TABLE OF CONTENTS
A Guide to the Jesse Edward Grinstead Papers, 1959-1988
Jesse Edward Grinstead was born to William and Elizabeth (Priest) Grinstead on October 16, 1866, in Owensboro, Kentucky. When he was one year old, his family moved to Central Missouri, where he attended a district school for three months a year, from the ages of 8 to 14. At the age of 18, Grinstead moved with his family to Indian Territory, where he worked as a printer for a newspaper in Ardmore and then for the Oakland News. In 1899 he moved to Kerrville in the Hill Country in hopes of finding a cure for his wife, who was ill. Although she died shortly thereafter, Grinstead remained in Kerrville, where he became a prominent citizen and promoter of the area, as well as an active member of the Masons. In 1900 he bought the Kerrville Paper, which he renamed the Mountain Sun, and which he edited for the next 17 years. Grinstead served as mayor of Kerrville from 1902 to 1904, and in 1907 was elected to the state legislature, where he authored a bill to construct a state tuberculosis sanatorium at Carlsbad. He served as the chairman of the local draft board during World War I and as a member (and later president) of the local school board for fifteen years. In 1917 he sold the Mountain Sun to the Terrell Publishing Company and dedicated himself to becoming a well-known author of western fiction. His short stories were published in many well-known pulp magazines of the day, including Argosy and Frontier. He authored over thirty western novels, sometimes using the pseudonyms William Crum Rush, Tex Janis, and George Bowles. His story Scourge of the Little C was produced as the movie Tumbling River by William Fox in 1928. From January 1921 to December 1925 Grinstead wrote and published Grinstead's Graphic, a monthly magazine devoted to promoting the merits of Hill Country to area ranchers, who were suffering though a financial recession. Grinstead married at two points in his life. He had a son, who served in the armed forces during World War I. He died in Kerrville on March 8, 1948, at the age of 81.
Creative works, correspondence, printed material, legal and financial documentation, and photographs, 1886-1955 (5 ft., 5 in.), created by Jesse Edward Grinstead, document the Grinstead’s work as an author, newspaper and magazine editor, and Mason, and are arranged into two main series, business and personal. Business records provide the bulk of the collection (758 items) and are subdivided into Grinstead’s work as author, editor, and publisher. Manuscripts of Grinstead’s stories (n.d.; 70 items), arranged alphabetically by title, written primarily for Western-themed magazines, along with copies of the magazines (1926-1937; 77 items), and his correspondence with editors, his agent F.M. Holly, and others (1918-1950, n.d.; 492 items) record his career as a fiction writer. Grinstead’s works are divided into single works and case files. The case files include correspondence associated with the work. Publishers with whom Grinstead corresponded include: Adventure (1923-1928; 8 items), Brief Stories (1928; 9 items), Butterick Publishing Company (1928; 6 items), Dell Publishing Company (1933; 38 items), Double Day, Page & Company (1924-1928; 226 items), Everybody’s Magazine (1928; 11 items), Frank A. Munsey Publishing (1919-1933; 93 items), Fiction House Inc. Publishers (1931-1932; 4 items), and Street and Smith Publishers (1918-1928; 65 items). Magazines represented are: Ace-High Magazine (1934-1935; 6 items), All Western Magazine (1932-1936; 19 items), Argosy (1931-1934; 14 items), Big Book Western (1936; 1 item), Blue Ribbon Western(1937; 1 item), Frontier (1926-1927; 3 items), Frontier Stories (1927-1932; 20 items), Lariat (1930, 1937; 2 items), Real Western (1936; 1 item), Thrilling Ranch Stories (1935, 1937; 2 items), Western Romances (1933-1935; 4 items), Western Short Stories (1936-1937; 3 items), and Wild West Weekly (1928; 1 item). Records reflecting Grinstead’s role as owner and editor of the Kerrville Mountain Sun (1900-1921; 27 items) and editor and publisher of Grinstead's Graphic (1920-1940, n.d.; 71 items), along with financial documentation relating to his work as a publisher for the Oakland News (1897-1899; 3 items) flesh out the remainder of his professional life. Correspondence regarding Grinstead's Graphic documents Grinstead’s relationship with advertisers and subscribers. Grinstead’s personal papers (1886-1955, n.d.; 42 items) include correspondence regarding his relationship with James K. Hackett, a Shakespearean actor, who commended Grinstead’s "skill as a dramatic writer and portrayer of human character,"(1906-1947, n.d.; 24 items), financial documentation (1886-1924; 7 items), a speech and certificate honoring Grinstead’s membership in the Masons (n.d., 1 item), and a certificate acknowledging Grinstead’s work during World War I as chairman of the local draft board (1917, 1 item).
Open for research except items restricted for preservation purposes.
Jesse Edward Grinstead Papers, 1886-1955, the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.