Austin History Center

Peggy Brown Papers

An Inventory of the Collection

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Brown, Peggy
Title: Peggy Brown Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1946-1999
Bulk Dates: 1971-1988
Abstract: The Peggy Brown Papers consists of personal materials and documentation concerning Peggy Brown's function in a variety of organizations, the restoration of Symphony Square, and the Austin Sesquicentennial from the 1940s to 1990s.
Identification: AR.2009.051
Quantity: 2 linear feet (5 boxes)
Language: The records are in English.
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, 810 Guadalupe, PO BOX 2287, Austin, TX 78768

Biographical Note

Peggy McNamara Brown actively participated in Austin's arts and culture from the 1970s to 1990s. Born in New York State, Peggy studied drama at Southern Methodist University where she met and married Paul Brown, Jr. They had three children and were married for 44 years until her death in 2002. Paul Brown was campaign manager for Texas Governor Buford Jester in 1946 and served on the governor's cabinet. Peggy would serve on various boards and committees in Austin, primarily those related to Austin's historical preservation, its young people, and the arts.

For more than 20 years, Peggy served on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Austin Symphony Orchestra Society (ASOS) as a vice president over Symphony Square, vice president over Special Events, and in other roles (1971-1990s). Peggy served as president of the Women's Symphony League of Austin, 1973-1974. She served on various committees within ASOS, including youth programs and the opera. Her combined service coincided with ASOS President Jane Sibley.

Peggy and Jane Sibley, along with other members of ASOS, the City of Austin, and Austin Urban Renewal Agency, led plans to renovate four buildings at the intersection of Red River and 11th Streets. The project began in 1971 with the goal of creating an educational, cultural, and artistic center for the community. The four renovated stone buildings-Michael Doyle House, New Orleans Club Mercantile, Hardeman House, and Jeremiah Hamilton Building-served as the headquarters of ASOS and the Women's Symphony League of Austin, and houses restaurants and historical sites. A 350-seat Greek style amphitheater served as a venue for summer music festivals. Symphony Square held its grand opening April 7-9, 1978.

In the 1980s, Peggy served on the City of Austin Sesquicentennial Commission for the Texas Sesquicentennial; one committee among many across Texas designed to coordinate the planning of statewide sesquicentennial celebrations. Peggy served in other cultural functions, including the 22nd national president of the National Society of Arts and Letters (1986-1988), of which she was the founding member of the Austin chapter. She served on the Arts Council of Austin with Jane Sibley (1970), with the Austin Women's Club (1977-1978), as president of the Heritage Guild, as a Readers' Guild Honorary Member (1996), and with the Junior League of Austin.

Scope and Contents

The Peggy Brown Papers (1946-1999; 2.0 linear feet) contain correspondence, minutes, committee lists, printed material, packets, legal and financial records, blueprints, clippings, and photographs that document her work with fine arts and culture in Austin. Six series illuminate Peggy and her service: Personal, Austin Symphony Orchestra Society, Symphony Square Committee, Women's Symphony League of Austin, City of Austin Sesquicentennial Commission, and Assorted Records. The collection contained little original order.

The Personal series (1946-1997; 0.1 linear feet) contains family documents, personal correspondence, handwritten notes, and posters. Two folders house 9 photographs, 6 slides, and 169 negatives of personal activities, work with Symphony Square, and other undocumented subjects (44 negatives of family, children, and fishing; 109 negatives in 6 sheets of Symphony Square and family; 16 negatives in sleeves of assorted parties). The Austin Symphony Orchestra Society series (1971-1994; 0.3 linear feet) illuminates the work of the ASOS and documents Peggy's many roles in membership lists, minutes, and correspondence. Most of the documentation refers to her membership on the ASOS Board of Directors and Executive Committee.

The Symphony Square Committee series (1973-1995; 0.8 linear feet) is the largest in the holding and documents the SSC's work renovating and maintaining the Symphony Square property, planning and hosting events, and promoting the Square. The papers demonstrate Peggy's prominent role in all these activities. The Hardeman House Restaurant sub-series correspondence contains a rare instance of original order. Brown grouped correspondence, handwritten notes, receipts, copies of stock shares, and other documentation concerning a legal dispute between ASOS/SSC and Kralj & Associates, Inc. The final sub-series, General Symphony Square material, contains maps, illustrations, and printed materials relating to Symphony Square but not necessarily created by the committee.

The Women's Symphony League of Austin series (1968-1999, 0.2 linear feet) documents Brown's activities with the Women's Symphony League of Austin, her earliest and longest-running involvement with ASO. However, this series has significantly less material than the ASOS and SSC series. The City of Austin Sesquicentennial Commission series (1982-1986; 0.4 linear feet) contains meeting packets, correspondence, and printed materials, documenting Peggy's activities on the commission, especially her role as Fund-raising Chairman. The final series, Assorted Records (1970-1997; 0.2 linear feet), documents Peggy's participation in various other councils and committees related to the arts, and it includes assorted correspondence neither received nor sent by Brown and assorted financial documents.

Note on arrangement: Three photos were originally with Symphony Square Committee records, but were physically stored with the other photos for preservation purposes.


Arranged into six series:
I. Personal
II. Austin Symphony Orchestra
III. Symphony Square Committee
IV. Women's Symphony League of Austin
V. City of Austin Sesquicentennial
VI. Assorted Council Records


Restrictions on Access

Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use


Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Brown, Peggy.
Brown, Paul.
Caswell, Kenneth.
Kralj, Nick.
Sibley, Jane.
Wukasch, Eugene.
Austin Symphony Orchestra Society.
Austin (Tex.) Urban Renewal Agency.
City of Austin.
City of Austin Sesquicentennial Commission.
Heritage Society of Austin.
Kralj & Associates, Inc.
Women's Symphony League of Austin.
Wukasch & Associates.
Austin (Tex.)
Architecture-Conservation and restoration-Texas-Austin.
Austin Symphony Orchestra-Texas-Austin
D.A.R. House-Texas-Austin.
Doyle House-Texas-Austin.
Historic buildings--Texas--Austin.
Historic Buildings-Conservation and restoration-Texas-Austin.
Historic sites--Texas--Austin.
Jeremiah Hamilton House-Texas-Austin.
New Orleans Bar-Texas-Austin.
New Orleans Club-Texas-Austin.
The Quorum-Texas-Austin.
Symphony Square-Texas-Austin.
Urban Renewal-Texas-Austin.
William P. Hardeman House-Texas-Austin.
Document Types:
Financial documents.
Legal documents.
Printed materials.

Related Material

General Collection

  • A 785.06 SY 1983-1984 Symphony Square Committee. Yearbook. Austin, TX: The Committee, 1984.
  • A 917.6431 AU Jurow, Erin-Jo. Austin, Texas Symphony Square Calendar-Journal, 1977. Dallas, TX: Production Graphix, 1976.
  • A 785.06 SY 1979-1980 Symphony Square Committee. Yearbook. Austin, TX: The Committee, 1980.

Archives and Manuscripts

  • AR.R.006 Austin Symphony Orchestra Records.
  • AR.R.015 Austin Sesquicentennial Committee Records.

Separated Material

Architectural drawings of Symphony Square have been moved to the Architectural Archives. See Symphony Square in the Architectural Archives card catalog in the reading room.

Wukasch & Associates Restoration of the Jeremiah Hamilton Building at Symphony Square plan book was added to the General Collection.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Peggy Brown Papers (AR.2009.051.) Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donor #: DO/1999/052

Donation Date: 1999

Processing Information

Final Processing and Finding Aid By/Date: Gina Bastone, Karen Louma, and Adam Luke, 11/21/2009. Encoded by Molly Hults/2010.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Personal, 1946-1997

Box Folder
1 1 Family, 1946-1994
Location FlatFile
qAR 04/01/009-010 Genealogy charts, undated
Box Folder
1 2 Handwritten notes, 1971-1987, undated
3 Correspondence, 1975-1986
Location FlatFile
qAR 04/01/006-007 American Centennial Material, 1976
Box Folder
1 4 Photographs and slides, 1964-1965, undated
5 Negatives, undated

II. Austin Symphony Orchestra Society, 1971-1994

Administrative Records, 1973-1994
Box Folder
1 6 Bylaws and policy, 1985, undated
7 Membership lists, 1972-1994
8 Financial, 1977-1985
9 Printed materials, 1973-1988
10 Clippings, 1979-1987
Board of Directors, 1971-1993
Box Folder
1 12 Minutes, 1971-1993
13 Correspondence, 1977-1991
Executive Committee, 1972-1993
Box Folder
1 14 Minutes, 1972-1993
15 Correspondence, 1977-1988
16 Nominating committee, 1983-1987, undated
17 Assorted committee material, 1983, 1993

III. Symphony Square Committee, 1973-1995

Administrative Records, 1973-1994
Box Folder
2 1 Membership lists, 1987, undated
2 Minutes, 1975-1991
3 History and purpose of Symphony Square, undated
4 Planning and urban renewal material, 1973-1986, undated
Box Folder
qAR 04/01/003-004 Oversized planning and urban renewal material, 1973, 1975
Box Folder
2 5 General correspondence, 1975-1991, undated
6 Financial correspondence, 1976-1978
8 Heritage Society of Austin correspondence, 1977-1978, undated
9 Event planning and press releases, 1977-1978
10 Amphitheater food and beverage committee, 1977-1978, undated
11 Long range planning committee, 1983-1986
12 Symphony Square buildings, 1976-1978, undated
13 Grand opening of Symphony Square, 1978, undated
Location FlatFile
qAR 04/01/005 Oversized materials, 1972
Box Folder
2 14 Newsletters, 1979-1994
15 Membership packet, 1991
16 Stationery, undated
Hardeman House Restaurant Records, 1973-1987
Box Folder
3 1 Correspondence, 1978-1987
2 Memoranda and minutes, 1982-1986, undated
3 Renovation and maintenance records, 1973-1987, undated
4 Legal documents, 1978-1986, undated
5 Restaurants proposals, 1980-1986, undated
6 Printed and assorted material, 1978-1979, undated
General Symphony Square Material, 1974-1995
Box Folder
3 7 News clippings, 1974-1995, undated
8 Printed event material, 1977-1994, undated
9 Maps and illustrations, undated
Location FlatFile
qAR 04/01/001-002 Oversized maps and illustration, 1976

IV. Women's Symphony League of Austin, 1968-1999

Box Folder
4 1 Executive board meeting minutes and material, 1974-1984
2 General meeting minutes, 1999
3 Past Presidents Council, 1999, undated
4 Take Note newsletters, 1984-1999
5 Event material, 1968-1994, undated
6 Directories, 1993-1996

V. City of Austin Sesquicentennial Commission, 1982-1986

Box Folder
4 7-4 Packets 1-4, 1985
Box Folder
5 1 Coordinating Committee Meeting Packet 1, 1983 May 11
2 Coordinating Committee Meeting Packet 2, 1984 April 11
3 Coordinating Committee Meeting Packet 3, 1984 May 09
4 Coordinating Committee Meeting Packet 4, 1984 November 14
5 Coordinating Committee Meeting Packet 5, 1985 January 09
6 Coordinating Committee Meeting Packet 6, 1985 February 13
7 Coordinating Committee Meeting Packet 7, 1985 April 10
8 Coordinating Committee Meeting Packet 8, 1985 May 08
9 Coordinating Committee Meeting Packet 9, 1983 June 12
10 Coordinating Committee Meeting Packet 10, 1985 September 11
11 Coordinating Committee Meeting Packet 11, 1985 November 13
12 Coordinating Committee Meeting Packet 12, 1985 December 11
13 Coordinating Committee Meeting Packet 13, 1986 January 08
14 Coordinating Committee Meeting Packet 14, 1986 February 12
15 Correspondence, 1982-1986, undated
16 Event invitations and programs, 1985-1986
Location FlatFile
qAR 04/01/008 Sesquicentennial poster, 1986

VI. Assorted Records, 1970-1997

Box Folder
5 17 Arts Council of Austin, 1970
18 Austin Women's Club, 1977-1978
19 Paramount Theater, 1984
20 Austin Lyric Opera, 1987-1988
21 National Society of Arts and Letters, 1991
22 Readers' Guild, 1996-1997
23 Assorted correspondence, 1977-1985
24 Assorted financial, 1984, undated