TABLE OF CONTENTS
Detailed Description of the Collection
"O. Henry, In Prison and Out" Scrapbook
An Inventory of the Collection
William Sydney Porter, pseudonymously O. Henry (1862-1910), is the famed short story writer noted for his twist endings, and for whom the prestigious O. Henry Awards annual literary competition is named. Porter lived in Austin from 1882-1898 with several brief interludes of absence. While in Austin, Porter met and married Athol Estes, and with her had two children, a son who died and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery in East Austin, and a daughter, Margaret, with whom he maintained a lifelong closeness and who was his only surviving child. His wife Athol died of tuberculosis in 1897. During the span of his fourteen years in the Texas capital Porter worked at a variety of local establishments, including the General Land Office (in the building currently serving as the Capitol Visitors Center, at the southeast corner of the capitol grounds at 112 East 11th Street; Morley Brothers Drugs, a pharmacy (formerly on East Sixth Street); and First National Bank, formerly on the northwest corner of Sixth and Congress, which became notable as the place of employment where Porter's work as a bank teller resulted in charges of embezzlement and ultimate conviction. He eventually left Austin to serve a prison sentence at the Ohio Penitentiary for crimes of bank embezzlement. One of Porter's residences in Austin serves as the O. Henry Museum, and contains numerous artifacts and literary publications.
Alphonso J. "Al" Jennings (1863-1961) was a lawyer in Oklahoma Territory who joined an outlaw gang in the late 1890s that was known for robbing trains. According to his own accounts, he became friends with O. Henry in Honduras and later they both served time at the Ohio State Penitentiary. He was released from prison in 1902 and received a presidential pardon by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1904. Jennings later became active in politics in Oklahoma, running for Oklahoma County attorney and governor. Eventually, he relocated to California, where he was involved in the motion picture industry.
"O. Henry, In Prison and Out" is a biography of O. Henry written by Al Jennings that was printed in the Philadelphia newspaper The North American as a series of chapters throughout August and September of 1919. His account includes details about the treatment of prisoners during that period, including a description of the execution of a prisoner by electrocution, and O. Henry's work in the prison hospital.
The scrapbook contains the clippings each chapter, but chapters 35 and 50 are missing, 29 is mislabeled as 39, and 57 is unlabeled.
Open to all users
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.
Donated to the Austin History Center by an individual in Ohio who happened upon the scrapbook pages.
"O. Henry, In Prison and Out" Scrapbook (AR.2006.096). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/2006/096
Donation Date: 2006 September 9
Initial inventory by Erin Norris, 2007. Encoded finding aid by Kelly Hanus, 2018.