A Guide to the Rosalis Montgomery Family Papers, 1866-1996
Author Rosalis Montgomery (1912-2002), a descendant of Texas Judge Nicholas William Battle, was born in Llano on October 12, 1912. In the 1920s, she moved to New York City with her mother Rosalie Battle Hunt, an interior decorator, and graduated from Barnard University with a bachelor’s degree in French in 1935. She attended the Institut de Touraine in Tours, France, the Sorbonne in Paris, and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Before marrying James Robert (Bob) Montgomery (1912-1998) upon his release from the army in 1945, Montgomery worked as an editorial researcher for Look Magazine.
After their marriage, the Montgomerys lived in Houston, Texas, where Bob worked as an engineer for Exxon Company until he transferred to Tyler in 1949. They had two children together, Seth Hunt and William Battle. Rosalis earned a masters degree in French from Southern Methodist University and one in English from the University of Texas at Tyler. Additionally, she served as the president of the Tyler chapters of the League of Women Voters and the American Association of University Women. After her husband retired in the 1980s, he served as the mayor of Tyler for two terms. During the 1990s, Montgomery began writing books based on her experiences in New York and Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. These books include: An Innocent Abroad: Rome 1939 (1990); The Way It Was (1992); Lady in Waiting 1944-1945 (1995); and My Odyssey (1997). Montgomery died in Tyler on May 16, 2002.
“Montgomery, Rosalis,” Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
Correspondence, journals, literary productions, financial and legal records, newspaper clippings, memorabilia, printed material, photographs, and audiocassettes comprise the Rosalis Montgomery Family Papers, 1866-1996, and document the lives of the Montgomery family of Tyler, Texas. The bulk of the papers consists of Rosalis Montgomery’s correspondence with family members, such as her mother, Rosalie Battle Hunt; her sisters; her maternal grandparents, Thomas Elbridge and Susy Lucy Green Battle; and her husband, James Robert Montgomery, while he served in the army during World War II. Furthermore, the collection concerns Montgomery’s European sojourns during the 1930s in France and Italy and includes her letters home from 1932 to 1939 as well as the journal she kept in Rome in 1939. Additionally, the papers contain typescript copies of Montgomery’s literary productions The Way It Was and An Innocent Abroad. A portion of the papers includes Thomas Elbridge Battle’s financial and legal documents from 1912 to 1945. The remainder of the collection consists of printed materials, genealogical materials, family photographs, and memorabilia related to the Montgomery family’s life in Tyler, Texas.
The collection is open for research use.
Rosalis Montgomery Family Papers, 1866-1996, 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