Austin History Center

O. Henry (William Sydney Porter) Resources Collection

An Inventory to the Collection

Overview of the Collection

Creator: O'Quinn, Trueman K., 1905-1990, Porter, Jenny Lind, 1927-, Hofer, Thelma Ethel, -1988, Austin History Center Association
Title: O. Henry (William Sydney Porter) Resources Collection
Dates: 1886-1987
Abstract: William Sydney Porter, pseudonymously O. Henry (1862-1910), is the famed short story writer noted for his "twist" endings, and for whom the prestigious O. Henry Awards annual literary competition is named. The collection is comprised of correspondence, manuscript material, cancelled checks, literary administration documents, publication advertising, affidavits, and photographs principally reflecting Porter's presence in Austin, Texas.
Identification: AR.L.015
Quantity: 2.83 linear feet (1 scrapbook and 5 boxes)
Location: O. Henry Room, qAR, Oversize Archives, Artifacts Room, Digital Storage
Language: English
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library,
810 Guadalupe, PO Box 2287, Austin, TX 78768

Creator Note

Trueman E. O'Quinn (1905-1990) was a distinguished Austin jurist and a recognized authority on O. Henry who amassed a diverse and extensive collection of O. Henry artifacts, books, printed editions of O. Henry's works, manuscripts, photographs, and related materials by and about the writer. A highlight of O'Quinn's fascination with O. Henry is that he conducted personal interviews with every identifiable surviving associate of O. Henry's in Austin, Texas. Trueman O'Quinn and Jenny Lind Porter collaborated on the 1986 biographical work Time to Write: How William Sidney Porter Became O. Henry.

Jenny Lind Porter (1927-) received her Ph. D. from The University of Texas in 1955 and went on to a distinguished career in letters as a poet and essayist. Her work has been published in national publications and collected anthologies, and in 1964-65 she served as the Poet Laureate of the State of Texas. She was also interested in the writings of O. Henry and became a friend of O'Quinn over their shared interest. Porter is a distant cousin of William Sydney Porter

Thelma Ethel Hofer (-1988) lived in Austin most of her life. Her husband, Harry Hofer, was indirectly related to O. Henry; his grandfather was P. G. Roach, O. Henry's father-in-law. Ethel Hofer was a member of numerous social and civic organizations in Austin, including serving on the O. Henry Museum Board. Her fascination with William Sydney Porter led to her collecting numerous artifacts and personal papers of Porter, mostly related to his wife Athol and her side of the family.

William Sydney Porter, pseudonymously O. Henry (1862-1910), is the famed short story writer noted for his "twist" endings, and for whom the prestigious O. Henry Awards annual literary competition is named. Porter lived in Austin from 1882-1898 with several brief interludes of absence. While in Austin, Porter met and married Athol Estes and with her had two children, a son who died and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery in East Austin, and a daughter, Margaret, with whom he maintained a lifelong closeness and who was his only surviving child. His wife Athol died of tuberculosis in 1897. During the span of his fourteen years in the Texas capital Porter worked at a variety of local establishments, including the General Land Office (in the building currently serving as the Capitol Visitors Center, at the southeast corner of the capitol grounds at 112 East 11th Street); Morley Brothers Drugs, a pharmacy (formerly on East Sixth Street); and First National Bank, formerly on the northwest corner of Sixth and Congress, which became notable as the place of employment where Porter's work as a bank teller resulted in charges of embezzlement and ultimate conviction. He eventually left Austin to serve a prison sentence at the Ohio Penitentiary for crimes of bank embezzlement. One of Porter's residences in Austin serves as the O. Henry Museum, and contains numerous artifacts and literary publications.

Scope and Contents

The collection's initial donor, Trueman O'Quinn, sought to establish, by bequeathing the body of material reflecting the Texas and post-Texas periods of the writer's life and work that O'Quinn had acquired over a lifetime of passionate and thorough collecting and research, a collection that would offer future scholars a resource to enable research. The Collection includes correspondence written during a brief period where Porter lived in Pittsburgh, PA, and in 1902 when he lived in New York City. These letters, all handwritten, generally concern the progress of his writing and financial pleas for advances or loans of money. The literary materials include manuscripts and partial manuscripts of a number of his stories, including "A Municipal Report," 1909, "A Snow Man," 1910 and "Some Pointers on Culture," a piece actually composed while he lived in Austin. There are a number of newspaper clippings relevant to the writer's life as well as two autograph albums with Porter's signatures. The Collection also includes ephemera that reflects Porter's time in Austin such as photographs, artifacts and cancelled checks.

The Judge's collection is supplemented by additional material acquired through donation and acquisition. In 1973, Ethel Hofer donated her collection of O. Henry material. Hofer was related to the Roach family and collected materials related to Porter. Her collection included books, providing 2nd or sometimes 3rd copies of O. Henry's works, scrapbooks, and the Porter family Bible. Jenny Lind Porter has also donated to the collection, and the AHC continues to acquire material when possible. The most recent acquisition, the miniatiure book The Sleuths, was purchased in 2019.


This small collection is arranged and described to the item level.
Collection is arranged into 19 series:
I. Artifacts
II. Manuscripts
III. Musical Scores
IV. Photographs
V. Advertisements and order forms
VI. Affidavits
VII. Albums and scrapbooks
VIII. Broadsides
IX. Calendars
X. Cancelled checks
XI. Catalogs
XII. Clippings
XIII. Contracts
XIV. Correspondence
XV. Flyers and pamphlets
XVI. Greeting cards
XVII. Literary works
XVIII. Paintings, sketches and etchings
XIX. Postcards
XX. Recordings


Restrictions on Access

Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use


Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Hall, Gilman.
Henry, O., 1862-1910.
Henry, Olivier, 1862-1910.
Hofer, Ethel.
Jennings, Al, 1863-1961.
Morley, Christopher, 1890-1957.
O'Quinn, Kerry.
O'Quinn, Trueman E., 1905-1990.
Porter, Athol Estes.
Porter, Jenny Lind.
Porter, Margaret Worth (Sartin).
Porter, Sarah Lindsay Coleman, 1868-1959.
Porter, William Sydney, 1862-1910.
Smoot, Lawrence K.
First National Bank of Austin.
Maddox Brothers and Anderson, Land Agents.
Texas. General Land Office.
Banks and banking--Texas--Austin.
American literature.
Authors, American--19th century--Biography.
Asheville (N.C.).
Austin (Tex.).
Columbus (Ohio).
Greensboro (N.C.).
Houston (Tex.).
La Salle County (Tex.).
New York (N.Y.).
San Antonio (Tex.).
Document Types:
Black-and-white photographs.
Financial records.
Greeting cards.
Legal documents.
Photograph albums.

Related Material

Archives and Manuscripts

  1. Flower Hill Records (Smoot Family residence.) AR.2000.018.
  2. Freeman (D.C.) House. AR.2001.001.
  3. Jennings, Al. O. Henry in Prison and Out, AR.2006.039
  4. Maddox Collection, AR.R.019.
  5. Morley Papers, AR.A.014.
  6. O'Quinn Family Papers, AR.1998.006.
  7. Smoot Papers. AR.M.005.

Biography Files

  1. Hofer, Ethel
  2. O'Quinn, Trueman K. (1905-1990)
  3. Porter, William Sydney (1862-1910)
  4. Porter, Jenny Lind (1927- )
  5. Zerschausky, George

Please see O. Henry Resources: Materials Related to William Sydney Porter, Austin History Center for additional related materials.

Administrative Information

Custodial History

Trueman O'Quinn donated the majority of his O. Henry materials to the Austin History Center in 1981, with subsequent additional donations in 1983 and 1987. The collection was later augmented from donations by O'Quinn's close friend and O. Henry's distant cousin, Jenny Lind Porter in 1990, and a donation from O'Quinn's son Kerry O'Quinn, who provided additional items in 1998. Additional items were donated by Ethel Hofer in 1973. Some items were purchased by the AHC.

Preferred Citation

O. Henry (William Sydney Porter) Resources Collection (AR.L.015). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donor #: DO/1971/029

Judge O'Quinn donated his collection of O. Henry material in 1981, with subsequent donations by him, his wife Hazel and his son Kerry.

Donor #: DO/1973/057

In August 1973 the AHC acquired though purchase and donation a collection of O. Henry papers from Ethel Hofer.

Donor #: DO/1962/019

Jenny Lind Porter (Scott) donated items, some part of the original O'Quinn donation in 1983 but in her posession, over a three year period, 1987-1990,

Donor #: DO/1985/031

In 1985, the Austin History Center Association held an O. Henry essay contest and donated the entries to the O. Henry Collection.

Processing Information

Initial Inventory: Audrey Bateman / 1981, 1983

Interim Inventory and Bibliographical Processing: Sue Trombley / 2002 March

Final Processing and Finding Aid: Brian C. McNerney / 2010 July-August

Final Processing and Finding Aid: Daniel Alonzo / 2011 June-August

Finding Aid updated and edited: Mike Miller / 2016 July

Accruals added, finding aid updated and edited: Mike Miller / 2020 June


In addition to the donations, the AHC continues to purchase original O. Henry manuscripts and other works, with the most recent purchase in 2019.

Alternative Form Available

Digital copies of select materials are available on the Reading Room Digital Viewing Station.

Other Finding Aids

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Artifacts, 1859-1983, undated

Furniture, undated
Basement Bismark table. Round, Walnut. undated
Bismark chair. Oak., undated
Game table. Round, Walnut.
Larkin desk. Small, upright. Dark wood., undated
Judge Trueman O'Quinn's desk. Walnut., undated
3 green leather upholstered chairs, undated
Bible, undated
O. Henry Room Porter Family Bible, 1859
Others, 1951-1983, undated
65 5 Buttons, purportedly worn by W. S. Porter at his wedding to Sara Coleman, undated
Cufflinks, Pair purportedly owned by W. S. Porter, undated
Tie pin. Woman's head. Purportedly owned by W. S. Porter., undated
Tie pin. Imitation ruby. Purportedly owned by W. S. Porter., undated
66 Three ceramic disks with O. Henry image. Made by North State Kilns, 1951
Silver spoon, engraved to Athol
Location BoxItem
Artifacts 27/07 Figurine. O'Quinn / O. Henry Day., 1982
23/13 Lapel pin. O. Henry Museum Pun-Off, 1983
Location BoxItem
O. Henry Room 000/024 Plaster relief of O. Henry portrait undated

II. Manuscripts, 1909-1910, undated

Scope and Contents
This series includes original, handwritten manuscripts in O Henry's hand, or edited proofs of O. Henry's work.
Box Folder
67 1 A Municipal Report, 1909
Bound original typewritten manuscript. Includes the story "Nashville" that later became "A Municipal Report" published in Hampton's Magazine
2 The Snow Man, 1910
Three bound, typewritten original proof sheets.
3 Some Pointers on Culture, undated
Handwritten in pencil. This story was written in Austin.
13 A New Candidate for Sympathy , undated
Box Folder
68 13 A Hostage to Mamus - partial manuscript , May 25, 1905
Box Folder
71 1 "O. Henry Original Manuscript." , undated
Two different pages, these are likely from the Doubleday Manuscript Edition set of O. Henry volumes. They contain two manuscripts from an unknown play.

III. Musical Scores, 1909-1921

64 LO: the poor musical comedy. Book and lyrics by O. Henry. Music by A. Baldwin Sloane. NY: Chas. K. Harris, 1909
Box Folder
67 4 The Crucible by Alexander MacFayden. Margaret Porter's copy, 1921

IV. Photographs, 1886-1887, Undated

65 "William Porter as a child." Daguerreotype housed in blue leather and suede box, undated
Box Folder
67 5 "Studio portrait of O. Henry taken by J. A. Imhof." (2), 1906
6 "Studio portrait of Margaret Porter and Annie Conrad." Tintype, Pittsburgh, PA, 1904
6 "Studio portrait of Will and Margaret Porter, Mrs. P. G. Roach, and Mrs. Nettie Dailey." Tintype, Pittsburgh, PA, 1904
7 "Lawrence K. Smoot, age 13.", undated
7 "Lawrence K. Smoot, adult.", photo by Neal Douglass, undated
7 "Smoot home, 1316 W. 6th St., Austin, TX.", undated
7 "Presbyterian Church, Austin, TX.", undated
O. Henry Room "O. Henry house located at 'Penny Brook Blvd.", Framed, undated
Location ArchivesCollection
qAR qAR Photo Box Athol Estes Gravesite. Photo by Jordan Company, undated

V. Advertisements and order forms, 1926, undated

Box Folder
67 11 Complete O. Henry, all 274 stories in one volume. Offered by The Literary Digest., 1926
11 "Memorial Edition De Luxe," 14 volumes of O. Henry works from Richard Jefferies., undated
11 "Memorial Edition De Luxe," 14 volumes of O. Henry works from William Harvey Miner Company, Inc., undated
11 For Rolling Stones, last of twelve 12 volumes offered by Doubleday, Page and Company., undated
Box Folder
71 9 Purchase of "Through the Shadows" by Trueman O'Quinn, undated
9 Ad Sheet for An O. Henry Biography by C. Alphonso Smith, undated

VI. Affidavits, 1932-1936, undated

Box Folder
67 12 Rector, N. A. "Porter's drawings in Wilbarger's book Indian Depredations in Texas." Includes cover letter from Rector to W. D. Hornaday, 1932
12 Judge Maxwell. "Will Porter's delinquent account at Ph. Hatzfield, a clothier in Austin.", 1936
7 Smoot, Lawrence K. "O. Henry's Wedding." Related to Ralph A. Bickler, Court Reporter, Austin, TX., undated

VII. Albums and Scrapbooks, 1885-1919, undated

Box Folder
65 Autograph album belonging to Effie Roach Hofer. Includes a poem written to Hofer by W. S. Porter on August 2, 1885, 1882-1886
Box Folder
66 Autograph album. Includes a verse written to Athol Estes by W. S. Porter on September 25, 1885
O. Henry Room Scrapbook. Ethel Hofer's collection of clippings, photographs, announcements, etc., undated
Scrapbook. "American Statesman Sunday Magazine" , May 31 - November 1, 1925
Box Folder
68 10 O. Henry - O'Quinn Day Guest List, 1982-01-24

VIII. Broadsides, undated

Box Folder
67 8 Excerpt from O. Henry's "Law and Order" with original drawing by John Groth. Design and typography by William R. Holman. 1 of 200 printed on Hosho paper., undated
Location FlatFile
qAR FF/04/09/003 Movie poster for O. Henry's Full House (20th Century Fox), 1952
FF/04/09/004 Lobby card for O. Henry's Full House (20th Century Foz), 1952

IX. Calendars, 1910

Box Folder
67 9 Pages beginning with June, 1910. Purportedly taken from Will Porter's death room in New York City., 1910
Box Folder
71 5 "The O. Henry Calendar." New York: Sully and Kleintech, 1917

X. Cancelled Checks, 1886

Box Folder
67 10 17 Checks, endorsed by Porter, were written to W.S. Porter from Maddox Bros and Anderson and drawn on the First National Bank of Austin, TX., 1886

XI. Catalogs,

Box Folder
71 6 Catalog of O. Henry by Ethel Hofer, undated

XII. Clippings, 1923-1982

Box Folder
68 1 Bateman, Audray. "Gammel bookshop started on shelf between 2 trees." Austin American Statesman, 1982-10-01
1 Connolly, Marie M. "The Letters of O. Henry - Look Between the Lines." Greensboro Daily News , 1962-09-09
1 Cresens, Johnnie. "Austin School System Swings Into New Era." The Austin American Statesman, 1953-08-25
1 Laughlin, Ruth. "O. Henry - His Life Was His Best Story." Greensboro Daily News, 1962-09-09
Location BoxItem
qAR 2/50 Minatra, Odie. "Texas Trail of O. Henry." The Dallas Morning News Magazine, 1923-07-15
Box Folder
68 1 O'Quinn, Trueman. "O. Henry Book Has a Wealth of Fact." Sunday American Statesman, 1939-01-08
1 Richardson, Vivian. "Last Rendezvous Held at O. Henry Table." Dallas Morning News, 1929-08-04
1 Scott, Bess Whitehead. "Chair and Table Recall Time O. Henry Wrote for Post." The Houston Post, Magazine Section, 1932-03-06
Location BoxItem
qAR 2/51 Watts, Arretta. "When O. Henry Was a Boy." Houston Post Dispatch Magazine, 1928-02-26
Box Folder
68 11 "O. Henry's Early Work Found in Files of Houston Newspaper." The Dallas Morning News, 1939-07-23
1 "O. Henry's 100th." The Greensboro Record, 1962-09-11
1 Porter, Mrs. S. L. C. "O. Henry as I Knew Him." , 1939-03-00
Location FlatFile
qAR 1/7/2 "Why O. Henry's Daughter Was Married on Her Deathbed." American Weekly, 1927
1/7/1 "Gifts of the Magi: O. Henry's Christmas Story." The World, 1905-12-10
O. Henry Room "In O. Henry's Memory." The Houston Chronicle, 1938-02-28
Box Folder
71 10 Review of Upton Sinclair's "Bill Porter: A Drama of O. Henry in Prison" from the San Francisco Chronicle, undated

XIII. Contracts, 1907-10-21

Box Folder
68 2 "McClure's Magazine contract." Mimeographed and unsigned, 1907-10-21
Signed contract for twelve (12) articles to be written by Porter beginning no later than 15 Nov. 1907
2 "Letter/contract to Sydney Porter from H.H. McClure.", 1907-10-21
2 American Magazine contract, unsigned, 1907-10-21

XIV. Correspondence, 1883-1975, undated

Correspondence to/from William Sydney Porter, 1883-1909
Box Folder
71 3 Handwritten letter to "Honored Secretary" [Flora Caison] from W. S. Porter. August 17, 1883
Written from Ft. Ewell, La Salle Co., Texas, with typed transcript.
3 Handwritten letter to Miss Caison from W. S. Porter, La Salle Co., TX. January 7, 1884
Includes typed transcript
Box Folder
68 3 "Handwritten letter to Belle Palm from W. S. Porter.", 1886-09-21
3 "Handwritten letter to Frank Maddox from W.S. Porter.", 1902-03-18
Five (5) pages requesting $75.00 from Maddox to fund his move to New York City from Pittsburgh.
3 "Handwritten letter to W. L. [sic] Porter from F. M. Maddox.", 1902-04-29
Response to Porter's request of 3 Mar. 1902: Maddox's refusal to send money to Porter, as he cannot bear his own "living expenses."
13 Letter to R. A. Bankston from O. Henry. May 25, 1905
Includes draft of first page of "Hostage of Mamus" and describes why he wrote in pencil on scratch paper.
3 "Letter to Jeemo from W. S. P.", 1905-06-03
Invitation to Porter's friend to visit when in New York.
3 "Letter to Colonel Seibel.", 1906-12-11
3 "Letter to Jeems from Willie Sydney Porter.", 1907
Whimsical letter full of intentional misspellings.
3 "Handwritten letter to H.H. McClure from Sydney Porter.", 1907-10-06
Regarding the need of cash for the education of his daughter, Margaret.
3 "Handwritten letter to Mrs. Lacey from W.S.P.", 1909-05
3 "Letter to F. P .A (Franklin P. Adams) from Sydney Porter.", undated-10-02
Written from Asheville, NC while on break from New York City for his health. Concerns business deal with Everybody's Magazine.
12 "Letter to Miss Marian Longfellow from Sydney Porter," undated
12 "Letter to Gilman Hall (Bill) from O. Henry," undated
14 Letter to Ann Partian from "Sydnee Porter.", undated
Includes a 2 page letter from Partian referencing the original letter.
Correspondence, other, 1926-1975
Box Folder
68 3 "Letter to Sears and Roebuck from Christopher Morley.", 1926-11-26
Written on The Saturday Review of Literature letterhead. In response to a speaking request.
3 "Letter to Mary from Witter Bynner.", 1951-08-23
Box Folder
71 7 Letter from Dale Kramer to Trueman O'Quinn, August 10, 1953
Box Folder
68 4 "Letter to Charles Green (Austin) from Dudley Frasier at Rinehart.", 1954-09-30
Discusses Kramer's material.
4 "Letter to Trueman O'Quinn from Dudley Frasier at Rinehart.", 1954-10-01
Announces shipment of complimentary copy.
4 "Request from publisher.", 1954
Publisher asks that reviews of the book not appear prior to its publication date of 7 Oct. 1954.
4 "Letter to Dudley Frasier at Rinehart from Trueman O'Quinn.", 1955-04-20
Discusses review of the book in Austin.
Box Folder
71 8 Letter to Trueman O' Quinn from Richard T. Fleming, March 6, 1973
About the deaht of O. Henry.
Box Folder
67 7 "Letter to Trueman O'Quinn from Jane Smoot.", 1975-08-24
Box Folder
71 4 Three letters from Kerry O'Quinn to Trueman O'Quinn, 1981, undated
Referencing gifts of O. Henry items.
8 Letter to Trueman O'Quinn from Jerry D. Dodd, August 20, 1984
About "The Great Prisoners."

XV. Flyers and Pamphlets, 1954, undated

Box Folder
68 4 Publisher's flyer. Rinehart Fall List 1954, Twenty-fifth Anniversary. Includes information about Dale Kramer's The Heart of O. Henry, 1954
5 Publisher's flyer. Information regarding Paul S. Clarkson's bibliography, A Bibliography of William Sydney Porter (O. Henry). Produced by The Caxton Printers. (2), undated
5 Pamphlet. "Give Yourself an O. Henry Tour Sunday Afternoon." Features eight O. Henry related sites in Austin, undated

XVI. Greeting Cards, 1982, undated

Box Folder
67 8 Christmas greeting. From Al Lowman and Family. Explains their connection to O. Henry. , 1982
8 Christmas greeting. "Seasons Greetings, from The Boltons." No O. Henry reference., undated

XVII. Literary Works, 1983, undated

Box Folder
68 3 "O.Henry, a poem by Christopher Morley." Typewritten and signed by Morley., undated
6 O. Henry Essay Contest , 1983
65 Signed by O. Henry - O. Henry. The Four Million. NY: Doubleday, 1909(1906)
Box Folder
70 O. Henry. A Trio of Stories by O. Henry. Hyattsville, MD: Rebecca Press, 1988
Miniature book set of three stories, "The Last Leaf," "Mammon and the Archer," and "Springtime a la Carte." Set #40 of 200, hand numbred and signed by the publisher, R. S. Bingham.
Morris, Henry. An O. Henry Gift from Henry. Bird and Bull Press, 1979
Two copies of a scroll in original pill bottle case.
Box Folder
71 1 O. Henry. The Sleuths. New York: Winthrop Press, 1914
Miniature book that was part of a tobacco package giveaway. This copy includes a copyright certificate from the Library of Congress for the illustrations.

XVIII. Paintings, sketches and etchings, 1929, undated

O. Henry Room Gates. Cottage at 505 East 11th Street. Oil, framed, 1954
Imhof, J. A. Charcoal sketch of a Southwestern mission with the inscription: "Seasons Greetings, the Imhofs, Taos.", undated
Normann, Charles Berkeley. William Sydney Porter. Oil, framed, undated
Art Storage Room Phillips, Joel. Jimmy Hayes and Muriel, undated
O. Henry Room Wall, Bernhardt. O. Henry's Draughting Table.. Gouache, framed Etched plate, 1929-04-15
Art Storage Room Wells, Justin. The Cisco Kid of O. Henry. Gouache, framed, undated
O. Henry Room "Trueman E. O'Quinn.", portrait, framed, undated

XIX. Postcards, 1937, undated

Box Folder
68 7 "Little School House Where O. Henry Went To School.", 1937
7 "O. Henry's Cradle.", undated
Photograph of the cradle that is "owned by Mrs. Roberta Porter Hon, on loan to Greensboro Public Library."
7 "W. C. Porter Drug Store.", undated
Photograph of the reconstructed drug store in the Greensboro Historical Museum.
7 "O. Henry Museum", undated
Photo postcard of O. Henry House, published by Frank Whaley Postcards.

XX. Recordings, 1951-1991, undated

69 Henry, O. "A Greeting." Golden Age of Opera; Great Personalities, 1888-1940. Vinyl record., undated
Box Folder
68 9 Henry, O. "A Greeting." Golden Age of Opera; Great Personalities, 1888-1940. Audiocassette and transcription. Also in REC Tape 1845 and 1846, undated
8 Henry, O. "The Gift of the Magi." A Golden Hour of Christmas Stories. 8 Track stereo audiotape, 1980