A Guide to the George Brackenridge Estate Controversy Collection, 1958-2004 (bulk 1961-1962)
George W. Brackenridge (1832-1920) served as the president of the San Antonio Water Works Company (1883-1906), as University of Texas regent (1886-1911; 1917-1919), and as director of the Express Publishing Company. Upon his death, Brackenridge’s will established a charitable education trust that constituted of real estate, bonds, cash, and stock in the Express Publishing Company, which runs the San Antonio Express-News newspaper.
When the Bexar County Hospital District planned an expansion for the Robert B. Green Hospital, factions arose disagreeing about the location – downtown versus the suburbs. The Express-News supported the suburban location, and four hospital board members, including Jesse H. Oppenheimer, were replaced by supporters of the suburban site. Since the Express-News publishers, the Frank G. Huntress family, were also trustees for the Brackenridge Charitable Trust, controversy arose over the trustees’ connection to the Express Publishing Company and the ability of the trustees to properly carry out the purposes of the trust. The Attorney General of Texas, with help from Oppenheimer and other legal firms, prepared a suit against the trustees for not adequately managing the trust on behalf of its beneficiaries, the youth of Texas. To avoid the lawsuit, the Huntresses resigned from the trust and the stock in the Express Publishing Company was sold to the Harte-Hanks newspaper group.
The George W. Brackenridge Foundation still exists today, providing grants for educational scholarships or programs directed towards economically disadvantaged youth.
The George Brackenridge Estate Controversy Collection, 1958-2004 (bulk 1961-1962) contains the papers of attorney Jesse H. Oppenheimer, relating to the controversy surrounding the George Brackenridge Trust, including its ownership interests in the San Antonio Express-News newspaper and the Bexar County Hospital location dispute. Materials include newspaper clippings, memoranda, correspondence, drafts of legal petitions, tax records, accounting records, balance sheets, and legal agreements.
George Brackenridge Estate Controversy Collection, 1958-2004 (bulk 1961-1962), Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
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