A Guide to the A.P. Wooldridge Papers, 1836-1965
Alexander Penn Wooldridge was born in 1847 to Absalom Davis and Julia Webber (Stone) Wooldridge in New Orleans, Louisiana. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1868 then served as professor of physical education at Bethel College in Russellville, Kentucky. In 1872 Wooldridge moved to Austin to study law at the firm of Terrell and Walker. He was admitted to the Fifth Circuit court of the United States as an attorney and later established the firm of Fulmore, Wallace and Wooldridge, Attorneys at Law and Land Agents. Woodridge married Ellen Waggener in Russellville, Kentucky in 1874 and they had seven children. Ellen died of typhoid fever in 1903.
In Austin, Wooldridge became heavily involved in civic affairs. He helped to organize the city’s public school system. In 1881 he served as chairman of the committee for the location of the University of Texas. Woodridge served on the Board of Regents for the University from 1882 to 1894. In 1902 he became president of the Board of Regents of the Girls Industrial College of Texas at Denton, later renamed Texas Women’s University, but he served only one term. In 1909 Woodridge was elected mayor of Austin. He effectively made many improvements to city development, public education, sanitation and to the police and fire departments.
Wooldrige married Mrs. Nellie Wylie Holden in 1917, and he retired from public office in 1919. He was the recipient of Austin’s first Most Worthy Citizen award in 1924. Wooldrige Park and Wooldridge Elementary School in Austin were named in his honor. A.P. Wooldridge on September 8, 1930.
The A.P. Wooldridge Papers are comprised of scrapbooks, certificates and appointments, diaries, literary productions, correspondence, news clippings and a biography of A.P. Wooldridge. The material documents the life and work of A.P. Wooldridge as Mayor of Austin, as a civic leader, as well as his role in the development of the University of Texas. The bulk of the papers comprise biographical information on Alexander Penn, correspondence and newspaper clippings. The correspondence documents Wooldridge’s involvement with collegiate education at the Girls Industrial College of Texas at Denton and the development of the University of Texas at Austin, as well as Wooldridge’s civic endeavors while he was an attorney in Austin, Mayor of Austin and served on the board of Regents for the University of Texas.
Newsclippings document A.P. Wooldrige’s civic work in Austin, Texas, particularly with city development, planning and beautification projects, parks and the Austin dam, as well as city bonds. Also included is a scrapbook of clippings about the University of Texas.
The collection also includes records, correspondence and diaries of his father, Absalom Davis Wooldrige who served as the State Engineer of Louisiana.
This collection is open for research use.
A.P. Wooldridge Papers, 1836-1965, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by archives staff, June, 1965.
Detailed Description of the Papers