University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Robert and Helen Oswald Papers, 1917-1930

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Oswald, Robert and Helen
Title: Robert and Helen Oswald Papers
Dates: 1917-1930
Abstract: Business and personal files document the lives of Robert and Helen Oswald, partners in a comedy troupe that performed in Texas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.
Accession No.: 2001-199, 2002-134
Extent: 9 in.
Laguage: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History,The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Robert Oswald (1892-1948) and his wife Helen Oswald partnered with Jess and Irene Myers to form the Myers' and Oswald's Comedy Players. The comedy players performed in theatres and tent theatres in small towns and small farming and ranching communities throughout the south including Texas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma in the 1920's. The duo worked for the J. Doug Morgan Tent Show. Typically, shows featured a three-act comedy interspersed with vaudeville. The Myers and Oswald's Comedy Player's frequently featured The Peek-A-Boo Girls, a vaudeville style show featuring Helen Oswald and Irene Myers.

Scope and Contents

Photo albums, business records, comedy material, financial records, advertisements, programs, correspondence, legal files, photographs, and a postcard document the lives of Robert and Helen Oswald. The collection is divided into business and personal files. In the business files the couples' schedule is recorded in a date book and a schedule of appearances. Financial records include receipts and an expense book of the comedy troupe. The papers include advertisements of the Myers' and Oswald's Comedy Players, including a postcard of the Peek-A-Boo Girls. Newspaper clippings provide show reviews and an obituary of a fellow comedian. The original material includes songs, poems, monologues, plays, jokes, and sketches used in their routine. Dance steps are recorded that were used in the shows. The couples' personal files include photographs, automobile purchases, and legal files including birth, baptism, and death certificates.


Use Restrictions

Unrestricted access.

Index Terms

Meyers, Irene
Meyers, Jess
Oswald, Helen
Oswald, Robert
Vaudeville Theatre
Vaudeville United States Twentieth Century

Related Material

Forms part of the Professional Touring Entertainment Industry Archives.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Robert and Helen Oswald Papers, 1917-1930, the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Detailed Description of the Papers


Business files

3H128 Business correspondence, 1923-1935
Letterhead, undated
Date book, 1924-1925
Schedule of appearances, 1912-1930
Financial records
Business receipts, 1924-1930
Expense books, 1924 and undated
Advertisements, undated
Newspaper advertisements, undated
Newspaper clippings, undated
Postcard of the Peek-A-Boo Girls, undated
Theatre tickets and programs
Myers and Oswald's Comedy Players Tickets, undated
Liberty Theatre Programs, undated
Myers and Oswald's Peek-A-Boo Girls American Theatre programs, undated
Comedy material
Published material
Comic strip, undated
Hillbilly Courtship by Austin Goetz, 1936
Humorous Incidents, undated
Original material
Minstrel gag, undated
Quartette gag titles, undated
Humorous letter, undated
"Family Troubles," undated
"My Jim," undated
It Might Have Been Worse, undated
Cuddle Up, undated
"The 11:69, " undated
"Blackface Monologue," undated
"Darling Nellie Gray," undated
"The German Senator," undated
"Queek on De Draw Goldberg," 1929
"You Can't Do It," incomplete, undated
Song titles, undated
"Minstrel Song," undated
"Old Uncle Ned," undated
"White-Light Cafe," undated
Dance steps, undated
Sketches, undated


Personal files

Legal files
Petition to place on record a birth not previously recorded for Robert Oswald, photocopy, 1892
Mary Helen Lavell's certificate of Baptism, photocopy, 1942
Death certificates of Robert and Helen Oswald, photocopy, 1948, 1981
Application for automobile license, 1929
Chattle Mortgage, automobile loan and payment receipts, 1925-1928
Memorandum of insurance coverage, August 15, 1924
Personal receipts, 1917-1929
Photograph album, photocopies, undated
3H136 Photograph album, photocopies, with some identification, undated
3S249.3 Photograph album, undated
Photographs, Irene and Jess Meyers and unidentified photos, undated


Oversize material

3S129a "War on Fun," Deandi Theatre Flyer, undated