Lamar University Archives and Special Collections

Larry Jene Fisher Collection 1919-1956

Title: Larry Jene Fisher Collection
Dates: 1919-1956
Identification: Special Collections #3
Extent: 24 cubic feet
Repository: Mary and John Gray Library Special Collections Department Lamar University


Larry Jene Fisher was born Lawrence Orsino Fisher on June 18, 1902 to Gustave Henry Fisher and Lena Frey Fisher near Wichita Falls, Texas. About 1916 Fisher changed his middle name to Jean which he spelled as “Jene” in later life. Fisher was truly a Renaissance man as he was an aviator, musician, photographer, playwright and filmmaker. He played a key role in the first movement to preserve the Big Thicket as a national park by photographing Big Thicket flora and fauna.

Fisher earned a living as an organist and played in movie theaters in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska and Wyoming. As the “talkies” replaced silent movies and the need for organists in theaters dwindled, Fisher played his final engagements in Beaumont at the Jefferson Theater from March 1931 to August 1934. Also during the 1930s Fisher became interested in flying and took flying lessons at the Beaumont Municipal Airport and received his private pilot’s license in 1931. Fisher would later use his flying skills during World War II with the Civil Air Patrol where he flew submarine detection missions over the Gulf of Mexico.

Fisher became fascinated by all things Big Thicket possibly while flying above the area as a pilot. From the air he could see giant trees and bodies of water and began to explore the area on foot. By late 1939 or early 1940 Fisher made the move to Saratoga, Texas and lived there for fifteen years. He opened a photographer’s studio and began taking photographs which included weddings, funerals, school pictures, portraits and more importantly Fisher photographed every day activities that were largely disappearing such as syrup making, chimney daubing, tie hacking, turpentining and stave making. Fisher also recorded events related to rural, social life such as church picnics, deer camps, dances and other family gatherings. Another important collection of images contain town scenes from the Big Thicket area which include early day Batson, Saratoga, Honey Island, Sour Lake and other Hardin County locales.

Sometime in the 1940s, Fisher closed down his photography studio and moved to College Station, Texas where he produced several successful films for the Texas Forest Service. Later he moved to Denton, Texas to pursue a career as an independent filmmaker. He continued to work in film and was making a movie in Nashville, Tennessee where he died suddenly of pneumonia at age 53.


The primary focus of the collection is the Big Thicket. In the photograph collection are photographs with negatives taken between 1940 and 1951, as well as copies of earlier photographs loaned to Fisher by area citizens. The Big Thicket pictures are of many subjects including plant and animal life such as birds, hogs, orchids, shagbark magnolias, and baygalls. Also included are portraits, landscapes, town scenes, photographs of Civil War documents, such as records from Drew’s Landing in Polk County and a receipt signed by Major J. N. Dark, are also in the collection. There are images of travel to New York and California as well as images of the Perricone Quads born in 1929 in Beaumont, Texas who garnered fame as the world's first known set of male quadruplets. There are images of the Perricone Quads with other sets of multiples as well.

Major local industries are documented. These include photographic copies of the Beaumont, Texas newspaper from 1901 when the Spindletop well blew in, as well as copies from books showing Spindletop technology and other oil industry technology, images of drilling crews and oil wells at Saratoga, Texas. The lumber industry is also documented with images of the Kirby Lumber commissary in Hardin County and also logging trains which transported the logs to processing centers. There are images of ranching which include a cattle round-up at High Island.

The Civil Air Patrol based at the Beaumont Municipal Airport is represented in the photographic negative portion of the collection. The images include planes, portraits in uniform, group shots, CAP vehicles, barracks and social events. The images also document the role of women in the Civil Air Patrol in Beaumont, Texas. There is an image of a submarine being paraded in downtown Beaumont and images of a memorial for the men that were killed while in the service of the Civil Air Patrol in Beaumont, Texas.

The collection includes images of early day airplanes and a female aviatrix, a photographic copy of an early day saloon, the Spindletop oilfield from the 1940s, Civilian Conservation Corps, possibly Camp Leonard Wood near Woodville, Texas, the Alabama-Coushatta Indians and the dedication of St. James Catholic Church in Port Arthur, Texas in 1939. There are also images of petroleum industry fires, the Drake Well in Pennsylvania, a series of exteriors of various Texas courthouses, the Texas Prison Rodeo, the castor oil plant at Romayor, Texas as well as images of the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona.

There is correspondence with National Geographic Magazine and J. Frank and Bertha Dobie as well as correspondence between Liberty County Judge Dempsie Henley, William O. Douglas, Price and Bill Daniel, Lance Rosier and Hart Stillwell.

Included are photocopies of numerous newspaper clippings pertaining to the area on such topics as: flora and fauna; folklore and linguistics; industries; outlaws (Red Goleman and John Wesley Hardin); citizens, history; and maps. Some other topics are: Spanish land measurements used in Texas; Civil War accounts; Texas Rangers; the A. B. Carr letters (photocopies of typescripts) 1835-1836, 1861-1862 which discuss the Texas Revolution and the Civil War; and Peachtree Village, Tyler County.



Special Collections


Fisher, Larry Jene (1906-1953)
Evans, Martha Jordan “Aunt Mat” (1872-1960)
Rosier, Lance (1896-1970)
Thomas Jefferson “Red” Goleman 1909-1940
Perricone Quads
Rubinoff, David (1897-1986)
Hatfield, Basil Commodore, 1871-1942
Big Thicket—Texas—Social life and customs—20th Century.
Big Thicket—Texas—Fauna and flora.
Big Thicket—Texas—Environmentalists.
Country life—Texas—Big Thicket—History—20th Century.
Outdoor life—Texas—Big Thicket—History—20th Century.
Outlaws-East Texas.
Photographers— East Texas.
Aviation—East Texas—1920s-1940s.
Civil Air Patrol—Texas—World War II.
Huntsville Prison Rodeo—Texas—Huntsville.
Henderson Yoakum house—Texas—Huntsville.
Keyser’s Burnout (Play about)—Texas.
Courthouses—Exterior views—Texas.
Petroleum workers—Texas.
Migrant workers—Texas—Rio Grande Valley.
Turpentining—Texas, East—1930s-1940s.
Texas A and M University;—Photographs—1880s-1910s.
Castor bean—Processing—Texas.
Big Thicket-Texas.
Hardin County-Texas.
Santa Anita Racetrack-California.
Permian Basin-Texas.
Port Arthur-Texas.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation:

[Identification of item]. Larry Jene Fisher Collection, Special Collections, Lamar University.


The Larry Jene Fisher Collection was acquired from various sources. The Fisher photograph and negative collection was donated by Miss Maxine Johnston. James Elmo Rosier, nephew of the late Lance Rosier, a foremost Big Thicket naturalist, conveyed the gift to her. The elder Rosier obtained the items from Mr. Fisher. It was Mr. Rosier’s request that the material be given to Miss Johnston.

Portions of the collection consist of photocopies of material held by Liberty County Judge Dempsie Henley. Also there are photocopies of Juanita Martin’s Larry Jene Fisher Scrapbook that consists primarily of newspaper clippings about his organ performances in churches, civic clubs, theaters, and etc. both in Texas and in other states from 1919 to 1934. Copies of two of Mr. Fisher’s plays, Keyser Burnout and Gusher were made from originals owned by the Beaumont Public Library. Mr. Fisher’s sister, Mrs. Max Renas of Comanche, Oklahoma gave part of his film and script collection to Lamar State College of Technology Library in 1970.

Processed by Lois Parker, Tim Wyatt, Charlotte A. Holliman and Ramona Hutchinson

March 2013

Detailed Description of the Collection

1 Larry Jene Fisher Collection Box 1 of 24
1.1 Big Thicket
1.2 Photocopies: News Clippings; Information on John Dillard (Dollard); Information on Pittman’s; Map of Concord Church Road and Vicinity
1.3 Forestry, Lumber Industry, Etc.
1.4 Oil
1.5 Notebook of Larry J. Fisher
1.6 Folklore and Linguistics
1.7 Fisher Correspondence
1.8 Henley Correspondence
1.9 Red Goleman; John Wesley Hardin
1.10 Biographical – Big Thicket Residents
1.11 Larry Fisher – Notebook
1.12 Big Thicket News Clippings and Pictures; Douglas Yarborough
1.13 Personal Memories of Larry Fisher by B. Holton
1.14 Saloons – Photographs
1.15 Gaius Petronius – Title Pages from Film
1.16 de Morfi, Fray Juan Augustin – Title Pages from Films on Fisher
1.17 Notebook of Larry Fisher
1.18 Correspondence – Garden Club of Texas, Texas Forest Service Radio Script, Etc.
1.19 Juanita Martin’s – Larry Fisher Notebook

2 Larry Jene Fisher Collection Box 2 of 24
2.1 “Betsy and the Magic Key”
2.2 “Building for Learning”
2.3 “Bakoo” Research
2.4 Blackwell Industrial Trailer, Larry Jene Fisher (Script)
2.5 Organ
2.6 Miscellaneous – Personal
2.7 Gusher, Business Office
2.8 Bakoo, Stills
2.9 Omzig, Series
2.10 Accordion-Airs for the “Accordionaires”
2.11 “Which He Hath Planted”, Fisher Films
2.12 Blackwell Daily Journal-Tribune

3 Larry Jene Fisher Collection Box 3 of 24
3.1 “Unusual Gifts”, Styled by Mary Rodney
3.2 KIXL
3.3 Photographs, Texas Civil Air Patrol, Base Ten
3.4 Byrd Wing – Official Publication, Civil Air Patrol, Texas Wing, Volume 2, No. 3 April 1944
3.5 Professional Photographs of Larry Jene Fisher, Organist
3.6 Photographs – U.S. Coast Guard
3.7 Miscellaneous, Larry Jene Fisher
3.8 Scrapbook – “Building for Learning”
3.9 Scrapbook – “Indian Mound and the Pines”
3.10 Scrapbook – “Which He Hath Planted"
3.11 Scrapbook – “Huntsville Prison Rodeo”

4 Larry Jene Fisher Collection Box 4 of 24
4.1 Larry Jene Fisher Photo Collection, Volume 1, Part 1, Nos. 1-75

5 Larry Jene Fisher Collection Box 5 of 24
5.1 Larry Jene Fisher Photo Collection, Volume 1, Part 2, Nos. 76-111

6 Larry Jene Fisher Collection Box 6 of 24
6.1 Larry Jene Fisher Photo Collection, Volume 1, Part 3, Nos. 112 -150

7 Larry Jene Fisher Collection Box 7 of 24
7.1 Larry Jene Fisher Photo Collection, Volume 2, Part 1, Nos. 151- 200

8 Larry Jene Fisher Collection Box 8 of 24
8.1 Larry Jene Fisher Photo Collection, Volume 2, Part 2, Nos. 201-255

9 Larry Jene Fisher Collection Box 9 of 24
9.1 Larry Jene Fisher Photo Collection, Volume 2, Part 3, Nos. 256-300

10 Larry Jene Fisher Collection Box 10 of 24
10.1 Larry Jene Fisher Photographic Files, Index Album of Civil Air Patrol, Anti-Submarine Patrol, Base 10, Book 1

11 Larry Jene Fisher Collection Box 11 of 24
11.1 Larry Jene Fisher Photographic Files, Index Album of Civil Air Patrol, Anti-Submarine Patrol, Base 10, Book 2

12 Larry Jene Fisher Collection Box 12 of 24
12.1 Index to Larry Jene Fisher Photograph Collection

13 Larry Jene Fisher Collection Box 13 of 24
13.1 Album: News Releases; News Clippings; Fisher Biographical Information; Unidentified Photographs
13.2 Larry Jene Fisher Miscellaneous Photographs
13.3 Larry Jene Fisher Miscellaneous Photographs and Negatives
13.4 Larry Jene Fisher - Miscellaneous
13.5 Indian Village Big Thicket by Edwin Watson (Negatives)
13.6 Civil Air Patrol Certificate of Service (Photo-negative) – Lawrence O. Fisher aka Larry Jene Fisher
13.7 Bonnie Collins, Fish/2 Sub. Attact [sic] (Negatives)

14 Larry Jene Fisher Collection Box 14 of 24
14.1 L.J.F. Photograph Collection, Envelopes 1-8. (8 Envelopes)
14.2 L.J.F. Photograph Collection, Envelopes 9, 14, 15, 18, 24, 25. (6 Envelopes)
14.3 L.J.F. Photograph Collection, Envelopes 26-30, 33, 36, 40, 41, 45, 48, 49, 51, 52. (10 Envelopes)
14.4 L.J.F. Photograph Collection, Envelopes 52a, 59, 61, 66, 68, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 77, 78, 79, 81, 84, 85, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 98. (23 Envelopes)

15 Larry Jene Fisher Collection Box 15 of 24
15.1 Larry Jene Fisher Photo Album with Loose Pictures

16 Larry Jene Fisher Collection Box 16 of 24
16.1 Fisher Collection Negatives, Nos. 1-50

17 Larry Jene Fisher Collection Box 17 of 24
17.1 Fisher Collection Negatives, Nos. 51-100

18 Larry Jene Fisher Collection Box 18 of 24
18.1 Fisher Collection Negatives, Nos. 101-150

19 Larry Jene Fisher Collection Box 19 of 24
19.1 Fisher Collection Negatives, Nos. 151-195

20 Larry Jene Fisher Collection Box 20 of 24
20.1 Fisher Collection Negatives, Nos. 196-245

21 Larry Jene Fisher Collection Box 21 of 24
21.1 Fisher Collection Negatives, Nos. 246-300

22 Larry Jene Fisher Collection Box 22 of 24
22.1 Fisher Collection Negatives, Perricone Quads, 1a-10 and Miscellaneous Negatives; Civil Air Patrol A1-58

23 Larry Jene Fisher Collection Box 23 of 24
23.1 Larry Jene Fisher Collection Miscellaneous Negatives

24 Larry Jene Fisher Collection Box 24 of 24
24.1 (Oversize) Keyser Burnout Scrapbook
24.2 (Oversized) Nine Canisters of Film: [Petronius], (?), [Petronius], [Petronius], Petronius, [Petronius] 8(?), (?), (?), Memorias (Excerpts)