Houston Public Library, Houston Metropolitan Research Center

O.J. and Bessie Thomas Collection MSS.1309

Descriptive Summary

Creator Thomas, Bessie Aleda Hardaway
Title: O.J. and Bessie Thomas Collection
Dates: Bulk, 1960-1969
Dates: 1894 to 1977, 1960 to 1969
Identification: MSS.1309
Quantity: 1.0 Linear feet, 1 document box : 2 lin. ft.
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library

Biographical Note

Bessie Aleda Hardaway Thomas was born and raised in Cameron, Texas. She graduated from Prairie View A & M in 1923. Following her graduation she taught homemaking at Cameron Colored School. Bessie Thomas and her husband Oscar John Thomas brought young women of color to Cameron and graciously housed them; permitting the women to complete high school and attend Prarie View A & M for college. In her later years Bessie Thomas worked as Principal for Prairie View Elementary School. Her community advocacy included organizing Cameron's Federated Women's Club, the Prairie View First Methodist Church (1972) and the local Girl Scouts troop.

Scope and Contents

The O. J. and Bessie Thomas Collection is comprised of documents reflecting primarily the education and achievements of Bessie Thomas and Oscar John Thomas. There is correspondence, awards, and photographs. Many of the records are related to their years at Prairie View A & M.



The O.J. and Bessie Thomas Collection is comprised of five series. The series are organized by subject or format.
Series 1: Oscar John Thomas
Series 2: Bessie Thomas
Series 3: Certificates
Series 4: Published Materials
Series 5: Photographs


Access Restrictions


Use Restrictions

Permission to publish or reproduce materials from the O. J. and Bessie Thomas Collection must be obtained from the Houston Metropolitan Research Center or the appropriate copyright holder.

Index Terms

Federated Women's Club (Cameron, Tex.)
First Methodist Church (Prairie View, Tex.)
Girl Scouts of the United States of America
Prairie View A & M University
Prarie View Elementary School
Thomas, Oscar John
African American women--Texas--Houston
African Americans--Education--Texas-Houston
Cameron (Tex.)
Civic leaders
Community leadership
Prairie View (Tex.)
Prarie View A&M University

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

The O. J. and Bessie Thomas Collection. Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library.

Acquisition Information

Donated by: Mrs. Willie Lee Gay, July 30, 1998.

Detailed Description of the Collection


Series 1: Oscar John Thomas

Box Folder
1 1 Chronology
2 New Farmers of America
2 Life Membership, The Colored Teachers’ State Assn. of Texas
3 Thesis by Oscar John Thomas to Prairie View State College, Prairie View,Texas
4 Alumni Award, O. J. Thomas from Prairie View A & M College


Series 2: Bessie Thomas

Box Folder
1 5 Gifted Childrens’ Conference, 1964
Language Arts Workshop, Prairie View Workshop, Prairie View Agricultural & Mechanical College, 1964
Plaque, Prairie View Alumni Club, 1962


Series 3: Certificates

Box Folder
1 6 Certificates 1946 - 1964


Series 4: Published Materials

Box Folder
1 7 Newspaper: Prairie View Standard, Prairie View A & M College of Texas
8 Book: The Hidden Mystery of Ethiopia, J. E. Blayechatti, Abysinnia, East Africa


Series 5: Photographs

1 Photographs
MSS1309.1O. J. and Bessie Thomas, Cameron, Texas
MSS1309.2 Unidentified
MSS1309.3 Emma Thomas
MSS1309.4 Horace __?_, Bessie Thomas, Pearl (Hill) and Horace Hill, Galveston, Texas
MSS1309.5 Athelene Long and Daisy McMillan
MSS1309.6 Mr. and Mrs. __?_ McMillan, Texas College
MSS1309.7 __?_ Thomas, brother-in-law of Mrs. Bessie Thomas
MSS1309.8 O. J. and Bessie Thomas