Guide to the Speros Martel personal papers, 1918-2012 MS 615
Speros P. Martel was born on September 3, 1892 (or 1894) in Cephalonia, Greece. He immigrated to New York in the early 1900s. Martel worked as a runner on Wall Street, sold newspapers on Time Square, and cleaned a saloon for room and board.
Enlisting at Camp Logan on June 15, 1918, Martel fought in World War I as a private in the 37th Company of the 165th Depot Brigade of the National Army. He might have been an interpreter.
After the war, Martel permanently moved to Houston. He waited tables at the Rice Hotel and the Houstonian Cafe. He later co-owned the Blue Bell Restaurant from 1927-1932.
Martel married Marian (Mamie) Fox Twyman in 1932. After 1932, since he now handled his wife’s financial affairs, Martel began to focus on real estate and investments. In 1946, he leased Mrs. Martel’s land to Jim Jamail and Sons grocery store, which became one of the premier groceries in Houston.
Mamie Martel died in 1956. Speros Martel never remarried and had no other family in the Houston area.
Until his own death in 1995, Martel gave money to Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Rice University to establish Rice professorships, as well as Texas Children’s Hospital to create the Speros P. Martel Leukocyte Biology Laboratory. In 1998, the Marian and Speros Martel Foundation donated funds to build the Marian and Speros Martel College at Rice University.
--taken from a letter by Ralph S. O'Connor and a biography included in Martel's papers.
This collection conists of two series, Martel's business and personal papers. His business papers include ledgers from 1932-1970. His personal papers include geneology of his wife's family, documents planning Martel's funeral, his marriage certificate, and military discharge papers, and photographs.
Conditions Governing Access
This material is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Permission to publish from this material must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.
Speros Martel personal papers, 1918-2012, MS 615, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University
Donated by Melissa Kean in 2013.
Additional materials are not expected for this collection.
Detailed Description of the Collection