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TABLE OF CONTENTS


Collection Summary

Administrative History of Walter Tips Company

Scope and Contents of the Records

Organization of the Records

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Warehouse, 1880-1929

Employees, 1915-1985, undated

Stock Dispute, 1886-1892, 1935-1937, 1952, undated

Hampton Estate, 1875-1879, undated

Wholesale Catalogs, 1918, 1970-1984

Austin History Center

Walter Tips Company Records

An Inventory of the Collection



Collection Summary

Creator: Walter Tips Company
Title: Walter Tips Company Records
Dates: 1875-1985
Dates (Bulk): 1915-1975
Abstract: This collection documents the Walter Tips Company, a hardware firm that operated in Austin, Texas, for 127 years. Correspondence, meeting minutes, financial documents, real property records, and sales catalogs document the business from 1875-1985.
Accession number: AR.X.021
Quantity: 3.2 linear feet (8 boxes)
Location: Archives Stacks
Language: English
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library,
810 Guadalupe, PO Box 2287, Austin, TX 78768

Administrative History of Walter Tips Company

The Walter Tips Company was a hardware firm that operated in Austin, Texas, for 127 years. The company sold not only hardware, but also automobile accessories, mill supplies, and sporting goods. They covered a large trade area throughout Texas.

Walter Tips was the youngest son of Johann Conrad Tips and Anna Caroline Brown Tips, born in Elberfield, Prussia in 1841. The Tips family emigrated to Indianola (Port Lavaca), Texas in 1849. Before the Civil War, Walter’s older brother Edward Tips moved to Austin and opened a hardware store on what is now Congress Avenue. After serving in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, Walter went into the hardware business with William Clemens in New Braunfels, Texas. After Edward Tips died in 1872, Walter Tips and his partners, William Clemens and Joseph Faust, bought the hardware business in Austin, renaming it “Walter Tips & Company.” Tips bought out his two partners to become the sole owner of the Austin store in 1881.

The Walter Tips Company building at 712 Congress Avenue was constructed on the site of Edward Tips’ previous store in 1876-1877. Designed by Austin architect Jasper N. Preston, it is now a registered Texas Historic Landmark. The Walter Tips Company remained at the location on Congress Avenue until 1927 and the building was later bought by Franklin Savings Association in 1978 and restored it for use as their home office. In 1927, the company moved into a newly constructed warehouse at 200 Colorado Street and moved to selling solely wholesale hardware and automotive parts.

Walter Tips operated the company until his death in 1911. Soon after, in 1914, the company was incorporated and a Board of Directors elected. Adolf C. Goeth, son-in-law of Walter Tips, served as president of the company until his death in 1927. Successive presidents included George Groos, Frank W. Posey, Dan F. Searight, and Carl Johnson.

In 1984, the company stakeholders approved the sale of downtown company property due to the rising land prices. After selling the properties, they ended up deciding to sell the company to two companies rather than buy more real estate elsewhere. The automobile division that was operating at 115 W. 2nd Street was sold to Mount Joy Auto Parts Company of Houston. The hardware division which operated at 200 Colorado was sold to Wyeth Hardware Company in St. Josephs, Missouri. At the time of its closing, the company had more than 130 stockholders.

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Scope and Contents of the Records

Sales catalogs from 1918, 1970-1976, and 1981-1984 make up the bulk of the collection. The company largely operated as a wholesale dealer and the catalogs are very large. Materials related to the purchasing of land and construction of a new warehouse in 1927 are well documented through deeds, titles, correspondence, bills, and contracts. The deeds and abstracts of titles are for Lots No. 1-6 Block 20 in the City of Austin, or 200 Colorado Street, where the Walter Tips Company warehouse was constructed. Page & Brothers Architects and contractors H.E. Wattinger and Fox-Schmidt held contracts with the company to build the warehouse. Correspondence with Brown Brothers loan company is also included in regard to the warehouse construction.

Correspondence and employee contracts from 1915 to 1930, including information about the company’s profit sharing, is of note. Employee correspondence consists largely of of agreements on salary and profit sharing for the company's salesmen. Numerous letters from other hardware stores concern compensation agreements for traveling salesmen. Responses from San Antonio Machine & Supply Co., McLendon Hardware Co. of Waco, Nash Hardware Co. of Fort Worth, and others are represented. Minutes from the Board of Directors meetings from 1915-1985 make up a large part of the collection. The stock dispute materials concern a feud between Walter H. Tips and his mother Kathryn S. Tips, who owned 100 shares of stock that she put up for sale in the 1930s. Correspondence and recipts dating from the 1870s document the purchasing of the Hampton property in Austin, though it is unclear the location and relation to the Walter Tips Company. J. H. Hutchins is the point of contact regarding the payments for the land.

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Organization of the Records

Theses records are organized into five series:
Warehouse
Employees
Stock Dispute
Hampton Estate
Wholesale Catalogs

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Restrictions

Access Restrictions

Open to all users

Use Restrictions

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.

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Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Tips, Walter E., 1841-1911.
Goeth, Adolph C., 1862-1927.
Tips, Eugene, 1874-1939.
Posey, Frank W., 1875-1950.
Smith, Roy.
Scherding, Walter.
Tips, Mary Jane Pearce, 1848-1921.
Groos, George J.
Schutze, George C.
Von Kramer, Mary Elizabeth Tips, 1887-1981.
Merz, Catherine S. V.
Sneed, Jerome, Jr.
Goeth, Ralph C.
Johnson, Carl A.
Davis, Alden.
Searight, Dan F.
Bowman, Paul W.
Wattinger, H.E.
Lowe, W.G.
Knight, L.M.
Fricke, Herman.
Voss, C. R.
Fristoe, H.M.
Leath, Wilson Freeland.
Tips, Kathryn S.
Tips, Walter H., 1897-1976.
Von Merz, Walter.
Subjects (Organizations)
Walter Tips Company.
Page Brothers Architects.
National Hardware Association of the United States.
Brown Brothers.
Subjects
Hardware industry--Texas.
Wholesale trade--Texas.
Automobile supplies industry--Texas--Austin.
Architects--Texas--Austin.
Contractors--Texas--Austin.
Business enterprises--Texas--Austin.
Places
Austin (Tex.)--Commerce.
Document Types
Administrative records.
Agendas.
Certificates.
Correspondence.
Financial records.
Legal documents.
Real property records.
Sales catalogs.
Minutes.
Design patents.

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Related Material

General Collection


  • A 725.2109764 FR Franklin Savings Association, A History of the Tips Building. 1981.
  • A 728.09764 FR Franklin Savings Association, A History of the Tips House. 1970.
  • A 338.76 WA Walter Tips Company, 100th Anniversary. 1957.
  • A 338.76 GO AA Goeth, Ralph Conrad, 1891-1967, One Hundred Years of Tips in Texas. 1957.

Archives & Manuscripts


Austin Files


  • AF Biography - Scherding Family
  • AF Biography - Tips Family
  • AF Subject - Hardware Stores - Tips Company H0300(8) P T
  • AF Subject – Foundries - Tips Iron & Steel F3000(2) P T
  • AF House/Building - 7th Street, West, 315
  • AF House/Building - Congress Avenue, 708-712

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Administrative Information

Custodial History

The bulk of the collection was donated in 1985 by a former president of the Walter Tips Company, one of the catalogs was given by another donor, and company blank stationary was given by another. Additional materials were donated in 2017 from a descendent of the last president of the company.

Preferred Citation

Walter Tips Company Records (AR.X.021). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donor #: DO/1968/012; DO/1985/037; DO/1995/025; DO/2017/002

Donation Date: May 1985 ; March 1987; January 1994; January 2017

Processing Information

Initial inventory by Holley White in November 1987. Final processing by Ruth Baker in February 2002. Finding aid updated by Kelly Hanus in January 2019.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

Warehouse, 1880-1929

Land Purchases, 1880-1927
Box Folder
1 1 Deeds, 1897-1941
2 Abstracts of title, 1880-1927
2 Agreements, 1898-1927
2 Marriage certificates, 1914-1921
3 Correspondence, 1917-1921
Construction, 1926-1929
Box Folder
1 4 Correspondence, 1926-1927
5 Minutes, Board of Directors meetings, 1927
5 Contracts, releases and agreements, 1927-1929
6 Cost estimates, bills & receipts, 1926-1929
7 Bills and estimates, 1926-1927, 1929

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Employees, 1915-1985, undated

Correspondence, 1915-1930
Box Folder
1 8 Letters sent by company to employees, 1915-1930
9 Letters received from salesmen and others, 1916-1923
10 Employee/employer agreements, 1916-1934
11 Profit sharing, 1919, undated
12 Insurance policy on employees, 1944
Board of Directors, 1915-1985
Box Folder
5 1-7 Meeting minutes, 1915-1964
Box Folder
6 1-4 Meeting minutes, 1965-1985

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Stock Dispute, 1886-1892, 1935-1937, 1952, undated

Box Folder
1 13 Correspondence and related material, 1935-1937, 1952
14 Patents, 1886-1892
15 Company stationary (blank), undated

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Hampton Estate, 1875-1879, undated

Box Folder
1 16 Correspondence and receipts, 1875-1879, undated

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Wholesale Catalogs, 1918, 1970-1984

Box
4 Catalog of automobile supplies, 1918
Box
2 Catalog, 1971
Box
3 Catalog, 1970-1976
Box
7-8 Catalog, 1981-1984

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