A Guide to the Ring (Mrs. Henry F. "Elizabeth L.") Papers, 1913-1931
Social worker and reformer Mrs. Henry F. “Elizabeth L.” Ring (1857–1941), daughter of Henry and Elizabeth L. Fitzsimmons, was born in Houston, Texas, in 1857. After attending Miss Brown's Young Ladies Boarding and Day School, she married attorney Henry Franklin Ring in 1880. Ring held numerous leadership roles for reform movements within Texas, including president of the Ladies’ Reading Club and chairman of the library committee of the Texas Federation of Women's Clubs. In 1899, she led campaigns to persuade the state to fund libraries throughout Texas and appoint a state library commission. Ring was also the acting director of the Houston Foundation during World War I and helped establish Houston’s city recreation department. Twice elected president of the Houston Federation of Women's Clubs, she lobbied for legislation supporting working women and children. In the 1920s, Ring successfully campaigned for prison reform, resulting in improvements to the Texas prison system and the formation of the Texas Committee on Prisons and Prison Labor.
Source: Endelman, Sharon Bice. “Ring, Elizabeth L. Fitzsimmons.” Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed February 15, 2011.http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fri19.
Correspondence, memoranda, petitions, reports, and minutes comprise the Mrs. Henry F. “Elizabeth L.” Ring Papers, 1913-1931, documenting her work through various women’s organizations to effect social and prison reform in Texas. Correspondence with organizations such as the Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs, National Committee on Prisons and Prison Labor, and the Texas Bureau of Labor Statistics illustrate Ring’s influence on government and social affairs. The collection also includes speeches, such as a 1929 address by then New York Governor Franklin Roosevelt and financial records. Statistical reports, meeting minutes, bulletins, and petitions from various organizations shed light on the state of social institutions in the 1920s. Reports from the Texas Committee on Prisons and Prison Labor document the history of the Texas penal system, efforts to relocate prisoners, the sanitary conditions within Texas prisons, and the treatment of prisoners. Additionally, newspaper clippings and broadsides, primarily from “The Echo,” the newsletter of the Texas Prison Welfare League, record prison reform efforts throughout the 1930s.
This collection is open for research use.
Mrs. Henry F. “Elizabeth L.” Ring Papers, 1913-1931, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, 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