Wolf and East Family Papers
An Inventory of the Collection
Charles Wolf emigrated from Germany and began work on the mule trains at the Mexican border. He came to Austin, Texas in 1866 and one year after his arrival he had his own mule train. By the close of 1867 he founded the Chas. Wolf Store, a small general merchandise store on 5th Street, Austin, Texas. The store appears to have remained open until Charles' death in 1913; it resurfaces in the 1918 Austin City Directory as owned by Charles E. Wolf (Charles' son by his second wife). Charles Wolf (father) left a sizable estate in city lots and ranchland to his third wife, the Wendish immigrant Martha Kilian, who had been hired as governess to his first two children while his second wife was dying of cancer. After her marriage to Charles in 1903, and their move to the "Wolf House" at 1602 East First Street, Martha had two children, Oswald (born 1905) and Margaret (born 1911). Oswald attended Austin High School and in 1925 received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Charles Wolf died in 1913.
Leonard East came to Austin, Texas from the Lampasas, Texas area in 1913. He married Vida Henderson, and the couple had three children: Jewell, Alvin and Jasper. According to company advertising, L. East Produce Co. was established in 1913. Along with being a businessman East was also a rancher and cattleman, and started East Ranch, upriver from Austin eighteen miles from Marshall Ford, near Mansfield Dam.
Leonard and Vida were active in Austin society. Vida was a member in the Eastern Star and the University Avenue Church of Christ. Leonard was a member of the Marshall Ford Game Protective Association, Travis County Pecan Growers' Association, the Texas Cattleman's Association, and the Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association and the Hyde Park Christian Church. The East Ranch barbecue was an annual event, usually supervised by Alvin East, who was a founding member of the Travis County Livestock Show and Rodeo Association. Leonard died in 1969 at the age of 86 and Vida followed in 1977 at the age of 92.
Leonard East's daughter Jewell East (Mitchell), bor on June 29, 1908 in Lampasas, Texas, married Oswald Wolf in 1944, bringing with her two daughters, Vida and Nita, from her first marriage. Jewell worked at East Produce Co., which was managed by her brother Alvin East and of which she was part owner. From 1933 to 1947 Oswald was a member of the Austin City Council, remaining on active status during his World War II service as a lieutenant in the United State Navy (1942-1945), and served eleven years as mayor pro tem. His expertise as an engineer seems to have been widely employed in city affairs, at the Municipal Power Plant and the Austin Dam. It seems that after Oswald's City Council tenure he spent his time managing his ranch properties and his holdings in downtown Austin. He was also served on the Board of the Texas Industrial Loan Company for more than twenty years. Jewel and Oswald attended St. Paul's Lutheran Church, where her daughters went to elementary school and where Oswald was buried in 1971. Jewel died in 1983. Jewell's daughters married brothers Harvey and James Bouldin.
The Wolf Family series (1867-1971) consists of four subseries: Charles Wolf, Martha Wolf, Oswald Wolf and Wolf General Merchandise Store.
Charles Wolf subseries (1871-1929) includes correspondence, financial documents, legal materials related to real property holdings and records related to the Estate of Charles Wolf. The correspondence is all related to Wolf's real estate dealings and the majority of the financial documents are property tax receipts. The real property legal materials include abstracts of title, a variety of deeds including warranty deeds and releases. Lastly, there are the records of the Wolf's Estate including the will and the transfer of the Wolf residence at 1602 First Street to his widow Martha in 1914.
Martha Kilian Wolf subseries (1906-1937) includes correspondence and financial records. Correspondence includes notices of interest payments from Becker Lumber and a handwritten note in German from John P. Ricker, Charles Wolf's yardman at the Wolf House. Financial documents include personal records and records generated from her role as trustee for her son Oswald including tax receipts, invoices, vehicle registration, and rental income ledgers.
Oswald Wolf subseries (1908-1971) consist of materials that document both his professional and personal life. Professional records include legal and financial documents and correspondence documenting his various real property holdings as well as administrative materials, correspondence and balance sheets of the Texas Industrial Loan Company. In addition there are scrapbooks and newspaper clippings documenting the time period that he was a member of City Council; Power Station (Seaholm Power Plant) specifications; memorandum and reports from Oswald's last year as a member of the City Council as well as a letter stating that he didn't plan to run again. Personal and community service materials include autobiographical sketches of the members of the Austin High School Class of 1921 at their 50th reunion; samples of the class notes and solicitations methods of the University of Texas' College of Engineering; programs from the Walther League (Lutheran); staff duty lists, newsletters, memorandum, memorabilia, receipts, forms and reports from Wolf's time in Australia with the United States Navy; and an overview of the topics which concerned grand juries in Austin in 1963: teen delinquency, the Demon Rum and work for jail inmates.
The last subseries, Wolf General Merchandise Store, includes five ledgers that span the years 1867 to 1881 that document the sales and expenses of the store. The sales/accounting ledgers list the merchandise sold with the cost of items and name of customer. Items frequently sold were cheeses, raisins, pepper, molasses, coffee, flour, potatoes, tobacco, brandy and whiskey along with boots, hats and calico. The expense ledgers contain chronologically arranged paid bills pasted into disintegrating binders. During this period of the ledgers most of the supplies came from New Orleans (Heinemann Co.) and Indianola companies.
The East Family series (1918-1971) contains four subseries: Leonard East, Vida East, Jewel East Wolf, Alvin East.
Leonard East subseries (1941-1968) contains business correspondence; documents concerning livestock, invitations and guest sign-in book for the annual East Rand barbecue as well as newspaper clipping concerning ranching and the annual BBQ; real estate materials including lease agreements and a contract of sale; and membership cards to the Democratic National Party and the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Associational along with notice of classification from the Local War Board of Austin, Texas.
Vida East subseries (1926-1964) includes correspondence from friends and family in the form of postcards, letters and telegrams along with a bank book and mileage ration coupons. Also included are yearbooks, programs, newspaper clipping, membership lists and a history of the organization for Austin's Travis Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star.
Jewel East Wolf subseries (1924-1971) includes correspondence, mostly with her two daughters, her mother and her husband Oswald. The scrapbook and loose memorabilia document her social life as well as the educational accomplishments of her daughters. And lastly, the loose newspaper clippings were originally found in scrapbook and highlight local events and people including her own family members.
The Alvin East subseries contains a single undated letter written to Alvin.
The Photographs series (1930s-1960s, undated) consists of one photo album and 258 individual prints and negatives. None of the forty-five photographs in the album are identified but Oswald, Jewel and their daughters Vida and Nita, the L. East Produce Company (Colorado Street location), Buford Fire Tower, East Ranch and Governor O'Daniel's inauguration are recognizable. In addition, there are photographs documenting Oswald's tenure with Austin city government such as the Municipal Building (124 W. 8th St.) cornerstone ceremony (1937) and the opening of the Austin Dam (Tom Miller Dam, 1939).
The individual prints and negatives also document the family, as well as the East and Wolf families' professional interests and Oswald's tenure as a City Council member. Most of the family portraits are unidentified but again there are recognizable photographs of Oswald (including his many pairs of cowboy boots), Jewell, Vida and Nita, Leonard East, and Charlie Wolf, Jr. and his wife Ella. There are also images of meat processing, a St. Pauls Lutheran School class photo, the Texas Industrial Loan Company office and employees, and Austin High School students. The City of Austin photographs document the building of the Austin Dam, mayor Tom Miller, the Municipal Airport, both Chalmers Court and Santa Rita Housing Projects, a weights and measures inspector of the job, new street lights being installed, construction of the City/County Tuberculosis Sanatorium, construction the bridge over Shoal Creek at 30th Street, the new City Incinerator (1939), and the Municipal Sewerage Disposal Plant.
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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.
Wolf and East Family Papers (AR.U.006). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/1983/013
Donation Date: 1983
Some additional Oswald Wolf correspondence, land documents and financial records were added to the collection through a purchase from the Old 1898 Store in 2014. Much of the materials were related to the Texas Industrial Loan Company.
Two Wolf General Merchandise Store ledgers originally cataloged as AR.1991.072 were moved into this collection to join the other Wolf Store ledgers.
Preliminary Inventory created by Ann Lozano in 1990. Final processing and finding aid created and encoded by Molly Hults in 2014. Updated by Kelly Hanus in 2018.
Detailed Description of the Collection