TABLE OF CONTENTS
Robert Leon and Viola White Papers
An Inventory of the Collection
Viola Baker White was born in Weatherford, Texas on November 25, 1893 to Oscar Baker and Frances Elizabeth McKee Baker. Viola attended the University of Texas on a Brackenridge scholarship for women specializing in architecture. She graduated with a B.A. in 1918 after transferring from the Architectural Department in her junior year. After graduation Viola worked as the secretary to the State Librarian, secretary to the University of Texas Librarian and cataloguer in the University Library.
Robert Leon White, son of E. M. and Annie Josephine White, was born on August 27, 1898, near Cooper, Texas. After graduating from Cooper High School in 1916, Robert taught at Duncan High School and Cement City High School before serving in the United States Army during World War I. After concluding his service in the Army he entered college at the University of Texas in 1918, graduating with a bachelor's degree in architecture in 1921. Robert then taught architectural drawing at a high school in San Antonio, as well as serving as a draftsman for Ralph Cameron, Architect and Phelps & Dewees, Architects. The couple married on July 3, 1922 and had two children, Elaine Frances White Heard and Robert Leon White, Jr.
Robert Leon White was hired as an instructor at The University of Texas at Austin in the summer of 1923 and would progress from adjunct professor to full professor and Superintendent of Construction to Supervising Architect and then Architect & Architectural Advisor in his long career with the University which ended with his death in 1964. In 1930 he received his Master of Science in Architecture from the University of Texas. For the University of Texas he is most well known for designing the Texas Union (student union) building and Hogg Auditorium and serving as the Associate Architect for the Main Building, the Tower along with other buildings that Paul Phillipe Cret designed for the campus in the 1930s and 1940s. In addition to his work at the University among his architectural accomplishment were the designs for the Central Christian Church of Austin; the Power Plant, Outpatient Clinic Building, and the Crippled Children's' Hospital at the John Sealy Hospital in Galveston; the Masonic Grand Lodge Temple in Waco and the University Christian Church in Austin (Associate Architect). Between February of 1934 and September of 1937 White took a leave of absence from the University to engage in the private practice of architecture.
The couple purchased the property at 1503 Lorrain Street (originally the address was 1303 Lorrain - part of lots 13 & 14, Outlots 6-8, Division Z, Enfield A) in 1936. The family sold the property in 2003.
Robert Leon White died on July 28, 1964 and Viola died at age 100 on November 27, 1993.
The Personal & Professional Materials series (1937-1966) contains a small amount of biographical materials concerning Viola White; two personal letters from family friends; materials documenting Leon White's career including a complete list of completed architectural work and a copy of letter from Peter Mansbendel complementing him on the interior of the University Christian Church; and family photographs (a few black and white photographs and photocopies of photographs).
The majority of the Property series (1928-1993) is comprised of materials documenting the White home at 1503 Lorrain (originally the address was 1303 Lorrain - part of lots 13 & 14, Outlots 6-8, Division Z, Enfield A) that was purchased in 1936. Included are a property brief written the year they bought the house; Abstracts of Title for Outlots 6, 7, 8, Division Z, Enfield A; deeds, contracts, liens concerning the purchase of the house and the issues clearing the title to facilitate the purchase; tax and mortgage information; plans, correspondence, invoices and product catalogs documenting several remodeling projects including the changes made when the house was first purchased; and correspondence with the City of Austin concerning paving Lorrain Street. Also included are a few tax receipts for property owned by the Whites with the legal description Lot B, Block 6, Division D, Grooms Addition. The 1948 tax receipt has a note indicating that the property was sold that same year.
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.
The collection was donated to the Alexander Architectural Archives, University of Texas Libraries by the current owner of 1503 Lorrain Street, Austin, Texas in 2014. Transferred to the Austin History Center in October 2014.
Robert Leon and Viola White Papers (AR.2014.050), Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/2014/049
Donation Date: 2014
Finding aid created and encoded by Molly Hults in 2014.