Austin History Center

Hart Graphics, Inc. Records

An Inventory of the Collection

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Hart Graphics, Inc.
Title: Hart Graphics, Inc. Records
Inclusive Dates: 1915-2003
Bulk Dates: 1960s-1980s
Abstract: The Steck Company, later renamed Hart Graphics, Inc., was a large printing and graphics company in Texas which operated from 1912 until 2001. The bulk of the records begin around 1960 when Hart initially began working with the company; he then took it over in 1973. The collection includes news clippings, financial records, printed materials, meeting minutes, photographs and audio/visual material of the company and employees.
Identification: AR.2003.036
Quantity: 4.8 linear feet (9 boxes, one ledger)
Location: Archives stacks, Oversized Volumes and qAR
Language: The records are in English.
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, 810 Guadalupe, PO BOX 2287, Austin, TX 78768

Administrative History

The Steck Company began as the Christian publishing house Firm Foundations. Firm Foundations started in the late 19th century in Austin and published weekly bulletins and songbooks for the Church of Christ. In 1912, E. L. Steck took over the printing side of the business from his father and founded the E. L. Steck Company, which continued to publish works for Firm Foundations well into the 1920s. In 1921 they dropped the "E. L.," changing the name to the Steck Company, and continued to prosper as a general line commercial printing company selling printing, lithographing and stationery to cities, schools, counties, banks and commercial accounts in Texas.

In 1928 the Steck Company facilities moved to 9th and Lavaca streets, where it prospered for many years. In 1937, it produced the first four-color process on newsprint in the U.S.

The company has gone through many names in its 89-year history. In 1962, Vaughn Building Corporation in Dallas acquired 100 percent of the shares of the Steck Company. In April 1965, the Publications Division of the Steck Company was turned into a separate corporate entity entitled the Steck-Vaughn Company, which was acquired by Intext Educational Publishers in 1968.

In August 1965, the Steck Company acquired Warlick Press of Dallas and changed its name to Steck-Warlick. Warlick, founded in 1894, was a financial printing house that had recently acquired web press printing facilities.

In 1971, Steck-Warlick spun out its Data Processing Division to create Steck Data Corporation, which engaged in performing data processing services for municipal tax accounting, voter registration, hospital patient accounting, mailing lists and other specialty fields. Both Steck-Warlick and Steck Data Corporation were still owned by Vaughn Building Corporation.

In April 1972, Steck-Warlick spun off its publishing activities to create Shoal Creek Publishers, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the company. The new corporation dealt in a broad line of publishing activities.

In December 1973, William Hart, then president of Steck-Warlick, acquired the Austin division of the company, which he renamed Hart Graphics, Inc. During the 1970s and 1980s, Hart Graphics was the largest commercial printer headquartered in Texas. Its products and services ranged from printing TV Guide, catalogs, publications, coupons, inserts and software manuals to financial, insurance, and government forms, including election ballots and supplies sold to every county in Texas. It also had additional sites in Houston, Simpsonville, South Carolina, and Irvine, California.

Hart retired as company chairman in 1997. After losing its contract with TV Guide and due to the high cost of modernizing its printing equipment, the company closed its doors in March 2001.

Scope and Contents

The Hart Graphics, Inc. Records collection contains material relating to the development and progress of the company and covers the period 1915-2003. It includes records from the E.L Steck Company, the Steck Company, Steck-Warlick, Warlick Press, Steck Data Corporation, Shoal Creek Publishers, and Hart Graphics. The records also include works published or printed by the company such as books, bonds and programs. Many of these pertain to various historical events and people in Texas, including the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas and the dedication of the Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs and Presidential Library. There are some official company records, namely the minute books and financial records, but most of the collection is comprised of unofficial records related to the company, such as photographs of the staff and plants, news clippings, employee handbooks, and examples of products the company printed.

The first series of the collection, History (1961, 2003, undated), consists of an oral history cassette and a document created by employees to chronicle the history of the company. The Board of Directors series (1965-1974) contains meeting minutes that cover financial, employee and sales information, as well as other operational information about the company during its transition from Steck and Warlick to Steck-Warlick. The Office of the President series (1926-1999) includes correspondence sent and received by various company presidents. The Office of the Vice President for Special Projects series (1940-1943, 1973) contains operational information recorded in firm bulletins collected by W.L. Thompson, who held that office, as well as Thompson's report on the gravure industry. The Personnel series (1948, 1968-1981, undated) documents relationship between the company and its employees through photographs of employees, employee handbooks, and employee union contracts, as well as ephemera for office social events composing the series. The Financial Information series (1915-1940, 1962-1968, 1991-1995) provides documentation of the company's finances, including a ledger and bound financial books documenting the financial record keeping of the company. The Publicity series (1919-1930, 1946, 1968-1994, undated) consists of mainly news clippings on the growth and change within the company, catalogs for Steck products and services, and an advertising catalog, as well as other advertising created by the company. The Manufacturing Plant series (1988, 1999-2000, undated) includes a notebook of printing solutions and a manufacturing activity list that shows the development of the company's printing practice. Also included are photographs of the plant and a video tour. The Printed Material series (1920-1936, 1947-1950, 1963-1977, 1996, undated) includes material printed by the company. Highlights of the series include materials printed for the "Texas Welcome" scheduled in Austin for President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 - the day he was shot - as well as the program for the dedication of the LBJ School of Public Affairs and Presidential Library at the University of Texas at Austin.


Arranged into 9 series:
I. History, 1961, 2003, undated
II. Board of Directors, 1965-1974
III. Office of the President, 1926-1999
IV. Office of the Vice President for Special Projects, 1940-1943, 1973
V. Personnel, 1948, 1968-1981, undated
VI. Financial Information, 1915-1940, 1962-1968, 1991-1995
VII. Publicity, 1919-1930, 1946, 1968-1994, undated
VIII. Manufacturing Plant, 1988, 1999-2000, undated
IX. Printed Material, 1920-1936, 1947-1950, 1963-1977, 1996, undated


Restrictions on Access

Open to all Users

Restrictions on Use


Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Hart, William L.
Moody, E. B.
Steck, Edgar L.
Thompson, W. L.
Vaughn, Jack C.
E.L. Steck Company.
Steck Company.
Vaughn Building Corporation.
Warlick Press.
Steck Data Corporation.
Shoal Creek Publishers, Inc.
Hart Graphics, Inc.
Austin (Tex.)
Dallas (Tex.)
Houston (Tex.)
Printing--Texas--History--20th century.
Document Types:
Financial records.
Oral Histories.
Sound recordings.
Video recordings.
The Roads of Colorado.
TV Guide.
Texas Commissioner's Guide Book.
County Official, The.

Related Materials

General Collection

  • A 015.76431 ST AP 1961 Catalog - Steck Company.
  • A 015.76431 ST 1968-69 Education Catalog / Steck-Vaughn Company.
  • A 015.76431 ST AP 1970 Catalog - Steck Company.
  • A 015.76431 SH 1976 Catalog - Shoal Creek Publishers.
  • A 015.76431 ST 1993 Annual Report Steck-Vaughn Publishing Corporation.
  • A 015.76431 ST 1994 Annual Report Steck-Vaughn Publishing Corporation.
  • A 015.76431 ST 1994 Steck-Vaughn Catalog.
  • A 015.76431 ST 1995-96 Steck-Vaughn K-12 Supplementary Catalog.
  • A 015.76431 ST 1996 Annual Report Steck-Vaughn Publishing Corporation.
  • A 015.76431 ST 1996 Steck-Vaughn Catalog.
  • A 015.76431 ST AP Catalog - Steck Company.
  • A 338.7610705 ST The Steck Company, Publishers : 25 Years of Progress : a Southern Success Story.

A.F. Biography Files

  • Steck, Edgar L.
  • Vaughn, Jack.

Periodicals Collection

  • The Pied Typer

Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

  • Baldwin Printing Company Records, 1889-1964

Separated Material

The newsletters Steck-Warlick News 1966, Pied Typer 1967, SW Imprint 1968, SW Newsletter 1971-1972 and What's Goin' On-Hart 1977-1981, and Hart Notes 1995 will be separated from this collection and moved to the existing periodicals collection in the Austin History Center.


  • Journals of the Convention
  • The Texas Almanac for 1857
  • Houston's Texas
  • Aerolog
  • Burke's Texas Almanac for 1879
  • Discovery of the Mississippi
  • A Collection of Facts and Documents Relative to the Death of Alexander Hamilton
  • 27 Years a Maverick
  • His Last 24 Hours: President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's Three Speeches in Texas and His Inaugural Address - 2 copies of this record album already exist in the AHC collection.

Administrative Information

Custodial History

Collection was donated to the Austin History Center by Mr. William Hart, one of the company's last presidents in two parts: the ledger and oral history in 2003, and the bulk of the collection in 2007.

Preferred Citation

Hart Graphics, Inc. Records (AR 2003.036). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donor #: DO/1974/129

Donation Date: 11/24/2003, 7/10/2007

Processing Information

Initial Inventory and Preliminary Processing By/Date: Sue Soy/2003

Final Processing and Finding Aid By/Date: Carin Yavorcik, Sarah Sokolow, and Hagan Barber/November 2010

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. History, 1961, 2003, undated

Box Folder
1 1 History 1961, undated
Location TapeNo.
Oral History Cabinet #2537, #2538, #2539 Moody, E.B. interview, 2003

II. Board of Directors, 1965-1974

Box Format
1 Bound Volumes Warlick Board Minutes, 1965-1967
Bound Volumes Minutes, Board of Directors, 1966
Bound Volumes Steck Board Minutes, 1967-1968
Box Format
2 Bound Volumes Warlick Board Minutes, 1965-1968
Box Format
3 Bound Volumes Steck-Warlick Board Minutes, 1968-1971
Bound Volumes Steck-Warlick Executive Committee Minutes, 1971-1973
1 Board of Directors, 1974

III.Office of the President, 1926-1999

Box Folder
4 1 Correspondence, 1926-1999

IV. Office of the Vice President of Special Projects, 1940-1949, 1973

Box Format
4 Bound Volumes Firm Bulletins, 1940-1949
Box Folder
9 1 Audio cassette, Report on Gravure Industry, 1973

VI. Financial Information, 1915-1940, 1962-1968, 1991-1995

Box Folder
5 4 Receipts, 1915, 1917-1921
5 Financial records, 1924, 1962-1963, 1991-1995
Bound Volumes Store Sales, 1921-1940
Bound Volumes Hour Cost Summary, 1935-1944
Bound Volumes Warlick Financials, 1966-1968
Bound Volumes Steck Financials, 1966-1968
Oversized Volumes Ledger, 1942-1947

VII. Publicity, 1919-1930, 1946, 1968-1994, undated

Box Folder
6 1-2 News clippings, 1928, 1968-1980, undated
3 Catalogs, 1919, 1930
The Steck Company, Office Equipment and Supplies, circa 1946
Executive's Catalogue, Office Equipment and Supplies, The Steck Company, 1938
4-5 Advertising, 1929-1930, 1970, 1985-1987, 1994, undated

VIII. Manufacturing Plant, 1988, 1999-2000, undated

Box Folder
7 1 Plant photos, Undated
2 Manufacturing activity list, 1999-2000
3 Manufacturing notes, Undated
Box Folder
9 2 Tour: Hart Graphics Austin Facility, 1988

IX. Printed Material, 1920-1936, 1947-1950, 1963-1977, 1996, undated

Box Folder
7 4 JFK Welcome, 1963
5-6 Kennedy news clippings, 1963
7 Municipal bonds, 1920-1990
8 Other printed materials, 1950, 1965, 1971, 1981, 2000
9 Can Labels, Stationery, Undated
Aerolog, 1947
Sursum!, 1977
8 The County Official, 1925-1929
The County Official, 1929-1936
Texas Commissioners Guide Book, 1966
Location BoxItem
qAR 053/002 The Roads of Colorado, 1996
053/003 2nd Mortgage Bond by Barker Hotels, 1924