Austin History Center

Bedichek, Wells and Gracy Families Papers

An Inventory of the Collection

Collection Summary

Creator: Bedichek, Jane Gracy
Creator: Gracy, John A.
Creator: Gracy, Bessie Wells
Title: Bedichek, Wells and Gracy Families Papers
Dates: 1860s-1989.
Abstract: This collections contains documents about the Gracy family of Austin, including family photographs, genealogical research, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and information about the Gracy Title Company and the Virginia Society of Colonial Dames.
Identification: AR.S.017
Quantity: 2.085 linear foot (5 boxes)
Location: Archives Stacks, Outer Vault.
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, 810 Guadalupe, Austin, Texas, 78701.

Creator Sketch

John Adam Gracy, the eldest child of David Bergen Gracy and Emma Lee (Caldwell) Gracy was born on August 20, 1888. He was educated at Texas A&M University and received his law degree from University of Texas School of Law in 1910. Initially joining his father's business, the Gracy Title Guaranty Co. in Austin, Texas, John went on to serve as President of Guaranty Mortgage and Realty Company from 1927 to 1933, and as Vice President of the Capitol National Bank from 1935 to 1950. While at Capitol National Bank, John was the first banker in central Texas to make Federal Housing Administration government loans, a program that greatly changed the nature of loans, allowing repayment over longer periods of time in smaller installments. Active in community life, John served on the Austin, Texas draft board, volunteered for the Red Cross and Boy Scouts and was a member of the Austin Genealogical Society. John married Bessie Wells on December 5, 1917 in Austin, and had one surviving child, Jane Gracy (Bedichek) born September 9. 1918. He passed away August 5, 1965 and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Austin.

Bessie Wells Gracy was born August 20, 1890, a daughter of Peter C. and Catherine F. (Walling) Wells of Austin, Texas. Bessie Wells married John Adam Gracy on December 5, 1917 in Austin and had one surviving child, Jane Gracy (Bedichek) born September 9. 1918. Bessie Wells Gracy was a member of Virginia Society of Colonial Dames of America and University Methodist Church, Austin. Bessie Wells Gracy passed away February 5, 1975.

Jane Gracy Bedichek was born on September 9, 1918 to John A. Gracy and Bessie Wells Gracy, the only surviving child of this union. Jane received her initial education in the Austin Public Schools, graduating from High School in 1935. Jane went on to attend Wellesley College and the University of Texas at Austin. Jane received a Master's in Social Work from Columbia School of Social Work in 1944 and held various positions with the Red Cross and other social service agencies throughout her life. In 1946, Jane married Bachman Greer Bedichek, the son of Roy Bedichek. Jane and Bachman Bedichek had five children. Widowed in 1964, Jane has spent most of her time in civic, environmental and scholarly organizations. In 1998, Jane edited The Roy Bedichek Family Letters. At the time of this collection's processing, Jane Gracy Bedichek resides in Scarsdale, New York.

Scope and Contents of the Records

The Bedichek, Wells and Gracy Families Papers is comprised of letters, correspondence, legal documents, photographs, clippings and printed material spanning the activities of multiple generations of the Gracy family from 1860s-1989 with the bulk of the dated material between 1950-1989. The Gracy Family Papers are divided into four series. The first three series, John A. Gracy, Bessie Wells Gracy, and Jane Gracy Bedichek, represent the work and collected articles of three separate creators.

Series I., Bessie Wells Gracy, is more than a third of the collection. This is the oldest part of the Bedichek, Wells and Gracy Families Papers with the bulk of the dated items falling between 1900 and 1920 highlighting Bessie's childhood and early womanhood. A large portion of this series depicts Bessie Gracy's childhood friends and activities, particularly the Brownies, a women's basketball team that Bessie belonged to in her youth and continued to reunite with every year for close to 60 years. Of particular interest is a transcript of an oral history Bessie told to her grandchildren sometime in the 1950s.

Series II. consists of the papers of Jane Gracy Bedichek, the daughter of John Adam and Bessie Wells Gracy. With the bulk between 1930-1941, Jane Gracy Bedichek's series documents her childhood, early womanhood, and the period right after her graduation from Wellesley in 1939. One highlight of this collection is the handwritten "Spring Booklet" dated March 1930, wherein eleven year old Jane writes a short story telling the tale of three flowers, the Rose, Tulip, and Bluebonnet competing for the affection of the Prince of Spring. In addition, this series contains four editions of the Camp Waldemar War Whoop from 1929 as well as the first-term 1929 roster of Camp Waldemar's attendees.

Series III., John Adam Gracy's series, is the largest in the Gracy Family Collection. John A. Gracy's papers are divided into three subseries documenting his life, Gracy family genealogical research, and research on behalf of Bessie Wells Gracy's application to the Virginia Society of Colonial Dames. 47 items in the first subseries document John Adam Gracy's marriage to Bessie Wells, his retirement from Capitol National Bank, and photographically depict various family and social events. The 19 items in the second series feature two of John Adam Gracy's research works: Gracy Ancestors and Wells Ancestors, along with the research notes he utilized to conceive them. The third subseries depicts John Adam Gracy's research and application for the Virginia Society of Colonial Dames on behalf of his wife Bessie Wells.

The fourth series in this collection is a gathering of documentation, primarily genealogical, related to extended family members. This series is composed of photographs, family histories and genealogical research notes, clippings, correspondence and other assorted documents ranging from the 1860s to the 1980s. Of note in this series is a photocopy of D.B. Gracy's family Bible entries from 1884, and Mary Beth Gracy's "History of the Gracy Title Company."

Organization of the Records

The Bedichek, Wells and Gracy Families Papers are arranged into four series: I. Bessie Wells Gracy, II. Jane Gracy Bedichek, III. John A. Gracy, and IV. Other Associated Families.


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

Bedichek, Bachman Greer
Bedichek, Jane Gracy
Buck, Frank
Cheek, Betty
Cheek, Mary Gracy
Cheek, Maurice
Gracy, Bessie Wells
Gracy, David B., II
Gracy, John A.
Gracy, Mary Beth
Hamilton, Captain James
Walling, Thomas
Brownies (sports team).
Gracy Title Company.
Virginia Society of Colonial Dames.
Basketball for women.
Austin (Tex.)--Genealogy.
Scarsdale (N.Y.).
Texas--Camp Waldemar.
Document Types:
Black-and-white negatives.
Black-and-white photographs.
Cabinet photographs.
Cartes de visite.
Color photographs.
Creative works
Printed materials.
Research notes.
Camp Waldemar War Whoop.
Texas Ranger.
Spring Booklet.

Related Materials

Archives and Manuscripts

  • AR.X.016 Frank Caldwell Collection

Austin Files

  • Biography - Bedichek, Roy, 1878-1959
  • Biography - Caldwell, John
  • Biography - Gracy, David Bergen
  • Biography - Haynie, John, 1786-1860
  • Biography - Walling, George Washington
  • Biography - Wells, Martin, 1774-1836
  • Biography - Wright, Joseph, 1798-1898

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation:

Bedichek, Wells and Gracy Families Papers (AR.S.017). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information:

Donor#: DO/1975/010.

Donation Date: 1976.

Processing Information:

Preliminary Processing By/Date: Patricia Nugent and Rebecca Kyle/May 2002

Final Processing and Finding Aid By/Date: Rebecca Rich-Wulftneyer/June 2002

Final Encoding of Finding Aid By/Date: Uri Kolodney/July 2004.

Updates by Nicole Davis/December 2016.


Gracy, Alice Duggan. The Gracy Family of New York and Texas. Austin, Tex.: Privately Published, 1986.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Bessie Wells Gracy, 1900-1963, undated (99 items).

Box Folder
1 1 "Grandmother Gracy Recounts Family History to John Louise Paul."
(1 item).
2 Letters, 1900-1963,
(7 items).
To Linda Wells, 1900.
(1 item).
From Nita Hill, 1910.
(1 item).
From Winifred Lind, 1913.
(1 item).
From Peggy, 1913.
(1 item).
From unknown, undated
(1 item).
From Emily, 1948.
(1 item).
From George L. Walling to Vera A. Conover, 1963.
(1 item).
Box Folder
1 3 Clippings.
(9 items).
4 Photographs -- The Brownies girls basketball team (#001-018), 1903, 1955, 1967
Location Archives Collection
Outer Vault B&W Negatives Drawer Copy negative -- The Brownies girls basketball team, undated
Box Folder
1 5 Photographs -- portraits, wedding, Grand Canyon (#019-033), 1905-1907, undated
6 Photographs -- portraits, Silver Anniversary (#034-044), 1920-1942, undated
7 Photographs -- friends (#045-076), undated, circa 1900s-1920s
8 Photograph -- group portrait of young women (#077), undated, circa 1910

Series 2: Jane Gracy Bedichek, 1929-1989, undated (47 items).

Box Folder
1 9 Creative Works, 1930, undated
(2 items, 12 leaves).
"Spring Booklet", March 1930.
(1 item, 10 leaves).
"History Pledge", undated
(1 item), 2 leaves
Box Folder
1 10 Letters, 1934-1989.
(12 items).
From Lee (telegram), 1937.
(1 item).
From Roy Davis, 1988-9.
(3 items).
From Roy Davis accompanying enclosures.
(5 items).
From Roy Davis, accompanying enclosures, photograph.
(1 item).
From anonymous, undated
(1 item).
From Jane to Carolyn Brown, 1934.
(1 item, postcard).
Box Folder
1 11 Newspaper Clippings, 1939-1964, undated
(13 items).
Obituary: Bachman Bedichek, 1964.
(7 items).
Wedding photo, 1946.
(1 item).
Graduation announcement from Wellesley, 1939.
(1 item).
Attending UT for Masters, 1939.
(1 item).
Various, undated
(3 items).
Box Folder
1 12 Photographs -- portraits and snapshots (#078-086), undated, 1941-1945.
Location Location
Outer Vault qAR Box Photographs -- portraits (#087-088, 173), undated, 1941-1945.
Box Folder
1 13 Printed Material, 1929-1940, undated
(8 items).
Camp Waldemar War Whoop, 1929.
(4 items).
Camp Waldemar Directory, 1st term 1929.
(1 item).
Texas Ranger, September 1939.
(1 item).
The Court of the Old South Program, 1940.
(1 item).
The Court of the Old South Calendar, 1940.
(1 item).

Series 3: John Adam Gracy, 1917-1965, undated(109 items).

Subseries 1: John A. Gracy Papers
Box Folder
2 1 Memoirs, undated
(1 item).
2 Letter from Roberta P. Dickson, 1950.
(1 item).
3 Legal Documents -- Marriage License for John Adam Gracy and Bessie Wells, 1917.
(1 item).
4 Newspaper Clippings, 1917-1965, undated
(13 items).
Obituary, John A. Gracy, 1965.
(3 items).
Wedding, John A. and Bessie Gracy, 1917.
(1 item).
Assorted, undated
(9 items).
Box Folder
2 5 Photographs (#089-115), 1941, 1958, undated
Location Archives Collection
Outer Vault B&W Negatives Drawer Negatives, undated
(4 items).
Subseries 2: Wells and Gracy Genealogical Research
Box Folder
2 6 Creative Works.
(2 items, 34 leaves).
Gracy Ancestors, undated
(1 item, 14 leaves).
Wells Ancestors, undated
(1 item, 20 leaves).
Box Folder
2 7 Gracy Genealogical Research -- Notes, Files, 1960, and undated
(14 items, 70 leaves).
8 Gracy Genealogical Research -- Notes, Notebooks, undated
(3 items, 110 leaves).
Subseries 3: Virginia Society of Colonial Dames, Application and Research
Box Folder
2 9 Membership application to Virginia Society of Colonial Dames for Bessie, 1963.
(4 items).
10 Correspondence, 1956-1963.
(8 items).
11 Hamilton genealogy and Colonial Dames -- research notes/files, correspondence, 1962, and undated
(30 items, 57 leaves).

Series 4: Other Associated Families, Family Members, and Research Materials

Box Folder
2 12 Mary Gracy Cheek -- Newspaper Clippings, 1958, undated
(2 items).
13 Photographs -- Mary Gracy Cheek, Maurice Cheek, John Gracy (#116-128), undated, circa 1920s-1940s
14 Family History -- Photocopy of D.B. Gracy's Bible record, undated
(1 item).
15 Publication -- "History of the Gracy Title Company" by Mary Beth Gracy, 1983.
(1 item).
16 Newspaper Clippings, 1884, undated
(3 items).
17 Bedichek -- clippings and notes, undated
(7 items).
18 Bedichek, Bachman G. -- clippings, undated
(5 items).
19 Haynie -- correspondence and writings, undated
Box Folder
3 1 Brown, Lutcher -- correspondence, clippings, photograph (#129), 1964-1965, undated
(4 items).
2A Brown, Lutcher and Olive; Emily Wells -- clippings, 1951-1961, undated
2B Brown, Lutcher and Olive; Emily Wells -- photographs (#130-151), undated, circa 1940s-1950s
3-5 Caldwell, 1960-1963, undated
6 Caldwell, John, undated
7-8 Caldwell and Haynie, undated
9 Caldwell Family -- photographs (#174-181), 1900, undated
10 Goodloe, Millie P. (Caldwell Family) -- obituary
11-12 Bacon-Hardeman-Davis, undated
13 Smithwick: The Evolution of a State -- publication photocopies
14A Walling -- notes, clippings
14B Walling -- photographs (#152-162) undated circa 1880s-1910s
15 Walling-Ricks-Wright
16A Walling, George and Louis Wright -- correspondence, 1905
16B Walling, George and Louis Wright -- photographs (#163-172), undated, circa 1860s-1900s
17 Washington
18 Portfolio and Clippings
Box Folder
4 1 Gracy, Bessie Wells -- notes
2 Wells -- Account by Jane Bedichek
3 Wells -- History
4 Wells, Wayman -- Land Records
5 Norton-Wells -- clippings, photographs (#182-189) undated, circa 1930s-1960s
6 Wells -- land records
7 Wells, Carol -- writings, correspondence, photographs (#190-192)
Location Archives Collection
Outer Vault B&W negatives drawer Wells, Carol -- black-and-white negatives
Color negatives drawer Wells, Carol -- color negatives
Box Folder
4 8 Wells, Martin -- S.F. Austin's Writings, Colonization, Jenkings
9 Wells -- research notes
10 Wells, Boyd -- clippings, photographs (#193-213) undated, circa 1930s-1960s
11 Wells, Boyd Family (Peter, Tom, John) -- correspondence, photographs (#214-226) undated, circa 1880-1940s
12 Wells, Louise and Linda Wells -- correspondence, photographs (#227-261)
13 Wells materials from Peter Wells -- notes, photographs (#262-267)
Location Archives Collection
Outer Vault B&W negatives drawer Wells materials from Peter Wells -- black-and-white negative
Box Folder
4 14 Wells, Peter Carr -- notes, photographs (#268-323) undated, circa 1860s-1930s
Box Folder
5 1 Jenkins -- Wilbarger
2 Wright, Walling, Hamilton, Davis -- Oakwood Cemetery
3 Probate Court Records
4 Wright
5 Wright, Joseph and Rachel Hamilton Wright
6-7 Wright, Joseph
8 Research Guides
9 Miscellaneous Family Records
10 People in Old 300 -- Handbook and Misc.
11 Publications
12 Memorandum Notebook
13 Unidentified
14 Austin Collection
15 San Antonio Newspaper Clippings -- Negley-Brown-Oak Court
16 Copies of Historical Maps
17 A Visit to Texas: The Journal of a Traveler
18 Cranfill: Old Chisolm Beef Trail
19 A History of the South
20 Newspaper Clippings
21 Assorted photographs (#324-331)