A Guide to the Bailey Benge Crowe Papers, 1910-2005
Bailey Benge Crowe (1888-1966) was a civil engineer and automobile dealer in South America and Texas. Born the youngest twin son of William Jefferson and Sarah Trammell Crow of Henderson, Texas, Bailey changed his surname to Crowe in the mid-1910s. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a civil engineering degree in 1911. The next year, he went to Uruguay to work on a railroad construction project for the Pan American Railroad, which suspended operations in 1913. Crowe returned to Texas and married Helen Harrison of San Antonio. The couple had five children: Jon (b. 1915), Flossie (b. 1918), Marion (b. 1919), Sally (b. 1921), and Lucille (b. ca. 1929).
Crowe returned to South America in 1919 as a dealer of Franklin automobiles in Montevideo, Uruguay, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, until the 1920s. Thereafter, he worked as an engineer on projects in Texas, including the installation of irrigation systems in the Rio Grande Valley. In 1940, he settled his family in Corpus Christi and became a U. S. government engineer, working in Alaska, Guam, Japan, Okinawa, and England throughout the 1940s and 1950s.
Crowe’s brothers Douglas, Thomas, Jefferson, Madison, and twin George Davis (1888-1952) were also engineers and auto dealers. Additionally, George fought in France during World War I.
Composed of letters, literary productions, photographs, postcards, and genealogical information, the Bailey Benge Crowe Papers, 1910-2005, documents Crowe’s career as an engineer and auto dealer in Texas and South America. The bulk of correspondence documents Crowe’s time in Uruguay in 1912 and 1913 in letters to his family in Henderson, Texas. Besides observations about Uruguay and the progress of the railroad construction, Crowe’s missives discuss events in Henderson as well as engineering projects and auto sales in Texas, his dealership in Uruguay and Argentina from 1919 to 1923, and his trips and engineering projects from 1953 to 1965. In addition, a number of letters concern George Davis Crow and his military service military service in France during World War I.
Furthermore, essays and poems by Crowe’s wife Helen concern travel to South America, Great Britain, Okinawa, Japan, and the Middle East. Photographs and photocopies from a photo album depict Crowe, his brother George, France during World War I, Franklin automobiles, Helen’s grandfather Willis Tillman Harrison, and the children of Albert Schiffers of San Antonio. The collection also contains genealogical information and biographical sketches of family members, memorabilia, printed material from the H. H. Franklin Club, postcards from Uruguay in the 1910s, and newspaper clippings related to Crowe and automobile sales.
This collection is open for research use.
Bailey Benge Crowe Papers, 1910-2005, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Lynn Bell, November 1983.
This collection contains unprocessed materials.
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