Judd Mortimer Lewis Collection MSS.0030
Judd Mortimer Lewis (1867-1945), first Poet Laureate of Texas, was born in Fulton, New York, on September 13, 1867. His family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he attended public schools. After finishing the fifth grade, he was forced by circumstances to quit school, and went to work driving oxen for a company that was clearing woodland. From there he went on to work with a stove foundry, and then joined the Kellogg Newspaper Company, where he worked as a stereotyper, making "boiler plates" for country weeklies.
In 1893, at 25 years of age, Mr. Lewis came to Houston as the branch manager for the Kellogg Company. In his spare hours he occasionally wrote verses, and after the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, he wrote a poem about it, entitled "They's All Been Rebels Too," and sent it across the street to Marcellus Foster, then managing editor of the Houston Post. Mr. Foster liked the poem, and as a result hired Lewis as a staff member.
Mr. Lewis married Mary Bartley of Cleveland, Ohio, on September 24, 1894, and their family included two daughters, Marjorie Augusta and Jessamine Margaret. In November 1900, a column appeared of rhymes, jokes, and gags on the editorial page, headed "Tampering with Trifles." During the next 45 years, with the exception of a brief period when he worked for the Houston Chronicle, the column appeared daily in the Post, the vehicle of thousands of poems and pleasantries by Mr. Lewis.
Mr. Lewis' humorous prose stories, "Patsy Kildare," and "Jubilee's Pardner" were syndicated and published in newspapers serially. Through these variety of writings, Mr. Lewis came to be widely known and liked throughout Texas. At one occasion he was declared "the most loved man in Texas." Several volumes of verse extended his fame nationally. He served many years as Vice President of the Houston Post. He died at the age of 77 in Houston on July 26, 1945.
The collection, consisting of 16 scrapbooks and 1 group of assorted poem clippings, includes a nearly complete chronological record of all Mr. Lewis' work done for The Houston Post. Clippings about Mr. Lewis and by Mr. Lewis were kept and placed in scrapbooks from the early 1900's through World War II. His collection of news clippings of cultural and musical personalities during the 1940's and two books of published poems are also included.
Permission to publish or reproduce materials from the Judd Mortimer Lewis Collection must be obtained from the Houston Metropolitan Research Center or the appropriate copyright holder.
Judd Mortimer Lewis Collection. Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library.
Donated by: Marjorie Lewis Perry on August 1, 1985.
Detailed Description of the Collection