Houston Public Library, Houston Metropolitan Research Center

Versie Shelton Collection:

An Inventory of her Records at the Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library

Descriptive Summary

Creator Shelton, Versie Antoinette, 1918-2001
Title Versie Shelton Collection
Dates: December 1915 to December 2003
Dates (Bulk): 1960’s
Identification MSS 1433
Extent 8.5 lin. ft.: 7 document boxes, 1 oversized document box, 5 photo boxes, 1 large flat box, 1 small flat box, 1 cylinder
Language Materials are in English.
Repository Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library

Biographical Note

Versie and Hugh Shelton were best known for their unwavering dedication to the communities of Houston through service and activism. Versie Powell came to Houston in 1926, married Hugh Shelton in 1940, and remained married for the next 62 years. Hugh Shelton was employed with the United States Postal Service for 34 years; progressing to the position of Superintendent of Postal Sub-Stations. Versie worked for both academic and non-profit organizations during the course of her career with the express interest in providing opportunities to the disenfranchised. Her employers included Baylor University College of Medicine , Texas Southern University, Ben Taub Hospital and the Negro Child Center. She was the first Black secretary to integrate Houston’s downtown offices.

Her charitable activities included work for the Houston Association for Better Schools, Institute for International Education and Jack and Jill of America as well as participation as a member of the Chaplaincy Consulting group for the Harris County Hospital District.

Much of the Shelton’s personal success has culminated in the accomplishments of their daughter Dr. Rita Shelton Deverell. Dr. Deverell’s hard work and ambition has afforded her the title of actress, journalist, television producer, university assistant professor, and Member of the Order of Canada. Dr. Deverell attributes her achievements to the support of her parents and the family’s personal philosophy.

Scope and Contents

The Versie Shelton Collection contans information relating to the community involvement, relationships and accomplishments of the Shelton family.


This collection is arranged topically and by types of material. Box 1 contains vital records and other personal records. Box 2 contains academic records, papers relating to community service and awards of recognition. Boxes 3 and 4 contain correspondence and personal letters of Versie and Hugh Shelton. Boxes 5, 6, 7, and 8 relate to the academic achievements and personal correspondence of Rita Shelton and chronicle her growth from her teen years to adulthood. Boxes 9 and 10 contain artifacts and awards. Boxes 11, 12 and 13 contain photographs. Box 14 contains oversize items including family trees, photographs and newspapers. Box 15 contains the Shelton family tree.
Personal records and legal records
Academic records
Service and recognition
Personal notes
Rita Shelton


Access Restrictions


Use Restrictions


Index Terms

African American Families--Texas--Houston--Correspondence
Manners and customs--Texas--Houston--20th century
African-Americans--Social conditions--1955-2001
African American Intellectuals
Personal names
Shelton, Versie Antoinette, 1918-2001
Deverell, Rita Shelton, b. 1945--Intellectual life--Correspondence

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Versie Shelton Collection. Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library.

Acquisition Information

Donated by: Rita Shelton Deverell, January 14, 2005.

Processing Information

Processed by: Tammy Jordan, completed September 2005.

Detailed Description

Personal records and legal records

Vital records
Item separated: see Box 14 Oversized items, Folder 253, Marriage license, James Powell wed to Cliffie Wylie, Dec. 19, 1915
Box Folder
1 1 Birth, death and marriage records
2 Rita Shelton birth certificate, Canadian immigration card
3 Accounts, Retirement, Social Security, Taxes, Selective Service, Voter registration
Box Folder
1 4 Shelton wills, Forms designating beneficiaries
5 Eula Shelton will
6 Carl Shelton will
Property records
Box Folder
1 7 Automobile loan, Title transfer home (Eagle St.), Property improvement loan, Clarewood House, apartment floor plan
Medical records
Box Folder
1 8 Do Not Resuscitate order, Medical Consent to Disclose
Insurance records
Box Folder
1 9 Life insurance policies, Postal Employees Immediate Relief Association, Health insurance


Powell/Shelton family obituaries
Box Folder
1 10 Obituaries for Hugh Shelton and Versie Shelton, Correspondence, Contributions
11 Correspondence, death of Hugh Shelton
12 Deaths, Powell family obituaries, services, correspondence
13 Deaths, Shelton family obituaries, services, correspondence
Powell/Shelton family documented facts
Box Folder
1 14 Shelton family marriages
15 Shelton family genealogy
16 Powell family genealogy
17 Video, personal narrative chronicling Versie Shelton's life
Powell/Shelton family trees
Item separated: see Box 14 Oversized items, Folder 252, Powell family tree.
Items separated: see Box 15 (storage tube), Shelton family tree, Powell family tree.
Box Folder
1 18 Powell family tree

Academic records

Includes transcripts, school assignments, degrees.
Item separated: see Box 14 Oversized items, Folder 265 Phillis Wheatley High School diploma, Versie Antoinette Powell, May 31, 1935.
Box Folder
2 1 Versie Shelton’s transcripts, school assignments, degrees
2 Hugh Shelton’s transcripts, school assignments, degrees
3 Program, Phyllis Wheatley High School 75th Anniversary, 2002, 50th Reunion Banquet, 1985

Service and recognition

Item separated: see Box 14 Oversized items, Folder 262, Houston Post, Ben Taub's Ambassador, Nov. 4, 1983
Box Folder
2 4 Hugh Shelton-news clippings, correspondence
5 Versie Shelton-articles, correspondence
Community service
Box Folder
2 6 Community service correspondence, 1960-1965
7 Community service correspondence, 1972-2002
Awards and certificates
Item separated: see Box 14, Folder 263 Award of appreciation bestowed upon Versie Shelton for her work at Ben Taub Hospital from the Mayor of Houston and Council Members, Jan. 24, 1984.
Item separated: see Box 14, Folder 264 Certificate of Appreciation from the City of Houston bestowed upon The Shelton Family, June 22, 1985.
Box Folder
2 8 Articles-Versie Shelton,1983-1993
9 Awards, certificates-Versie Shelton, 1968-1999
10 Awards, certificates-Hugh Shelton, 1972-1999
11 Senior Olympics, Versie Shelton, Mar. 1993
12 Alpha Kappa Mu, Hugh Shelton, Feb. 18, 1941
Charitable contributions
Box Folder
2 13 Charitable contributions, 1964-2004
14 Shelton household budget


Personal letters, friends
Box Folder
3 1 Personal letters, friends, July 1945- May 1972
2 Screenplay, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Allan Page, Tomorrow Entertainment, Inc., Dec. 1972
3 Screenplay, Mrs. Sundance, Allan Page, 20th Century Fox Television, American Broadcasting Company, Jan. 1973
4 Personal letters, friends, June 1972-Nov. 1976
5 Personal letters, friends, Oct. 1974-Apr. 1975
6 Play, Agape’ is a Form of Love, Charlotte Kraft, Dec. 1982
7 Personal letters, friends, June 1975-Sept. 1983
8 Personal letters, friends, Oct. 1983-Jan. 1986
9 Personal letters, friends, Jan. 1985-Aug. 1988
10 Personal letters, friends, Nov. 1988-Sept. 1993 Card, Lorraine Malach, 1993
Box Folder
4 1 Personal letters, friends, Mar. 1994-July 2000
2 Personal letters, friends, Feb. 2002-Dec. 2003
3 Personal letters, friends, no dates
Personal letters, family
See also: Box 12 Folder 225 Photo 272 and Box 12 Folder 226 Photo 273 in Photographs Series.
Box Folder
4 4 Personal letters, Powell family, Dec. 1951-Mar. 2001
5 Personal letters, Shelton family, Sept. 1977-Apr. 1974

Personal notes

Includes schedules and event planning.
Box Folder
4 6 Schedules, menus announcements, Hugh and Versie Shelton’s hosted family visits.
7 Announcements, cards, lists Hugh and Versie Shelton’s anniversaries.
8 Guest lists, cards, invitations, notes Versie Shelton’s birthdays.
9 Reservations, cards, lists, notes Hugh Shelton’s birthdays.


Includes personal interest papers, including travel, theater, articles.
Item separated: see Box 14, Folder 245 for Video, Hugh Shelton's 90th birthday party.
Item separated: see Box 14, Folder 257 for Houston Post newspaper, Nuns break language barrier at hospital, July 23, 1994.
Box Folder
4 10 Map of the Shelton’s travels Mexican currency, Australian currency Itinerary Paris travel.
11 Playbill, Bidi Sayao, Houston Music Hall, Mar. 1949
12 Conference materials, National Association of Human Rights Workers, Oct. 1972
13 Articles, Newspaper clippings

Rita Shelton

Personal letters, family
Box Folder
5 1 Personal letter, Santa Claus, no date; Budget, no date
2 Correspondence, Herald Tribune, Apr. 1957; Article, Houston Post, Sept. 1964
3 Correspondence, Versie Shelton regarding schools, Oct. 1959-Jan. 1960
4 Personal letters, July 1959
5 Personal letters, July 1960-Aug. 1960
6 Personal letters, June 1961-July 1961
7 Personal letters, July 1961
8 Personal letters, July 1961-Dec. 1961
9 Personal letters, Apr. 1962-Oct. 1962
10 Personal letters, Oct. 1962-Dec. 1962
11 Personal letters, Jan. 1963-Feb. 1963
12 Personal letters, Feb. 1963-Mar. 1963
13 Personal letters, Mar. 1963
14 Personal letters, Apr. 1963
15 Personal letters, May 1963-Dec. 1963
16 Personal letters, Jan. 1964-Feb. 1964
17 Personal letters, Feb. 1964-Mar. 1964
18 Personal letters, Mar. 1964-June 1964
19 Personal letters, June 1964-Sept. 1964
Box Folder
6 1 1 Personal letters, Oct. 1964-Dec. 1964
2 Personal letters, Jan. 1965-Feb. 1965
3 Personal letters, Mar. 1965-Dec. 1965
4 Personal letters, Jan. 1966-Dec. 1966
5 Personal letters, Feb. 1967-July 1967
6 Personal letters, July 1967-Dec. 1967
7 Personal letters, Jan. 1968-May 1968
8 Personal letters, June 1968-Dec. 1968
9 Personal letters, Jan. 1969-Dec. 1969
10 Personal letters, Jan. 1970-Nov. 1970
11 Personal letters, Jan. 1971-Dec. 1971
12 Personal letters, Jan. 1972-Dec. 1972
13 Personal letters, Apr. 1973-Dec. 1973
14 Personal letters, Jan. 1974-Nov. 1982
15 Personal letters, Feb. 1984-Dec. 1999
Academic records
Box Folder
7 1 Transcripts, test scores, high school diploma
2 Program, Atherton School, May 1958
3 Commencement program, William E. Miller Junior High School, June 1959
4 College applications, 1961-1962
5 Financial aid application, Jan. 1962
6 Grades, class schedules, Adelphi College, 1962
7 Registration instructions, Adelphi College, Mar. 1963
8 Correspondence, financial aid, Sept. 1963
9 Correspondence, program, Yale Drama Festival, Mar. 1963
10 Class schedules, 1963
11 Transcripts, 1963
12 Class schedules, 1964
13 Correspondence, financial aid, 1964
14 Transcripts, class schedules, 1965
15 Correspondence, financial aid, 1965
16 Correspondence, universities, Mar. 1966
17 Correspondence, financial aid, 1966
Correspondence, employment
Box Folder
7 18 Correspondence, Sept. 1963
Item separated: see Box 14 Oversized items, Folder 254 for Delphian newspaper, Adelphi College, Long Island, NY, A.U. Mourns Kennedy Nov. 27, 1963
Item separated: see Box 14 Oversized items, Folder 255 for Perry-Mansfield Pine Bark newpaper, Rita Shelton mentioned, Jan. 1964.
Item separated: see Box 14 Oversized items, Folder 256 for St. Thomas Times-Journal newspaper, Open Lid Coffee House, Dec. 23, 1967.
Item separated: see Box 14 Oversized items, Folder 266 for Rex Deverell, Rita Shelton wedding sermon, May 24, 1967.
Box Folder
7 15 Receipts
16 Newspaper clippings, correspondence, Deverell/Shelton marriage, May 1967
17 Articles, news releases on Rita Shelton, 1971-2004
18 Invitation, Premier of Saskatchewan, Ramsey Deverell
19 Announcement, Chalmers Award, Rex Deverell, 1996
20 Convocation Program, Mt. Allison University, Shelton Ramsay Deverell, May 1997
21 Personal notes, Reflections, Nov. 2002
Personal letters, family (reel tapes)
Box Folder
8 1 Personal letters, family, Spet. 1966
2 Personal letters, family, Oct. 1966
3 Personal letters, family, no date
4 Personal letters, family, no date
5 Personal letters, family, no date
6 Personal letters, family, Jan. 1967
7 Personal letters, family, Feb. 1967
8 Indecipherable content


Family and friends
Item separated: see Box 16 Oversize photographs for Drawing, Veryl Powell, June 19, 1946.
Box Photo
11 1-70 Family and friends
Box Photo
13 279-288 Family and friends
Employment and community service
Box Photo
11 71-77 Versie Shelton and Rita Deverell employment and community community service
Box Photo
13 282 Hugh Shelton employement and community service
Item separated: see Box 16 Oversized photographs Powell family members: Vernie Powell, Jimmie Powell McCollum, Ennis Powell, Clotele Powell Tatum, James Powell, Versie Powell Shelton, Veryl Powell Askernee.
Item separated: see Box 16 Oversized photographs Powell family members: Vernie Powell, Jimmie Powell McCollum, Ennis Powell, Clotele Powell Tatum, James Powell, Versie Powell Shelton, Veryl Powell Askernee.
Item separated: see Box 16 Oversized photos Family photograph, enlarged inset, no date.
Item separated: see Box 16 Oversized photos Shelton, Deverell families, no date.
Item separated: see Box 16 Oversized photos Rita Shelton, 18 months, 1945.
Box Photo
11 78-87 Early photographs found glued together on one page
88-98 Early photographs
99-103 Rita Shelton and Shelton Ramsey Deverell
104-110 Powell and Shelton family
Box Photo
13 276-291 Powell and Shelton family
Personal achievements and academic achievements
Box Photo
11 111-118 Versie Shelton, Senior Olympics, 1995
119-131 Shelton Ramsey Deverell's graduation,1997
Box Photo
12 132-139 Shelton family holidays
140-143 Wedding of Rex Deverell and Rita Shelton
144-145 Versie Shelton’s birthday, no date
146-148 Hugh Shelton’s 80th birthday, Mar. 1989
149 Hugh and Versie Shelton at Eagle St., Houston home kissing, May 1989
150 Hugh and Versie Shelton eating with Sister Mary Agnes Joy, May 1989
151 Hugh and Versie Shelton at Eagle St., Houston home sitting in yard, May 1989
152-153 Hugh and Versie Shelton's 50th anniversary, 1990
173-190 Hugh Shelton’s 80th birthday party, May 1989
191-192 Hugh Shelton, 90th birthday party, 1999
193-223 Hugh & Versie Shelton’s 60th anniversary, Galveston, May 2000
224 Hugh and Versie Shelton dressed up at celebration, Aug. 17, 2001
225-250 Friends at Versie Shelton’s 85th birthday party, Clary’s Restaurant, Galveston, May 2003
251-252 Neena Shelton’s son’s wedding, Sept. 2003
Personal interest, including travel
See also: Video of Hugh Shelton's 90th birthday in Box 14 Folder 245.
Box Photo
12 253-268 Vacation photos
Miscellaneous photographs
Box Photo
12 269 Mt. Vernon Methodist Church, location of marriage of Versie and Hugh Shelton, lifelong members of church since that time, no date
270 Giant crab at Gaido's Restaurant, Galveston, no date
271 Vivian Hubbert's correspondence to Rita Shelton, 1961
272 The Shelton's pet dog, 1964
273 Lorraine Malach's art, no date
274 Lorraine Malach's art, no date
275 House at Eagle St., Houston, no date


Box Folder
9 1,2 Pendant
3 Pin
4-6 Medal, Senior Olympics, May 1995
Box Folder
10 1-4 Award
14 Oversize items
15 Oversize items
16 Oversize items