Austin History Center

Peter Heinrich Mansbendel Papers

An Inventory of the Collection

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Mansbendel, Peter Heinrich
Title: Peter Heinrich Mansbendel Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1878-1978
Abstract: Peter Heinrich Mansbendel was a woodcarver who was born in Switzerland, immigrated to American in the early twentieth century, and began living in Austin, TX, in 1912. His papers consist of photographs of many of his wood carvings, as well as drawings that he made. Also included are photographs of the Hyde Park neighborhood in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Identification: AR.1994.028
Quantity: .7 linear feet (1 text box, 154 photographs, 1 accounting ledger, and 13 drawings)
Location: Archives stacks, qAR, Outer Vault-Archives Collection Shelf, Oversize Volumes
Language: The records are in English.
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, 810 Guadalupe, PO BOX 2287, Austin, TX 78768

Biographical Note

Peter Heinrich Mansbendel was born in Basel, Switzerland, on August 12, 1883, to Johann Peter Mansbendel, a businessman, and Valeria Siegrist Mansbendel. At age ten, Mansbendel began an internship in woodcarving, which he followed with studies at the Industrial Arts School. After his compulsory service in the Swiss Artillery, he continued his woodcarving education in London and Paris.

In 1907, Mansbendel immigrated to America, first living in Boston and then in New York, where he did woodcarving for the interior design firm L. Marcotte & Company during the day; at night, he taught clay-modelling classes at Cooper Union. In his studio, Mansbendel met Clotilde Shipe, who had recently returned from a trip to Europe. Clotilde's father, Monroe M. Shipe, was a prominent Austin, TX, real-estate developer who founded Hyde Park. Mansbendel followed Ms. Shipe to Austin, where they were married in 1912. They had two children, Valerie and Peter. Mansbendel worked in his studio at the former Swedish consulate at 109 W. 9th Street until his health declined in 1939.

During the 1920s and 1930s, Mansbendel was summoned by leading architects from Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio to put finishing details on some of their work. Mansbendel carved fireplace mantels, which were very popular, as well as furniture and decorative household items such as frames, friezes, and portraits for peoples' homes. His former home at 3824 Avenue F is decorated throughout with his unique style.

Mansbendel frequently used the people, places, events, flora, and fauna of Texas as the subject matter of much of his work; examples include the carved doors of the San Jose Mission and the Spanish Governor's Palace in San Antonio, as well as the portrait medallions of former University of Texas presidents, which are located in the Texas Union at the University of Texas in Austin. Mansbendel depicted the Battle of the Alamo in a preserved Alamo rafter that is now housed at the Laguna Gloria Museum in Austin.

Mansbendel was involved in the Austin Community Players as a set designer and a performer, in the Austin Sangerrunde, and in St. David's Episcopal Church. He died of cancer on July 20, 1940, in Austin.

Scope and Contents

The collection is comprised of four series. The first series, Design & Exhibits (1906-1978), includes photographs of objects that Mansbendel carved for his home and studio, objects that he carved for clients, and objects that were included in an exhibit of his works at the Institute of Texas Cultures in 1977 and 1978. The series also includes several of Mansbendel's drawings, as well as photos of assorted carvings.

The second series, Hyde Park (1893-1900), includes photographs of the Shipe House (3816 Avenue G) and of the Hyde Park neighborhood in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The third series, Family and Personal (1884-1941), includes photographs of Mansbendel, as well as a photograph of Clotilde with her father, as well as an accounting ledger kept by Monroe Shipe in the mid-1800s. Also included is a compilation of copies of correspondence praising Mansbendel's work, newspaper clippings about his career and exhibits, his obituaries and condolence letters to his wife.

The fourth series, Assorted (1878), includes photographs of unidentified people and houses.


The collection is arranged into four series:
Design & Exhibits
Hyde Park
Family and Personal


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.

Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Mansbendel, Clotilde Shipe.
Mansbendel, Peter.
Shipe, Monroe M.
University of Texas at Austin.
Austin (Tex.)
San Antonio (Tex.)
Document Types:
Wood Carvings.

Related Material


  • Box 024/001 Tool Chest-Wood cabinet w/3 drawers & tools
  • Box 039/001 Plaque-Gearing (Mary)
  • Box 040/001 Plaque-Kleberg (Rudolph)
  • Box 043/001 Plaque-Shipe (M.M.)
  • Box 044/001 Plaque-Unidentified female
  • Box 045/001 Plaque-Shipe (Mrs. M.M.)
  • Box 046/001 Plaque-Newman (Cardinal)
  • Box 073/001 Plaque-Unidentified male
  • Box 077/001 Plaque-Profile of head in relief (wood)

Austin Files

  • AF Biography File - Monroe Martin Shipe
  • AF Biography File - Peter Mansbendel

General Collection

  • A 731.4620924 M3177M Mansbendel, Peter. Peter Mansbendel: A Swiss Woodcarver in Texas. 1977.
  • A 731.4620924 M3177M Stevens, Sylvia. Peter Mansbendel: A Children's Guide. 1970, 1979.

Separated Material

A blueline map of Hyde Park Addition and Addition No. Two was moved to the Map Collection (map no. l-0034).

An incomplete photocopy of an article, "A Swiss Woodcarver in Texas," from Chip Chats Magazine, July-August 1979, was deaccessioned.

A handcolored pamphlet on Mission San Jose in San Antonio, "Mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo," which was published by Mexican Arts & Crafts Publishers, San Antonio, 1935, was transferred to the San Antonio Missions National Historic Park Archives.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Peter Heinrich Mansbendel Papers (AR.1994.028). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donor #: DO/1995/005

Donation Date: 1995

Processing Information

Finding aid revised and encoded by Roger Simon, May 2014.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Design & Exhibits, 1906-1978, undated

Drawings, undated
Location FlatFile
qAR 03/11/03 Blueline drawings of ornamental designs (11), undated
04/08/01 Details for fireplace mantel carvings, unidentified, graphite on paper, undated
04/08/02 Design for woodcarving, charcoal and pastel on paper, signed by Mansbendel, undated
Photographs, 1906-1978, undated
Mansbendel Home (3824 Avenue F), undated
Location PhotoNo.
Outer Vault 33 Newel post from carved staircase, undated
34 Chandelier, undated
35 Carvings of Stephen F. Austin, undated
36 Glass light and carved staircase, undated
37 Fireplace and mantel, undated
44 Wood carvings of chrysanthemums in frame, undated
54 Folding screen, undated
69 Top of carved staircase, undated
70 Interior of residence, undated
71 Carvings of Sam Houston and chrysanthemums, undated
72 Carved owl and carved flower plaque, undated
73 Carved medallion, undated
74 Carved underwater-dish scene, undated
75 Staircase, undated
78-79 Dining room, undated
80 Dining-room detail, undated
81 Carved chair, undated
82-83 Detail of carved chair, undated
84 Carved chair, undated
94-95 Hall chest, undated
115 Folding screen, undated
Mansbendel Studio (109 W. 9th St.), undated
Location PhotoNo.
Outer Vault 56 Hall chest, undated
61 Mansbendel at work in his studio, undated
86 Carved sign outside of studio, undated
Clients, 1914-1969, undated
Location PhotoNo.
Outer Vault 15 Wood carving, for home of Dr. Joe Reuss, 1969
38 Italian tables, for Clara Driscoll Sevier, undated
39-42 Friezes, for Enfield Grocery, undated
43 Mantel, for home of R.H. Montgomery, 1931
45-51 Speaker's gavel, for General Federation of Women's Clubs, 1914
52 Entrance doors of Spanish Governor's Palace, 1930
53 Exhibit case, for Center of American History at UT Austin, undated
55 Portrait medallions of former UT Austin presidents, made for Student Union at UT Austin, undated
57 Portrait plaque of Cardinal Newman, for Newman Hall, 1921
58 Carved rafter of the Battle of the Alamo, for Clara Driscoll Sevier, 1915
59-60 Entrance doors of Mission San Jose--Mansbendel in photo, 1936
62 Entrance doors of Mission San Jose, 1936
66 Mantel, for R.L. Blaffer, undated
67 Mantel, for Crotty residence, undated
87 Table and chair from Charles L. Black Library, 1926
90, 93 Chest, for Godfrey Flury, undated
99 Cartouche, for Latin American Library at UT Austin, undated
100 Carved caricature of Dewey Bradford, for Dr. R.W. Shippe's home, undated
101 Carved animal figure, for Dr. R.W. Shippe's country house, undated
102-103 Cartouche, for Latin American Library at UT Austin, 1937
104 Carved caricature, for Dr. R.W. Shippe's home, undated
105 Carved caricature of Godfrey Flury, for Dr. R.W. Shippe's home, undated
106 Inkstand, given to Margaret Wilson, President Woodrow Wilson's daughter, from the people of Austin, 1915
108-109 Animal figure, for Dr. R.W. Shippe's country house, undated
110 Rho Chi emblem, for Rho Chi chapter of UT Austin, undated
111 Seal of The University of Texas at Austin, 1933
125 Gavel, for Texas Fine Arts Association, undated
128 Portrait plaque of Charles Dicknes, given to Robert Brandts, undated
Institute of Texas Cultures Exhibit "Peter Mansbendel: A Swiss Woodcarver in Texas," 1977-1978, undated
Location PhotoNo.
Outer Vault 130 Chest, circa 1977-1978
131 Carved profile of woman, circa 1977-1978
132-133 Carved flowers in frame, circa 1977-1978
134 Gavel, circa 1977-1978
135 Framed carving of vase, leaves, and berries, circa 1977-1978
136-137 Carved objects in glass case, circa 1977-1978
138-139 Carved profile of Rudolph Kleberg, circa 1977-1978
140-141 Animal carving, circa 1977-1978
142-145 Carved caricature, circa 1977-1978
146-147 Carved profile, circa 1977-1978
148 Chest, circa 1977-1978
149 Cradle, circa 1977-1978
150 Folding screen, circa 1977-1978
151 Large wall carving, circa 1977-1978
Laguna Gloria Museum Exhibit, 1978
Location PhotoNo.
Outer Vault 92 Photograph of Mansbendel--taken by Ava Crawford in 1937, 1978
Assorted Carvings, 1906-1939, undated
Location PhotoNo.
Outer Vault 63 Medallion for Spanish bed, undated
64 Decorative carvings, undated
65 Color carvings, undated
68 Mantel, undated
85 Flower panel, chrysanthemums, undated
88 Handcarved chrysanthemums in handcarved frame, undated
89 Flower panel, handcarved chrysanthemums, undated
91 Carved chess set, undated
96 Decorative panel, undated
98 Portrait plaque, 1939
107 Mirror, 1938
112 Humidor depicting one of the five San Antonio missions, undated
113 Jewelry box, 1937
114 Swing doors, 1930
116-117 Carved rafter of the Battle of the Alamo, 1917
118 Caricature, undated
119 Caricatures, undated
120-121 Bedroom suite, 1914
122 Bedroom suite chest of drawers, 1914
123 Detail of carving of woman's face fixed to headboard, undated
124 Deer's head on carved mounting, 1932
126 Carving of child's head, 1906
127 Peregrinus, patron saint of UT Law School, undated
129 Portrait plaque of Stephen F. Austin, 1938
152 Carving of flowers in frame, undated

II. Hyde Park, 1893-1900, undated

Shipe House (3816 Avenue G), 1900, undated
Location PhotoNo.
Outer Vault 2-5, 9-11, 13-14, 18-19, 23 Shipe House, undated
6-8, 12 Shipe House, 1900
Location qARFlatFile
Photo Room Archives Collection Shipe House, undated
Hyde Park Neighborhood, 1893-1930, undated
Location PhotoNo.
Outer Vault 16-17, 22 Hyde Park Neighborhood, undated
20 Hyde Park Neighborhood, 1893
21 Hyde Park Neighborhood, 1894

III. Family & Personal, 1878-1930, undated

Family Photographs, 1884-1930, undated
Location PhotoNo.
Outer Vault 1 Monroe Martin Shipe and daughter Clotilde in New York, undated
24 Mansbendel with child, circa 1930
25 Mansbendel in New York, circa 1907-1910
27 group portrait including Mansbendel, undated
Paintings, undated
Location PhotoNo.
Outer Vault 76 Portrait painting of woman, undated
77, 97 Portrait painting of Mansbendel, undated
Notebook Compilation, 1903-1941, 1961, undated
Box Folder
1 1 Correspondence and newspaper clippings, 1903-1941, 1961, undated
Financial, 1884-1885, undated
Oversized Volumes Accounting Ledger, circa 1884-1885

IV. Assorted, 1878, undated

Assorted Photographs of Unidentified People, undated
Location PhotoNo.
Outer Vault 31-32 group portrait, undated
qAR photo box unidentified female, undated
Assorted Photographs of Unidentified Houses, 1878, undated
Location PhotoNo.
Outer Vault 28-29 exterior, undated
30 exterior, 1878