Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University

John and Sara McLarty:

An Inventory of Their Papers, 1949-2001, at the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library

Descriptive Summary

Creator McLarty, John
Title: John and Sara McLarty Papers,
Dates: 1949-2001
Abstract: The collection illustrates the lives of the family of John and Sara McLarty of Lubbock, Texas.
Collection # CR 0100
Quantity: 1 box and 7 film reels (1 linear foot)
Language English.
Repository: Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University

Biographical Sketch

Marvin McLarty brought his bride to Lubbock from Guymon, Oklahoma, in the 1920s and opened self-service grocery stores. They sold the business to the Furr family, and he became a successful real estate entrepreneur. He and Truda (Alexander) had three children, two of whom stayed in Lubbock.

Marvin Jr. married Dorothy and created the Circle Drive-In Theater in 1949 and the Sea Horse swimming pool in 1955. He served on the city council 1962-1964, and his wife Dorothy chaired the local American Civil Liberties Union. They had four children, one of whom, Tom, operated the Sea Horse and had two sons with his wife, Morgan and Wolf.

His brother John married Sara, who headed the city library board and had four boys: Carlton, John Chris, Davis and Matthew. John Chris moved away, but the others are notable in West Texas music. Carlton, a federal public defender, and Matthew, a piano-repairer, played together in the Yellowhouse String Band. Davis, now in Austin with his wife Kay Colvin, drummed for Joe Ely and manages musical acts. Previously, he was associated with The Planets, Ace Liquidators, as well as the band for Jo Harvey and Terry Allen’s play Chippy.

The family has traveled widely and recorded their trips and their Lubbock lives in a variety of media, which they have shared through the Southwest Collection.

Scope and Content

The materials relate to the life and careers of the Marvin McLarty Jr. and John McLarty families, including music groups, civic participation and travels, as depicted in printed materials, photographs, and digital-only copies of home movies. Day-after damage from the 1970 Lubbock tornado is shown in both still and moving pictures, as is the run-up to the Southwest '70 Peace Festival. The collection is in good condition and is part of the Crossroads of Music archive.


The John and Sara McLarty papers are organized by the following series:


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research. Copyright is retained by the authors of items in this collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by U.S. copyright law.

Some archival collections may be housed in storage outside of the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library building. Requests to retrieve such materials may take up to 10 business days to complete. Please contact our Reference Department in advance to arrange retrieval.

Audio, video, and film recordings may not be immediately accessible due to format, condition, or copyright status. All items must be digitized prior to patron use. Please contact the Reference Librarian at least 10 days in advance to make viewing arrangements.

Index Terms

The subject headings used by the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library are derived from the Library of Congress and/or locally developed.
Subjects (People)
Allen, Jo Harvey, 1942-
Allen, Terry, 1943-
Duarte, Chris.
Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969
Ely, Joe.
Jr. Medlow (Larry Williams)
Keys, Bobby (Robert Henry)
McLarty, Davis.
McLarty, Marvin.
Stubblefield, C. B., 1931-
Subjects (Organizations)
Planets, The (Musical group)
Sea Horse Swim School (Lubbock, Tex.)
Talking Heads (Musical group)
Subjects (Places)
Austin (Tex.)
Disneyland (Calif.)
Rio Grande (Colo.-Mexico and Tex.)
Lubbock (Tex.)
20th century rock and roll.
Canoe camping.
Performing arts and literature.
Rock music.
Rock music festivals.
Swimming pools.

Related Materials:

Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library:
Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library Oral History Collection:

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

John and Sara McLarty Papers, 1949-2001, Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas

Accession Information

Gift, 2012

Processing Information

Processed by: Jon Holmes, 2014

Collection Inventory


Newspaper clippings
box folder
1 1 Terry Allen, Joe Ely, John Sprott, Cary Swinney, Ace Liquidators, 1987-2001
box folder
1 2 35mm slides of tornado damage, Lubbock, Texas (available as digital images), May, 1970
3 Bands, Bobby Keys, Jr. Medlow, and the Chippy crew, 1986, 1994 and undated
Printed Materials
box folder
1 4 Sea Horse Swim School flyer, c. 1960
5 Band flyers (Cat's Cradle, Sam Hill, Yellowhouse), 1985, 1988 and undated
6 Band promotionals (Jane Begley, The Planets, Chippy performance in Philadelphia), 1993-1994, 1999, undated
7 Christmas card from C. B. Stubblefield, undated
box folder
1 8 The Tornado Jam Book (program for Joe Ely’s Second Annual Tornado Jam), 1981
9 Nothin' Else to Do (Museum at Texas Tech University catalog), 1984
10 Campfire Nightmares newsletter from Joe Ely tour, 1988
11 The Life and Times of the Joe Ely Band (1987 news clippings, laminated and 3-hole punched), 1988
12 1993 Cotton Club Revival (WTMA awards program), 1993
13 Digital-only document of Marvin McLarty, Jr. anecdotes about the events shown in digital-only films listed below, undated

Audio Visual Materials

Film reels (Compilations, digital-only)
1 Video 1 (California diving for lobster and abalone, surfing; babies and dogs, boys with toy trains, Thanksgiving and Christmas, roughhousing with dad, prairie dogs, unicycle practice, coonskin caps, washing boy in bathroom sink, blond toddler's first haircut, travels in Mexico), 1949
2 Video 2 (child fiddling, trampoline, Lubbock parade, Dunbar band, Santa visit at Christmas, boy in oxygen tent, HBS amusement park rides, elephants setting up big top, Skyriders Hotel in Phoenix, scuba, cutting Christmas tree in snow, boy in kilt, gymnastics, snowshoeing, sledding on sheet metal roofing, boys in double-breasted suits on unicycles, fishing on canoe trip, arrival of Braniff airliner, pet lynx, ski trip, octopus ride at fair, swim lessons at Sea Horse, flocking a Christmas tree in carport, easel painting, guitar, girl with retainer), undated
3 Video 3 (Interstate through windshield, measuring highway paving thickness, Texas Department of Public Safety at Southwest '70 Peace Festival, Lubbock tornado damage, Avalanche-Journal pickup on its roof, barrio residents in rubble of their homes, aerial views from National Guard helicopter, airport damage, traffic circle at Waco, plowing with Electrovator for weed control, canoeing on Gunnison River, White Sands, Hi Jolly (Hadji Ali/Philip Tedro) camel monument, President Eisenhower and wife Mamie at Disneyland, DDE in fire helmet, Marineland, ski trip), 1948, 1961, 1965, 1970
4 Video Outdoors 1 (Rattlesnake hunting, Mexico trip, markets, Acapulco, deer hunt from canoes, lessons at Sea Horse, Rio Grande canoe trip, cooking candelilla, Eldon Rawlings, Horace Humphries, Montana rafting, mountain man, copper crafts), undated
5 Video Outdoors 2 (Sea Horse, trampoline stunts into pool, canoe trip, Indian burials, arrowheads, Idaho rafting, Salmon River), undated
6 Video Swimming 1 (Sea Horse, other pools, diving, gymnastics, copy of American Red Cross swim instruction film, unicycles, pet hawk perched on boy's head, Panorama City), undated
7 Video Swimming 2 (Sea Horse, shaving beard, trampoline stunts), undated