Austin History Center

Mary Starr Barkley Papers

An Inventory to the Collection

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Barkley, Mary Starr
Title: Mary Starr Barkley Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1836-1981
Abstract: Correspondence, notes, printed material, photographs, creative works, and scrapbook material (1836-1977, undated) document the life and work of Mary Starr Barkley, Texas historian, author, genealogist and volunteer.
Identification: AR.V.006
Quantity: 7 linear feet
Location: Archives Stacks; Oversized Volumes
Language: The records are in English.
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, 810 Guadalupe St., PO BOX 2287, Austin, TX, 78768

Creator Note

Mary Starr Barkley was a life-long resident of Austin whose penchant for local history led her to write numerous colorful books, articles, and essays about her hometown and Central Texas. Known to friends and colleagues as "Mamie", she liked to refer to herself as a "housewife-historian".

Barkley's roots in Austin extended back four generations. She was born in 1907 to James Patrick Starr and Mary Ellen Dolan Starr (Nellie), devout Irish Catholics who belonged to St. Mary's Parish in Austin. Mary attended St. Mary's Cathedral School until her graduation in 1923. Her close ties to the Catholic Church greatly influenced both her historical research and her charitable activities throughout the rest of her life.

Mary attended the University of Texas for two years and then went to work for Austin National Bank where she met her future husband, Fred C. Barkley. The two were married in 1930. During World War II, when Fred was in service, Mary began to write fiction and essays. One of her favorite personal anecdotes concerns the time in 1946 that she sent out three articles and received a check for each one. "After that", she said, "I could never quit writing." She regularly sold stories, essays and articles to magazines such as The Cattleman, Farm and Ranch, Catholic Digest, the Houston Chronicle Sunday Magazine, and the Atlanta Journal Magazine.

Mary Starr Barkley wrote predominantly about Austin and the surrounding communities. She liked to set out at about nine o'clock in the morning one day each week and drive to communities within a fifty mile radius of Austin. She conducted a substantial amount of her research through oral interviews and enjoyed talking to "old timers" who could tell her all about the history of their communities. Barkley's method of history writing was to weave human interest stories into traditional date-oriented narratives; she called this style her "trademark". Barkley also carried a camera with her during her travels and took many of the pictures that accompanied her articles.

In addition to her work as an amateur historian, Barkley was involved in several organizations, many of which were affiliated with the Catholic Church. In 1950, she helped organize the Seton Hospital Auxiliary to which she ultimately gave over 17,000 hours of her time during a 30-year period. In 1950, Barkley also helped organize the Friends of the Adoration Convent, a group that served as both the auxiliary and the fundraising arm of the Austin Adoration Convent. In her later years, she served as the Chair of the Travis County Historical Survey Committee, an organization dedicated to the preservation of the historical buildings within Travis County.

Barkley was the author of several published works including: Fifty Years of the Seton Hospital (1952), One Hundred Years: The History of St. Mary's Cathedral (1952), The History of Travis County and Austin, 1839-1899 (1963), A History of Central Texas (1970), St. Mary's Church (now a Cathedral) (1972), The History of St. Mary's Cathedral, 1874-1974 (1974), and numerous essays and articles published in local and national periodicals. She also wrote a book on the history of the Austin National Bank, and tried her hand at fiction. In addition to her activities as a writer, Barkley conducted extensive genealogical research about her own family and composed an unpublished family history, "A Four Staff Family".

Principle organizations Barkley belonged to include: Seton Hospital Auxiliary, the Travis County Historical Survey Committee, the Adoration Convent, Austin National Bank, and St. Mary's Cathedral Parish.

Mary Starr Barkley succumbed to cancer in 1981.

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, notes, printed material, photographs, creative works, and scrapbook material (1836-1977, undated) document the life and work of Mary Starr Barkley; especially well-documented are her activities as a genealogist, an amateur historian, an author and a volunteer. Arranged into four series (Personal, Research, Creative Works, and Organizational Affiliations), the bulk of the material is undated with the exception of the material related to Organizational Affiliations, the bulk of which is dated 1969-1977. Original groupings have been retained as much as possible.

Personal material in large part relates to Barkley's genealogical research, which culminated in "A Four Staff Family", a narrative on the Starr, Boland, and O'Hern families. The unpublished manuscript(undated)includes photographs and assorted scrapbook material. Also related to the manuscript are correspondence, photographs, printed material, notes, financial documents and legal papers (1884-1979) that document primarily the lives of those family members who lived in Texas; material on family members from Tennessee and Ohio is also present. Of particular interest is the material on Mary Dolan Rousseau's grocery business, which was located in Austin at the turn of the twentieth century.

Research material (1836-1974, undated) consists of clippings, notes, correspondence, photographs and printed materials accumulated in the course of researching assorted topics in the history of Texas from the early part of the nineteenth century onward. The bulk of the research material relates to Travis County, the majority of which relates to Austin. Historical buildings are also particularly well documented. Bastrop, Burnet, Hays and Williamson counties and the state of Texas, as a whole, are also represented by material in this series.

Notes, drafts, and publication material document many of Barkley's Creative Works [1891-1977, undated). Especially well represented are A History of Central Texas (1968-1970, undated) and her history of the Austin National Bank [1891-1976, undated). Also represented are A History of Travis County and Austin 1839-1899(1960-[1963] and [1968]) and St. Mary's Church (now a Cathedral) (1874, 1968-1972, undated). The series also contains material on other works including drafts and clippings of essays and articles by Barkley (1946-1970, undated) and drafts and notes for fictional works.

The items constituting Organizational Affiliations (1938-1980, undated) relate to Barkley's volunteer activities with three Austin organizations: Travis County Historical Survey Committee (TCHSC) (1939-1980); Seton Hospital Auxiliary (1950-1978, undated); and Friends of the Adoration Convent (1958-1968). Correspondence, minutes, foundation documents, printed material, notes, rosters, and photographic material document Barkley's work as a Chairperson for the TCHSC. Although the date span included begins in the 1930's, the earlier material is exclusively research material accumulated in the process of determining the placement of markers. The bulk of the material dates from the years during which Barkley was directly affiliated with the organization (1966-1977). Especially well-represented in this subseries is the correspondence between Barkley and Texas congressmen J.J. "Jake" Pickle leading up to the placement of the historic marker at St. Mary's Cathedral. Materials about Seton Hospital Auxiliary, an organization that Barkley helped found, include correspondence, minutes, foundation documents, membership logs, creative works, printed material and photographic material. The bulk of the material is composed of membership logs detailing the years of Auxiliary membership for the years 1950-1962. Barkley's creative work provides a history of the Auxiliary ([1975?]) and the records of the creation of and fundraising for the Sister Mary Rose Memorial (1966-1970). Finally, correspondence, foundation documents, scrapbook material, creative works and photographs relating to the Friends of the Adoration Convent document the first decade of the organization. The scrapbook materials (1958-1960) are particularly useful in understanding the foundation of the group as well as the activities by which it supported the convent.


The records are organized according into the following four series:
I. Personal
II. Research
III. Creative Works
IV. Organizational Affiliations


Restrictions on Access


Restrictions on Use


Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Barkley, Mary Starr (1907-1981)
Barkley, Fred C.
Barkley, Fred C., Jr.
Boland, Michael
Dolan, George Michael
Harwood, Cordelia Starr
Morris, Margaret Starr
Rousseau, Mary Dolan
Starr, George
Starr, James P.
Starr, Mary Ellen "Nellie" Dolan
Tarr, Ann Lee Starr
Tidwell, Kathleen Starr
Austin National Bank
Friends of the Adoration Convent
Seton Hospital Auxiliary
St. Mary's Cathedral
Travis County Historical Survey Committee
Austin (Tex.)
Austin (Tex.)--History.
Texas--Cities and towns.
Texas--Counties and regions.
Travis County (Tex.)--History.

Related Material

Austin Files

  • AF Biography - Barkley, Fred
  • AF Biography - Barkley, Mary (Starr)
  • AF Biography - Walton, William Martin (Barkley's review of An Epitome of My Life)
  • AF Subject - Texas Governor's Mansion (Historical Marker) G3800 (5)
  • AF Subject - Travis County Historical Survey Committees T3100(8)

General Collection

  • A History of Central Texas, 976.41 BA
  • History of Travis County and Austin 1839-1899, 976.41 BA
  • St. Mary's Church (now a cathedral), 1874-1974, A 282 BA

Separated Material

Duplicate printed material, news clippings and photographs (approx. 1 linear foot)- Recycled.

Printed material, Ireland - AHC Book Sale

Plate, Austin Seton Infirmary - AHC Book Sale

Wooden Plaque, Volunteer Service, Seton Hospital - Copied and Discarded

Two Official Log Books of Texas - General Collection

Photo negative - Fred Barkley Jr. - AF Photographs Collection

Miscellaneous photographic prints of Mary Starr Barkley, Judge James McClendon, Mary Ann McClendon, Eugene Robinson, Condits Store (718 Congress Ave.) - AF Photographs Collection

15 Early Twentieth-Century Austin Photographs, Mounted, "Given to Mr. Walter Long 4-24-63 by Lewis Wallin" - AF Photographs Collection

Administrative Information

Custodial History

The collection was donated by Fred C. Barkley. Jr., 1982 September 21.

Preferred Citation

Mary Starr Barkley Papers (AR.V.006). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donor #: DO/1955/104

Processing Information

Original finding aid author(s)is unknown.

Final processing and finding aid revisions/encoding by Susan Rittereiser 2010 June.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Personal, 1884-1981, undated

Box Folder
1 1 General Correspondence, 1954-1979, undated
Genealogy, 1894-1979, undated
"A Four Star Family", undated
Box Folder
1 2 "A Four Star Family" - Clothbound
3 "A Four Star Family" - Plastic Binder
4-6 Handwritten Draft
7 Typescript Draft
Research, 1881-1979, undated
Box Folder
1 8-9 Notes - Ireland, Family Tree, 1967, undated
Family Members, 1884-1979, undated
Box Folder
1 10 Autobiographical, 1930, 1964, undated
11 James P. Starr, 1908-1944
12 Margaret Starr Morris, 1883-[1970]
13 Cordelia Starr Harwood, 1917-1958
14 Mary Starr, 1917, undated
15 Michael Boland, 1889-1890
16-18 Mary Ellen "Nellie" Dolan Starr, 1894-1940
19-20 George Michael Dolan, 1895-1908, undated
21 Mary Dolan Rousseau, 1884-1947
22 Kathleen Starr Tidwell, 1915-1958
23-24 Ann Lee Starr Tarr, 1908-1974, undated
25 George James Starr, 1979
2 Family Photographs, 1908-[1970], undated
Photograph numbering: Mary Ellen Dolan Starr: 1-3, 5-12; James P. Starr: 4-5; George Michael Dolan: 13-26, 28-35; Mary Dolan Rousseau: 27, 36-40; Kathleen Starr Tidwell: 41-55; Anna Lee Starr Tarr: 56-62; Margaret Starr: 63-64; Autobiographical: 65-150; Fred Barkley, Jr.: 151-154
Scrapbooks, 1923, 1949-1971, undated
Box Folder
3 1 A Girl Graduate's Memory Book, 1923
2-3 Clippings and Aphorism Scrapbook, undated
4-7 Untitled Scrapbook, 1949-1971
8 Awards, 1964-1981
9 Employment Records, 1945

II. Research, 1836-1974

Box Folder
4 1 General Correspondence, 1952-1971, undated
Texas Files, 1836-1974, undated
Box Folder
4 2-8 Texas, 1907-1967, undated
9-11 Bastrop County, 1936-1968, undated
12-13 Burnet County, 1966-1972, undated
14 Caldwell County, 1959, 1968, undated
15 Galveston County, undated
16 Gillespie County, undated
17 Guadalupe County, undated
18-21 Hays County, 1928-1969, undated
22 Lampasas County, 1949, undated
23 Lee County, 1953-1965
24 Llano County, 1935
Travis County, 1836-1974, undated
Box Folder
4 25 Photographic Material, undated
26 Education, 1971-1973, undated
27 Log Cabins, 1956-1967, undated
28 Molasses Machine, undated
29 Towns, 1969-1971, undated
30 Trading Posts, 1951, undated
31 Anderson Mill, undated
Austin, 1836-1974, undated
Box Folder
4 32 General, 1950-1970, undated
33-45 Chronological (5-year spans), 1906-1972
46 Banks, 1926-1927
47 Barton Springs, undated
48 Biographical - O. Henry, 1938-1956, undated
49 Biographical - Elisabet Ney, 1956-1971, undated
50 Blacksmiths, 1956
51-53 Buildings, undated
54 Bridges, 1886-1971, undated
55 Capitol, 1836-1948, undated
56 Churches - General, 199, undated
57 Churches - St. David's Episcopal, 1969
58 Churches - St. Mary's Catholic, 1884-1952, undated
59 St. Patrick's Catholic, 1960, undated
60 City Departments - Administration, 1881
61 City Departments - Fire, undated
62 City Departments - Police, 1909-1913, undated
63 Country Club, 1974, undated
64 Courthouse, 1876-1969, undated
65 Dam, 1892, undated
66 Floods, 1900-1915, undated
67 French Embassy, 1938, undated
68 Hospital, Breckenridge, 1870-1983, undated
69 Hotels - Congress Ave., 1839, undated
70 Hotels - Driskill , 1886-1973
71 Houses - Historic - General, 1853-1973, undated
72 Houses - Historic - Confederate Home, undated
73-74 Houses - Governor's, 1838-1957, undated
75 Houses - Heck House, 1938-1968, undated
76 Landmarks, 1856, undated
77 Lakes - Gem Lake (Hyde Park) , undated
78 Lake - Lake McDonald, 1898
79 Maps, undated
80 Markers, 1946-1948, undated
Box Folder
5 1 Newspapers - General, 1913-1971, undated
2-3 Newspapers - American Statesman, Statesman 1884
4 Photographers, 1889, undated
5 Programs, 1900-1934, undated
6 Railroads, 1890-1897, undated
7 Recreation, 1906-1972, undated
8 Schools - General, 1882-1960, undated
9 Schools - Eanes, undated
10 Schools - St. Edward's College, 1882
11 Schools - St. Mary's Academy, 1960, undated
12 Sports - General, 1932-1972, undated
13 Sports - Basebell, 1932-1972, undated
14 Stone's Ferry, undated
15 Stores - General, 1903-1970, undated
16 Stores - Hatzfeld's, undated
17 Streets - Congress Ave, 1866-1955, undated
17 Streets - Ft. Magruder Lane/Robert E. Lee Rd., 1866-1957, undated
19 Towers, undated
20 Transportation, 1891-1971, undated
21 Unions, 1970, undated
22 University of Texas, 1882-1972, undated
23 Views, 1839-1894, undated
24 Washing Machine, 1955-1972, undated
25 Fort Coleman, 1966, undated
26 Hamilton Pool, 1951, undated
27-28 Hornsby Bend, 1951, undated
29 Lake Austin, undated
30 McKinney Falls, 1965-1973
31 Montopolis, 1956
78 New Sweden, 1967, undated
33 Oak Hill, 1969-1972, undated
80 Pflugerville, 1971, undated
35 Sassman Place, 1973, undated
36 Spicewood, 1973
37 Wilbarger's Bend, undated
38-40 Williamson County, 1946-1957, undated
41 Georgia and Kentucky, 1953, 1956, undated
42 Bibliography, undated

III. Creative Works, [1891]-1977, undated

Box Folder
6 1 General Correspondence, 1946-1975, undated
Essays and Articles, 1946-1970, undated
Box Folder
6 2 General, untitled, undated
3 Adolescent Addicts, undated
4 The Bee That Lost Its Way, undated
5 Chevrolet Goes Collegiate and Ivy League, undated
6 Children Are Cute, undated
7 Children Carry On For Confederates, undated
8 The Contrast of the Century, 1864-1964, undated
9 Cosmopolitan Colonel House, undated
10 Death Takes Mary Kyle Harkson: Pioneer, Politician of Central Texas, undated
11 Dixie Will Never Die--In Texas, undated
12 J. Frank Dobie, undated
13 Epic Epitaphs, undated
14 Ever Wonder About Those Worlds?, undated
15 Friday Mountain Camp, undated
16 Geronimo: Now A Place Name in the Southwest, undated
17 Goforth, Texas: Gone with the Wind and the Weather, undated
18 Handicap Not A Hindrance, undated
19 How Books Are Born, undated
20 Hunters! Fisherman!! Want a Camp That's Cozy, Comfy, and Cheap?, undated
21 If Your Child is Not Normal, undated
22 It's Reunion Time in Texas, undated
23 Johnson Grass: An Old Enemy, undated
24 July Homecoming at Paige, Texas, undated
25 Life In These United States, undated
26 Name Your Child--But Don't Nickname It!, undated
27 In the Heart of Texas, undated
28 Milam County, Where the New Meets with the Old undated
29 Niederwald--A Community of Cooperatives, undated
30 No Greater Love, undated
31 Pilot Knob--Once A Pilot for the Pioneers, undated
32 Play--The Pursuit of Happiness, undated
33 A Real Experience, undated
34 Reflections While Standing Before the Lincoln Memorial, undated
35 Santa Rita--For the Impossible, undated
36 Temporary Capital Building for the State of Texas, undated
37 Texas' All Women Governments, undated
38 They Also Serve, undated
39 Today's Children See Yesterday's Steam Engine, undated
40 Tombstone Town, undated
41 Watermelon in June--and January!, undated
42 World's Largest Live Oak Tree in Texas, undated
Oversized Volumes Scrapbook Clippings of Articles, Notes undated
Box Folder
6 43 History of Travis County and Austin 1839-1899, 1960-[1963], [1968]
History of Central Texas, 1949, 1968-1970, undated
Box Folder
6 44 Correspondence and Publication Material, 1968-1970, undated
45 Notes and Clippings, 1948, 1968-1970, undated
Box Folder
46-50 Handwritten Draft and Excerpts - Preface-Chapters 1-5, 1969
Box Folder
6 51-55 Typescript Draft - Intro-Chapter 5, 1969
56 Uncorrected Advance Proof Copy, [1970]
57 Corrected Advance Proof Copy, [1970]
58 Final Proofs, 4/15/70, 1970
59 Final Proofs, 4/29/70, 1970
Box Folder
7 1-2 Slicks, [1970]
3 Photographs and Illustrations, [1970]
4 Index, [1970]
5 Preliminaries, [1970]
History of Austin National Bank, [1891]-1976, undated
Box Folder
7 6-15 Research - Assorted Material (by decade), [1891]-1976, undated
16-20 Handwritten Draft, [1974]
21-22 Typescript Draft #1, [1974]
23-24 Typescript Draft #2, [1974]
25-27 Typescript Draft #3, [1974]
28 Typewriter Tapes, [1974]
Box Folder
8 1-2 St. Mary's Church (now a Cathedral), 1874, 1968-1972, undated
3-4 Names of Towns, 1946-1977, undated
5-7 Fiction, 1952-1971, undated
8-11 Assorted Notes and Works, 1957-1971, undated

IV. Organizational Affiliations, 1938-1977

Travis County Historical Survey Committee, 1938-1977
Box Folder
8 12 General Correspondence, 1960-1975
13 Minutes, 1971-1977
14 Official Documents, 1963, 1975, undated
15 Newsletters, 1971-1977
16 Research Notes, undated
17 Marker Printed Material, 1969-1980
18 Rosters, 1971-1978, undated
19 Photographs, 1938-1970, undated
Seton Hospital Auxiliary, 1950-1978, undated
Box Folder
8 20 Correspondence, 1962-1978, undated
21 Minutes, 1975
22 Official Documents, 1962, undated
23-24 Membership Logs, 1950-1962
25 Hospital Golden Jubilee Radio Script, 1951
26 Sister Mary Rose Memorial, 1966-1970
27 Newsletters, [1960]-1975, undated
28 Creative Work, [1975?]
29 Hourly Log, 1977-1978
30 Photographs, undated
31 Map, undated
Friends of the Adoration Convent, 1958-1968, undated
Box Folder
8 32 Correspondence, 1960-1969
33 Bylaws, 1958
34-35 Scrapbook Material, 1958-1960
36 Creative Works, 1968, undated
37 Photographs, 1958