A Guide to the Marcellus Elliot Foster Papers, 1920, 1925
Born in Pembroke, Kentucky, Marcellus Elliot "Mefo" Foster (1870-1942) and his parents, Mariella and Marcellus, moved to Huntsville, Texas, in 1873. Foster graduated from Sam Houston Normal Institute (now Sam Houston State University) in 1890. Five years later, he joined the Houston Post, working alongside William Sydney Porter, known best as O. Henry. In 1899, he became the youngest editor of a Texas newspaper. Two years later, he left the Post to found the Houston Chronicle. Using the pseudonym "Mefo," Foster also began writing the weekly column "Our City," which challenged the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s.
In 1908, Jesse H. Jones became part owner of the Chronicle, purchasing full ownership when Foster retired in 1926. The next year, Foster joined the Houston Press as editor and started writing the column "Why," which criticized the state prison system under manager Marshall Lee Simmons and Governor Daniel J. Moody. After retiring as editor in 1937, Foster continued the column until 1941.
In addition to his newspaper career, Foster served as University of Texas Regent (1925-1931), president of several publisher and editor associations, and director or president of numerous realty, banking, and insurance companies. He married twice, first in 1905 to Zaidee L. Lochhead, with whom he had three children, and then Clare Collier LaBarge in 1919. Foster also published four books, including The Town Tattler (1920) and Mefo Wanders and Wonders (1929).
Lucko, Paul M. "Foster, Marcellus Elliot."Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed January 20, 2011. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ffo52.
The Marcellus Elliot Foster Papers, 1920, 1925, consist of a book and two letters from Foster to his wife Clare C. Foster. A book of commentary, The Town Tattler by Mefo (Foster’s pseudonym), contains an inscription to Clare from 1920, while the two letters dated April 16 and 19, 1925, from Foster to his wife describe his working relationship with Jesse H. Jones in regards to the Houston Chronicle.
This collection is open for research use.
Marcellus Elliot Foster Papers, 1920, 1925, 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