University of Texas Arlington

Ellen Caton Sparks Scrapbooks:

A Guide



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Sparks, Ellen Caton
Title: Ellen Caton Sparks Scrapbooks
Dates: 1934-1962
1943-1948
Abstract: Ellen Caton Sparks was born and raised in Arlington, Texas, the daughter of Mr. & Mrs. H. E. (Honeycutt) Caton. Mr. Caton was a local businessman, operating Caton’s Variety Store and the Fluffy Ruffling Dress Mfg. Co. on Center Street. She graduated from Arlington High School in 1943 and attended Baylor University for one year. After spending her sophomore year at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, she transferred to Mary Hardin-Baylor College, graduating in August 1947. Ellen attended North Texas Agricultural College, the forerunner to the University of Texas at Arlington, completing summer courses during her college years. Ellen met her future husband, Corporal Virgil W. (Bill) Sparks on January 4, 1947; they married in April 1948. Mrs. Sparks died May 19, 1979, in Arlington, survived by her husband, two daughters, mother, and brother. This collection is comprised of nine scrapbooks assembled by Ellen Caton Sparksbetween 1934 and 1962. They provide a detailed account of her young adulthood from high school through her college years, including her marriage. The scrapbooks contain personal mementos, correspondence, newspaper clippings, evidence of her lifelong commitment and involvement in the Baptist church, athletic and cultural programs, travel brochures, photographs, and postcards.
Identification: AR479
Quantity: 1.5 linear ft.
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library

Biographical Note

Ellen Caton Sparks was born and raised in Arlington, Texas, the daughter of Mr. & Mrs. H. E. (Honeycutt) Caton. Mr. Caton was a local businessman, operating Caton’s Variety Store and the Fluffy Ruffling Dress Mfg. Co. on Center Street. She graduated from Arlington High School in 1943 and attended Baylor University for one year. After spending her sophomore year at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, she transferred to Mary Hardin-Baylor College, graduating in August 1947. Ellen attended North Texas Agricultural College, the forerunner to the University of Texas at Arlington, completing summer courses during her college years. Registration cards from NTAC date from the early 1940s.

Ellen’s scrapbooks date from 1934 to1962. They provide a detailed account of her young adulthood from high school through her college years, including her marriage to Corporal Virgil W. (Bill) Sparks, U.S. Army. Ellen met her future husband on January 4, 1947; they married in April 1948.

Always active in her local Baptist church and youth activities, Ellen kept State Baptist Student Convention materials dating from 1942. These materials comprise much of the contents of these scrapbooks. Her interest in the symphony and theater survives with the inclusion of a 1944 Waco Symphony Society program, a 1944 State Fair of Texas operetta program, a 1946-1947 Dallas Symphony Orchestra season program, and numerous theater and choral programs from her college years.

Mrs. Sparks died May 19, 1979, in Arlington, survived by her husband, two daughters, mother, and brother.


Scope and Contents

This collection contains Mrs. Ellen Caton Sparks’ scrapbooks ranging in date from 1934 to1962. The collection is housed in six oversized boxes.

Series I, Scrapbooks, is comprised of the contents of nine scrapbooks and is arranged by scrapbook number. The scrapbooks contain personal mementos, correspondence, newspaper clippings, evidence of her lifelong commitment and involvement in the Baptist church, athletic and cultural programs, travel brochures, photographs, and postcards. Although much of the material is undated, a certain chronology can be discerned as the material has been maintained in Mrs. Sparks’ original order. Arlington High School memorabilia include drama and choral club programs; football rosters; and her souvenir graduation announcement, program, mortarboard tassel, and diploma.

Her wedding records and keepsakes are included in Scrapbook 5. Ellen’s scrapbooks document the marriages of her high school and college friends, and the customs and fashions of the post-World War II era as she faithfully clipped the news items associated with their teas, showers, and the weddings themselves. A limited amount of correspondence is included in these scrapbooks. Occasionally she clipped and included the news reports of 1940s Arlington, Texas, small town happenings in her scrapbooks.

Series II, Printed Material, contains loose, oversized, or heavy material that has been removed from the scrapbooks. These materials are placed in order and with original locations noted. The Sparks’ original marriage license is included in this series. These materials also include travel and entertainment brochures, and one club directory.

Series III, Caton Family Photographs, contains selected family photographs. These photographs, though originally undated and unidentified, have been tentatively identified by the archivist using the scrapbooks as reference.


Organization

The Ellen Caton Sparks Scrapbooks are divided into three series:
Series I. Scrapbooks, 1934-1962. (5.8 oversized boxes, 1.2 linear ft.)
Series II. Printed Material, 1942-1954, undated (2 folders, 0.2 linear ft.)
Series III. Caton Family Photographs, undated (1 folder, 0.1 linear ft.)

Restrictions

Access

Open for research.

Literary Rights Statement

Permission to publish, reproduce, distribute, or use by any and all other current or future developed methods or procedures must be obtained in writing from Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library. All rights are reserved and retained regardless of current or future development or laws that may apply to fair use standards.


Index Terms

These records are indexed under the following headings in the catalog of The University of Texas at Arlington Library. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.

Names

Sparks, Ellen Caton, 1925-1979.

Places

Arlington (Tex.)--Biography.
Arlington (Tex.)--Social life and customs.

Subjects

Baptists--Texas--History--20th century.
Baptists--Texas--Tarrant County.
Baptist women--Texas--Biography.

Related Material

AR561: Burney Pearl Caton Papers


Separated Material

All items deaccessioned from this collection were returned to the Arlington Historical Society. These included greeting cards and scrapbooks pertaining to Virgil W. (Bill) Sparks' World War II service.


Administrative Information

Provenance

This collection was transferred to Special Collections by the Arlington Historical Society on October 6, 2003. The Arlington Historical Society converted the transfer to a gift in September 2006.2003, 2006.

Citation

Ellen Caton Sparks Scrapbooks, 1934-1962, AR479, Box number, Folder number, Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library.

Acquisition

Transfer converted to a gift, 2003, 2006.

Accessioned as number 2004-5.

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Mary Hayes, November 2005.


Note to the Researcher

Due to their increasingly fragile condition, the researcher should carefully handle collection materials and maintain them in their original order.


Container List

Series I. Scrapbooks, 1934-1962

This series contains Mrs. Sparks' scrapbooks. They are arranged chronologically, preserving Mrs. Sparks' original order. The scrapbooks contain news clippings; high school and college athletic and cultural events programs; select issues of Arlington High School The Colt ; and U.S. Army documents.
OS Folder
OS454 1-4 Scrapbook 1, 1934-1943, undated
Ellen Caton’s childhood scrapbook. Includes grade school certificates; mementos; 1938 Bennett School of Fine Arts Thanksgiving program; 1941 Camp Fire Girls Camp Ellowi newsletter; 1943 Arlington High School diploma; Arlington High football programs and rosters; Tarrant County Baptist Association: Woman’s Missionary Union convention materials.
OS454 Folder
OS454 5 Scrapbook 2, 1943
Ellen’s “My School Memories” scrapbook. Contains autographs and her classmates name cards. Arlington High School Senior Vesper Service program.
OS Folder
OS455 1 Scrapbook 3, 1943-1945, undated
Arlington High 1943 graduation program, Baylor University Baptist Student Union materials, Y.W.A. yearbook and correspondence, State Fair of Texas The Bohemian Girl operetta program.
2-4 Scrapbook 3, 1943-1945, undated
Baylor University Baptist Student Union materials, Y.W.A. yearbook and correspondence, Hardin-Simmons University directory, football programs, promotional poster, theater programs. University Baptist Church in Abilene church directory, programs. Waco Symphony Society programs, Baccaloni Opera Co. Barber of Seville program.
5 Scrapbook 4, 1945-1947, undated
Mary Hardin-Baylor College graduation invitation, 1945-1946 Mary Hardin-Baylor College directory, Announcement of Gifts, 1944-1945; booklet All This and Classes Too; official correspondence; E. E. Davis 1946 retirement program.
OS Folder
OS456 1-3 Scrapbook 4, 1945-1947, undated
Dallas Symphony Orchestra season program; First Baptist Church in Arlington news clippings; First Baptist Church in Belton press clipping with photograph of church fire. Handbooks, official correspondence, Kansas State Teachers College Music program and correspondence. North Texas Agricultural College summer school registration cards, BSU dedication.
4 Scrapbook 5, 1948, undated
Wedding invitation; engagement and wedding memorabilia.
OS Folder
OS457 1 Scrapbook 5, 1948, undated
Keepsake wedding invitation; engagement and wedding memorabilia.
2 Scrapbook 6, 1948, undated
Newspaper wedding clippings, 1948 North Texas Agricultural College Annual Coronation Ceremony of her Majesty program.
3-4 Scrapbook 7, 1948-1950, undated
Agricultural Remount Service auction materials, United States Army newsletters, official correspondence, orientation materials, training certificate.
OS Folder
OS458 1-4 Scrapbook 8, 1949-1956, undated
Baylor University School of Music program, Fluffy Ruffling Dress Mfg. Co. press clipping, Mary Hardin-Baylor College reunion correspondence, Texas Junior Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Young Men of 1952 clipping, travel brochures. United States Army official correspondence, orientation materials.
OS Folder
OS459 1-2 Scrapbook 9, 1959-1961, undated
First Baptist Church in Alamogordo, New Mexico, church bulletins, Arlington Journal news clipping concerning new First Baptist Church sanctuary.



Series II. Printed Material, 1942-1954, undated

OS Folder
OS459 3 Arlington High School The Colt newspapers, 1942-1943
4 Loose Materials Associated with Scrapbooks, 1948-1954, undated
Entertainment and travel brochures, 1948 original marriage license, 1951-52 Arlington Pre-School Directory; 1954 Annual Meeting of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce program; The Dublin Players season program.



Series III. Caton Family Photographs, undated

OS Folder
OS459 5 Photographs, undated
Photographs of Ellen Caton from adolescence through adulthood, her parents and daughters. Includes two photographs which may be engagement photographs. The archivist identified these photographs based on scrapbook content.