Houston Public Library, Houston Metropolitan Research Center

Dr. W.A. Quebedeaux Environmental Collection:

An Inventory of His Papers at the Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library

Descriptive Summary

Creator Quebedeaux, W.A.
Title: Dr. W.A. Quebedeaux Environmental Collection
Date: 1932 - 1985
Collection Number MSS 0234
Extent 7.5 linear feet; 12 document boxes, 4 small photo boxes, 1 record storage carton, 1 medium flat box, four 16mm films.
Language Materials are inEnglish.
Repository Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library

Biographical Note

Dr. Walter Arnim Quebedeaux, Jr., born 1915 at Georgetown, TX, was the son of a prominent local family. He attended Georgetown High School, Southwestern University, (B.S. in Chem., B.A. in math), Texas University (M.A. in Chem. 1937, PH.D. in Chem. 1940, B.S. in Chem. Eng. 1940) and South Texas School of Law (Juris Doctor degree 1968). From 1940-1946 he was a research chemist in New York and Missouri, an Hygiene Engineer and research engineer in Texas and operated his own chemical analysis laboratory in St. Louis, Mo. He was Air & Stream Pollution Director at Champion Paper Co. and in 1954 was made Director of the Air & Water Pollution Control Section of the newly formed Harris County Health Dept. where he rigorously enforced pollution laws and became known as a tough fighter against pollution. He was recognized as one of the nation's foremost authorities on pollution control with his achievements being held as models of what can be done with persistence and quality work. In 1971 he was appointed Director of the Harris County Pollution Control Department in Pasadena, Texas. He died suddenly of a heart attack in November 1976.

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of business correspondence, some personal items including Dr. Quebedeaux's theses, diplomas, certificates of appreciation etc., copies of his and others articles and speeches, clippings and photographs and slides, mainly of pollution and it's effects. There are also a large collection of precedents put together by him for use in his work and the classes he taught.

The collection starts with correspondence relating to Dr. Quebedeaux's work, followed by personal items such as diplomas, etc., information on his work with his research laboratory, sundry items relating to the organizations to which he was affiliated, copies of his articles and speeches, clippings on Dr. Quebedeaux and on pollution. The collection continues with copies of various papers, reports, laws, acts and legislation on pollution, information on conferences attended by Dr. Quebedeaux, articles and speeches on pollution, information on government air pollution agencies, miscellaneous information on legal cases prosecuted by Dr. Quebedeaux as well as on the classes given by him together with his large collection of legal precedents.

There are 135 photographs of Dr. Quebedeaux, his associates and views of pollution damage and polluted sites followed by numerous slides and film of pollution and its effects in Houston, the surrounding area and in other cities.


Use Restrictions


Index Terms

Harris County (Tex.). Pollution Control Department
Merichem Company
Texas Water Quality Board
Southwestern University (Georgetown, Tex.)
United States. Clean Air Act
Air--Pollution--Texas--Harris County
Environmental protection--Texas
Pollution control personnel--Texas--Harris County
Pollution--Texas--Harris County
Sewage disposal plants--Texas--Harris County
Water--Pollution--Texas--Harris County
Houston Ship Channel (Tex.)
Other names:
Connally, John Bowden, 1917-
Dannenbaum, J. B.
Quebedeaux, Walter A., 1915-1976
Taylor, Reese H.
Taylor, Vince
Terraso, M. F.
Tyer, N. W., Jr.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Dr. W.A. Quebedeaux Environmental Collection. Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library.

Detailed Description of the Collection


box folder
1 1 Correspondence to/from W.A. Quebedeaux Jr., 1940
2 Correspondence to/from W.A. Quebedeaux Jr., 1943-44
3 Correspondence to/from W.A. Quebedeaux Jr., 1945
4 Correspondence to/from W.A. Quebedeaux Jr., 1948
5 Correspondence to/from W.A. Quebedeaux Jr., 1950-57
6 Correspondence W.A.Q. and AIRKEM Inc., 1956-57
7 Correspondence to/from W.A.Q., 1958-59
8 Correspondence to/from W.A.Q., 1960-65
9 Correspondence on shell dredging. 1963-64."The Oyster Shell Dredging Case. I. The Facts Surrounding the Order."Article in The Conservationist, Dec. 1963
10 'Don Yarborough for Governor of Texas' letter to Conservationists. 1964
11 Statement by W.A. Quebedeaux for Governor's State Wide Water Recreation Study Commission. Feb. 1964
12 2 letters and paper given by J.B. Dannenbaum "A Study of Design Criteria for Domestic Sewage Treatment Plants."1964
13 Correspondence with John Connally - John Files/Merichem. Jan-Nov 1966
14 Merichem Co. - Pollution Records - Clippings. June 1966
15 Correspondence to/from W.A.Q., 1966-69
16 Letters recommending W.A. Quebedeaux to National Air Quality Advisory Board. (Photocopies) July 1968
17 Statement by W.A. Quebedeaux responding to attack on conduct May 29, 1969
18 Correspondence to/from W.A. Quebedeaux. 1970's
19 Correspondence from IIT Research Institute. 1972
20 W.A. Quebedeaux letter for Houston Citizen's Bank & Trust Centennial Day Time Capsule 'Project 2025'. May 1975
21 W.A.Q. letter to President-Elect Jimmy Carter (& reply, from office) Nov. 5, 1976
22 Letters of Condolence on death of W.A. Quebedeaux. 1976
23 W.A. Quebedeaux Scholarship Fund. 1976


box folder
1 24 W.A. Quebedeaux's notes
25 Misc. items of interest to W.A.Q. including jokes, stories, cards
26 History of German & French names by Prof. D.J. Millet - Formation of the bible (notes)
27 Invitations, dinner programs
28 Personnel sheet on W.A. Quebedeaux Jr. / Biographical Sketch
29 Commencement exercises, W.A.Q. grades, Teachers Certificate University of Texas. 1932-1940
30 W.A.Q. - M.A. Thesis (Univ. of Texas) "The Separation of Aliphatic Acids by Extraction". August 1937
31 W.A.Q. - PH.D. Thesis (U.T.) "The Separation and Identification of the Isomeric Hexanoic Acids from a California Straight-run Gasoline". June 1940
32 Classes of 1931-1940 and where they are in 1976 booklet "Hail to thee, Southwestern!"
33 University of Texas personnel record - W.A.Q., to 1940
box folder
2 1 Awards, diplomas, certificates of appreciation, societies, etc. 1930's
2 Awards, diplomas, certificates of appreciation, societies, etc. 1940's
3 Awards, diplomas, certificates of appreciation, societies, etc. 1950's
4 Awards, diplomas, certificates of appreciation, societies, etc. 1960's
5 Awards, diplomas, certificates of appreciation, societies, etc. 1970's
6 Tributes to W.A.Q. 1976-77
7 W.A.Q. military service papers, patch, etc. 1943-1946
8 Industrial Chemical Labs. - mortgage, etc. 1943-1949
9 W.A.Q. statement of account forms - as consultant
10 "Bat-Re-Nu" Battery. Correspondence W.A. Quebedeaux/Fred. H. Wallace on lab. tests. Product information. 1947-1948
11 State Merit System forms, correspondence. 1964-65
12 W.A. Quebedeaux's business expenses 1964-1974
13 W.A.Q. graduation South Texas College of Law / Letters of Recommendation. 1965-1968
14 W.A.Q. business expenses for appearances before the Legislature, Austin, on Air Pollution (1) 1965-1969
15 W.A.Q. business expenses for appearance before the Legislature, Austin, on Air Pollution (2) 1970-1975
16 Pen & Ink sketches of W.A. Quebedeaux by court artists 1967,1971
17 Transcript of Conference W.A.Q. and National Air Pollution Control Administration. Jan. 1970
18 Correspondence / Report Sam Houston State University, W.A.Q. as teacher
19 Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity. By-Laws. Letter 1976


box folder
2 20 Registered Professional Engineers
21 American Institute of Chemical Engineers. 1944-1946
22 Texas State Guard Reserve Corps. 1959-1975
23 S.O.S. - Save Our Shell, Inc. 1964
24 Texas Ornithological Society - Sponsor of Conference on the Conservation of Natural Resources in Texas. 1964
25 Sportsmen's Club of Texas. 1964-65
26 The Royal Society of Health, brochure, correspondence 1965, 1969
27 Southwestern University Alumni Association. October 1976.

Articles by W.A. Quebedeaux, Jr.

box folder
3 1 "Office and Lab Procedures" by W.A.Q.
2 "Pollution Control and the Common Law" - W.A.Q. pencil notes
3 "Legal Aspects of Air Pollution in Harris County"
4 "Effects of Industrial Effluents on the Fish Life of the Receiving Stream" by W.A.Q., Edward Benavides and Germaine Gomez, n.d.
5 "The Determination of Trace Amounts of Lead in Crabs, Shrimp and Crawfish by Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy" by W.A.Q. and James Joseph, n.d.
6 Radio talk by W.A.Q. - Fumigation Practices. St. Louis.
7 "Air & Stream Pollution Control in Harris County, TX" by W.A.Q. - Public Health Report, 1953
8 "Liquid - Liquid Extraction in the Separation of Petroleum Acids" by W.A.Q., Henry Schutze, H.L. Lochte, Industrial & Engineering Chemistry, Dec. 1958
9 "Routine Monitoring of Radioactivity of Materials in Rainfall and Atmosphere" by W.A.Q. & Germaine Gomez - Air Pollution Control Assoc., June 1959
10 "Active Prosecution as the Key to Air Pollution Control" by W.A.Q., Congressional Record, Aug. 1960
11 "The Relationship of Water Pollution to Conservation" by W.A.Q., 1961
12 "Prosecution of Air Pollution Cases Under Common Law Nuisance" by W.A.Q., Journal of Air Pollution Association, Vol. 12, No. 4, April 1962
13 "The Results of a Ten Year Pollution Control Program" by W.A.Q., June 1964
14 "Efficient Control vs. Cost" by W.A.Q., Buenos Aires, Argentina, November 1965
15 "Industry and Pollution Control in the Future" by W.A.Q., 1969
16 "Two Methods for the Capture and Identification of Organic Odors" by W.A.Q., N.W. Tyer and Jerry Harris, 1970 or later
17 "Enforcement of Pollution Control at the County Level ", by W.A.Q., August 1970; "Pollution Control Officials Are Not Imbeciles ", by W.A.Q.; "I have Pollution to Report! Where Do I Go?", by Vince Taylor, August 1970; "Pollution Control Case Histories" , by W.A.Q. March 1971
18 Speech to River Oaks Rotary Club by W.A.Q., August 3, 1971
19 "Screening Techniques for Determination of Arsenic" by James Joseph and W.A.Q., 1973
20 "Documentation of Admissible Evidence for Environmental Cases" by A.R. Pierce and W.A.Q., June 1974
21 "Ambient Air" Reports, 1974 & 1975
22 "Identification of Emission Sources by Industrial Fingerprint" by James Joseph, Michael Terrasco and W.A.Q.
23 "Fingerprinting Industrial Emission Sources" , Pollution Engineering, June 1976
24 "Agency Surveillance of Plants for the Determination of Compliance with the Law" by W.A.Q., November 1976
25 "The Company & Its Community Providing Leadership Toward General Environmental Improvement" , by W.A.Q., November 1976
26 "The Company providing Leadership ..." Article to be given at Pollution Engineering Exposition Congress (& leaflet). Not given due to death of W.A.Q., November 9-11, 1976

"A Study of the Metals"

box folder
4 1 Bound manuscript by W.A.Q., volume I. June 1934
2 Bound manuscript by W.A.Q., volume II.


box folder
4 3 Clippings on W.A.Q. n.d.
4 Clippings on Air Pollution
5 Clippings on W.A.Q. 1950's
6 Clippings on W.A.Q. 1960's
7 Composite on W.A.Q. and air pollution by Rex Braun. 1966
8 Clippings on Germaine Gomez. 1969, 1979
9 Clippings on W.A.Q. 1970's
10 Clippings on death of W.A. Quebedeaux Jr. 1976-77
11 Bum Steer Awards 1976. Texas Monthly
12 Article on WAQ and Houston Ship Channel. Minneapolis Tribune. 1976
13 Clippings on W.A.Q., 1980's
14 HSC "Conservation Hall of Fame" article by Sarah Emmott Sept. 1981

Legislative and Related Materials

box folder
5 1 Air Pollution - Law Enforcement Photocopy of Section II - The Statutory Approach
2 Definitions on Air Pollution - Law Enforcement of, Copies of Bills, Opinions, etc. (1)
3 Definitions on Air Pollution - Law Enforcement of, Copies of Bills, Opinions, etc. (2)
4 Harris County Pollution Control Dept. Sample test forms
5 Task Force Report On Air Pollution by Center for Study of Responsive Law, Washington, D.C. Prelim. Draft 1970
6 Texas Water Quality Board Enforcement Policy Statement. November 1974
7 U.S.A. vs. GAF Corp. Memorandum opinion and final judgment Feb. 1975
8 Texas Water Quality Board Proposal, Toxicity Statement/Board Order. 1975
9 Program Description - Houston Area Oxidents Study (HAOS Blue Book) - Houston Chamber of Commerce. 1976


box folder
5 10 Conservation of Natural Resources in Texas. Austin. Minutes, notes. March 1964
11 Air Pollution Control Association. Houston. June 1964
12 Conference on Air & Water Pollution Laws - 2 papers. May 1968
13 Contaminacion Del Aire y Cancer Del Pulmon. A.A.C.C.A., Buenos Aires, Argentina. Program, Papers. 1968-1969
14 State Extension Staff. Session V - Environmental Pollution. A Reasonable View. August 1970
15 Program - 75th Annual Meeting of the Texas Academy of Science, San Marcos, TX 1972
16 Gulf Universities Consortium on Air Pollution. Questionnaire, Report: "Air Quality Management & Programs in Harris County"Dec. 1973
International Conference on Environmental Sensing and Assessment
box folder
6 1 ( I) Letters 1975
2 (II) Announcement of Symposium 1975
3 (III) Fingerprinting Technique
4 (IV) Fingerprinting Method Initial Research 1973
5 (V) Graphs
6 Annual Fall Industrial Engineering Conference (AIIE) Oct. 1976.
7 5th Annual Pollution Engineering Exposition & Congress, Anaheim, Calif. Program. Nov. 1976
8 Involvement Day, Houston, TX. Recommendations. Feb. 1977


box folder
6 9 Journal of the International Association on Water Pollution Research - membership information
10 W.A. Quebedeaux's reference notes - Pollution Case Precedents (1)
11 W.A. Quebedeaux's reference notes - Pollution Case Precedents (2)
12 Air Pollution studies, survey. Correspondence with Texas State Health Department. 1952/1953
13 "How to Identify a Public Relations Expert" by Reese H. Taylor of Union Oil, 1954
14 Releases & letters concerning Houston and surrounding area sewage treatment plants. July 1963
15 American Bar Assn. Journal reprint: Private Lawsuits and Air Pollution Control. May 1970.
16 3 speeches 1970-73
1) "Have Information - will discuss", by Robert Churchwell
2) "I have pollution to report! Where do I go?", by Vince Taylor
3) "Use of the Bio Assay as a screening technique to determine the effect of industrial wastes on fish life", by J.G. Durham and N.J. Lemmon
box folder
6 17 Houston Ship Channel Studies, Texas A&M Research Foundation (photocopy). June 1971
18 "Hot New Prospects for Power from the Earth" by C.P. Gilmore. In Popular Science Annotated. Aug. 1972
19 "Absorption and Identification of Trace Amounts of Organic Amines" by M.F. Terraso and N.W. Tyer Jr., March 1973
20 1974 City of Houston Budget. Annual Reports of various departments through 1975
21 Photocopies of excerpts from South Western Reporter, Texas Digest. Misc. dates

Legal Cases

box folder
7 1 Legal procedures
2 Terms & laws defining pollution
3 Forms for filing legal suits by Harris County Pollution Control Dept.
4 Lists of cases from 1882
5 "Stamps vs. Century Electric Co." - appellant's statement, brief & argument booklet. 1946-49
6 Misc. correspondence concerning W.A.Q. legal cases - Industrial Chemical Laboratories, St. Louis, MO., 1946-52
7 Mack Wealdron vs. Skelly Oil Corp., 1950-51
8 Misc. correspondence concerning W.A.Q. legal cases - Austin and Houston. 1953-64
9 "State (WAQ) vs. Barvin" Legal case involvement injury to W.A.Q., Feb. 1959 - July 1959
10 Misc. correspondence concerning academic participation, 1967-74
11 Investigation report of Dupont rail car accident, Nov. 1968
12 Cases filed by Harris County Health Dept., 1968-71
13 Request for federal grant for Buffalo Bayou pollution solution. 1970
14 Letters concerning Violations: 1972-1976 (inclusive);1976 (bulk)
1) Armco, n.d.
2) Century III, Inc., 1974
3) Consolidated Tank & Pipeline Co. Inc. - 1976
4) Charter International Oil Co. - 1976
5) Houston International Terminal Inc - 1976
box folder
7 15 Remarks on Ocean Dumping - speech, ca. 1973
16 W.A.Q. Class on Legal/Pollution - General Information, 1973/74
17 W.A.Q. Class on Legal/Pollution - Assignments, 1973/74
18 W.A.Q. Class on Legal/Pollution - Quizes, 1973/74
19 W.A.Q. Class - Precedents. (Env. 330)
20 Courts Summons of W.A.Q., 1965,1968,1974
21 Pollution test notes/record, 1975
22 Texas Water Quality Board Hearing, Sept. 1976
23 Activities of Harris County Pollution Control Department, 1976


box folder
8 1 Texas General Sanitation Law of 1945. TX State Dept. of Health
2 Nominees 57th legislature, State of Texas, 1961-1962
3 Rosters 58th & 60th legislatures, State of Texas, 1963-1966, and 1967-1968
4 Governmental air pollution agencies - directories 1963, 1967, 1968, 1969
5 Governmental air pollution agencies - directories 1970, 1971-1972, 1972-1973
6 Governmental air pollution agencies - directories 1973-74, 1974-75, 1975-76
7 The drafting of legislative documents - A Manual for Assistance of Members of the Staff of The Attorney General (Texas), Jan. 1971
8 EPA Reports (3) - 1973 & 1975
9 EPA Research Permit (Ocean Dumping), Oct. 1974
10 Clean Air Act, June 1974
11 Clean Air Act Amendments of 1975 91st Congress, lst Session, H.R. 10498,
12 Clean Air Amendments of 1975 Senate Public Works Committee staff
13 Environmental Education Act 1975 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.
14 Toxic Substances Control Act, March 1976
15 Outline of Texas Environmental Quality Code


box folder
9 1 "The Sou'Wester - 1932". Southwestern University Yearbooks
2 "The Sou'Wester - 1933". Southwestern University Yearbooks
3 "The Sou'Wester - 1935". Southwestern University Yearbooks
box folder
10 1 Research on Pollution Cases - I
2 Research on Pollution Cases - II
3 Research on Pollution Cases - III
4 Research on Pollution Cases - IV
5 Legal Precedents
6 Legal Precedents
7 W.A.Q. Personal Collection of Legal Cases - Part I
8 W.A.Q. Personal Collection of Legal Cases - Part II
9 W.A.Q. Personal Collection of Legal Cases - Part III
box folder
11 1 Plaque for American Society for Testing & Materials
2 Wooden Plaque - Royal Society of Health
3 Laminated photograph of Ship Channel with downtown Houston in background
4 Southwestern University Degrees
5 Texas Gulf Coast Civil Defense Association Certificate
6 University of Texas Degrees: Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts & Doctor of Philosophy


12 Photographs
13, 14, 15 Slides: views of various companies in Houston and other cities; views of downtown Houston, including from Goodyear Blimp. Box 13 also contains the photographic I.D. sheets


16, 17, 18 Films in small and medium canisters
1, 2, 3, 4 Films in large canisters