Daughters of the Republic of Texas Collection at Texas A&M University-San Antonio

A Guide to the Albert Curtis Papers, 1729-1967

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Curtis, Albert, 1897-1969
Title: Albert Curtis Papers
Dates: 1729-1967
Creator Abstract: An Ohio native, Albert Curtis (1897-1969) moved to Texas in 1933 and eventually settled in San Antonio. While working as a civilian employee at San Antonio military bases, Curtis devoted much of his time to researching and writing, particularly on San Antonio, the Texas Revolution, and the Alamo.
Content Abstract: Manuscripts, correspondence, source material, and personal items make up the Albert Curtis Papers, reflecting years of research and writing on the history of Texas. The bulk of the papers are edited typescripts. Many of these are works on the Texas Revolution, particularly the Battle of the Alamo and commander William Barret Travis.
Identification: Col 1275
Extent: 13.09 linear feet (23 boxes, 3 oversize items)
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library at the Alamo, San Antonio, Texas

Biographical Note

Born in Ohio in 1897, Albert Curtis came to Texas in 1933 after periods of residence in New Orleans, Louisiana, and North Carolina. A visit to the Alamo soon after his arrival sparked an interest in Texas history, an avocation he would pursue for the remainder of his life.

After two years residence at the Veterans Administration hospital in Legion, Texas (now part of the town of Kerrville), Curtis moved to San Antonio, taking a room a short distance from the Alamo. After several years convalescence, he secured a civil service position, working first in the Office of Censorship during World War II and continuing as a civilian employee at Fort Sam Houston and Kelly Air Force Base.

Much of Curtis' spare time was devoted to research on Texas history, particularly the Alamo and William Barret Travis. He apparently gained his first professional writing experience in New Orleans in the 1920s, where he published pamphlets and short articles on local history, usually under the pen name "Stephen Curtis West." After his move to San Antonio he published Military San Antonio, a World War II-era guide to the city for military personnel containing chapters on historic events and places and sketches of the military history of the city. He expanded upon this work in a more ambitious project, Fabulous San Antonio, published by the Naylor Company of San Antonio in 1955. The book added detail on the events, places, and people of San Antonio, with an emphasis on the colorful episodes of city history and its prominent citizens and visitors.

While his published output in the area was relatively small, the subject that occupied much of Curtis's research time was the Battle of the Alamo and the commander of the Texan defenders, William Barret Travis. A tireless researcher, Curtis sought out and reviewed primary sources from libraries, archives, and private collections in Texas and beyond. His written output suggests an ambition to complete a full-length treatment of the battle or a Travis biography; a portion of his output was published in two illustrated pamphlets Remember the Alamo and Remember the Alamo Heroes, both privately-printed in 1961. The former incorporated some of Curtis' research on Travis, James Butler Bonham, and the Battle of the Alamo; the latter presented documentary information on the other Texan defenders of the Alamo. Curtis continued to revise and rearrange his chapters on the subject, and his correspondence indicates he sought a publisher for a larger work, but much of what he produced remained unpublished.

Albert Curtis died in San Antonio on 1969 September 25. His papers were willed to Octavia West Jones, who later donated them to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library. Evidence indicates that some of the Curtis papers remained in her possession and were dispersed upon her death.

Scope and Content Note

Manuscripts, source material, correspondence and personal items make up the Albert Curtis Papers, reflecting years of research and writing on the history of Texas. The bulk of the papers are edited typescripts. Many of these are works on the Texas Revolution, particularly the Battle of the Alamo and commander William Barret Travis.

The earliest items in the collection are photocopies and transcriptions of original documents.


Organization of Collection

This collection is organized into four series.
Series 1: Writings
Series 2: Correspondence
Series 3: Research material
Series 4: Personal papers


Access Restrictions

No restrictions. The collection is open for research.

Usage Restrictions

Please be advised that the library does not hold the copyright to most of the material in its archival collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure those rights when needed. Permission to reproduce does not constitute permission to publish. The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming to the laws of copyright, literary property rights, and libel.

Index Terms

Personal Names
Curtis, Albert, b. 1897.
Borden, Gail, 1801-1874.
Travis, William Barret, 1809-1836.
Alamo defenders.
Authors, American--Texas.
Missions--Texas--San Antonio.
Alamo (San Antonio, Tex.)
Alamo (San Antonio, Tex.)--Siege, 1836.
New Orleans (La.)--Description and travel.
San Antonio (Tex.)--Description and travel.
San Antonio (Tex.)--History.
San Felipe (Tex.)--History.
Personal papers.

Related Material

Albert Curtis Collection, 1962-1965, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Albert Curtis Papers, 1729-1967, Col 1275, Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library, San Antonio, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Octavia West Jones in memory of Sally Ward Beretta, 1979 June.

Processing Information

Processed by Warren Stricker, 1999 October.

Finding aid edited and encoded by David Gallin-Parisi, 2011 August.

Detailed Description of the Collection


Series 1: Writings

The bulk of the papers are part of this series, which consists of edited typescripts and published works. The typescripts were generally loosely organized, if at all, and the author frequently rewrote and reorganized chapters and sections in various ways. As most of this work remained unpublished, and since the author did not consistently specify his intentions, it is often difficult to determine the intended grouping of chapters within a larger framework. A number of tables of contents are found with the typescripts; however, Curtis' frequent changes make these only partly reliable as a guide.
The typescripts have been arranged by title, if one is present, or by subject matter for untitled works. This arrangement is often tentative and is based on the author's occasional grouping of sections in binders, the presence of a working title, or other internal evidence that suggests the order of completion, such as a similarity of format or the inclusion of the author's various addresses.
A large part of this series is devoted to works on the Texas Revolution, particularly the Battle of the Alamo and the role of William Barret Travis. The best-organized work is titled "Remember the Alamo: Biography of the Alamo Commander William Barret Travis," which includes twenty short chapters on the battle and the subsequent history of the Alamo. Another well-ordered work is "Remember the Alamo: William Barret Travis Biography," which focuses more closely on Travis and his role in the history of Texas. The other titled works are generally less organized or complete. Untitled manuscripts arranged under subject often include some duplication of chapters or content from other groupings. Some of this material was incorporated into the two published works Remember the Alamo and Remember the Alamo Heroes, but a final manuscript of these two works has not been identified.
Other subjects are also covered in the manuscripts, and another of the better-organized titled works deals with the history of the town of San Felipe de Austin, including a lengthy chapter on Gail Borden, Jr. San Antonio history is covered in a typescript entitled "Mission Stars Over San Antonio" on the Spanish missions of the area, and under untitled groupings which cover some of the subject matter dealt with in Curtis' published writings on San Antonio. A work on New Orleans history, "Perfume Creole," presents vignettes of local color. Unsorted and unidentified manuscripts generally consist of incomplete or disordered sections that could not be reliably identified.
Shorter works include fiction, a number of articles on San Antonio topics, a small amount of poetry, and miscellaneous writings. Copies of some of Curtis' published works are included here, Military San Antonio in the form of edited galley proofs.
Box Folder
1 Manuscripts
Alamo Tourist Book
1 Tour of the Alamo Grounds, 2 copies
2 Alamo Secularization - End of the Mission Period, 2 copies
3 Alamo Mission Memorabilia, 2 copies
The Fabulous Alamo
4 Tribute to the Alamo, by Major General Herbert L. Grills, Former Commander, Lackland Airforce Base, 1957
Pilgrimage to the Alamo, 1958
Mission Stars Over San Antonio ("Remember the Alamo")
5 Chapter 1: Mission Nuestra Señora de la Concepcion, 2 copies
Chapter 2: Mission San Francisco de la Espada, 2 copies
6 Chapter 3: School-Childrens' Tour of the Missions
Chapter 4: Mission San Juan de Capistrano, 2 copies
7 Chapter 5: Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo, 2 copies
8 San Antonio – Jim Bowie – Santa Anna by David Crockett
Roosevelt Salutes the Alamo, 2 copies
Chapter 17: Seeing the Alamo (With a Taxi Tourist Guide)
Perfume Creole: A Tour Through the French Quarter of New Orleans
9 Chapter 1: The Absinthe House, Pirate Jean Lafitte and Creoles
Chapter 2: Napolean House to the French Grand Opera
Chapter 3: Palace of a French Governor and the Sieur George House
Chapter 4: Bohemian Bookshop, a Spanish Palace and Aunt Rose
Chapter 5: The French Place D'Armes
Chapter 6: A Spanish Caballero and a French Pirate
10 Chapter 7: Quadroon Convent and the French Market
Chapter 8: The Haunted House
Chapter 9: Au Revoir New Orleans
Chapter 10: The Word-Magician of New Orleans
Alternative pages, extra copies, misplaced pages
Box Folder
2 Remember the Alamo [version 1]
11 Roosevelt Salutes the Alamo
Burial of the Alamo Heroes
Celebrities at the Alamo
(Schoolchildrens' Tour of the San Antonio Missions and the Alamo)
Remember the Alamo [version 2, removed from binder]
12 Invitation to the Alamo by His Excellency, Governor of Texas, Price Daniel
Travis' Year of Decision
13 Remember Alamo Hero James Butler Bonham
The Alamo Proclamation of 1960 by His Excellency, Price Daniel, Governor of Texas
[Miscellaneous pages]
Remember the Alamo [version 3]
14 The Alamo Tour ["Chapter 9 for Book, 'Remember the Alamo,'" 2 copies]
Remember the Alamo: Biography of the Alamo Commander William Barret Travis
15 Chapter 1: Introduction
16 Chapter 2: Colonel Travis Arrives in San Antonio, and the Alamo
Chapter 3: Santa Anna Plunges into Texas
Chapter 4: The Opening Day of the Siege of the Alamo
17 Chapter 5: Travis' February 24, 1836 Alamo Letter
Chapter 6: Madam Candelaria and Mrs. Almeron Dickinson
Chapter 7: Sam Houston, Goliad, Fannin and Seguín
Chapter 8: Funerals of the Goliad and Alamo Heroes
18 Chapter 9: Battle of the Alamo Memorabilia
Chapter 10: Francisco Ruiz, The Señora Yorba and José Juan Sánchez-Navarro
Chapter 11: Colonel William Barret Travis Memorabilia
19 Chapter 12: More Battle of the Alamo Memorabilia
Chapter 13: Santa-Anna's Chickens and a Plan of the Alamo Fortress
Chapter 14: Battle of the Alamo Memoirs of Enrique Esparza and Felix Nuñez
Chapter 15: Weapons at the Alamo Fortress
Chapter 16: The Original "Alamo" (The Franciscan Mission San Antonio de Valero)
20 Chapter 17: The Original "Alamo" Soldiers
Chapter 18: Evolution of the Alamo, Shrine of Texas Liberty
Chapter 19: More William Barret Travis Memorabilia
Chapter 20: Adiós, Colonel William Barret Travis, "Angel of the Alamo"
Box Folder
3 "Remember the Alamo" Book
21 Travis in South Carolina, Alabama and Texas
Remember the Claiborne Herald, 2 copies
22 Travis Writes His First Alamo Letter
Remember This Day – February 25, 1836
23 Days of Glory at the Alamo – February 26 to March 6, 1836
24 The Day the Alamo Fell – March 6, 1836
Remember the Gonzales-Alamo Heroes
25 Travis Genealogy, 3 copies
26 Travis Memorabilia, 2 copies
27 Remember Alamo Hero James Butler Bonham
Remember the Alamo Cenotaph – 1939
28 Schoolchildrens' Tour of the Alamo
29 Memorial from the Alamo of Japan – 1914
"Remember the Alamo Heroes" Book
30 Alamo Heroes' Memorabilia
Tribute to the Alamo by Major General Herbert L. Grills
Box Folder
4 Remember the Alamo Heroes: William Barret Travis Biography [removed from binder]
31 [Introductory material]
Chapter 1: Texas Heritage Letters of William Barret Travis. Part one. 1831-1835
32 Chapter 2: Texas heritage Letters of William Barret Travis. Part Two. (Travis' Year of Decision)
Chapter 3: Texas Heritage Letters of William Barret Travis. Part 3 (Travis Arrives at the Alamo)
33 Chapter 4: Texas Heritage Letters of William Barret Travis. Part 4 (Travis Writes His First Alamo Letter)
Chapter 5: Texas Heritage Letters of William Barret Travis – Part 5 (Travis Writes a Famous Letter – February 24th, 1836)
Chapter 6: Texas Heritage Letters of William Barret Travis: Remember this Day – February 25th, 1836
34 Chapter 7: Texas Heritage Letters of William Barret Travis – Part 7 (Days of Glory at the Alamo)
Chapter 7A: They Remembered the Alamo
35 Chapter 8: Texas Heritage Letters of William Barret Travis – Part 8 (The Day the Alamo Fell)
Remember the Alamo Heroes - Shrine of Texas Liberty
36 Ten Travis Letters, 2 copies
Box Folder
5 Shrine Town of Texas - San Felipe de Austin
37 San Felipe de Austin in 1830
Court Cases in San Felipe de Austin
Brands and Cattle Marks in San Felipe de Austin
First Inhabitant of San Felipe de Austin
San Felipe de Austin General Store
38 Estate Sales in San Felipe de Austin
Slave Sales in San Felipe de Austin
John Bricker – First War Casualty in San Felipe de Austin
Marriages in Pre-Revolutionary San Felipe de Austin
Travis Writes a Will
San Felipe de Austin Memorabilia
39-40 Colonial Texas Portraits, With Emphasis on San Felipe de Austin, 2 copies
41 The Texas Pioneering Family of Rebecca Cummings, the Beloved of William Barret Travis, 2 copies
42-43 San Felipe de Austin – Shrine Town of Texas, 2 copies
44-45 Celebrities of San Felipe de Austin, 2 copies
46 Marriage Licenses in San Felipe de Austin, After the Revolution
Headright Grants After the Texian Revolution
Box Folder
6 47-48 Pioneer Store in San Felipe de Austin in 1840, 2 copies
49-50 Stephen Fuller Austin – Founder of San Felipe de Austin, 2 copies
51-54 Internationally-Famous Celebrity of San Felipe de Austin [Gail Borden, Jr.]
Box Folder
7 Three Fabulous Texans
55 Stephen Fuller Austin – Father of Texas
Colonel James Walker Fannin Jr. – The Tragic Figure of the Revolution
56 Fabulous Texan Sam Houston
[Untitled manuscript 1: Alamo defenders biographies]
57-58 [Miles DeForest Andross-Charles Zanco] copy 1
59-60 [Miles DeForest Andross-Charles Zanco] copy 2
Box Folder
8 [Untitled manuscript 2: Alamo, Travis, Texas Revolution]
61 James Butler Bonham – Alamo Hero, 2 copies
Alamo Hero – James Bowie, 2 copies
62 [William Ridgway Carey]
Alamo Hero – Davy Crockett, 2 copies
63 Green B. Jameson – Alamo Hero, 2 copies
Alamo Memorabilia
64 Alamo Heroes Memorabilia
65 Travis Genealogy, 2 copies, incomplete
The Alamo Proclamation of 1960 by His Excellency, Price Daniel, Governor of Texas
Box Folder
9 [Untitled manuscript 3: Alamo, Travis, Texas Revolution]
66-67 William Barret Travis in Texas – 1831 and 1832, 2 copies
68 William Barret Travis in Texas in 1833, Part One
69 Travis in Texas in 1834 – Part Two
70-71 Travis Atom Bombs Texas (1835)
72 The Day the Alamo Fell
73-74 The Travis Diary, 2 copies
75 Estate of William Barret Travis, 2 copies
Box Folder
10 76 The Travis Murder Mystery
77 The Literary William Barret Travis, 2 copies
78 Alamo Hero – James Bowie
79-80 Remember Davy Crockett, 2 copies
81 Remember Alamo Hero Green B. Jameson, 2 copies
82 Tribute to the Alamo Heroes, 2 copies
83-84 A Day at the Alamo, 2 copies
Box Folder
11 [Untitled manuscript 4: Alamo, Travis, Texas Revolution]
85 Travis in South Carolina and Texas
86 William Barret Travis in 1833 – Part One, 2 copies
87-88 Travis in Texas in 1833 – Part Two, 2 copies
89 Travis' Year of Decision
90-91 Travis Arrives at the Alamo
Box Folder
12 92 Travis Writes His First Alamo Letter
93 Travis Writes a Famous Alamo Letter – February 24, 1836, 2 copies
94-95 Days of Glory at the Alamo – February 26 to March 6, 1836, 2 copies
96 The Day the Alamo Fell – March 6, 1836
97 William Barret Travis Letters, 2 copies
98-99 Deeds and Documents Written and Signed by William Barret Travis, 2 copies
100 Remember James Bowie – Alamo Hero
101 Alamo Memorabilia
Box Folder
13 [Untitled manuscript 5: Alamo, Travis, Texas Revolution]
102 Travis in Alabama
103-104 Travis in Texas, 2 versions
105 Travis in Texas – 1833, 2 copies
106-107 Travis in Texas 1834, 2 copies
108 Travis in Texas in 1834
109-110 Travis Atom-Bombs Texas, copy 1
Box Folder
14 111-112 Travis Atom-Bombs Texas, copy 1
113-116 Travis Atom-Bombs Texas, copy 2
117 The Amazing Mr. Santa Anna
118 Santa Anna – The Villain of the Alamo, 2 copies
Box Folder
15 119-120 The Mexicans Remember the Alamo, 2 copies
121 Remember the Alamo Heroes
122 The Sad Case of Charles Edward Travis
123 Fabulous Texas Celebrities
[Untitled manuscript 6: Alamo, Travis, Texas Revolution]
124-126 [Incomplete chronological account]
[Untitled manuscript 7: San Antonio]
127 The Chili Queens
San Fernando Cathedral
San Antonio in the 1830s
Robert E. Lee in Texas
128 Old-Time Thanksgivings in San Antonio
Sweetheart of San Antonio
A President Arrives in San Antonio, 3 copies
San Antonio's Bi-Centennial Birthday Celebration
Box Folder
16 [Untitled manuscript 8: San Antonio]
129 The Alamo Story, 2 copies
130 San Antonio Feature Writer
131 San Antonio's Cinderella Library, 2 copies
God and Texas, Camels and Cats With Robert E. Lee
132 The San Antonio Express, 2 copies
San Antonio Art Trio
Pleasure in Old San Antonio
[Untitled manuscript 9: San Antonio Guide]
133 San Antonio Local Color [many pages in this section appear to be missing or out of order]
134 The Chili Queens
The Texas Cavaliers
Tribute to Randolph Air Force Base
Salute to Brooks Air Force Base
Salute to Fort Sam Houston
Tribute to Lackland Air Force Base
Tribute to Kelly Air Force Base
Calendar of San Antonio Events
135 Miscellaneous title pages, dedicatory pages, tables of contents, etc.
Box Folder
17 Short stories
136 "Remember Trinidad"
137 Notebook
138 [Biblical selections, incomplete]
139 "Fiesta de San Jacinto"
140-141 "Golden Age Celebrations in San Antonio," Parts 1-3, 2 copies
142 "The Lord's Prayer"
143 "Pioneers and Landmarks in San Antonio," 2 copies
144 "San Antonio in the early 1800s," review by Albert Curtis
145 "The Shepherd Psalm," incomplete, 4 pages
146 "Star-Dust Dreams"
147 "Walk in Downtown San Antonio," version ["Article"]
148 "Walk in Downtown San Antonio," version ["Article"]
149-150 "Walk in Downtown San Antonio," version, 2 copies ["Article"]
151 General
152 Notebook
153 Miscellaneous writings: letters to the editor
Box Folder
18 154-169 Unsorted/unidentified manuscripts
Box Folder
19 170-185 Unsorted/unidentified manuscripts
Box Folder
20 Published works
186 "Remember the Alamo"
187 Remember the Alamo Heroes
188 See San Antonio
Drawer Folder
Vault map case Military San Antonio, galley proofs
Box Folder
20 Newspaper/periodical articles
189 Warrington Messenger articles
Drawer Folder
Vault map case [New Orleans] Item-Tribune, "Why Lafcadio Hearn Went Japanese," 1929
[Southern Messenger?], "All Souls' Day in San Antonio's Old San Fernando Cemetery"
Box Folder
20 Promotional material
190 Fabulous San Antonio


Series 2: Correspondence

Most of the correspondence consists of letters received in connection with historical research, and a large part dates from the late 1950s to the early 1960s. Curtis corresponded with librarians, archivists, historians, and private individuals in gathering source material and other information incorporated in his writings. A few copies of outgoing letters and a small number of personal letters are also included.
Box Folder
20 191 1925, 1952-1957
192 1958
193 1959
194 1960
195 1961-1964
196 1965-1967
197 Undated


Series 3: Research material

Copies and transcriptions of some of the sources Curtis used in his work are found in this series. These include letters and other documents, newspaper articles, other published works, printed material, and newspaper clippings. Particularly extensive are transcriptions of newspaper articles, most dating from the 1870s through the 1930s and dealing with the Alamo. Curtis also kept voluminous notes, some on loose sheets and scraps of paper, but most in over one hundred notebooks. These notebooks are not labeled and no particular organization of their content is evident.
Box Folder
20 Collected source material
198 Letters [transcriptions], 1830-1885
199 Documents [transcriptions], 1729-1941
200 Documents [photocopies], 1832-1839
Box Folder
21 201 Speeches
Newspaper articles [transcriptions]
202 1836-1837
203 Circa 1870-circa 1889
204 Circa 1890-circa 1909
205 Circa 1910-circa 1939
206 Other published sources [excerpted transcriptions]
207 Poetry [transcriptions]
208 Miscellaneous transcriptions, removed from notebook
209 Articles and miscellaneous publications
210 Biographical/genealogical information: Cummings and Reynolds families
211 Printed material
212 Miscellaneous material
213 Bibliography
214 Clippings
215 Notes
22 Notebooks: 67 items
23 Notebooks: 46 items


Series 4: Personal papers

Personal material is represented by a single folder of miscellaneous printed and financial documents.
Box Folder
21 216 Personal papers