TABLE OF CONTENTS
Emmett Shelton, Sr. Recordings Collection
An Inventory of the Collection
Emmett Shelton Sr. was born on West Live Oak Street in Austin, Texas, on February 12, 1905, the fifth of six sons born to Willie Green and John Elbert Shelton. Shelton’s great-grandfather, Thomas Jefferson Johnson, founded the Johnson Institute on Bear Creek in 1852. His daughter, Elizabeth Johnson, married Hez Williams and became the famous “Cattle Queen of Texas.” His maternal great-grandfather, Crawford Henry Greer, was born in Virginia in 1812, and with his wife, Ophelia Glenn, moved to a plantation on the North Banks of the Brazos River near Navasota. As a child, Shelton joined Boy Scouts and became one of the youngest Eagle Scouts in America. He attended the First International Boy Scout Jamboree in London in 1920.
Shelton graduated from Southwest Texas State Teachers' College in San Marcos in 1925. He was editor of The College Star, and was awarded a total of ten letters in football, basketball, and track. He later became a member of Southwest Texas' Athletic Hall of Honor. In 1989, Shelton was named a SWT Distinguished Alumnus. He graduated in 1928 from the University of Texas Law School, and was a member of the Texas State Bar until his death. He engaged in the general practice of law including trial and appellate law. During World War II, Shelton joined the Marines at the age of 39 and served in the Southwest Pacific as a member of the first Marine wing.
Shelton founded the Village of West Lake Hills in 1953. Most of the City of West Lake Hills is on land he once owned. In 1962, he married Joyce Bredeson and they had four sons. The Austin City Council passed an ordinance in 1989 naming the bridge that crosses below Tom Miller Dam “The Emmett Shelton Bridge,” to honor him for establishing the bridge in 1947.
As Shelton’s eyesight failed, he began making recordings about his life experiences: politics, land development, poetry, history and anecdotes including criminal cases he tried. He was honored by the Texas State Historical Society in 1992. He wrote several books about the history of Austin and a narrative about the post-civil war era. He died on February 29, 2000 at 95 years old.
"Funeral and Memorials." Austin American-Statesman, March 3, 2000: B4. NewsBank: America's News.
The collection dates from 1974 to 1989 and contains a series of recordings Shelton made on audiocassette that document his life as well as events and people related to Austin, Texas. There are transcripts created for a handful of the recordings that are contained in the collection. A tape index created by Shelton with detailed information about the recordings is also included and a PDF is available here.
Content Warning: Offensive and/or violent language, images or other injurious perspectives and information may be inherent in the content of some of the original materials in this collection.
Open to all users
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.
Emmett Shelton, Sr. Recordings Collection (AR.2019.006). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/1955/022
Donation Date: January 1990
Materials were initially cataloged separately in the General Collection and Oral History Collection. In 2019, the transcripts and recordings were combined to form the Emmett Shelton, Sr. Recordings Collection. The recordings were renumbered with the original tape numbers being retained and linked to the new number system. Finding aid created by Kelly Hanus in January 2019.