University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Lena Dancy Ledbetter Papers, 1830-1950



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Ledbetter, Lena Dancy
Title: Ledbetter, Lena Dancy, Papers
Dates: 1830-1950
Abstract: Correspondence, clippings, printed materials, postcards, books, and photographs comprise the Lena Dancy Ledbetter Papers, 1830-1950, which pertain to Ledbetter’s reminiscences and activities as a member of many community associations and an amateur composer.
Accession No.: 1956; 83-105
Extent: 1 ft., 4 in.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Lena Dancy Ledbetter (1850-1936), civic leader, housewife, and amateur composer, was born to John Winfield Scott Dancy and Lucy Ann Nowlin in La Grange, Texas. John Winfield Scott Dancy, an attorney and politician, owned a plantation outside of La Grange. Lena Dancy Ledbetter lived near La Grange during the Civil War, meeting many historical figures, including Sam Houston, Robert E. Lee, General John Bankhead Magruder, and Francis R. Lubbock. At 14, Lena Dancy, interested in weaving, spun and wove a day dress completely by hand.

In the latter half of the 1860s she was sent to school at the Carnatz Institute in New Orleans. Upon graduation in 1870, she married James Peacock Ledbetter, an attorney from Round Top, Texas. They had five daughters and two sons together. In 1888, they moved to Coleman, Texas, to start a ranch and Lena became involved in social and religious activities. Active in the Episcopal Church, Lena was the secretary of the Ladies’ Cemetery Association and a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the Daughters of the American Revolution, and the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.

In addition to her activities in the community, Lena was an avid singer and composer, who organized a home orchestra, a ladies’ orchestra, and a music club of thirty members, which was expanded into a federated club focused on literature, art, music, and child study. Interested in history, Lena Dancy donated many of her possessions and her papers to various museums and archives, such as the Texas Memorial Museum, the Barker Texas History Center, and the Daughters of the American Revolution museum. Lena Dancy Ledbetter died in 1936.

Sources:

Cook, Gertrude Harris. “Memoirs of a Texas Plantation Belle,” The Dallas Morning News, March 22, 1931.

Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. “Dancy, John Winfield Scott,“ http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/DD/fda7.html (accessed June 23, 2010).


Scope and Contents

Correspondence, clippings, printed materials, postcards, books, and photographs comprise the Lena Dancy Ledbetter Papers, 1830-1950, which pertain to Ledbetter’s reminiscences and activities as a member of many community associations and an amateur composer. Her papers provide significant details about Civil War life on the Texas home front, especially regarding the creation of textiles. Notably, her papers include a book of patterns for weaving counterpanes (bed coverings) on the loom, 1862-1865. In addition to her reminiscences, the papers document Ledbetter’s activities as a society leader in Coleman, Texas, in the late 19th century. The photographs in the papers depict members of Ledbetter’s family and other notable historical figures, such as John Winfield Scott Dancy, Peyton Wade Nowlin, and Guy M. Bryan. In addition, the papers include a photograph of a hickory chair sat on by Sam Houston and photographic postcards showing La Grange, Austin, and San Antonio.


Restrictions

Access Restrictions

Unrestricted access.

Access to Artifacts by appointment only. Contact repository for more information.

Use Restrictions

Unrestricted use.


Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Ledbetter, Lena Dancy, 1850-1936--Archives.
Dancy, John Winfield Scott, 1810-1866.
Nowlin, Peyton Wade.
Houston, Sam, 1793-1863.
Magruder, John Bankhead, 1807-1871.
Lee, Robert E. (Robert Edward), 1807-1870.
Lubbock, Francis Richard, 1815-1905
Subjects (Organizations)
United Daughters of the Confederacy.
Daughters of the American Revolution.
Daughters of the Republic of Texas
Episcopal Church--Texas.
Subjects
Music--Societies, etc.
Textile fabrics--United States--History--19th century.
Places
La Grange (Tex.)
Coleman (Tex.)
Tulsa (Okla.)
Fayette County (Tex.)
New Orleans (La.)

Related Material

Lena Dancy Ledbetter Counterpane Samples Collection, John Winfield Scott Dancy Papers


Separated Material

Artifacts have been separated to the Artifact Collection.


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Lena Dancy Ledbetter Papers, 1830-1950, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.


Detailed Description of the Papers

 

Inventory

box
2E353 Clippings
Letters, 1823-1905
Pamphlets, 1923-1934
Books
“Patterns for Weaving Counterpanes, ” 1862-1865
box
2E354 Clippings, ca. 1908-1935
Articles
Books
box
2E355 Books
box
3S185 Bonds
box
3S192 Land grant to Nancy Browning, in the city of Austin, signed by President Sam Houston, 1842
(photostat)
box
3S119b Postcards:
LaGrange, Texas
Austin, Texas
Enchanted Rock
San Antonio, Texas
Mount Vernon, Virginia
Kentucky
box
3S121a Oversize postcard of the Austin Woman’s Club, 1932
box
3T213 Photographs:
Lancelot Abbott and Family
John W. S. Dancy
Peyton Nowlin
Guy M. Bryan
Hotel in LaGrange
Statue of Davy Crockett
Hickory chair
box
3S126.2 Photographs