Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Descriptive Summary

Biographical Note

Scope and Contents

Arrangement

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

1. Career Files 1962-2007

2. Awards and Honors, 1971-2008

3. Community Involvement, 1987-2005

4. Personal Files, 1944-2005

5. Photographs, 1944-1987

University of Texas San Antonio

A Guide to the Helen Cloud Austin Papers, 1944-2010



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Austin, Helen Cloud.
Title: Helen Cloud Austin Papers
Dates: 1944-2010
Creator Abstract: Helen Cloud Austin earned local and national recognition for her accomplishments as a social worker at the San Antonio State Hospital, where she was Chief of the Social Services Department. Austin’s accomplishments were formally recognized in 1983 when she was declared San Antonio Social Worker of the Year and Texas’ State Social Worker of the Year. In 1984, Austin was honored as the nation’s Social Worker of the Year by the 94,000-member National Association of Social Workers, making her the first Texan to receive all three awards.
Content Abstract: Correspondence, newsletters, news clippings, award programs, high school diploma, photographs, and a scrapbook document Austin's career and community involvement.
Identification: MS 61
Extent: 1.7 linear feet (about 1,350 items)
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections

Biographical Note

Helen Cloud Austin earned local and national recognition for her accomplishments and dedication as a social worker at the San Antonio State Hospital. Austin was only the second black student ever to attend the University of Louisville’s Raymond A. Kent School of Social Work. After earning her Masters of Science degree in 1953, Austin was hired as a social worker at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. Austin moved to Cincinnati, Ohio in 1957 and became Chief of the Outpatient Department at Longview State Hospital. In 1962, Austin’s husband, a civil service worker, was transferred to Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio. After moving to Texas, Austin applied to the San Antonio State Hospital for a social work position, but was denied employment due to a “No blacks hired as professional” policy. Austin, however, found professional work in the private sector. In 1965, with the help of Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez, the racist policy was lifted, and Austin became the first African-American professional hired at the San Antonio State Hospital.

Austin cultivated a rewarding career at San Antonio State Hospital, spearheading several new programs as Chief of the Social Services Department. Among the first programs started by Austin was an orientation for newly admitted patients. In 1968, Austin started the SASH-Mobile program, providing bus rides from Nueces County to San Antonio for family and friends of patients. Splash for SASH was another program started by Austin to organize beach trips to Corpus Christi for patients and their family and friends. In 1980, Austin also organized efforts encouraging short-term patients to register and vote in political elections.

Austin’s accomplishments were formally recognized in 1983 when she was declared San Antonio Social Worker of the Year and Texas’ State Social Worker of the Year. In 1984, Austin was honored as the nation’s Social Worker of the Year by the 94,000-member National Association of Social Workers, making her the first Texan to receive all three awards. The city organized a large send-off at the San Antonio airport before Austin departed to accept her award at the National Health Conference in Washington, D.C. U.S. Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez escorted Austin to the ceremony and read a tribute to her in Congress, which is published in the Congressional Record of June 11, 1984. Among other prestigious honors, Austin was inducted into the San Antonio Hall of Fame in 1985. In addition, Austin was one of fifteen women included in a 1989 booklet sponsored by the National Council of Negro Women entitled Salute to Black Women Who Make Things Happen.

After nearly 23 years of service, Austin retired from the San Antonio State Hospital in 1987, but remained active in the field of social work and in other community organizations. Austin continued to volunteer at the San Antonio State Hospital, and served on the Advisory Committee of the Hogg Foundation, and as the President of the Board of Directors for the San Antonio Halfway House, Inc. Austin also served on the Boards of the Bexar County Mental Health/Mental Retardation Center, Greater San Antonio Mental Health Association, and Wesley Community Center. Austin continued to be an active member at St. Paul United Methodist Church where she started the Senior Citizen Ministry. In addition, Austin continued her activities with the Delta Sigma Theta sorority. A member of the sorority since 1945, Austin served as President of the San Antonio Alumnae Chapter from 1970-1972.

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Scope and Contents

Correspondence, newsletters, news clippings, magazines, award programs, photographs, awards, a high school diploma, and a scrapbook document a prominent San Antonio social worker who gained national recognition for her accomplishments in the profession. The collection is divided into four series and arranged in chronological order within each series: Career Files, Awards and Honors, Community Involvement, and Personal files.

The papers in Career Files are arranged as a chronology highlighting Austin’s professional accomplishments and her involvement in the community. Very little material dates back to Austin's first professional jobs in Chicago and Cincinnati during the 1950s. The bulk of the material dates from her time at the San Antonio State Hospital from 1965-1987. Also included is material on her retirement, including a Retirement Scrapbook that was given to Austin by the San Antonio State Hospital upon her retirement in 1987. The scrapbook provides information about the hospital’s history, and includes photographs of the institution. Within the Career Files sereis folder, is a letter recognizing all of the hard work Dr. Inglis, the superintendent of San Antonio State Hospital, did to promote Helen Cloud Austin's retirement. The Career files dating after Austin’s retirement in 1987 show her continued involvement in, and recognition by, professional and community organizations.

The Awards and Honors series highlights Austin's professional and community achievements. Austin was chosen to be the nation's Social Worker of the Year in 1984, making the 1984 file an excellent source of personal and professional background information on Austin. Included in the 1984 files are various biographies written by newspaper columnists and professional and community organizations. Respect for Austin and her accomplishments are conveyed through letters of congratulations and additional recognition from leaders in Texas government, the social work profession, and organizations in San Antonio.

The Community Involvement series emphasizes her involvement with St. Paul United Methodist Church, as well as her support for political leaders.

The papers in the Personal Files series relate to her education, including a high school diploma, material documenting the time Austin spent at the University of Louisville, and her involvement with the sorority, Delta Sigma Theta. The bulk of the material relating to the University of Louisville regards her involvement with the Alumni Association and includes material on the 50th Alumni Anniversary and the Helen Cloud Austin Scholarship Fund. The Delta Sigma Theta material chiefly relates to her involvement with the San Antonio chapter. Included with this material is a certificate and letter of acceptance into the sorority.

The Photographs series includes one photo from Austin's high school graduation and one photo of an unknown man, while the bulk of the photographs consist of work and award related photographs.

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Arrangement

  • Series 1. Career Files
  • Series 2. Awards and Honors
  • Series 3. Community Involvement
  • Series 4. Personal Files
  • Series 5. Photographs

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Restrictions

Access Restrictions

This collection is housed at UTSA's Main Campus and must be accessed via the John Peace Library Special Collections reading room. To request access, please use the Collections Request Form.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from the papers must be obtained from University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections.

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Index Terms

Personal Names
Austin, Helen Cloud.
Organizations
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
San Antonio State Hospital.
Subjects
Social workers--Texas--San Antonio.
Social workers, Black--Texas--San Antonio.
Social service--Texas--San Antonio.
Discrimination in employment--Texas--San Antonio.
Minorities--Employment--Texas--San Antonio.
Locations
San Antonio (Tex.)--History--20th century.
Texas--Officials and employees.
Genres/Formats
Correspondence.
Scrapbooks.
Clippings.
Awards.
Certificates.
Newsletters.
Photographs.
Local Subjects
African Americans
Healthcare/Health Issues
Women

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Related Material

The transcript of an oral history interview conducted with Helen Cloud Austin in 1997 is available at University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections. In the interview, Austin refers often to papers in this collection and talks about her upbringing in Kentucky, her career, and her involvement in the community. The records of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, in which Austin was an active member, are also available at the University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Helen Cloud Austin Papers, 1944-2010, MS 61, University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections.

Acquisition Information

Received as a gift from Helen Cloud Austin, 1997-2010 (Acc. 1997-017, 2002-007, 2003-068, 2005-016, 2007-019, 2008-023, 2010-029).

Processing Information

Processed by Toni Jeske, Processing Archivist, January 1999, Tatina Wulzer, Collections Assistant, August 2008, and Rose Rodriguez, Collections Assistant, July 2010.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

 

1. Career Files 1962-2007

Career files related to programs that Austin was involved with at the San Antonio State Hospital, and material dating after Austin’s retirement in 1987 show her continued involvement in, and recognition from, professional and community organizations. Also included are newspaper clippings, and newsletters of the San Antonio State Hospital featuring Austin and the programs she initiated. Personnel records such as job references, resumes, and evaluations are present within select files.
Arranged chronologically.
San Antonio State Hospital, 1962-1987
Box Folder
1 1-8 Assorted materials relating to career, 1962-1987
View Folder Contents
Box Folder
2 1 Retirement scrapbook, 1987
View Folder Contents
2 Assorted materials relating to retirement, 1987-1989 and undated
View Folder Contents
Box Folder
1 9 San Antonio State Hospital volunteer, 1987-2003 and undated
View Folder Contents
13 San Antonio State Hospital History and Overview of Services, undated
11 Halfway House of San Antonio, 1979-1980 and undated
View Folder Contents
12 Crosspoints San Antonio, 2000-2007
View Folder Contents
10 Assorted materials, 1972, 1987-1989
View Folder Contents

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2. Awards and Honors, 1971-2008

Awards and honors contain certificates, plaques, and papers that Austin has received over the life of her career. The bulk of the material relating to Helen Cloud Austin's achievements include letters and recognition from her friends and co-workers as well as leaders within Texas' government, the social work profession, and organizations in San Antonio.
Box Folder
2 3 Delta Woman of the Year, April 27, 1971
View Folder Contents
4 Personalities of the South, 1973
View Folder Contents
5 G.J. Sutton Award Nomination, 1979-1988 and undated
View Folder Contents
6 "Black Women Achievers, Observance," Gamma Phi chapter, January 1983
View Folder Contents
7 1983 State Social Worker of the Year, 1983-1984
View Folder Contents
8 Assorted, 1983-1989, 2000-2008 and undated
View Folder Contents
9 1983 National Social Worker of the Year, 1983-1997 and undated
View Folder Contents
10 San Antonio Women's Celebration and Hall of Fame, 1984-2002
View Folder Contents
Box Folder
3 1 Senate Resolution , May-June 1987
View Folder Contents
2 Frito Lay and NCNW Salute Black Women Who Make It Happen, November-December 1989
View Folder Contents
3 Mary Holdsworth Butt Award Nominee, 1990
View Folder Contents
4 9th annual Spirit Award, 1996
View Folder Contents
5 2001 Social Worker Pioneer, March19th- September 26, 2001
View Folder Contents
6 2002 Delta Sigma Theta Alumni Fellows, 2002-2004
View Folder Contents
7 "Lifetime Living- Resident in the Spotlight," January/February 2003 and Summer 2009
View Folder Contents
8 2004 Enterprising Women's Conference Athena Award Nomination, 2006
View Folder Contents
9 Martin Luther King Jr. Award, 2004-2005
View Folder Contents
10 100 Black Women, 2008
View Folder Contents
Box Folder
OM1 1 Plaques and awards, 1987-1997 and undated

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3. Community Involvement, 1987-2005

This series includes material related to Austin's membership with St. Paul's United Methodist Church and some assorted personal papers pertaining to local political campaigns that Austin supported.
Box Folder
3 11 St. Paul's United Methodist Church, 1987-2005
View Folder Contents
12 Assorted material, 1991 and undated
View Folder Contents

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4. Personal Files, 1944-2005

Personal files contain materials chiefly related to Austin's education. The bulk of the material relates to the University of Louisville's Alumni Association and Delta Sigma Theta, Austin's sorority. There is also a high school diploma and some material from when Austin was in attendance at the university.
Education, 1944-2005
Box Folder
3 13 Rosenwald High School, 1944-1945
View Folder Contents
Box Folder
4 1 University of Louisville, 1945, 1976, 2002-2005, and undated
View Folder Contents
2 Delta Sigma Theta, 1945, 1970-1976, 1993-2005
View Folder Contents
3 Assorted material, 1996-2005
View Folder Contents

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5. Photographs, 1944-1987

This series includes one photo from Austin's high school graduation and one photo of an unknown man, while the bulk of the photographs consist of work and award-related photographs.
Box
P1 Assorted photographs, 1944-1987

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