A Guide to the Sue Flanagan Papers, 1942-1990
Journalist, author, and photographer Sue Flanagan was born on July 17, 1926, in San Angelo, Texas. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Denver in 1946 and the following year attended a one-year program at the New York Institute of Photography. After returning to San Angelo in 1947, Flanagan worked as a photographer and journalist for the San Angelo Standard-Times until illness forced her to quit in 1949. She later became an advertising manager for a furniture store and the managing editor for Sheep and Goat Raisers Magazine. In the fall of 1952, she accepted a Rotary Scholar International Scholarship and studied English literature at Trinity College, University of Dublin. Upon returning to Texas, she again worked for the Standard-Times, helping to produce its 70th anniversary edition in 1954. Afterwards she served as the coordinator of the volunteer council at the McKnight Tuberculosis Hospital outside of San Angelo. While working at the hospital, she arranged for Attorney General Will Wilson to dedicate a new chapel there and subsequently became his administrative aide during the late 1950s. From 1960 to 1963, she ran the Capitol Press Bureau for the Wichita Falls newspapers, the Times and Record News, until she quit to work on a book about Sam Houston.
During her time with the attorney general’s office, Flanagan became interested in the letters of Sam Houston and began traveling and staying in places he visited. Her photographs of these places ultimately turned into a book, entitled Sam Houston’s Texas, which the University of Texas Press published in 1964. In 1965, she received a grant to write a book on cattle trails in Texas, eventually published in 1974 under the title Trailing the Longhorns.
Governor John Connally derailed Flanagan’s progress on Trailing the Longhorns in 1966 when he asked her to plan a Texas museum for the 1968 Hemisfair celebration in San Antonio. Serving as assistant director, she helped develop the museum’s theme and mission to display the ethnic and cultural heritage of Texas. This museum turned into the Institute of Texan Culture attached to the University of Texas at San Antonio. Flanagan worked with the museum until 1972 when she became the director of the Sam Houston Memorial Museum in Huntsville. On March 10, 1993, Flanagan died in San Antonio.
"Flanagan, Sue," Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
Correspondence, subject files, research notes, drafts, photographs, negatives, slides, albums, and a scrapbook comprise the Sue Flanagan Papers, 1942-1990, and relate to Flanagan’s career as an author, photographer, and journalist. The bulk of the papers concerns Flanagan’s work on Sam Houston’s Texas and includes correspondence, research notes, a bibliography and an index, drafts, letters of permission, records of her photography trips, photographic material, and a list of her pictures arranged on a timeline of Sam Houston’s life. Additionally, the collection contains correspondence, photographs, and news clippings pertaining to the creation and publication of her second book, Trailing the Longhorns. The remainder of the papers documents Flanagan’s college years at the University of Denver, her time as a Rotary Scholar in Ireland, and her career as a journalist in San Angelo and Austin. Her subject files, consisting of printed materials, news clippings, notes, and correspondence, cover topics such as religion, U.S. affairs, San Angelo, Scandinavia, and Scotland. Finally, the scrapbook contains newspaper articles tracing Flanagan’s career as an author and journalist.
The collection is open for research use.
Sue Flanagan Papers, 1942-1990, 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.
This collection is unprocessed.
Detailed Description of the Papers