Austin History Center

Mary Josephine Houston Papers

An Inventory of the Collection

Collection Summary

Creator: Houston, Mary Josephine, 1875-1974
Title: Mary Josephine Houston Papers
Dates: 1847-1974
Abstract: Mary Josephine Houston (1875-1973) worked for over 40 years as a teacher and principal in Austin, Texas. Her papers document her life and her involvement in various organizations through correspondence, photographs, clippings, scrapbooks, legal materials and financial materials dating from 1847-1974.
Accession number: AR.M.003
Quantity: 2.4 linear feet (6 boxes)
Location: Archives Stacks, Inner Vault, Artifacts
Language: English
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library,
810 Guadalupe, PO Box 2287, Austin, TX 78768

Biographical Sketch

Mary Josephine Houston was born on January 4, 1875 in Middleton, Texas to Emma Howard Potts Houston and Eugene John Houston. Most of her life she went by her middle name, Josephine, and often by her nickname, Josie. Her father died in 1883 and her mother remarried to James M. Slaughter who died around 1900. She had three siblings: Arny Houston, John P. Slaughter, and James M. Slaughter, Jr. She graduated from Bremond High School in Bremond, Texas, and began her career teaching in Guys Store, Texas, and Hearne, Texas. She attended the University of Texas at Austin from 1894-1897 and began teaching at Bickler School in Austin, Texas, in 1899, where she stayed through 1926.

Throughout her tenure in public schools she served as principal of Fulmore, Becker, St. Elmo, John B. Winn and Ridgetop Schools. She retired from her teaching career in 1947, but remained active in the Austin community as a member of several organizations, including: University United Methodist Church, Chapter #304 of Order of the Eastern Star, Thankful Hubbard Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution, and William B. Travis Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. She was also a charter member of the Austin Chapter of Retired Teachers and of the Alpha Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma.

Josephine Houston died on January 2, 1974, two days shy of her 99th birthday and is buried in Austin Memorial Park. In 1976, a new elementary school in Austin Independent School District was named in her honor, Josephine Houston Elementary School, which is located in South Austin.

Scope and Contents

The Mary Josephine Houston Papers are arranged into six series beginning with Correspondence, dating from the 1850s-1973. Included are Christmas cards, general correspondence from family and friends, correspondence regarding Leon County land and the Rivera Tract in the Hill Country which her family owned, and correspondence about naming a school in her honor in the Austin Independent School District. The Personal Materials date from 1914-1970 and include financial materials; notes on recipes, reading lists, and religious versus; genealogy research; guest books and address books; and a certificate made out to W.O. Henderson, whose relation is not made clear. Also as part of her personal materials is a telegraph key from around 1900. The Printed Material series dates from 1894-1974 and documents various organizations Houston was involved with through programs, newsletters, meeting minutes and directories. The organizations represented are Delta Kappa Gamma, University Methodist Church, Woman's Society of Christian Service, Daughters of the American Revolution, Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Texas Retired Teachers Association, St. David's Church, and Austin Public Schools. A 1912 copy of a textbook titled A History of Texas Revised by Anna J.H. Pennybacker and sheet music belonging to Emma Houston are also part of this series. Scrapbooks and Notebooks dating from the 1850s to 1889 document Emma Houston's scrapbooking activities through two volumes and a notebook of Houston's for a course called "Mind Studies for Young Teachers." The Photographs date from around the 1870s-1960s and include portraits and candid scenes of family and friends; travel scenes in Oaxaca, Mexico; and students at May Fete at John B. Winn Elementary School. Formats include a tintype, black-and-white photographs, color photographs, and nitrate negatives. The series of Materials of Family and Friends dates from 1847-1973 and documents the lives of James Slaughter, Heady Cheatham Slaughter, Carrie May Holleman Morris, Ruth Kennedy, and Malvin G. Bowden. Mostly correspondence, of note in this series are the materials related to Malvin G. Bowden, a colleague of Houston's and the first principal of Casis Elementary in West Austin, which includes his coursework for a course on the psychology of elementary school and a cash book for Winn Elementary.


The collection is arranged into one series with six series:
Personal Materials
Printed Material
Scrapbooks and Notebooks
Materials of Family and Friends


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

Subjects (Persons)
Houston, Mary Josephine, 1875-1974.
Slaughter, James Marshall, 1888-1966.
Slaughter, Heady Cheatham.
Morris, Carrie May Holleman.
Kennedy, Ruth.
Bowden, Malvin George, 1914-1985.
Slaughter, Emma Howard Potts Houston, 1850-1932.
Morris, Laura.
Morris, John.
Morris, David.
Morris, Peter.
Subjects (Organizations)
Austin Public Schools.
Delta Kappa Gamma.
National Retired Teachers Association.
National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Women's Society of Christian Society.
Daughters of the Republic of Texas.
Order of the Eastern Star.
Winn Elementary School (Austin, Tex.).
Fulmore Elementary School (Austin, Tex.).
Ridgetop Elementary School (Austin, Tex.).
Becker Elementary School (Austin, Tex.).
St. Elmo Elementary School (Austin, Tex.).
Bickler School (Austin, Tex.).
Public schools--Texas--Austin.
Austin (Tex.)--Social life and customs.
Austin (Tex.)--Genealogy.
Document Types
Address books.
Black-and-white photographs.
Color photographs.
Legal documents.
Nitrate negatives.
Sheet music.

Related Material

General Collection

  • A 379.1535 SO, Some Facts Concerning the Austin Public Schools. 1928.
  • A 372.976431 RI 1939-40, Ridgetop School Parent-Teacher Association. 1939-1940.

Archives & Manuscripts

Austin Files

  • AF Biography - Houston, Mary Josephine
  • AF Biography - Bowden, Malvin George, 1914-1985
  • AF Subject - Public Schools - Elementary - Winn P8300(47) P T
  • AF Subject - Private Schools - Texas German and English - Bickler P7278
  • AF Subject - Public Schools - Elementary - Bickler P8300(6) P T
  • AF Subject - Public Schools - Elementary - Ridgetop P8300(60) P T
  • AF Subject - Public Schools - Elementary - Houston P8300(59) T
  • AF Subject - Parent-Teacher Association - Ridgetop P1100(13) P T
  • AF Subject - Teachers - Societies, etc. - Delta Kappa Gamma T0470(9) T
  • AF Subject - Teachers - Societies, etc. - Austin Retired Teachers Association T0470(11) T
  • AF Subject - Churches - Methodist - University United C3690(23) P T
  • AF Subject - Freemasons - Austin Chapter 304, Order of the Eastern Star F3600(19) T

Oral History Collection

  • 0030-B Houston, Josephine Mary, (1892 -1974), interviewed by Mattie Lee Seymour on 10/08/68 on the topic of teaching in Austin.
  • 0031-C Naschke, Charles Louis, (1897-1980) interviewed by Mattie Lee Seymour 01/17/1969 about growing up in Austin in the early 1900's, his education with Josephine Houston as his teacher and attending Austin High.

Separated Material

Some materials were separated into appropriate Austin Files (Subject and Biography).

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Mary Josephine Houston Papers (AR.M.003). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donor #: DO/1966/024

Donation Date: 1974 February

Processing Information

Finding aid created and encoded by Kelly Hanus, September 2017.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Mary Josephine Houston, 1847-1974

Correspondence, 1858-1973
Box Folder
1 1 General - sent, 1966-1970
2 Regarding Leon County land, 1858, 1959
3-4 Regarding Rivera Tract in Hill Country, 1965-1967
5 General - received, 1898-1973
6 Christmas cards - received, 1883-1969
7 Regarding Austin public school named in honor of Mary Josephine Houston, 1973
Personal Materials, 1914-1970
Box Folder
2 1 Notes - recipes, reading lists, religious verses, etc., 1937-1969
2 Financial - bills and receipts, 1914-1967
3 Henderson, W.O. - certificate, resolution, 1929, 1941
4 Genealogy research, 1938
6 Guest books and address book, 1945, 1954
Location BoxItem
Artifacts 009/002 Telegraph key, circa 1900
Printed Material, 1894-1974
Box Folder
4 1 General - programs, newsletters and minutes on various organizations: Delta Kappa Gamma, University Methodist Church, Woman's Society of Christian Service, Daughters of the American Revolution, Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Texas Retired Teachers Association, St. David's Church, 1894-1973
2 Newspaper clippings, 1955-1966
3 Austin tourist books, blueprint map, blank postcards, 1910-1926, undated
4 Austin Public School directories, 1930-1945, 1968-1971
5 Woman's Society of Christian Service directories, 1963-1965, 1969-1970
6 Daughters of the American Revolution and Daughters of the Republic of Texas directories, 1969-1974
Box Folder
6 1 Order of the Eastern Star No. 304 directories, 1968-1973
2 Delta Kappa Gamma and Retired Teachers Association directories, 1962-1974
A History of Texas Revised by Anna J.H. Pennybacker, 1912
5 Hardbound book of sheet music - "Emma Houston" printed on front cover, undated
Scrapbooks and Notebooks, circa 1850s-1900
3 Scrapbook of Emma H. Potts (Mary Josephine Houston's mother), circa 1850s
Account book/scrapbook, 1850s-1880s
Notebook of Josephine Houston - class notes on "Mind Studies for Young Teachers", 1899 September
Photographs, circa 1870s-1960s
Box Folder
2 5 Color photographs - candid shots of friends and family (#001-050), 1950s-1960s
6 Black-and-white photographs - portraits, candid shots (#051-068), 1870s-1960s
Location ArchivesCollection
Inner Vault Nitrate Box 8 nitrate negatives - candid shots and nature scenes, circa 1910s
Materials of Family and Friends, 1847-1973
Box Folder
6 3 James Slaughter - correspondence, report cards, 1896-1899, 1966
4 Heady Cheatham Slaughter - correspondence, 1966-1973
5 Carrie May Holleman Morris - correspondence, 1969-1973
6 Ruth Kennedy - correspondence, 1955-1973
7 Malvin G. Bowden - correspondence, classwork for Psychology of Elementary School, cash book from John B. Winn Elementary School, news clippings, 1941-1973
8 Other family - correspondence, 1847-1959