Austin History Center

Jean Mather Papers

An Inventory of the Collection

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Mather, Jean
Title: Jean Mather Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1957-1985
Bulk Dates: 1973-1983
Abstract: Jean Mather is a South Austin, TX, resident who has been involved in local neighborhood planning, city planning and environmental concerns. Her papers consist of meeting minutes and agendas, newsletter and mailing drafts, newspaper clippings, and proposed zoning-change announcements that document her involvement with the South River City Citizens (SRCC), the Women's Environmental Coalition (WE Care Austin), and other local organizations in the 1970s and 1980s.
Identification: AR.W.003
Quantity: 1.6 linear feet (4 boxes)
Location: Archives stacks, qAR
Language: The records are in English.
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, 810 Guadalupe, PO BOX 2287, Austin, TX 78768

Biographical Note

Jean Neville Allen Mather was born in 1925. In 1949, she received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Antioch College in Ohio. In 1952, she moved to Cambridge, MA, where she enrolled in the graduate program in landscape architecture at Harvard University. After completing her degree in 1956, she and her husband, Robert, travelled extensively in Europe. Mather eventually took a job in Sweden with the Stockholm Parks Department. While she stayed in Stockholm, Robert returned to the United States, where he was eventually hired by the Austin architectural firm of Jessen, Jessen, Millhouse and Greeven. Sometime between 1959 and 1961, Mather moved to Austin to join her husband.

In Austin, Mather became very active in local neighborhood organizations and environmental planning committees. In 1972, she and Harriet Buxkemper formed the South River City Citizens neighborhood association (SRCC), a non-profit organization in South Austin, TX, that encompasses the area south of the Colorado River, north of Ben White Boulevard, east of South Congress Avenue and west of Parker Lane/IH-35. Following the Austin City Council's announcement that it would seek neighborhood participation in the Austin Tomorrow Plan, a citywide comprehensive planning effort used to guide urban development, the SRCC was organized at a meeting of representatives of the PTAs and churches within the boundaries of the old Travis Heights Elementary School. The SRCC saw the Austin Tomorrow Plan as a way to be heard by the city government, and so it began advocating for issues pertaining to its neighborhoods. The SRCC's first action concerned the IH-35 approach to Austin from the south. During the early to mid-1970s, it created a "master plan" for the neighborhood, using input from residents and an architecture class at the University of Texas at Austin.

The SRCC's membership is volunteer-based and is open to all who live in the neighborhood. Its purpose is to improve the quality of life "by controlling zoning changes, pressuring for better schools, parks, and other city services, and planning street modifications to reduce the noise and danger from heavy traffic shortcutting [through] the neighborhood." The organization supports the area's schools by sponsoring educational programs and activities that further its membership goals. It also works to conserve parks and nature preserves, including Big Stacy Park, Little Stacy Park, and the Blunn Creek Nature Preserve.

Mather was also active in the Women's Environmental Coalition (WE Care Austin), which was formed in 1972. Its goal was to engage local citizens in city-development decisions that affected the environment by providing educational programs and supporting neighborhood organizations. In 1973, it adopted as its long-term goal "working with Austin area planners and decision makers towards the development, adoption, and implementation of a comprehensive development plan for the total Austin area environment."

The organization's first major project concerned the Congress Avenue beautification program, which fought to retain height limitations for downtown buildings in order to protect the view of the state capitol. Among its other activities, WE Care Austin sent letters to elected officials, made statements at public hearings, and presented the Lucadia Pease Award to individuals for outstanding achievements in environmental advocacy. It also published the annual Pocket Directory of Environmental Groups, Agencies and Services. The organization disbanded in 1994.

Mather was president of the SRCC from 1976 to 1979; treasurer from 1982 to 2005; and president or co-president from 2005 to 2008. From 1981 to 1993, she served as a board member of WE Care Austin. From 1993 to 2008, she also served on several City of Austin commissions: (1) the Austin Planning Commission (1993 to 2001); (2) the Zoning and Platting Commission (2001 to 2002); (3) the Historic Landmark Commission (2002 to 2008); (4) the Downtown Commission (1998 to 2002).

Scope and Contents

The collection is composed of administrative and subject files of two organizations, the South River City Citizens and the Women's Environmental Coalition, in which Mather was active, as well as general subject files related to locations or issues in Austin, TX. The organizations in which Mather was involved primarily dealt with environmental, land-use, and quality-of-life issues in Austin. The subject files highlight the major zoning, building, and roadway changes of the 1970s and 1980s in Austin, TX, which were of concern to Mather.

The South River City Citizens (SRCC) series (1971-1984) makes up the bulk of the collection and consists of records related to that organization. The administrative records that Mather kept include the organization's constitution and bylaws, materials distributed by the organization, Executive Committee meeting minutes and agendas, membership lists, position papers, and neighborhood questionnaires. Other records in the collection describe various projects and neighborhood areas that were of concern to the SRCC, including the Beaman Property, Blunn Creek, the Convention Center, the Fairview Park Neighborhood, Harper's Creek, Lake Austin, Live Oak, the Norwood Estate, the Purcell House, Reagan Terrace, the Sundowner Lounge, Symphony Square, and the Twin Oaks Library. The materials also include proposed zoning changes, special-permits requests, and proposed historical-landmark designations with which the organization was concerned, as well as newspaper clippings that mention the SRCC.

The Women's Environmental Coalition (WE Care Austin) series (1972-1984) includes materials from the organization relating to city-development decisions that affected the environment. The WE Care Austin administrative records, which are limited, consist of membership lists, membership forms, meeting minutes, correspondence and public-relations planning materials. Additional files include materials describing the major local environmental concerns of the organization, such as Barton Springs, Congress Avenue, MoPac, and the Texas Capitol. Finally, there are materials related to the Lucadia Pease Awards, which WE Care Austin awarded to those who demonstrated outstanding achievements in environmental advocacy.

The Other Neighborhood Organizations series (1972-1984) contains materials related to additional Austin neighborhood organizations in which Mather had an interest: the Austin Neighborhood Council, Save Austin Neighborhoods and Environment (SANE), Save Austin Neighborhoods East, the Texas Association of Neighborhoods, the Travis Heights Improvement Association, United South Austin, and West Austin Neighborhood Group (WANG).

The Subject Files series (1957-1985) includes materials related to a variety of local environmental and property-specific subjects, such as the Austin Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan, city growth and land annexation, tree and landscaping ordinances, the Robert Mueller Municipal Airport, water, and wastewater.


The collection is arranged into 4 series:

  1. I. South River City Citizens (SRCC)
  2. II. Women's Environmental Coalition (WE Care Austin)
  3. III. Other Neighborhood Organizations
  4. IV. Subject Files
Series I is divided into 2 subseries: (1) Administration; and (2) Neighborhood Planning and Concerns.
Mather's records came to AHC with little, if any, of their original order intact; therefore, an arrangement scheme was imposed by the processors. The series and subseries are ordered to forefront records that are expected to be of the greatest interest to researchers. The files within the series are arranged alphabetically.


Restrictions on Access

Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use


Index Terms:

Mather, Jean, 1925-
Mather, Robert, 1921-1984
Austin (Tex.). City Council.
Austin (Tex.). Planning Commission.
Austin Tomorrow Ongoing Committee.
South River City Citizens.
Women’s Environmental Coalition.
Cities and towns--Texas--Austin--Growth.
City planning--Texas--Austin.
Community Development--Texas--Austin.
Community Planning--Texas--Austin.
Ecology--Texas--Societies, etc.
Historic Buildings--Texas--Austin.
Austin (Tex.).
SoCo (Austin, Tex.).
South Congress Avenue (Austin, Tex.).
Travis Heights (Austin, Tex.).
Document Types:
Agendas (administrative records).
Documents, Legal.
Flyers (printed matter).
Maps, regional.
Newspaper Clippings.
sheets.

Related Material

General Collection

  • A333.72025 WE. Pocket Directory of Environmental Groups, Agencies and Services.
  • A711.409764 MU. Urban Pathfinding: Charting Austin's Growth Toward A Consensus Growth Strategy.
  • A711.58 AUN3975G. The Greater South River City Combined Neighborhood Plan (September 29, 2005).

Archives and Manuscripts

  • AR.1994.109 WE Care Austin Records
  • AR 2011.008 South River City Citizens Records

Austin Files

  • AF Biography File: Jean Mather
  • AF Biography File: Robert Mather
  • AF N1900(13) Neighborhood Groups - South River City Citizens
  • AF E0400(8) Ecology - Women's Environmental Coalition

Periodicals Collection

  • Austin Neighborhoods Council Newsletter
  • Mayfield Park News
  • South Austin Neighbor: A Newspaper of United South Austin
  • SRCC Newsletters
  • WE Care Austin: Women's Environmental Coalition Newsletter

Separated Material

To General Collection

  • Austin: City Unlimited How Well Are We Managing a Growing City?. May 1982.
  • The Austin Public Library: 800 Guadalupe Street.
  • City of Austin Planning Commission. Recommended Revisions to Austin's Zoning Ordinance. December 7, 1982.
  • City of Austin Planning Department. Symposium: Lake Austin Development Plan. January 1975.
  • A History of the Tips House.
  • Older Neighborhoods: Assets or Liabilities?. May 1978.
  • Women's Environmental Coalition. A Pocket Directory of Environmental Groups, Agencies and Services. September 1981.

To Periodicals Collection

  • APT News. July 1983.
  • Austin Neighborhood Council Newsletter. July 1983.
  • Austin Sun. October 24-30, 1974.
  • Austin Tomorrow. Austin Neighborhood Report. 1984.
  • Bouldin Creek Neighborhood Association Newsletter. December 1982.
  • City of Austin Planning Department Newsletter. February 1975.
  • The Junior League of Austin. capitallines. October 1978.
  • Laguna Gloria Art Museum Newsletter. 1979.
  • The Neighborhood Works Newsletter of the Old West Austin Neighborhood Association. 1983, 1986.
  • Newsletters of the Lake Austin Hill Country Neighborhood Association Newsletters. June 1979.
  • The Rag. August 1971.
  • South River City Citizens. SRCC Newsletters. June 1976-February 1985.


Copies of unannotated plat maps of Austin were removed from the collection. Additional copies of maps that were deaccessioned can be found in the General Collection and include East Riverside Drive Improvements, Ecologically Sensitive Areas of Austin, General Highway Map of Travis County (1963), Town Lake Comprehensive Development Plan (1968), Capitol View Corridors Draft (11/1982), and the Master Plan of the Brackenridge Urban Renewal Project (1973).

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Jean Mather Papers (AR.W.003). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donor #: DO/1985/034

Donation Date: 1985 March 12

Processing Information

Initial Inventory, Preliminary Processing, Final Processing, and Finding Aid by Kendra Malinowski and Roger Simon, February-April 2013.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. South River City Citizens (SRCC), 1971-1984

Administration, 1972-1984
Box Folder
1 1 Constitution and bylaws, 1984, undated
2 Distributed materials, 1972-1982, undated
3 Executive Committee, 1982-1984, undated
4 Membership, 1981-1982, undated
5 Newspaper clippings, 1973-1984, undated
6 Position papers, 1972-1984, undated
7 Questionnaires, 1975, undated
8 Receipts, 1975-1982
9 Assorted materials, 1976-1984, undated
Neighborhood Planning and Concerns, 1971-1984
Box Folder
1 10 Beaman property, 1984, undated
11 Blunn Creek, 1974-1982, undated
12 Convention Center, 1984, undated
13 Fairview Park neighborhood, 1981-1983, undated
14 Harper’s Creek petitions, 1973, undated
15 Harper’s Creek—assorted, 1973-1979, undated
16 Historic landmarks, 1973-1975, undated
17 IH-35 and Woodland, 1971, undated
18 Lake Austin, 1976-1979, undated
19 Live Oak, 1978-1980, undated
20 Master Plan, 1974-1978, undated
Box Folder
2 1 Norwood Estate, 1982, undated
2 Property tax valuation, 1978-1984, undated
3 Purcell House, 1974
4 Reagan Terrace, 1975-1978, undated
5 Sign removal, 1978
6 Storm tract, 1980-1982, undated
7 The Sundowner Lounge, 1979-1980, undated
8 Symphony Square, 1972-1973
9 Traffic, 1973-1983, undated
10 Travis Heights Master Plan, 1977
11 Twin Oaks Library, 1979-1980, undated
12 Zoning—proposed changes, 1970-1984

II. Women's Environmental Coalition (WE Care Austin), 1972-1984

Box Folder
2 13 Barton Springs, 1974-1984, undated
14 Board membership and minutes, 1974-1983, undated
15 Congress Avenue improvements, 1975, undated
16 Correspondence, 1979
17 Distributed materials, 1973-1984, undated
18 Environmental concerns—assorted, 1973-1975, undated
19 Lucadia Pease Award, 1982-1984
20 Membership, undated
Box Folder
3 1 MoPac, 1975, undated
2 Newspaper clippings, 1972-1976, undated
3 Public relations, 1974-1975
4 Texans to Save the Capitol, 1982, undated

III. Other Neighborhood Organizations, 1972-1984

Box Folder
3 5 Austin Neighborhood Council, 1973-1980, undated
6 Save Austin Neighborhoods & Environment (SANE), undated
7 Save Austin Neighborhoods East, 1977
8 Texas Association of Neighborhoods, 1982, undated
9 Travis Heights Improvement Association, 1982
10 United South Austin, 1982-1984, undated
11 West Austin Neighborhood Group (WANG), 1972-1983, undated

IV. Subject Files, 1957-1985

Box Folder
3 12 Austin—assorted, 1974-1985, undated
13 Austin Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan (Master Plan), 1974-1977, undated
14 Austin Tomorrow Goals Program, undated
15 Austin Tomorrow Ongoing Committee (ATOC), 1974-1984
Location Box
qAR 057/020 Austin Tomorrow Ongoing Committee-Worksheets, 1983
Box Folder
3 16 Growth and annexation, 1974-1978, undated
Box Folder
4 1 Landscaping ordinances, 1977-1980, undated
2 Maps—assorted, 1976, undated
3 MoPac, 1967-1975, undated
4 Neighborhood organization planning, 1975-1983, undated
5 Newspaper clippings—energy and wastewater, MoPac, schools and zoning, 1973-1984, undated
6-7 Newspaper clippings—assorted, 1971-1984, undated
8 Restrictive covenants, 1957, 1983
9 Robert Mueller Municipal Airport, 1984-1985, undated
10 Travis Audubon Society, 1978-1979, undated
11 Travis County Democratic Women, 1967-1978, undated
12 Tree ordinances, 1973-1978, undated
13 Water and wastewater, 1978-1983, undated
14 Zoning—assorted, 1972-1984, undated