Houston Public Library, Houston Metropolitan Research Center

A. D. Simpson Family Collection:

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

Descriptive Summary

Creator Simpson family
Title A. D. Simpson Family Collection
Dates: 1898-1960
Dates (Bulk): 1925-1946
Identification MSS 41
Extent 11 boxes
Language Materials are in English.
Repository Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library

Biographical Note

A. "Dee" Simpson was born in Burnet, Texas, in 1881. His father, a Methodist minister, died when he was eleven and left a surviving family of six in poverty. Dee was able to finish high school only by combining long hours of work with study. After graduation he took a series of inconsequential jobs. In 1913, however, he accepted employment as the chief assistant to the president of Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. While visiting Houston on university business in 1917, he had occasion to meet with magnate Jesse Jones. It was a fateful encounter, especially for Simpson, and it marked the beginning of a lifelong association between the two. Simpson moved to Houston the next year, where he was employed by Jones as a clerk in the National Bank of Commerce. A series of promotions followed and in 1934 he was named president of the bank. By then, he had become a much admired and well liked member of the city's civic and business elite, which he remained until his death on Christmas day, 1960. During his career he was either president or member of the board of such national and international organizations as the American Bankers Association, the Foreign Trade Council, Trans-World Airlines, RKO Pictures Corporation, and the Buffalo-Rochester and Pittsburgh Railroad. Locally he held similar positions in the Chamber of Commerce, the YMCA, the Houston Public Library, Jefferson Davis Hospital, the University of Houston, the Foreign Trade Assocaition, the Houston Transit Company, and the River Oaks Country Club. In 1958 he was named "Man of the Year" by Dixie Business Magazine, but he had become one of the most influential men in Houston long before then. He was married to Mamie Tate Simpson, and they had four children.

A. D. Simpson, Jr., the eldest of the children, majored in architecture for three years at Rice University. During the time covered by his letters (1927-1939), he worked for several different companies in Texas, Louisiana, and Missouri as a draftsman and construction inspector.

Robert Tate Simpson and his wife, Mary Margaret (1917-1946) were married shortly after his graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy, where he was trained as an engineer. Thereafter their career was divided between the General Electric Company in New York State and the United States Navy in several locations.

H.L. "Hie" Simpson and Rowena "Neno" Simpson were the two youngest children. Hie was trained as an avaitor during World War II, but it was Rowena who probably came the closest to dying in the conflict. On her return voyage from a European grand tour in 1939, the passenger ship she was on was torpedoes and sunk by a German U-boat.

Scope and Contents

This collection is of particular value to those interested in family history, women's history, the history of children, psychohistory, and related topics of social history. Although it is composed of photographs as well as an assortment of written and printed material, the core of the collection is several thousand letters, most of which were written to Mr. and Mrs. A. D. Simpson by their children during the years of depression and war between 1925 and 1946. Many of the letters are long and descriptive, and they provide an evolutionary portrait of the lives, emotions, opinions, and careers of an active, expressive, and diverse family.


The correspondence in this collection is, for the most part, arranged according to author, with letters to or from the same person in chronological sequence. Occasional newspaper clippings have been inserted where appropriate.


Access Restrictions


Use Restrictions

Permission to publish or reproduce materials from the A. D. Simpson Family Collection must be obtained from the Houston Metropolitan Research Center or the appropriate copyright holder.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Simpson family
Simpson, A. D., 1881-1960
Simpson, Mamie Tate
Simpson Jr., A. D.
Simpson, Robert Tate
Simpson, Mary Margaret
Simpson, H. L.
Simpson, Rowena
Hughes, Howard, 1905-1976

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

A. D. Simpson Family Collection. Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library.

Acquisition Information

Acquired from the University of Houston in 1977.

Processing Information

Processed by: Howard Beeth, December 1981.

Detailed Description

Correspondence, Mr. R. T. ("Tater") Simpson with Mr. And Mrs. A. D. Simpson

Box Folder
1 1 Undated
2 1917-1920
3 January-August 1926
4 September-December 1926
5 January-July 1927
6 August-December 1927
7 January-May 1928
8 June-December 1928
Box Folder
2 1 January-May 1929
2 June-August 1929
3 September-December 1929
4 January-May 1930
5 June-August 1930
6 September-December 1930
Box Folder
3 1 1931
2 January-June 1932
3 July-December 1932
4 January-May 1933
5 June-December 1933
6 1934
7 1935
8 1936
Box Folder
4 1 January-April 1937
2 May-August 1937
3 September-December 1937
4 1938
5 January-May 1939
6 June-December 1939
7 1940
8 June-December 1940
Box Folder
5 1 1941
2 1942
3 1943
4 1944
5 1945
6 1946
6 1946

Correspondence, Mr. R. T. ("Tater") Simpson to Various Persons

Box Folder
5 7 To Mr. A. D. Simpson, Jr., 1926-1929
8 With Mrs. R. T. ("MM") to Mr. H. L. ("Hie") Simpson, 1926-1936
9 With Mrs. R. T. ("MM") and son Robert to Rowena ("Neno") Simpson (Mrs. R.W. Townsend) and son Robert, 1926-1944
10 Miscellaneous Correspondence To and From Mr. R.T. ("Tater") Simpson, 1923-1944

Correspondence, Mrs. R.T. ("MM") Simpson to Mr. and Mrs. A.D. Simpson

Box Folder
6 1 1931
2 1932
3 1933
4 1934
5 1935
6 1936
7 1937
8 1938
9 1939
10 1940
Box Folder
7 1 1941
2 1942
3 1943
4 1944
5 1945-1946

Correspondence, Mr. and Mrs. A.D. Simpson, Jr., to Mr. and Mrs. A.D. Simpson

Box Folder
7 6 Undated
7 1927-1928
8 1929
9 January-June 1930
10 July-October, 1930
11 1931-1939

Miscellaneous Correspondence

Box Folder
8 1 Mr. A.D. Simpson, Jr., to Mrs. A.D. ("Theo") Simpson, Jr., 1929
2 Mr. A.D. Simpson, Jr., from Ms. Anna Lola Gay, 1926-1927
3 Mr. and Mrs. H.L. ("Hie" and Florence) Simpson with Mr. and Mrs. A.D. Simpson, 1925-1946
4 Miscellaneous to Mr. H.L. ("Hie") Simpson, 1930-1932
5 Miss Rowena ("Neno") Simpson (Mrs. R.F. Townsend) to Mr. and Mrs. A.D. Simpson, 1926-1942
6 Miscellaneous Correspondence to Miss Rowena ("Neno") Simpson (Mrs. R.F. Townsend), 1932-1939
7 Re: Miss Rowena ("Neno") Simpson's European Tour, 1938
8 Re: Miss Rowena ("Neno") Simpson's European Tour, 1939
9 Re: Miss Rowena ("Neno") Simpson's return from Europe aboard the ship Athenia and its sinking by a German U-Boat, August - September 12, 1939
10 Re: Miss Rowena ("Neno") Simpson's return from Europe aboard the ship Athenia and its sinking by a German U-Boat, September 13 - October 1939
Box Folder
9 1 Re: Legal suit against Cunard Lines for property losses of Miss Rowena ("Neno") Simpson during Athenia sinking, September 1939 - October 1940
2 Re: Miss Rowena ("Neno") Simpson's return trip expenses from Europe, 1939-1940
3 Re: Miss Joane Hill's return trip expenses from Europe, 1939
4 Mr. A.D. Simpson to Mrs. A.D. Simpson, 1926-1939
5 Mrs. Althea Glenn to Mr. and Mrs. A.D. Simpson, 1933-1944
6 Mr. A.O. Tate to Mr. and Mrs. A.D. Simpson, 1928-1939
7 Correspondence and other material re: Mr. Walter Burton-Baldry, 1939-1940
8 Miscellaneous Correspondence of the A.D. Simpson Family, 1917-1960
9 Miscellaneous Personal Correspondence of the A.D. Simpson Family, 1928-1958
10 Mrs. A.O. Tate to Mrs. Hick L. Tate, 1919-1920
11 Mrs. Gerald ("Babe") Halloway to Mr. and Mrs. Hick L. Tate, 1919-1920
12 Miscellaneous Correspondence to Mrs. Hick L. Tate and Miss Vida Tate, 1910-1920

Scrapbook, Awards and Certificates, and Photographs

10 Scrapbook about Howard Hughes; 7 awards and certificates given to Mr. A.D. Simpson
11 Photographs