TABLE OF CONTENTS
Dr. Beulah Agnes Curry Jones Papers
An Inventory of the Collection
Dr. Beulah Agnes Curry Jones is an African American musician and educator who was born in Austin, Texas in April 1933 to Leon Bonner and Beulah M. Thompson. She graduated from the Original L.C. Anderson High School as Class Salutatorian. Her early musical mentors included Virgie Carrington DeWitty at Ebeneezer Baptist Church and B. L. Joyce, the director of the Anderson High School Band. In high school, she was a pianist for the AHS Band, and a member of the choir, the Jackettes, and Ushers.
Dr. Jones earned her B.A. in Music Education from Prairie View A&M, her M.A. from Texas Southern University, and her doctorate in education from the University of Houston. She is Professor Emerita of Fine Arts and former Director of Music at Huston-Tillotson. She began teaching piano, voice, and music education at Huston-Tillotson College in 1969, and also spent 15 years as a music instructor in Austin Independent School District. In 1974, she married her husband Jimmie Lee Jones, a keyboard and saxophone player.
Dr. Jones has served on the Austin Arts Commission, the Ballet Austin Board of Directors, and serves on the Emeritus Board of Texas Music Museum. She has received honors and awards for her music and community work, including Featured Vocalist for the Austin Civic Chorus; the Dr. Lamar Kirven Lifetime Achievement Award by the Texas African American Historical Association; and the Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award.
The collection is arranged into two main series documenting Dr. Jones' personal and community-related activities, and records related to her tenure with Huston-Tillotson College. The correspondence dates from 1980-1995 and consists of greeting cards as well as professional correspondence from Pro Arts Collective and writer Marian E. Barnes about music performances and recognition. The documentation of awards consists of a brochure and photograph of the March 1989 Texas Legislative Black Caucus Outstanding Texas Awards Ceremony; a February 1999 photograph of Dr. Jones accepting a Fine Arts Award from the Austin Chapter of Links, Inc.; and a blank 1990 certificate signed by Dr. Jones for participants of the African American Heritage Choir. The collection also contains Beulah M. Thompson’s 1981 Certificate of Appointment to the City of Austin Library Commission. The clippings document a variety of people and events in Austin’s Black community from 1972 and 1985-2019. Many clippings are from The Villager and Nokoa and specifically document Dr. Jones’ activities, including her retirement from Huston-Tillotson College in 2001. Also part of her personal materials are collected postcards, bookmarks, political memorabilia, and sheet music. Of note is a photograph of Dr. Jones with six of her piano students in the 1970s or 1980s. They are crowded around a piano and the students are holding up certificates. The census documents consist of booklets, brochures, and email correspondence.
The materials documenting Community Gatherings and Events consist largely of community programs and fliers dating from 1977-2018. Events/organizations represented in the programs and fliers are: Simpson United Methodist Church, Center for American History, Austin Alumni Chapter of Prairie View A&M University, The Original L. C. Anderson Alumni Association, Mt. Olive Baptist Church, The Black Arts Alliance, East End Soulfest, the Austin Civic Orchestra Society, George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, Spectrum Theatre Company, Gary Job Corps Center, Ebenezer (Third) Baptist Church, Central East Austin Community Organization fashion show and art extravaganza, Juneteenth celebrations, National Council of Negro Women, Austin Area Urban League. There are also collected materials from events honoring Barbara Jordan and Martin Luther King, Jr. Programs and choir schedules documenting the Heman Sweatt Symposiums and the DeWitty/Overton Freedom Fund Banquets are also part of the collection. The materials documenting Frederick G. Johnson, Jr. consist of an audiocassette, correspondence, and sheet music. Photos and memorabilia documenting the life and remembrance of Frederick G. Johnson, Sr. (also known as Max Horne) are also included.
Collected fans and funeral programs from 1994-2019 are also in this collection. The funeral programs are for the following persons: Lt. General John Q. Taylor King, Sr., PhD, 1921-2011; Alvin O. Patterson, 1923-2007; Opal M. Seabrook, 1910-1999; John Wesley Jones II, 1958-2019; Melvin A. R. Hammond, Sr., -1994; James Edward Mosby, Jr., 1911-1994; Kenneth LaRue Brown, 1960-2010; Joyce Collins Caldwell, 1932-2018; Lottie Carraway Jones, -1984; Oliva del Carmen Trevino-Johnson, 1942-2007; Milton Campbell, 1934-2005; Major LaVon E. Smith, 1917-2006. There are also two calendars from King-Tears Mortuary and Phillips-Upshaw & Richard Funeral Home. Photographs of events dating from 1988-2006 are also part of the collection and document a Dr. Jones playing piano at a 1992 Links art exhibition; a 1999 Huston-Tillotson Alumni Recognition Ceremony; a 2001 Juneteenth ceremony; patrons of a 1994 Martin Luther King, Jr. play/musical at Paramount; Dr. Jones with Mayor Frank Cooksey at a 1988 event; Dr. Jones with the late Dr. Joseph McMillan at a 1994 event; and a photo of Ruthie DeWitty Waddy, Dr. Jones and Jimmie Jones at the 2006 NAACP banquet.
The Local Organizations, Clubs, and Businesses materials document various organizations that Dr. Jones has been active with. A bulk of the documentation consists of her work with Conley-Guerrero Senior Activity Center and Texas Music Museum. Also of note are photographs, booklets, and programs documenting Top Ladies of Distinction, Capital City Chapter. The Scrapbooks date from 1973-1993. Some of the textual materials are torn and not legible. Two loose photos from one of the scrapbooks were removed and sleeved and a photocopy of the scrapbook was made on archival paper. The scrapbooks contain correspondence, clippings, programs, and photographs documenting Dr. Jones’ work at Huston-Tillotson and also her local contributions and music achievements. Of special mention is a 1986 letter from Senator Gonzalo Barrientos congratulating Dr. Jones on being honored by the City of Austin for her contributions to Huston-Tillotson and to the city as a whole. Audiovisual Materials consist of audiocassettes and CDs of recorded performances and recitals as well as radio performances.
The Huston-Tillotson series consists of correspondence and documentation of financial gifts to the music department, as well as programs and fliers for events at the college. There are also programs for Huston-Tillotson International Alumni Association events; a National Association of Teachers of Singing membership direcotry; and instructional matierals from a workshop on computer based music instruction. Additionally, there is a collection of student writing from a 1997 creative writing class, and an audiocassette of a 1989 faculty performance.
Open to all users.
Advance notice is required for any audiovisual materials that do not have an access copy already created. Turnaround time for requested access copies will be no less than one week, depending on the number of tapes requested and their duration.
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 given to the African American Cultural and Heritage Facility and later donated to AHC for preservation and access.
Dr. Beulah Agnes Curry Jones Papers (AR.2020.011). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/2008/042
Donation Date: March 11, 2020
Processing and finding aid by Kelly Hanus and kYmberly Keeton in November 2020.