Austin History Center

Pauline A. Pinckney Papers

An Inventory of the Collection

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Pinckney, Pauline A., 1889?-1982
Title: Pauline A. Pinckney Papers
Dates: 1918-1971
Abstract: Pauline A. Pinckney was an art historian, art instructor, and writer who spent much of her life in Austin, Texas. She wrote American Figureheads and Their Carvers (1940) and Painting in Texas: The Nineteenth Century (1967) as well as several articles on various topics, including American furniture and textile arts. The collection dates from 1918-1971 and contains Pinckney's research notes, correspondence, manuscripts, newspaper clippings, photographs, and legal documents.
Identification: AR.R.015
Quantity: 4 linear feet (10 boxes)
Location: Archives Stacks, qAR, Inner Vault
Language: The records are in English.
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, 810 Guadalupe, PO BOX 2287, Austin, TX 78768

Biographical Note

Pauline A. Pinckney was born in 1889 in Austin, Texas, to Pauline Mellette and Theodore Frelinghuysen Pinckney, and was one of six children. Her siblings included Stephen L. Pinckney (1887-1949) and Sallie Pinckney (1893-1970). Pauline Pinckney earned her bachelor's degree in Fine Arts from the University of Texas in 1917 and later obtained a master's degree from Columbia University. Over the course of her career, she served as an instructor of art and design at Texas Woman's College (now Texas Wesleyan), Southern Methodist University, Purdue University, and Kansas State College. During the Great Depression she served as Assistant Director of Research for the Index of American Design, part of the Works Progress Administration's Federal Art Project, where she researched such topics as early American furniture, textile arts, and decorative arts.

In 1940, Pinckney published her first book, American Figureheads and Their Carvers, which was praised for its thorough coverage of a previously undocumented art form. During World War II, Pinckney contributed her writing skills to the war effort as an Editorial Assistant for the Storage Division of the War Department.

After the war and into the 1960s, Pinckney's interest in woodcarving continued, resulting in several published articles and an unpublished manuscript titled "The American Tobacconist or the Sign of the Indian Chief". She organized a photographic exhibit of American figureheads at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts in 1948 and later served as Folk Art Consultant for the museum (circa 1955-1961). Her interests later expanded to include early Texas painting, which led to her 1967 book Painting in Texas: The Nineteenth Century, published by University of Texas Press and sponsored by the Amon Carter Museum. Painting in Texas filled a gap in art historical research, covering the work and lives of 50 Texas painters. Several organizations such as the Austin Heritage Society and the Texas Institute of Letters honored Pinckney with awards for her book.

Pinckney spent her childhood and later years in Austin but lived many years in New York and Washington, D.C. She died on October 25, 1982, in Austin and is buried at Oakwood Cemetery.

Scope and Contents

The Pauline A. Pinckney Papers span the years 1918-1971 with the bulk of the materials dating from 1930-1971. Created and collected by Pauline A. Pinckney, the documents include correspondence, creative works, reports, printed material, and photographic material. The collection is arranged into six series: Personal; Professional - Research and Writing; Professional - Positions; Photographs; Stephen L. Pinckney; and Sallie Pinckney.

The Personal series comprise correspondence dating from 1938 to 1971 (and undated) as well as resumes, travel notes, and a guestbook.

The Professional - Research and Writings series contains materials collected during Pinckney's research, correspondence, and writings on American woodcarving, specifically ship figureheads and cigar store figures, as well as material relating to her writings on 19th century Texas painters, American cabinetmakers, printmaking, and mural painting. Also included are awards she received for her publications.

The Professional - Positions series contain administrative records, reports, notes, and publicity from her time as Assistant Director of Research at the Index of American Design; materials from her time as Editorial Assistant at the Storage Division of the War Department in 1944; correspondence and notes from her position as Folk Art Consultant at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts; correspondence and notes from her work with the Texas State Historical Survey Committee; and course proposals and workshop notes.

The Photograph series includes images of paintings and carvings used in her research and publications. Of interest are a set of black-and-white photographs of a Texas Rural Communities, Inc. project creating model farming communities in the Trinity, Texas area during the 1930s.

The final two series contain legal documents and financial information pertaining to her brother Stephen L. Pinckney (1887-1949) and her sister Sallie M. Pinckney (1893-1970).


Collection is arranged into 6 series:
Professional - Research and Writings
Professional - Positions
Photographs and Negatives
Stephen L. Pinckney
Sallie M. Pinckney


Access Restrictions

Open to all users.

Use Restrictions

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.
Pinckney, Pauline A., 1889-1982.
Andrews, Ambrose, 1805-1859.
Behne, Gustavus, 1828-1895.
Catlin, George, 1796-1872.
Gentilz, Theodore, 1819-1906.
Grenet, Edward Louis, 1856-1922.
Huddle, William H., 1847-1892.
Pinckney, Stephen L., 1887-1949.
Pinckney, Sallie M., 1893-1970.
Lavender, Eugenie Etienne Aubanel, 1817-1896.
McArdle, Henry Arthur, 1836-1908.
Onderdonk, Robert Jenkins, 1852-1917.
Ranney, William Tylee, 1813-1857.
Thomas, Stephen Seymour, 1868-1956.
Wilder, Mitchell A., 1913-1979.
Giraud, Francois Pierre, 1818-1877.
Kneass, Charles.
Woltz, George.
Amon Carter Museum of Western Art.
Index of American Design.
Norton Publishing Company.
University of Texas Press.
United States--Social life and customs.
Wood-carving--United States.
Figureheads of ships.
Folk art--United States.
Women authors, American.
Painters, American--Texas--19th Century.
Document Types:
Newspaper clippings
Legal documents
Printed material

Related Material

General Collection

  • A 759.164 PI Painting in Texas: The Nineteenth Century
  • A 810 PI American Figureheads and Their Carvers

Austin Files

  • AF BIOGRAPHY - Pinckney, Pauline A.

Separated Material


  • The Austin Times, November 27, 1968
  • Panorama: Monthly Supplement of the Daily Texan, May 12, 1963

Austin Files

  • Various newspaper clippings were separated to AF Biography, AF Subject, and House-Building files.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Pauline A. Pinckney Papers (AR.R.015). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donor #:DO/1966/039

Donation Date: 1980

Processing Information

Original Processing and Finding Aid By/Date: Rebecca Brooks, Joanna Cook, Shannon Jarrett, and Melinda Johnson/1999.

Final Processing By/Date: Ruth Baker/2000.

Finding Aid Updated By/Date: Molly Hults and Kelly Hanus/2017.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Personal, 1838-1971, undated

Box Folder
1 1 Correspondence, 1938-1971, undated
2 Resumes, travel notes, guestbook, 1930, 1967-1969, undated

Professional -- Research and Writings, 1932-1971

General, 1932-1970
Box Folder
1 3 Correspondence, 1932-1970
4 Assorted clippings, 1932-1970
Woodcarving, American, 1936-1970, undated
General, 1937, 1946, 1954, undated
Box Folder
1 5 Correspondence, 1937, 1954, undated
6 Notes, undated
7 Clippings, 1946, undated
Figureheads of Ships, 1936-1970, undated
Correspondence, 1936-1970, undated
Box Folder
1 8-10 Research, 1936-1941, 1960, 1970, undated
11 Publishing, 1937-1940
12 Congratulatory, 1940-1948
13 General, 1940
Notes and Drafts, undated
Box Folder
2 1-3 Notes, undated
4-6 Drafts, undated
Box Folder
3 1 William Rush notes and clippings, undated
Published Materials, 1940-1957
Box Folder
3 2 Assorted clippings, 1940-1957
Drawings, undated
Box Folder
3 3 Sketches, undated
Cigar Store Figures, 1937-1970
Correspondence, 1937-1970, undated
Box Folder
3 4 Research, 1937-1959, undated
5 Publishing, 1953-1970, undated
Research, 1937-1957, undated
Box Folder
3 6 Notes, general, undated
7 Julius Melcher (carver), 1937-1957, undated
8 William Rumney (carver), 1938-1961, undated
9 Jim Crow (figure), undated
10 Punch (figure), undated
11 Buffalo Bill (figure), 1954-1955
12 Samoset (figure), undated
Drafts, 1957, 1968, undated
Box Folder
3 13-14 Chapters, undated
Box Folder
4 1-2 Chapters, undated
3 Manuscript, 1957
4 Manuscript, 1968
5 Bibliography, undated
Published Materials, 1937, 1947, undated
Box Folder
4 6 Assorted clippings, 1937, 1947, undated
Tavern Signs, 1941, undated
Box Folder
4 7 Research notes and correspondence , 1941, undated
Art History, Texas, 19th Century, 1958-1971, undated
General, 1958-1969, undated
Box Folder
5 1 Correspondence, 1958-1969, undated
Research, 1969, undated
Box Folder
5 2-3 Notes, undated
4 Alfred Cowen, 1969
5 Texas State Capitol paintings, undated
Painting in Texas, 1958-1971
Correspondence, 1962-1971
Box Folder
5 6 General, 1962-1971, undated
7 Permission requests, 1966
8 Publishing, 1963-1966
Awards and Appreciation, 1968-1969
Box Folder
5 9 Correspondence and clippings, 1968-1969
Location BoxItem
qAR 019/065 Theta Sigma Phi certificate, 1969
Box Folder
5 10 Exhibits and receptions, 1961-1967
11 Speaking engagements, 1968
Research, 1961-1967, undated
Box Folder
5 12 George Allen, undated
13 Thomas Allen, undated
14 Ambrose Andrews, undated
15 Gustavus Behne, undated
16 George Caleb Bingham, undated
17 Guy Morrison Bryan, undated
18 George Catlin, undated
19 Charles Deas, undated
20 Seth Eastman, undated
21 Louis Eythe, undated
22 Thomas Flintoff, undated
23 Theodore Gentilz, undated
24 Francis Giraud, undated
25 Edward Louis Grenet, undated
26 Eda Wiesselberg Hadra, undated
Box Folder
6 1 Martin Johnson Heade, undated
2 William Henry Huddle, undated
3 Carl G. von Iwonski, undated
4 Charles Kneass, undated
5 Eugenia Ettienne Aubanel Lavender, undated
6 Hermann Lungkwitz, undated
7 Henry Arthur McArdle, undated
8 Ella Emelia Moss, undated
9 Robert Jenkins Onderdonk, undated
10 Richard Henri Petri, undated
11 William Tylee Ranney, undated
12 Stephen Seymour Thomas, undated
13 Jefferson Wright, undated
14 Louisa Heuser Wueste, undated
15 Little-known artists, 1964
Illustrations, 1961-1967, undated
Box Folder
6 16 Correspondence , 1961-1967
17 Notes, undated
18 Preface notes, undated
19 Interviews and lists of newspapers, undated
Box Folder
7 1-2 Manuscripts, undated
3 Royalty statements, 1968
Marketing and Publicity, 1968-1969
Box Folder
7 4 Assorted clippings, 1968-1969
Cabinetmakers, American, 1938-1939, undated
"George Woltz, Maryland Cabinetmaker", 1938-1939, undated
Box Folder
8 1 Correspondence and notes, 1938-1939, undated
Printmaking, 1933-1958, undated
"The Woodcuts in the 1518 Edition of Sir Thomas More's Utopia", 1933-1958, undated
Box Folder
8 2 Correspondence, notes, drafts, and clippings, 1933-1958, undated
"Modern Bookplates for Creative Art", undated
Box Folder
8 3 Notes and drafts, undated
"Levon West - Etcher", 1936, undated
Box Folder
8 4 Draft and clipping, 1936, undated
Mural Painting, 1932, undated
Box Folder
8 5 Muriel Jackson , 1932, undated
Assorted Topics, 1935, 1939-1941, undated
Box Folder
8 6 "Virginia Museum of Art", undated
7 "Radio Talk" drafts, 1935, undated
8 American folk art exhibit in Latin America, 1939-1941, undated
9 Old houses, undated

Professional -- Positions, 1936-1961, undated

Assistant Director of Research, Index of American Design of the Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration, 1936-1943, undated
Correspondence, 1936-1937, undated
Box Folder
8 10 Pauline A. Pinckney, 1936-1937, undated
Administrative Records and Reports, 1936, undated
Box Folder
8 11 Manuals, procedures, reports, 1936, undated
12 Reports for Index of American Design, Jan.-Nov. 1, 1936, undated
Research Notes and Drafts, 1936-1943, undated
Box Folder
9 1 Assorted crafts and craftsmen, 1936, undated
2 Figureheads, 1937, undated
3 Furniture, cabinetmakers, clockmakers, undated
4 Glass and pottery, 1936, undated
5 Historic houses, undated
6 Ironwork, undated
7 Silver and pewter, undated
8 Textiles, undated
9 Research bibliography, undated
Publicity, 1936-1943, undated
Box Folder
9 10 Press releases, 1936-1943, undated
11 Assorted clippings, 1936-1943, undated
Editorial Assistant, Storage Division, War Department, 1944-1945
Box Folder
10 1 "Index and Digest of Directives and Instructions on Storage Operations", 1944-1945
Folk Art Consultant, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, 1955-1961, undated
Box Folder
10 2 Correspondence and notes, 1955-1961, undated
Recorder/Reporter, Texas State Historical Survey Committee, Texas Museum Conference, 1957-1960
Box Folder
10 3 Corresondence and notes, 1957-1960
Educator, undated
Box Folder
10 4 Course proposal, "18th Centruy America and the Folk Art", undated
5 Summer School of Painting at Taos and Community Workshop for Creative Art, undated

Photographs and Negatives, 1934, 1938, 1967, undated

Box Folder
10 6 Painting in Texas -- color photograph of Francis Giraud (#001), 1967
6 Woodlake -- black-and-white photographs "One Type of House" and doors (#002-013), 1934
6 Cabinet by George Woltz -- black-and-white photograph (#014), 1938
6 Texas Rural Communities, Inc. -- possibly model farming community in Trinity County, black-and-white photographs (#015-024), circa 1930s
6 Black-and-white photograph of a landscape painting (#025), undated
6 Man with wooden carved figure -- black-and-white photograph (#026), undated
6 Carved American Indian figure -- black-and-white photograph (#027), undated
6 Nitrate negatives of image of paintings, undated

Stephen L. Pinckney , 1918-1919

Box Folder
10 7 Correspondence and legal documents -- oil and gas property leasing (contents of an expandable file, Sections A to G), 1919
8 Correspndence and legal documents -- oil and gas property leasing (contents of an expandable file, Sections H to W), 1919
9 Aetna, undated
10-11 Correspondence, 1918-1919

Sallie M. Pinckney, 1968-1970

Box Folder
10 12 Legal documents and financial records, 1968-1970