Austin History Center

Woods and Griffin Family Papers

An Inventory of the Collection

Collection Summary

Creator: Woods and Griffin families
Title: Woods and Griffin Families Papers
Dates: 1947-1969
Dates (Bulk): 1952-1962
Abstract: This collection documents the lives of the Woods and Griffin family, an African-American family living in Austin, Texas, from the 1940s to the 1960s.
Accession Number: AR.2014.022
Quantity: 0.2 linear feet (1 box)
Location: Archives Stacks
Language: English
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library,
810 Guadalupe, PO Box 2287, Austin, TX 78768

Biographical Sketch

Nettie Vera DeWitty Woods (April 1, 1920-April 13th, 2016) was a teacher at Rosewood School in Austin, Texas. She married Eugene Griffin Jr. and gave birth to Ethel Jean Griffin and Virginia Ruth Griffin. Later, Nettie’s marriage to Griffin ended and she married Marion Woods (January 15, 1920-April 23, 2000) who was at one time a driver for the Bremond family and later a porter at Stelfox Jewelers. They lived at 1710 Chestnut Street until his death at age 80. Nettie eventually relocated to Washington D.C. to live with her daughter Virginia and passed away in 2016 at the age of 96.

Ella DeWitty (August 11, 1893-January 16, 1953) was born in Austin, Texas. She was a cook that lived at 1119 Prospect Ave. and was 32 in the 1930 census. She died aged 59 from endocarditis after a long bout of colds.

Ethel Jean Griffin (June 30, 1944-May 12, 2015), Nettie's oldest daughter was born in Austin and graduated from L.C. Anderson High School in 1962 and later went to the University of Denver. Upon graduation she got a Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctor from New York University. In 1988, Ethel Jean became the first African-American and longest serving public administrator in New York City history. Ethel passed away at 70 in 2015 after a long battle with cancer.

Virginia Ruth Griffin (April 18th, 1946-), the younger daughter of Nettie, also graduated from L.C. Anderson High School in 1964 and later attended Delaware State College and Fisk University, two prominent historically black universities. As of 2016 she lives in the Washington D.C. area.

Scope and Contents

The Woods and Griffin family papers contain tax receipts, photographs, postcards, letters, programs and school report cards that date from approximately the 1940s through the 1960s. Of particular interest are the school ephemera related to L.C Anderson High School, the historic African-American High School in East Austin, commencement programs from graduations from Huston-Tillotson College as well as a collection of school photographs dating from the mid to late 1950s. The photographs feature both of the Griffin children and their friends when they were students at Blackshear Elementary School and Kealing Junior High, as well as Nettie DeWitty’s students from Rosewood School.


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)
DeWitty, Ella, 1898-1953.
DeWitty Woods, Nettie V., 1920-2016.
Griffin, Ethel Jean, 1944-2015.
Griffin, Virginia Ruth, 1946-.
Woods, Marion, 1920-2000.
Subjects (Organizations)
Blackshear Elementary School.
Huston-Tillotson College.
Kealing Junior High School.
Anderson High School (Austin, Tex.).
Rosewood School.
African American women.
African Americans--Texas--Austin.
Public Schools--Texas--Austin.
Universities and colleges--Texas--Austin
East Austin (Austin, Tex.).
Austin (Tex.)--Social life and customs
Document Types
Business cards.
Black-and-white photographs.
Report cards.
Tax records.

Related Material

Austin Files

  • AF Public High Schools - Anderson(Old) General, 1950-1959 P8620 (6)
  • AF Public High Schools - Anderson(Old) General, 1960-1969 P8620 (6)
  • AF Public Schools - Elementary - Blackshear P8300 (7)
  • AF Public Schools - Junior High - Kealing P8800 (5)
  • AF Public Schools - Rosewood - P8300 (42)

Archives and Manuscripts

  • AR.J.014 Kealing Junior High Records
  • AR.K.005 Anderson High School Records
  • AR.2011.043 Lucile Edna Frazier L.C Anderson High School Photograph Collection
  • AR.2015.017 Friendly R. Rice Photograph Album

Administrative Information

Custodial History

These items were found in the attic of 1710 Chestnut Street and dropped off by an unknown donor to the City of Austin's African American Cultural District Office. They were then donated by the city to the Austin History Center in May of 2014.

Preferred Citation

Woods and Griffin Families Papers (AR.2014.022). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donor #: DO/2014/025

Donation Date: May 2014.

Processing Information

Final Processing and Finding Aid By: LaToya Devezin and Johnny Rovell, February, 2017.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Woods and Griffin Family, 1947-1969

Box Folder
1 1 Nettie V. DeWitty (Griffin) Woods, 1947-1969
2 Marion Woods, 1963
3 Ella DeWitty, 1949-1951
4 Ethel Jean Griffin, 1959-1966
5 Virginia Ruth Griffin, 1961-1964
6 Photographs, 1950-1958, undated