Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University

Thurber, Texas:

An Inventory of the Collection, 1897-1986 and undated, at the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library

Descriptive Summary

Creator Texas Tech University. Southwest Collection
Title: Thurber, Texas Collection,
Dates: 1897-1986 and undated
Abstract: This is an artificial collection of interesting items concerning the Texas and Pacific Coal and Oil Company and biographical information of the residents of Thurber, Texas.
Collection # S 1076.1
Quantity: 3 boxes (3.0 linear feet)
Language English.
Repository Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University

Biographical Sketch

Named for H. K. Thurber, a friend of the founders of the Texas and Pacific Coal Company, Thurber, Texas was a company town. Coal was discovered by W. W. Johnson (1886) who sold out to the Texas and Pacific Coal Company (1888) who, in turn, sold the coal to the Texas and Pacific Railroad. The coal company also produced a high quality paving brick. At its peak, Thurber had a population of 10,000, including immigrant workers of at least 13 different nationalities. Every structure within the city limits was company owned. The stores, schools, churches and all medical care were provided to the workers by the company as a part of their salary. The advancement of oil burning locomotives cut the demand for coal, and the last coal mine in the area closed in 1931. Only four structures remain in the city today.

Scope and Contents

This is an artificial collection built around an initial donation of Thurber historical information compiled by the Texas and Pacific Coal and Oil Company. The Southwest Collection built on this information by making an appeal to former Thurber residents for historical background and by conducting interviews at the yearly reunions at the Thurber town site. As a result, a large body of information has been compiled which provides information on life, culture, class system, strike actions, and politics of a company town around the turn of the century. Information also exists about the life and customs of immigrant workers. The interview forms also contain a wealth of genealogical information about families who lived and worked there as well as do rent records which indicate who lived in the town and when. The collection also contains photographs and news clippings. Of particular interest is a manuscript written for the twenty-fifth anniversary of Thurber, Texas.


Access Restrictions

Open for research

Index Terms

The subject headings used by the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library are derived from the Library of Congress and/or locally developed.
Subjects (Organizations)
Texas and Pacific Coal Company
Thurber Historical Association (Thurber, Tex.)
Thurber (Tex.)--History
Thurber (Tex.)--Genealogy

Related Material

For related materials located in the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, see the following collections:

  • Texas and Pacific Coal Company Records, 1887-1969 and undated
  • Texas and Pacific Coal Company Records, 1889-1979 and undated
  • Thurber, Texas Artifact Collection (21 items)
  • Thurber, Texas Photograph Collection, SWCPC 209
  • John Franks, oral history interview [sound recording], 1967
  • Nell Turbow Lishman, oral history interview [sound recording], 1967

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Thurber, Texas Collection, 1897-1986 and undated, Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas

Gifts, 1980s

Processed by

Abel Ramirez, June 2002

Additional Sources

Woodard, Don. Black Diamonds! Black Gold!: the Saga of Texas Pacific Coal and Oil Company.Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 1998.

Hardman, Weldon B. Fire in a Hole!Gordon, Tex.: Thurber Historical Association, 1975.

Gentry, Mary Jane. Thurber, the Life and Death of a Texas Town.Thesis (M.A.)--University of Texas, 1946.

Floyd, Willie M. Thurber, Texas, an Abandoned Coal Field Town.Thesis (M.A.)--Southern Methodist University, 1939.

Collection Inventory



box folder
1 1 Looney, Ben F., 1917-1927 and undated


Financial Material

box folder
1 2 Miscellaneous, 1897-1934
3 Texas and Pacific Coal and Oil Company Rent Book for Buildings, 1930-1934


Literary Production

box folder
1 4 Data Submitted for 25th Anniversary Souvenir, 1913
5 Thurber Museum Study, 1969



box folder
1 6 Thurber School District, 1924-1935


Printed Material

box folder
1 7 Applied Physics Laboratory Manual, textbook, 1924
8 Briggs-Weaver Machinery Company Catalog, 1913
9 Cookbook, Parent-Teacher Association, 1924
10 Ex-Student and Parent-Teacher Association, 1928-1964
11 News clippings, 1913-1983 and undated
12 Thurber Historical Association Bulletin, 1980
13 Thurber Tiny Journal, 1927-1930



box folder
1 14 Miscellaneous, 1901-1927 and undated
15 Gordon Baines photographs, 1904-1964
16 Thurber, Texas Miscellaneous, 1908-1933 and undated
17 Thurber, Texas Miscellaneous, 1969 and undated


Thurber Historical Association

box folder
2 1 Biographical Information, 1967 and undated
2 Biographical Information, 1967 and undated
3 Mailing List, 1972
4 Membership List, undated
5 Thurber Reunions, 1936-1963
box folder
3 12 Biographical Data Sheets, A-H, 1967
13 Biographical Data Sheets, J-M, 1967
14 Biographical Data Sheets, P-Z, 1967


Thurber Historical Society

box folder
2 6 Membership Cards, 1967


Scrapbook Material

box folder
3 1 Gordon Baines' hand notes on Thurber, Texas, undated
2 Loose Scrapbook, 1911-1938 and undated
3 Loose Scrapbook, 1923-1933 and undated
4 Membership Cards of Thurber Old-Timers Association, undated
5 Miscellaneous, 1965-1979
6 T. A. Parker's Scrapbook, 1908-1926 and undated
7 Thurber Baseball Team, 1909-1986 and undated
8 Thurber High School Diploma, 1929
9 Thurber Historical Notes and Images, 1964-1975 and undated
10 Thurber Parent-Teacher Association Scrapbook, 1931-1932



box folder
3 11 West Texas Teachers Association Medal, 1927