A Guide to the George F. Townsend Papers, 1853-1952
Born in Austin, Texas, George F. Townsend was the son of Martin Townsend and his wife, Cecilia Brichta, nephew of William A. Blackburn, and the grandson of Nathaniel Townsend, a merchant and diplomat for the Republic of Texas. Townsend owned a photography studio on Congress Avenue and married Elizabeth Sthreshley (d. 1919) in 1894. Four years earlier, Elizabeth had invented the punctograph, a Braille typewriter, for which she held the patent. After working at the Texas School for the Blind for eight years, Elizabeth left her position to assist her husband with his photography career, which included experiments with X-ray equipment.
Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "Townsend, Elizabeth Sthreshley,"http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ftokp (accessed August 2, 2010).
Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "Townsend, Nathaniel,"http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fto33 (accessed August 2, 2010).
Correspondence, legal papers, reminiscences, broadsides, printed materials, tintypes, clippings, and photographs comprise the George F. Townsend Papers, 1853-1952. The collection relates to the punctograph invented and patented by Elizabeth Sthreshley in 1890; records by Francis Brichta, a relative of Cecilia Brichta; of Austin land transactions in 1884; reminiscences by Cecilia Brichta Townsend; and photographs from Townsend’s photography studio.
This collection is open for research use.
George F. Townsend Papers, 1853-1952, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
Detailed Description of the Papers