Austin History Center

Fred Thompson Papers

An Inventory to the Collection

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Thompson, Fred, 1906-1959
Title: Fred Thompson Papers
Abstract: This collection documents the personal and literary life of Fred Thompson through personal material, correspondence, photographs, collected printed material, and notes and drafts of literary productions spanning the years 1918 to 1959.
Identification: AR.R.013
Quantity: 1.4 linear feet (4 boxes)
Location: Archives Stacks
Language: The records are in English.
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library,
810 Guadalupe, , PO BOX 2287, , Austin, TX 78768

Biographical Note

Fred Daugherty Thompson was born January 17, 1906, to Annie (Daugherty) Tate and William Martin Thompson in Bartlett, Texas. Fred Thompson had three siblings: William Luther, Ruth Alice, and James Samuel. The family moved to Austin in 1916, where Fred attended Austin High School, the University of Texas, and the Texas Conservatory of Music. His first job was at the Majestic Theater (now the Paramount) as a trumpet player in the pit orchestra for silent motion pictures. In 1926 he began working at The Austin American as a police reporter and feature writer. The editor in 1927, Henry Fulcher, asked that he transfer with him to The Wichita Falls Record News where he did sports and general reporting. While there he also played the trumpet with the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra. In 1936 he returned to Austin to be the first full time information, public relations, and publications editor for the Game, Fish and Oyster Commission. He returned to the newspaper now called The Austin Statesman in 1943 as the day news editor, telegraph editor, and managing editor until 1950. Leaving the newspaper he went to work for the Balcones Research Center as editor of the technical reports. On June 16, 1947, he married Doris Page.

In the 1950s he was involved in several writing projects. For Interstate Circuit, Inc. he wrote a biography of Karl Hoblitzelle. He was a ghost writer for Paul Wakefield in writing a chapter in a memoir of Jesse H. Jones. He wrote the copy for the Centennial of Education special section that appeared in many Texas newspapers. He had a long friendship and correspondence with J. Frank Dobie, Roy Bedichek and also knew Walter Prescott Webb.

Fred Thompson died December 13, 1959, at age 53.

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, scrapbooks, legal documents, printed material, literary productions, genealogical material, diaries, photographs, biographical material, and financial documents make up this collection that covers a time span of 1918 to 1959. Fred Thompson's own writing and interest in writers led him to know and correspond with Roy Bedichek, J. Frank Dobie, Walter Prescott Webb, James McCamy, H. L. Mencken, Stanley Walker, and William S. White, as well as other fellow journalists.

There is genealogical and biographical information on his and his wife’s families including legal documents and diaries. He collected some biographical information about others. There are two scrapbooks included: Scrapbook #1 contains a variety of personal ephemera, including photographs of Carl Sandburg, Jan Kubelik, Roy Bedichek, and possibly Fred Thompson among other unidentified photographs. Scrapbook #2 contains printed material consisting of magazines, magazine articles, and the newspaper columns of H. L. Mencken from 1935 to 1937. Also included in this series are personal photographs that possibly depict Fred Thompson, Annie Thompson, and the Thompson family, as well as a photograph of Mirabeau B. Lamar.

Thompson kept copies of the newspaper articles written by or about himself, as well as by or about his friends Roy Bedichek, J. Frank Dobie, H. L. Mencken, and Walter Prescott Webb. His interest in music prompted him to collect a few articles and portraits of musicians in addition to writing articles about other writers and other assorted topics of interest to him.

There are also notes, research, and drafts of articles and books by Thompson. He kept notes on some of the Dobie and Bedichek conversations at Barton Springs. A biography of Karl Hoblitzelle is not complete, but drafts of Chapters I - IV are in the collection. There are several drafts of a story about Jan and Raphael Kubelik and their concert at Wichita Falls titled, "When the Kubeliks Toured the Tank Towns." He also collected other people's literary productions. There are some poems by Stanley Babb and excerpts from unpublished papers by Dean T. U. Taylor. A transcript of a conversation with Tom Blevens by Lloyd Lewis called “A Dream-Like Concern” is an oral history of the cowboy era of the 1870s. The Centennial of Education art photographs include photographs of the following:

  • Vereins Kerche at Fredericksburg
  • Ruterville College
  • First Ursuline Academy, Galveston 1847
  • T. J. Pilgrim
  • Mrs. Rebecca Stuart Red, founded Stuart Seminary, Austin
  • Stuart Seminary
  • Trinity University at Tehuacana, 1869-1902
  • Dr. Ashbel Smith
  • Baylor College for Women at Independence, 1884
  • O. M. Roberts, Governor of Texas from 1879-1883
  • Nacodoches University


Collection is arranged into 4 series:
I. Personal material
II. Correspondence
III. Printed materials
IV. Literary productions


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.
Bedichek, Roy, 1878-1959.
Blevens, Tom
Dobie, J. Frank (James Frank), 1888-1964.
Garrett, Eudora.
Hoblitzelle, Karl.
McCamy, James L.
Mencken, H. L.
Mewhinney, Hebert.
Taylor, Dean T. U.
Thompson, Fred, 1906-1959.
Wakefield, Paul D.
Walker, Stanley.
Webb, Walter Prescott, 1888-1963.
White, William S.
The Austin American Statesman.
The Austin American.
Family Names:
Thompson Family.
Austin (Tex.)--Genealogy.
Austin (Tex.)--Social life and customs.
Document Types:
Legal documents.
Literary productions.
Magazine clippings.
Newspaper clippings.
Black-and-white photographs.

Related Material

Austin Files

  • AF Biography- James Frank Dobie, 1888-1964
  • AF Biography- Roy Bedichek, 1878-1959

Separated Material

To Periodicals

  • The Texas Observer - September 7, 1955
  • Interscholastic Leaguer - December 1950
  • Texas Game and Fish - June 1950.

To AF-Biography Files

  • Newspaper article on M. H. Crockett.
  • Newspaper article on David Ostlund.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Fred Thompson Papers (AR.R.013). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donor #: DO/1980/078

Donation Date: 7/29/1980

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Ruth Baker in 1999.

Finding aid revised and encoded by Kendall Newton in 2017.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Personal material, 1918-1958, undated

Box Folder
1 1 Legal documents, 1941-1958
2 Diaries and notebook, 1918-1920, undated
3 Genealogical and biographical material, 1948-1958, undated
4 Personal photographs (#001-006), 1954, undated
6 Assorted memorabilia, 1955, undated
Scrapbooks, 1919-1958, undated
Box Folder
1 7 Scrapbook #1, 1919-1953, undated
8 Scrapbook #1 photographs (#018-032), 1935-1949, undated
9 Scrapbook #2, 1935-1937
10 Scrapbook #2, 1957-1958

Correspondence, 1926-1959, undated

Alphabetical correspondence by correspondent’s surname, 1926-1959, undated
Box Folder
1 11 Sherwood Anderson, Floyd Ard, Aunt Ida, Roy Bedichek, 1928, 1948-1959
12 William Russell Clark, Bertha Dobie, J. Frank Dobie, Ronnie Dugger, H. E. Faubion, Jack Fisher, D. S. Freeman, George Fuermann, 1936-1959, undated
Box Folder
2 1 Eudora Garrett, D. C. Hart, Karl Hoblitzelle, Van A. Holloman, Eula Joiner, Howard Mumford Jones, Lyman Jones, J. C. Kellam, 1926-1938, 1951-1958
2 Lucius and Marta Lamar, Lillie and Lavoisier Lamar, Edward Lesch, Joe L. Matthews, H. L. Mencken, James L. McCamy, 1927-1959
3 L. B. Meaders, Herbert Mewhinney, Harry E. Moore, Booth Mooney, O. P. Lockhart Co., George B. Roscoe, Boyd Sinclair, 1928-1959, undated
4 Gayle Talbot, Teacher’s Retirement System, W. Luther Thompson, Eleanor Hoblitzelle Tritle, Tom, 1929, 1958, undated
5 Paul D. Wakefield, 1944-1958
6 Stanley Walker, Frank Wardlaw, Walter Prescott Webb, Carl Widen, Owen P. White, William S. White, 1928-1935, 1951-1958
Alphabetical correspondence by subject, 1942-1958, undated
Box Folder
2 7 Employment, 1942-1945, undated
8 Epilepsy article and movie short, 1949-1958
9 Eudora Garrett, 1955-1957, undated
10 Karl Hoblitzelle book, 1954-1957
11 University of Texas at Galveston Medical School Series by Fred Thompson, 1945

Printed materials, 1924-1959, undated

Box Folder
3 1 On or by Roy Bedichek, 1947-1959
2 On or by J. Frank Dobie, 1948-1959, undated
3 On or by H. L. Mencken, 1948-1957, undated
4 On or by Fred Thompson, 1933-1958, undated
5 On or by Walter Prescott Webb, 1951-1958
6 Assorted articles, 1924-1926, 1939-1959, undated

Literary productions, 1922-1924, 1940-1959, undated

Notes and research, 1948-1959, undated
Box Folder
3 7 Industrial Instrument Corp. Flow Meter story, 1950-1959, undated
8 Roy Bedichek, 1949, 1957-1959, undated
9 J. Frank Dobie and Roy Bedichek, 1948
Box Folder
4 1 Assorted notes, 1959
Drafts, 1940, 1957, undated
Box Folder
4 2 “The First Century of Public Education in Texas", undated
Box Folder
1 5 Centennial of Education art photographs(#007-017), undated
Box Folder
4 3 “A Preliminary Statement of a Business Opportunity Based on the Need for a Modern Rest Home and Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital in Austin, TX", 1957
4 “When the Kubeliks Toured the Tank Towns", undated
5 Poem, 1940
6 “Santa’s Big Black Book", undated
7 “The Story of Karl Hoblitzelle", undated
8 “Mencken and His Brethren", undated
Completed and published materials, 1922, 1945, 1954, undated
Box Folder
4 9 Essay on Hoblitzelle Collection, undated
10 “A Program for Revitalizing Rural Life in Texas", 1945
11 “Redemption” by Leo Tolstoi, undated
12 “Memories of Jesse H. Jones, 1924 - 1936” Chapter 8 by Timmons-Wakefield, 1954
13 Poems by Stanley E. Babb, 1922, undated
14 “Veal’s Station” by Dean T. U. Taylor, undated
Transcripts, 1924, 1951, 1955
Box Folder
4 15 CBS news analyses by Eric Sevareid, 1951, 1955
16 Conversation of Tom Blevens: “A Dream-Like Concern” by Lloyd Lewis, 1924