Woodson Research Center, Rice University

Guide to the Harry Van Demark Papers, 1897-1948 MS 354

creator van Demark, Harry
Title: Harry Van Demark papers
Dates: 1897-1948
Abstract: The contents of this collection include the papers and publications of Harry Van Demark. Within the collection are typescript and bound versions of plays and short stories as well as scrap books, articles, and poetry. Van Demark was considered the most prolific writer in the Houston area of his time.
Identification: MS 354
Quantity: 1.5 Linear Feet(1 box)
Language: English
Repository: Woodson Research Center, Rice University, Houston, Texas

Biographical / Historical

Harry Van Deusen Van Demark was born in Roxbury, Delaware County, New York on Jan. 26, 1881. He came to settle in Webster, Harris County, Texas in 1894, with his father via Nebraska and later moved to Houston in 1901. He became the owner and editor of the Webster Star, later the Webster Weekly News, until the storm of 1900. After moving to Houston in 1901, he began a career as a theatre manager, producer and playwright. He wrote plays on subjects about Texas such as The Texan and The Texas Ranger. He produced juvenile periodicals under various noms de plume in addition to editing magazines. Prior to World War I he began writing mystery stories, notably The Vanishing Diplomat. He continued to write in this genre for another thirty years combining mystery and crime with a western back drop but writing under numerous aliases. Along with being a free-lance writer, Van Demark was always employed. He managed theatres, worked for the Houston Chronicle and Houston Post, and edited for Texas Parade, and Texas Week. He married Josephine Bonifay on Feb. 1, 1902 by whom he had eight children. She died on Feb. 4 1943 and Van Demark followed on Dec. 6, 1948. Van Demark was considered the most prolific writer in the Houston area of his time.

Scope and Contents

The contents of this collection are the papers and publications of Harry Van Demark who settled in Houston in 1901. The collection specifically contains typescript and bound versions of plays and short stories as well as scrap books, articles, and poetry. There are also pamphlets, programs and tickets from plays Van Demark wrote and produced.


Conditions Governing Access

This material is open for research.

Conditions Governing Access

Stored off-site at the Library Service Center. Please request this material via woodson@rice.edu or call 713-348-2586.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from the Harry Van Demark Papers must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library.

Index Terms

Houston (Tex.) -- History.
Texas -- Webster
Texas -- History
van Demark, Harry

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Harry Van Demark Papers, 1897-1948, MS 354 Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was purchased from Mrs. Herbert Fletcher with Friends' funds on December 19, 1969.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series I: Works 1897- Ca.1948

1 "Fact Stories"- Typescripts
2 Poetry
3 Short Stories- Typescripts "A-M"
4 Short Stories- Typescripts "N-Z"
5 Riders of the Pecos Trail
6 Webster Weekly Newspapers from June 5, 1897-Nov. 13,1897. 1897
7 Articles- Typescripts "A-F"
8 Articles- Typescripts "G-O"
9 Articles- Typescripts "P-V"
10 Articles- Typescripts "X-Z"
11 Incomplete Articles
12 Bound short stories 1908-1915
Five published works by Penn Publishing Co., Philadelphia. Along the Missouri, 1909. Her Friend, the Enemy, 1911. The Ranch Hand, 1911. The Texan, 1914. The Texas Ranger, 1915.

Series II: Tickets, Programs and Invitations 1897-1913
One folder contains two 5X7 envelopes: "Miscellaneous" and "Squibs and Quibs."

13 Tickets, Programs and Invitations 1897- 1913
Scope and Contents
Miscellaneous - Includes program for Ibsen's A Doll House staged by Harry Van Demark, Dec.4, 1912. Ticket to A Regular Fellow by Harry Van Demark, July 30, 1913. Program for A Regular Fellow July 25, 1913. Invitation to a party designed by Harry Van Demark
Scribs and Quibs- an amateur writer's monthly that shares stories along with news and events. There is one pamphlet, January 1898, and one article from August 1897.

Series III: Scrapbooks 1907

Scope and Contents
There are two scrapbooks with newspaper clippings pasted inside.
The Texas Navy- contains news articles and stories of the Texas Navy during the War for Texas Independence and battles fought in Texas waters during the Mexican and Civil Wars and History of the Pirates of the Gulf- which mentions the tales of Jean Lafitte.
Texas Scrapbook- contains news articles and stories of Texas early day heroes such as Peter E. Bean and David Crockett as well random short stories that took place in 19th century Texas.