Austin History Center

Travis County Negro Extension Service Photograph Collection, 1940-1964

An Inventory of the Collection at the Austin History Center

Collection Summary

Creator: Travis County (Tex.). Negro Extension Service.
Title: Travis County Negro Extension Service Photograph Collection.
Inclusive Dates: 1940-1964.
Abstract: The Travis County Negro Extension Service was established as a separate Extension Agency to serve the needs of the Travis County Negro citizens.
Call Number: AR.2000.025
Quantity: 1 linear ft., 2 boxes, 600 photographs.
Location: Archives and Manuscripts Collection.
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, 810 Guadalupe, Austin, Texas, 78701.

Corporate History

Extension services in Texas officially began in 1915 when the Texas Legislature assigned administration of the Texas Agricultural Extension to Texas A&M University, and established the Cooperative Extension Program, administered by Prairie View A&M. The Prairie View A&M land grant college was established in 1890 for the “colored” youth of the state and the work of all Negro Extension agencies was conducted through Prairie View. As part of the Cooperative Extension Program, theTravis County Negro Extension Service served as the communication link between Prairie View A&M and Travis County black residents. The office building for the Travis County Negro Extension Service stood at 1154 Lydia St. in East Austin and is currently (in 2004) being converted into offices for the Austin Revitalization Authority. In the early years of the agency, programming through Prairie View included only Farm and Home Demonstrations. Farm Demonstrations provided information about all aspects of crop and livestock production and marketing. Home Demonstration programs instructed participants in proper canning techniques and home repairs. 4-H Clubs, the youth program of the Extension Service, were established at the turn of the 20th century out of a need to improve life in rural areas by demonstrating to youth the latest in agricultural technology. Although the end of the age of segregation eliminated the need for dual governmental agencies, the two land grant universities, Texas A&M and Prairie View A&M, still administer their respective programs. However, today both agencies are housed in the same building but address clients with different kinds of needs. Prairie View continues to oversee what was the Negro County Extension Service program but the program has been modified to address the needs of customers with limited resources.

Scope and Contents of the Records

The 600 black and white and color photographs, documenting the activities of the Travis County Negro Extension Service, comprise this one linear foot record group. Photographs document the work of the Negro extension agents and depict events, people, places and programs of this agency in the African American community in Austin/Travis County, Texas during the mid-twentieth century. Of particular note are those images depicting the annual Food and Livestock Show that was held each year at Rosewood Park and Doris Miller Auditorium.

No original order existed for this group of photographs, so a topical arrangement scheme has been imposed on the photographs. Few of the photographs had identification information written on the back - so, photographs were sorted according to the activity depicted. In the case of group photographs where no event or organization can be identified, one individual pictured is chosen as the access point, and the photo filed according to that individual’s name. Folders are labeled with the name of the different activities shown in the photographs, i.e. 4-H, Livestock, Domestic Education, etc. A folder was created for photographs of mostly unidentified individuals, titled “Groups & Individuals (Some Identified).”


Restrictions on Access


Restrictions on Use


Index Terms

Andrews, Viola.
Bedford, Dorothy Jean.
Brown, Francis.
Collins, Carrie.
Collins, Dena.
Collins, Jerome Boyd, Sr.
Collins, Virgie.
Davidson, Helen Mae.
Garrett, M. E.
Hutchins, Bertha.
Norris, F. B.
Winn, S. A.
4-H Clubs.
Travis County Negro Extension Service.
Webberville-Hornsby Bend 4-H.
Animal Husbandry.
Education, Domestic.
Home Improvement.
Style Shows.
Social and Civic Life.
Chaneyboro, Texas.
Del Valle, Texas
Doris Miller Auditorium (Austin, Tex.).
Pilot Knob, Texas.
Rosewood Park (Austin, Tex.).
Travis County Negro Extension Service Office (Austin, Tex.).

Related Material

AF -- Agriculture - Travis County 4-H Club, A1500 (8)

AF -- Agriculture - Livestock Show, A1500 (17)

AF -- Agriculture - Travis County Agricultural Extension Service, A1500 (23)

AF -- Agriculture - Home Demonstration Clubs, A1500 (13)

Separated Material

Three negatives were sleeved and housed in the outer vault. Two newspaper articles were separated and placed in clippings files. Seven photo envelopes with Travis County Extension Agent Opal Washington’s name on them were placed in AF - Agriculture - Travis County Agricultural Service A1500 (23)

Administrative Information

Custodial History:

These photographs arrived at the Austin History Center in 2002. They were rescued during a cleanup campaign and recognized as historical documents. Thomas A. Mayes, Associate Travis County Agricultural Agent, who worked for the agency for 37 years, appears in many of the images.

Preferred Citation:

Travis County Negro Extension Service Collection, 1948-1964 (AR.2000.025). Austin, TX: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library.

Acquisition Information:

Donor #: DO/2000/115.

Donation Date: 2002-12-31.

Processing Information:

Preliminary processing By/Subject: Grace McEvoy/Fall 2004.

Final processing and Finding Aid By/Subject: Grace McEvoy and Karen Riles/2004.

Other Finding Aids


Detailed Description of the Records

The following section contins a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

box folder
1 1 Social and Civic Life, 1-25.
(25 items).
2 Social and Civic Life, 26-52.
(27 items).
3 Livestock and Animal Husbandry, 53-75.
(23 items).
4 Livestock and Animal Husbandry, 76-103.
(28 items).
5 Crafts, 104-117.
(14 items).
6 Crafts, 118-133.
(16 items).
7 Demonstrations, 134-156.
(23 items).
8 Domestic Education, 157-180.
(24 items).
9 Domestic Education, 181-207.
(27 items).
10 Education, 208-230.
(23 items).
11 Education, 231-256.
(26 items).
12 Travis Co. Negro Extension Service 1154 Lydia St., 257-271a.
(16 items).
box folder
2 1 Exhibits, 272-289.
(18 items).
2 Exhibits, 290-311.
(22 items).
3 Gardening and Agriculture, 312-328.
(17 items).
4 Gardening and Agriculture, 329-345.
(17 items).
5 Home Improvement and Home Demonstrations, 346-369.
(24 items).
6 Home Improvement and Home Demonstrations, 370-407.
(38 items).
7 4-H Club, 408-437.
(30 items).
8 Sewing and Style Shows, 438-472.
(35 items).
9 Sewing and Style Shows, 473-502.
(30 items).
10 Groups and Individuals, 503-548.
(46 items).
11 Locations, 549-559.
(11 items).
Box Folder
2 12 Photo Negatives.
(3 items).