Travis County Schools Superintendent Records
An Inventory of the Collection
An act of legislation in 1887 created the Travis County School Superintendent's office to act as the administrative head of the Travis County Common School Districts (also referred to as Travis County rural schools). The rural schools of Travis County comprised these districts and did not include urban schools such as Austin Public Schools. The first election for Superintendent was held on November 12, 1888. Early Superintendent's include Maud Douglas (1916); Leon Holdon (1918-1926) and Rosalia Felter (1926-1935). Functions of the office included: approving transfers of students from one Travis County School to another or out of the county; taking of the school census in which all school age children were enumerated; approving and ordering of text books; supervising building program; and budgeting of expense and income for each the schools.
In the 1950s and 1960s, because of financial issues, various Travis County school districts began either consolidating into the Austin School Independent School District or creating their own independent school districts (for example, Eanes Independent School District, Manor Independent School District, and Pflugerville Independent School District). However, some areas maintained common school districts that were still under the jurisdiction of the Travis County superintendent and the local school board (who were unable to revalue property for school-tax purposes), and in the 1950s, some schools were starting to close because they could not operate on county tax values. In 1952, there were thirteen common school districts, but by 1976 only one remained. In 1978, the position of Travis County school superintendent was abolished.
The Travis County Schools Superintendent Records are composed of the materials created and/or maintained by the Office of the Superintendent, Travis County Schools and were acquired as two separate donations in the 1970s. The first donation was principally comprised of Teachers' Daily Register for Public Schools and County Treasurer's Record Books dating from the 1870s to the early 1900s. The bulk of the records in the second donation were created under Rosalia (Mrs. George) Felter's administration during the 1920s and 1930s. The collection is arranged into four series: Office of the Superintendent Records; County Records; Travis County Educational Association Records and Rosalia Felter Papers.
The Office of the Superintendent Records series (1884, 1906-1952) primarily consists of materials created during Rosalia Felter's administration (1926-1935) and Texas Teacher's Daily Registers (1906-1907, 1926-1949). Included are financial records showing amounts of school taxes assessed as well as other taxes and bonds information; state and county available funds per district for the 1930-1931 and 1931-1932 school years; building program/real estate materials; general correspondence; correspondence and fliers regarding the State Superintendent of Public Instruction election in 1932; a student health/physical condition report; correspondence and legal documents pertaining to the Marrs ruling (Austin Independent School District vs. S. M. N. Marrs); Superintendent's Annual Reports as well as other statistical reports regarding Travis County Schools; lists of school trustees of Travis County; reports and correspondence from the State Department of Education, Rural School Division; teacher contracts and lists; materials regarding text book purchases; Registers of Teachers' Certificates; and Teacher's Daily Registers. Highlights of the series include the building program/real estate materials including an early 1930s report on "Developing and Administering a Rural High School Building Program in Travis County", lists of schools built and fires since 1925 as well as correspondence from State Department of Education, School Plant Division. Additionally, the Marrs ruling papers document a dispute between the Common School Districts and the Independent School Districts regarding who paid the county superintendent's salary. The Superintendent's Annual Reports offer insight into teacher salaries, training, certification and experience; student age/grade distribution; distribution of students as to subjects of instruction; and information on districts under county supervision including tax rate, scholastic population, number of grades taught in each school, number of teaching positions in each school, number of days taught in each school, and attendance. And lastly the Teacher's Daily Registers document enrollment by grade, record of attendance and work by each student, occupation of parents, and the teacher's end of year report including number of days taught, education, salary, and building improvements.
The County Records series (1874-1902) include the County Judge's School Record and County Treasurer's School Account Registers dating from the late 1800s into the early 1900s. The 1884 County Judge's School Record ledger contains the orders establishing the Travis County Schools Districts 1 through 50 and a register of teachers applying for examination. The County Treasurer's School Account Registers document the amount of money received from the state and each district from taxes and disbursements regarding the Available School Fund as well as the receipts and disbursements for each school district.
The Travis County Educational Association series (1931-1334) includes segment outlines and scripts for the weekly radio program sponsored by the Association starting in October of 1932, as well as an Association yearbook. The 1931-1932 yearbook is the first produced by the Association and dedicated to Rosalia Felter. The radio programs generally included student performances (readings and songs), speakers on the topic of education, announcements and brief histories of the individual schools in the Travis County Common School District. Brief written histories of the following schools are included: Carlson, Colorado, Creedmoor, Decker, Dessau, Elroy, Esperanza, Fiskville, Garfield, Hornsby-Dunlap, Hornsby-Dunlap Mexican School, Kimbro, Maha, Mexican schools, New Sweden, Pecan Springs, Pflugerville, Pilot Knob, Pleasant Hill, Pleasant Valley, Rose Hill, Schiller, St. Elmos, Willow Ranch.
Lastly the Rosalia Felter Papers series (1934-1935) contains Felter's campaign materials for the Travis County School Superintendent election and papers written for college courses.
Restrictions on Access
Open to all users.
Restrictions on Use
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.
Travis County Schools Superintendent Records (AR.J.006). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/1977/016
Donation Date: 1977
Donor #: DO/1971/013
Donation Date: 1971
Finding aid created and encoded by Molly Hults in 2013.
This collection, which consists of two separate donations from the Office of the Superintendent, Travis County Schools, was originally processed as two separate collections (AR.J.005 and AR.R.017). The original container lists are maintained in the donor file to document what materials came with each donation.
Other Finding Aid
A list of teachers represented in the Teacher's Daily Registers is available in the Reading Room in the Finding Aid binder.
Detailed Description of the Collection