Jack and Cynthia Keever Papers
An Inventory of the Collection
Jack Elton Keever was born in Port Arthur, Texas on May 16, 1938 to R. E. Keever and Agnes Honeycutt Keever. He earned his undergraduate degree in journalism at the University of Texas at Austin in 1960. He joined the US Marine Corps and served six months active duty and four years reserve duty after getting his Bachelor's degree. Mr. Keever then returned to school and earned his Master's degree in 1965 from UT.
In 1961, Mr. Keever married fellow University of Texas student Cynthia Lee Pendergrass, of Dallas. They had two children, Erin and Graham.Graham Lee Keever was born in 1967. Erin Elizabeth Keever was born in 1969.
Mr. Keever's interest in writing led to a journalism career that began at UT, where he served as managing editor of The Daily Texan from 1959 to 1960 and was a member of the Silver Spurs Alumni Association-a honorary service and spirit organization. In 1961, he was hired by The Associated Press in Dallas and was transferred later that year to the AP Austin Bureau, where he worked until 1992. He went on to serve as a journalism instructor at Austin Community College from 1992 to 2000.
Mr. Keever's work for The Associated Press included coverage of the Kennedy assassination, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Texas White House, fifteen sessions of the Texas State Legislature and a broad range of other state government activities, eleven governors' races and political campaigns for other statewide offices, UT football and basketball games, and University Interscholastic League boys' basketball and track championships. He covered the 1966 UT Tower Shooting, in which UT student Charles Whitman killed sixteen people and wounded thirty-two others on a shooting rampage on and around campus on August 1, 1966. Jack's story was the first article published on the event. In addition to his work for the AP, Jack composed magazine articles and edited and wrote books in his free time. His freelance articles appeared in several Texas magazines, including Texas Monthly. His book-writing credits include Portrait in Power, a biography of former Governor John B. Connally which he co-authored in 1973; Waggoner Carr Not Guilty, co-authored with the former Texas Attorney General in 1977; Austin Creeks in 1977, a history of local waterways; and a history of the Texas insurance industry, Insuring Texas' Future in 1996; and a history of his church, All Saints' Episcopal Church 1950-2000. He also edited several sports books, Oklahoma vs. Texas: When Football Becomes War in 1980, and Goal Line in 1984, as well as Oh God, I'm Dead: A Journey Back to Life in 1986 and Deep East Texas in 1993.
Jack was involved in numerous civic activities and belonged to several civic and social organizations. He served on the author selection committee for the Texas Book Festival from its beginning in 1996 until 2002. Jack was a member of the All Saints' Episcopal Church. He wrote a history of the church and served on the vestry twice, in the 1970s and 1990s. He was also a trustee board member (1974-1975) and president (1976-1977) of the All Saints' Episcopal Day School. His other civic roles included: president of the North University Neighborhood Association 1990-1993; member of the City of Austin Cable Commission (1987-1990); member of the Laguna Gloria Art Museum board of trustees (1975-1981); and member of the Bicentennial Commission of Austin (1973-1976). His memberships included the American Newspaper Guild (1968-1992), Elections Advisory Committee of Texas (1987-1990), Society of Professional Journalists, Texas State Historical Association, UT Ex-Students Association, and UT Chancellor's Council and Headliners Club.
Mr. Keever was the recipient of Charles E. Green Journalism Awards from the Headliners Foundation between 1967 to 1975. He also received an honorable mention in the Paul Tobenkin Memorial Award by Columbia University in 1973, five Texas Staffer of the Year awards from the AP, and an excellence award for teaching by the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development in 2000.
Cynthia Pendergrass Keever was born on August 29, 1940 in Dallas, Texas. She graduated from Greater North Dallas High school and gained a Bachelor's of Journalism from UT in 1963. She completed a Master's degree Journalism at UT in 1971. She also attended the Austin Police Department Citizen Police Academy in 1989.
Cynthia was hired in 1972 as the second female aide to Lowell Lebermann, a three-term Austin City Council member and University of Texas System regent. She also served as a Research Analyst for the Texas Advisory Commission of Intergovernmental Relations.
Cynthia was involved in a number of civic activities and organizations. She was a member of the Harry Ransom Center and served as a trustee of the All-Saints Episcopal School. She was also on the Board of St. Andrew's Episcopal School, as well as a member of the Altar Guild at All Saints Church.
Cynthia played guitar for the Strawberry Pickers--a group of female country-pop musicians. The group originally played for their own amusement. As word about them spread, they were asked to entertain at church suppers, benefits, and charity events. In 1974, they were featured at the Austin Aqua Festival, and they played at the Highland Mall's Fourth of July Western Day's Celebration in 1975.
In 1974, Cynthia won a prestigious "Outstanding Young Women of America" award in Washington, DC.
Family members include a daughter, Erin Keever; a son and daughter-in-law, Graham and Duffy Keever; Jack's sister, Elizabeth Norris of Port Arthur; and Jack's brother, T.E. Keever of Houston. Other relatives include Jack's father, R. E. Keever; Jack's mother, Agnes Honeycutt; and his maternal aunt and uncle, Mrs. O. F. Woodward and Robert L. Honeycutt.
Jack Keever died of cancer on July 18, 2004.
The Jack and Cynthia Keever Papers (1941-2006; 1.2 linear feet) contain correspondence, biographical materials, newspaper clippings, ephemera, financial and legal records, arts materials, and photographs describing the professional and social life and civic activities of this Austin couple. The collection is comprised mostly of personal materials such as greeting cards, invitations, thank you cards, correspondence, and photographs. The dates for this material range from 1941 to 2006, though the majority of the collection dates from the 1970s-2000s.
The collection is comprised of six series. The first series, Biographical Materials (1996-2006, undated), contains information about Jack Keever's personal and professional activities. The material in this series consists of newspaper clippings, a governmental declaration, and an obituary.
The second series, Family Papers (1977-2006, undated) , makes up the majority of the material found in this collection. It includes several subseries: "Assorted Family Papers," "Ephemera and Memorabilia," "Family Correspondence," "General Correspondence," and "Organizations."
The "Assorted Family Papers" subseries (1977-2006, undated) contains documents relevant to other members of the Keever Family. These papers include birth announcements, baptismal certificates, obituaries, genealogical information, newspaper clippings for nieces, nephews, parents, and cousins of Jack and Cynthia Keever.
The "Ephemera and Memorabilia" (1941-2006, undated) subseries contains invitations, programs, pamphlets, arts materials, and other ephemera from various events such as weddings, receptions, and funerals, all of which provide a glimpse into the social life of the Keevers.
The "Family Correspondence" (1967-2003, undated) subseries contains individual files for Cynthia (1994, undated), Erin Keever (1975-2002, undated), Graham and Duffy Keever (1987-2003, undated), and Liz and Howard Norris, Jack's sister and brother-in-law (1978-1996, undated). Erin's file includes many birthday cards, father's day cards, and mother's day cards as well as postcards and letters from later in life. In Graham and Duffy's file much of the material relates to their wedding - including invitations to parties that others threw for them. Liz and Howard's file is comprised principally of correspondence, which keeps the reader apprised of Liz's, Howard's, and Jack and Cynthia's lives. Finally, there is a file containing correspondence from other family members such as T.E. Keever (also referred to as Joe or Bub), Pam (a niece), Donald (a nephew), and Frank (a nephew). These letters would be useful to anyone interested in genealogical research, or research regarding the Keever family.
The "General Correspondence" (1954-2006, undated) subseries contains correspondence from a large number of personal acquaintances. When possible, letters have been arranged by sender. There is also a file dedicated to correspondence from political figures such as Bob Bullock, J.J. Pickle, George W. Bush, Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Al Gore.
The "Organizations" (1974-2006, undated) subseries provides information about a number of Austin organizations in which Jack and Cynthia Keever participated. There is a fair amount of information regarding All Saints' Episcopal Church, of which both Jack and Cindy were active members, and St Andrew's Episcopal School, which both of their children attended. The "Strawberry Pickers" file (1975-2002, undated) contains information about a country band composed of University of Texas alumni, including Cynthia Keever.
The third series, "Professional Papers" (1972-2001, undated), is comprised of correspondence and newspaper clippings related to either Jack or Cynthia's professional lives. However, there is very little information regarding Jack Keever's career as a reporter. The series does include employment information and correspondence for Cynthia Keever.
The fourth series, "Legal and Financial Records" (1979-2006, undated), is comprised of documents concerning a dispute over land use in the Keevers' neighborhood. It also contains documents showing donations that the Keevers made to various non-profit organizations, and the occasional letter discussing tax issues following Jack's mother's death.
The fifth series is the "Lowell Lebermann Papers" (1976-2006, undated). Lowell Lebermann was a city council member who both employed and was friends with Cynthia Keever. This series consists of correspondence, invitations, and newspaper clippings relating to Lebermann and his wife Patricia.
The sixth and final series, "Photographs" (1975-1989, undated), contains several large black and white photographs depicting people and events in Austin. It is unclear where these photographs are from, but it is likely that they are connected with Jack's Associated Press work. There are also several small personal photographs of the erection of the statue of the Goddess of Liberty (presumably after restoration) on top of the Texas State Capitol building.
Open to all users
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.
In 2006, Jack Keever donated the collection, and Judge and Kay Hart delivered it.
Jack and Cynthia Keever Papers (AR.2006.035). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/1975/057
Donation Date: 2006 September 29
Final Processing and Finding Aid By/Date: Becky Bessinger, Emilia Mahaffey, and Marianna Symeonides/2011 April
Detailed Description of the Collection