries of testimony, 1876

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