Austin History Center

Austin Public Schools Records

An Inventory of the Collection

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Austin Public Schools (Austin, Tex.)
Title: Austin Public Schools Records
Dates: 1874-1954
Abstract: The Austin Public School system was created by voters in 1881 and was superseded by the Austin Independent School District in 1955. Financial ledgers, Teacher Daily Registers, student scholastic and census records, correspondence, and scrapbooks document the Austin Public Schools system from 1874 to 1954.
Identification: AR.D.003
Quantity: 33 linear feet (30 document boxes, 46 ledgers and/or scrapbooks and 6 oversized boxes)
Location: Archives stacks, Oversize Volumes, qAR
Language: English
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library,
810 Guadalupe, PO Box 2287, Austin, TX 78768

Administrative History

In the mid-1800s, education was considered a function of the family or the church, and so taxation for education was not a universally accepted idea in Texas. Before formal establishment of public schools in Austin, education was provided by an assortment of small, private, tuition-charging academies. In the mid-1850s, the state of Texas established a school fund that annually distributed to the counties money according to scholastic population. Following the Civil War, the state government made efforts to create a highly centralized school system, but the laws were unpopular. As the Reconstruction era came to an end, many of these laws, as well as laws fostering public education, were repealed. Control of the schools was returned to the local districts and state public-school funds were again to be apportioned to the counties according to the scholastic population. In 1876, just as Austin completed building its first school building with public funds, the Texas legislature passed a law allowing cities to establish their own public schools. But in Austin, there was opposition to taking the management of schools out of the hands of the parents and the community system. In the mid-1870s, the Austin Graded School Community was organized by parents, and the board of directors worked to break down the prejudice against public or graded schools. The new Austin school building was used for a community school that was free, as long as there was state money to pay the teachers; generally, parents had to pay tuition for the second half of the year.

Change came in 1880, when Austin citizens voted, and control of the public free schools within the city limits was assumed by the City of Austin. On September 12, 1881, the Austin Public Schools opened under the new system. A.P. Wooldridge was appointed president of the school board, John Winn was appointed the first superintendent of schools, and thirty teachers were hired. In 1882, there were twenty-six public schools with a total enrollment of 1250 students. In 1903, Arthur N. McCallum, Sr., was appointed superintendent of schools, and he immediately began lobbying for additional bond issues to support the school. His thirty-nine years of stewardship saw the schools rapidly expand, and by 1942, there were to thirty-two schools and 16,128 students.

In the early years, the Austin Public Schools were tied to the City of Austin government, and the division of power between the School Board of Trustees and the City Council was not clear. With the City School District form of government, school-bond issues were combined with city-bond issues, and the schools' needs often did not receive the highest priority. In addition, the Austin City Council, rather than the School Board of Trustees, set the tax rate. In 1955, there was an election that allowed the school district to separate from the City through the creation of the Austin Independent School District.

Scope and Contents

The collection is arranged into series: Board of Directors, Austin Graded School; Correspondence - Office of the Superintendent; Financial Records; Scrapbooks; Student Census, Attendance and Examination Records; Teacher Applications and Certification; Teacher Daily Registers and Certification; Scrapbooks and Assorted Ledgers.

The Board of Directors, Austin Graded School series (1874-1881) contains a single ledger book with the Constitution and the meeting minutes of the Austin Graded School Board of Directors. This ledger documents the organization and activities of the Board, which was created in 1874 to organize and manage a system of graded schools in the city of Austin before the citizens of Austin voted to have the city government take control of the public free schools.

The Correspondence series (1895-1907) contains a small of amount of materials from the Office of the Superintendent under T. G. Harris and A. N. McCallum. The T. G. Harris correspondence is in a Japanese-letter copy book and is difficult to read.

The Financial Records series (1879-1954) consists of general financial registers, building-fund ledgers, and payroll registers, as well as ledgers for the A.J. Zilker Fund, the J. T. Allen Fund, the athletic fund, food accounts, and the science-lab fund. The "general financial" subseries contains account ledgers and school-fund registers that include teacher, staff, and administrative salaries; rent paid for school buildings; building-improvement and repair costs; receipts from merchants for goods and services rendered to Austin Public Schools; and itemized accounts for supplies, fuel, and furniture. The Building Fund registers document architects' and builders' fees, school-equipment purchases and land purchases, and they include Public Works Administration projects during the 1930s.

The Scrapbook series (1881-1954) documents the activities of the Austin Public School system from its first year of existence until the creation of the Austin Independent School District in 1955. The scrapbooks contain newspaper clippings, handbills promoting school bonds, and graduation programs, with the later years consisting of only newspaper clippings.

The Student Census, Attendance, Progress and Examination Records series (1885-1915) includes material that documents by age and race the number of students attending Austin Public Schools in 1887-1896, 1907, 1911, and 1912 (scholastic census and Tax Assessor's Abstract Report of Scholastic Education); weekly tallies of the number of students attending each Austin Public School during the 1893-1894 and 1894-1895 school years; results of the competitive examinations; high-school and junior-high grades by term, from 1897 to 1908; graduate lists for Austin High School (1885-1952) and Anderson High School (1929-1950); examples of early report cards; a teacher's class record; and a permanent-records ledger. The scholastic census documents parent names and nationalities.

The Teacher Applicants and Certificates series (1881-1933) consists of registers of teachers' certificates and a ledger documenting teachers who applied for a position with Austin Public Schools and any subsequent actions. The Registers of Teacher Certificates include the name, race, gender, and nationality of each teacher, as well as the kind of certificate or diploma that each teacher had received and the authority that issued each certificate or diploma.

The Teachers' Daily Registers (1884-1913) make up the majority of the collection. These registers document daily or weekly student progress (teachers filled out the registers differently), student age, student race, attendance, and whether the student was promoted, as well as the parent name and occupation. Some of the registers also contain an end-of-term report for the school, with number of students by gender, number of teachers employed, number of school days taught each month, number of grades, salary of teachers, whether teachers were paid with public or private funds, the number of times that the board of trustees visited and the number of times that the superintendent visited. These registers were intended to be turned into the Office of the Superintendent and passed along to teachers of the next grades.

And, lastly, the Assorted Ledgers series (1892-1903, 1921-1960) includes Austin Public Schools Teachers' Institute meeting minutes; correspondence regarding the creation of the Austin Industrial School, a manual training department that was established as part of the Austin Public Schools in 1896, as a result of an endowment that John T. Allen gave to the schools; the Industrial School National Defense Program account book; and Austin Nursery School account books. Also included is a ledger with the Committee on Teachers, Textbooks and Examinations, Committee on Rules and Regulations, Finance Committee and Building Committee reports to Board of Trustees dating from 1892 to 1902.


Arranged into eight series:
I. Board of Directors, Austin Grade Schools
II. Correspondence - Office of the Superintendent
III. Financial Records
IV. Scrapbooks
V. Student Census, Attendance, Progress and Examination Records
VI. Teacher Applicants and Certificates
VII. Teachers' Daily Registers
IIX. Assorted Ledgers


Restrictions on Access

Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use

The Austin History Center (AHC) is the owner of the physical materials in the AHC collections and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the AHC before any publication use. The AHC does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.

Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Harris, T. G.
McCallum, Arthur Newell, 1865-1943.
Austin Graded Schools Board of Directors.
Austin Independent School District (Tex.).
Austin Public Schools (Austin, Tex.).
Austin High School (Austin, Tex.).
Anderson High School (Austin, Tex.).
Bickler School (Austin, Tex.).
Clarksville School (Austin, Tex.).
Gregorytown School (Austin, Tex.).
Palm School (Austin, Tex.).
Pease School (Austin, Tex.).
West Austin School (Austin, Tex.).
Robinson Hill School (Austin, Tex.).
West Austin School (Austin, Tex.).
Wheatville Elementary School (Austin, Tex.).
Winn Elementary School (Austin, Tex.).
Wooldridge Elementary School (Austin, Tex.).
Austin (Tex.)
Public schools--Texas--Austin--History.
School districts--Texas--Austin--History.
Segregation in education--Texas--Austin.
Document Types:
Financial records.

Related Material

See the Public School Resource Guide.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Austin Public Schools Records (AR.D.003). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donor #: DO/20

Donation Date: 2019

Donor #: DO/1981/014

Donation Date: 1988

Donor #: DO/1965/0013

Donation Date: 1979

Anecdotal evidence suggests that Irby Carruth, superintendent of Austin Public Schools from 1950 to 1970, donated the teacher registers, graduate lists, and the Abstracts of Principals' Report in 1965 and the Austin Graded Schools Board of Directors meeting minutes in 1966, but no Deed of Gift has been found.

Processing Information

This collection is a combination of AR.D.003, AR.Z.033 and AR.1991.078, and because all of the records included in this collection precede the creation of the Austin Independent School District, the name was changed from Austin Independent School District Records to Austin Public Schools Records.

Finding aid created and encoded by Molly Hults and Roger Simon in 2013.

Other Finding Aid

The original inventory of the collection contained a typewritten list of all the teacher names represented in the Teachers' Daily Registers. This this list is in the Finding Aid binders in the Reading Room--it follows this finding aid.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Board of Directors, Austin Graded Schools, 1874-1881

Box Folder
23 1 Record of the Board of Directors of the Austin Graded Schools ledger, 1874-1881

II. Correspondence - Office of the Superintendent, 1895-1896, 1905-1907

23 T.G. Harris, 1895-1896
2 A. N. McCallum, 1905-1907

III. Financial Records, 1879-1954

General, 1879-1924
Oversize Volumes School furniture contracts and invoices, 1879-1901
Income and expenses, 1881-1887
Box Folder
23 3 Account book, 1882-1897
Oversize Volumes Income and expenses, 1887-1894
Box Folder
23 4 Receipts from merchants for goods and services rendered to Austin Public Schools, 1888-1890
Oversize Volumes Invoice ledger, 1891-1894
Warrant book, 1892-1894
Receipt book, 1894-1901
Receipt book, 1894
Accounts of Superintendent's Office, 1888-1894
Duplicate bills filed, 1891
Check book, 1895
Box Folder
24 1 Accounts of the Superintendent's Office, 1899-1905
Oversize Volumes School Fund Register (Receipts and Disbursements), 1910 September - 1914 January
School Fund Register (Receipts and Disbursements), 1914 February - 1917 October
School Fund Register (Receipts and Disbursements), 1921 January - 1924 April
Box Folder
24 2 Expenses, 1916
Building Fund, 1911-1940
Box Folder
24 3 Building Fund, 1911-1930
4 Building Fund (includes Public Works Administration Docket #1300 and #2134), 1929-1940
Building Fund (includes Public Works Administration Docket #1300 and #2134), 1935-1941
Box Folder
25 1 Building Fund (includes Public Works Administration Docket #2134), 1938-1940
General Fund and Building Fund, 1909-1930
25 General Fund and Building Fund, 1909-1913
General Fund, Building Fund and Free Text Book Fund, 1920-1930
Payroll, 1881-1910, 1922-1937
Additional information about teacher salaries can be found in the ledgers in the General subseries.
Oversize Volumes Payroll and Miscellaneous expenses, 1881-1892 (Payroll 1881-1885)
Payroll, 1882 September - 1884 August
Payroll, 1888 September - 1892 June
Payroll, 1892 - 1910
Payroll, 1894 September - 1896 August
Payroll, 1896 September - 1898 August
Payroll, 1898 September - 1899 August
Payroll, 1899 September - 1901 August
Payroll, 1901 September - 1903 August
Payroll, 1903 September - 1905 August
Payroll, 1905 September - 1907 August
Payroll, 1907 April - 1908 November
Payroll, 1908 December - 1910 August
Payroll, 1910 August- 1921 September
Payroll, 1922 September - 1931 August
Box Folder
25 2 Substitute teacher payroll and other assorted accounts, 1883-1895
Box Folder
26 Payroll - State and County funds, 1923 February - 1932 August
Tuition, 1944-1947
Box Folder
26 1 Tuition reports from Travis County schools, 1944-1947
Athletic Accounts, 1937-1947
Box Folder
26 2 High School athletic fund, 1937-1939
Oversize Volumes Athletic fund, 1939-1940
High School athletic fund, 1940-1944
Athletic fund, 1944-1947
Food Accounts, 1933-1954
26 University Junior High School luncheon accounts, 1933-1934
Box Folder
27 1 School cafeteria fund, 1934-1936
2 Food distribution, 1949-1954
Legacy Funds, 1896-1940
Box Folder
27 3 J. T. Allen Fund, 1896-1911
4 J. T. Allen Fund, 1909-1933
5 J. T. Allen Fund, 1933-1940
6 J. T. Allen Fund, 1918-1940
Box Folder
28 1 A. J. Zilker Fund, 1919-1933
Science Lab Fund, 1933-1939
Box Folder
28 2 Science lab fund, 1933-1939

IV. Scrapbooks, 1881-1953

Oversize Volumes Volume 1, 1881-1903
Volume 2, 1905-1922,undated
Volume 3, 1915-1923
Volume 4, 1923-1934, undated
Volume 5, 1934-1938, undated
Volume 6, 1938-1941, undated
Volume 7, 1941-1945, undated
Volume 8, 1946-1950, undated
Volume 9, 1948-1950, 1954, undated
Volume 10, 1950-1953, 1949, 1954
Volume 11, 1906-1941, undated

V. Student Census, Attendance, Progress and Examination Records, 1885-1915

Location BoxItem
qAR 057/029 Tax assessor's abstract report of scholastic education, 1887-1896
28 Abstract of Principal's Reports to the Superintendent (weekly tally of enrollment, belonging, attendance, absence, and tardy per school), 1893-1895
3 Teacher's Class Record, 1895-1896
High school and junior high school grades by term, 1897-1908
Box Folder
29 1 Competitive Examination Record, 1899-1913
2 Report card examples, 1904-1905, 1910-1911, 1914-1915
3 Scholastic census (African American children), 1907
4 Scholastic census (white children east of Congress Avenue), 1907
5 Scholastic census (white children west of Congress Avenue), 1907
6 Scholastic census (African American), 1911
7 Scholastic census (white), 1912
8 Hall register - Austin High School, 1913
10 Student advancement, 1901-1908, undated
Box Folder
20 1 Austin High School graduate list, 1885-1952
2 Anderson High School graduate lists, 1929-1950
Oversize Volumes Permanent Records Ledger, 1907-1914

VI. Teacher Applicants and Certificates, 1881-1933

Oversize Volumes Teachers' Examination Record, 1881-1898
Box Folder
29 9 Register of Teacher Certificates, 1891-1931
Box Folder
30 1 Register of Teacher Certificates, 1894-1933
2 Applicants for positions and list of teachers holding certificates, 1891-1894

VII. Teachers' Daily Registers, 1884-1913

Oversize Volumes Daily Registers (Box 1 of 6), 1884-1886
Schools include: East Austin; 10th Ward-E. 4th Street; Robinson Hill; A.M.E. Church; West Austin; 1st Ward-Riverside; Wheatville; Corner of Trinity and 9th Street; 8th Ward; South Austin; North Austin; 4th Ward; Live Oak; Austin High School; Austin Graded School.
Oversize Volumes Teachers' Daily Registers (Box 2 of 6), 1884-1885, 1892-1893
Schools include: Robinson Hill; Arsenal Block-10th Ward; Central Grammar; Austin High School, Clarksville, Central Austin; East Austin; 7th Ward; A.M.E. Public.
Teachers' Daily Registers (Box 3 of 6), 1892-1894
Schools include: Robinson Hill; West Austin; Wheatville; North Austin; 3rd Ward; Gregorytown; Hyde Park; South Austin.
Teachers' Daily Registers (Box 4 of 6), 1892-1896
Schools include: Hyde Park; West Austin; Arsenal Block-10th Ward; South Austin; Robinson Hill; Gregorytown; Central Grammar; Col. Central; East Austin; Clarksville; Wheatville; Wooldridge; 3rd Ward; Central Austin; 10th Ward; Austin High School; North Austin.
Teachers' Daily Registers (Box 5 of 6), 1897-1898
Schools include: Gregorytown; East Austin; 1st Ward; Austin High School.
Teachers' Daily Registers (Box 6 of 6), 1897-1898
Schools include: Robinson Hill; Wheatville; Hyde Park; North Austin (Wooldridge); 10th Ward; West Austin (Clarksville).
1 Daily Registers, 1898-1899
Schools include: Wheatville; West Austin; San Jacinto; Robinson Hill; 10th Ward; Pease; Gregorytown.
2 Daily Registers, 1898-1900
Schools include: North Austin; Hyde Park; East Austin; First Ward; [Austin?]"High School"; South Austin; West Austin; Wheatville; 10th Ward.
3 Daily Registers, 1899-1900
Schools include: West Austin; Garland; Robinson Hill; North Austin; Hyde Park; Gregorytown; Austin High.
4 Daily Registers, 1899-1901
Schools include: Arsenal Block; South Austin; East Austin; Wheatville; Robinson Hill; Robertson Hill.
5 Daily Registers, 1900-1902
Schools include: North Austin; Gregorytown; Austin High; South Austin; Hyde Park; Garland; East Austin; West Austin; Pease.
6 Daily Registers, 1901-1902
Schools include: Arsenal Block; Austin High; East Austin; Gregorytown; Hyde Park; North Austin; Robertson Hill [Robinson Hill?].
7 Daily Registers, 1901-1902
Schools include: Baker; Robinson; Pease; West Austin; South Austin; Austin High; Wooldridge; Wheatville; North Austin; Hyde Park.
8 Daily Registers, 1902-1904
Schools include: Austin High; Baker; Fulmore; Gregorytown; Palm; Bickler; East Austin; South Austin; Hyde Park.
9 Daily Registers, 1903-1904
Schools include: Palm; Pease; Robertson Hill; Robinson Hill; South Austin; Wheatville; Gregorytown; Bickler; East Austin; West Austin.
10 Daily Registers, 1903-1905
Schools include: Palm; Fulmore; South Austin; Robertson Hill; Baker; Bickler; West Austin; Austin High; "High School" [Austin?]; Hyde Park; East Austin; 10th Ward.
11 Daily Registers, 1904-1906
Schools include: Pease; Wooldridge; Fulmore; South Austin; Palm; North Austin; West Austin; 10th Ward.
12 Daily Registers, 1906-1908
Schools include: Wooldridge; "High School"; Pease; Baker; Fulmore; JB Winn; Bickler; North Austin; South Austin; East Austin; West Austin; Hyde Park.
13 Daily Registers, 1900-1901, 1905-1907
Schools include: Arsenal Block (1900-1901); Palm; "High School"; Baker; Bickler (1905-1907); East Austin; Hyde Park; 10th Ward.
14 Daily Registers, 1907-1908
Schools include: JB Winn; Wooldridge; Pease; Palm; Bickler; Fulmore; 10th Ward; South Austin; East Austin; West Austin; North Austin.
15 Daily Registers, 1908-1909
Schools include: Pease; JB Winn; Palm; Fulmore; Bickler; Baker; Hyde Park; West Austin; South Austin; East Austin; 10th Ward.
16 Daily Registers, 1908-1910
Schools include: Fulmore; Pease; Bickler; Baker; Palm; Wooldridge; North Austin; South Austin; East Austin; 10th Ward.
17 Daily Registers, 1909-1911
Schools include: JB Winn; Wooldridge; Palm; Anderson High; Fulmore; Baker; 10th Ward; North Austin.
18 Daily Registers, 1910-1911
Schools include: JB Winn; Wooldridge; Pease; Bickler.
19 Daily Registers, 1911-1912
Schools include: Fulmore; Bickler; Baker; Palm.
20 Daily Registers, 1911-1912
Schools include: Pease; JB Winn; Wooldridge.
Graduate lists, 1912-1950
Schools include: Austin High School; Anderson High School.
History of staff, 1885-1888
Schools include: Austin High School.
Commencement Programs, 1912, 1914-1916, 1919-1920, 1923
Schools include: Austin High School.
21 Daily Registers, 1912-1913
Schools include: Austin High; Baker; Pease; Palm; Wooldridge.
22 Daily Registers, 1912-1913
Schools include: Bickler; Fulmore; JB Winn; Wooldridge.

IIX. Assorted Ledgers, 1893-1903, 1921-1960

Oversize Volumes Committee reports to Board of Trustees, 1892-1902
Box Folder
30 3 Austin Public Schools Teachers' Institute meeting minutes, 1893-1903
Oversize Volumes Austin Public Schools Teachers' Institute meeting minutes, 1921-1929
Box Folder
30 4 Austin Industrial School correspondence, 1896
5 Austin Industrial School National Defense Program account book, 1941-1942
6 Austin Nursery School account book, 1943-1949
7 Austin Nursery School account book, 1950-1960