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TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview

Biographical Sketch

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Arrangement of the Collection

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

August Watkins Harris drawings, 1957 September 26,

Texas State Library and Archives Commission

August Watkins Harris:

An Inventory of August Watkins Harris Drawings at the Texas State Archives, 1957 September 26



Overview

Creator: Harris, August Watkins.
Title: August Watkins Harris drawings
Dates: 1957 September 26
Abstract: August Watkins Harris was an Austin-based architect who designed buildings throughout Texas; several buildings he designed are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Harris also authored two books on Austin architecture as well as the 1957 Specifications of the Repair and Renovation of the Old General Land Office Building for the State Building Commission. The Harris drawings consist of two diazotype prints dating September 26, 1957, of the 1853 Limestone Capitol building, which Harris calls the "Texas Colonial Capitol." Harris' book Minor and Major Mansions in Early Austin, in three editions, contains drawings created by the author based on his research. One of the buildings featured in the second edition of this book is the 1853 Limestone Capitol and includes these drawings. These drawings have been digitized and are part of the Texas Digital Archive.
TSLAC Control No.: TX009832
Quantity: 0.05 cubic ft. (2 drawings)
Language: These materials are written in English.
Repository: Texas State Archives
Sponsor: This EAD finding aid was created in cooperation with Texas Archival Resources Online.

Biographical Sketch

Architect August Watkins Harris was born on October 8, 1893, in Austin, Texas to William Watkins Harris and Lou (Swartz) Harris. In 1910, Harris enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin where he studied architecture and founded the Theta Xi fraternity on campus. During World War I, he served as an officer in the United States Army in France. In 1919 he went to work for architect David R. Williams in Tampico, Mexico.

Harris returned to the United States in 1921 and partnered with former University of Texas classmate Bertram E. Giesecke to form the architectural firm Giesecke & Harris. The firm was active throughout the state of Texas and designed residential, commercial, and public buildings. Several of buildings designed by the firm are listed on the National Register of Historic Places: the Kurt and Meta Schmedes House, Austin (1924); Brenham High School, Brenham (1928); Bryan Municipal Building, Bryan (1929); Hyde Park Fire Station, Austin (1929); the Norwood Building, Austin (1929); the Merchants and Manufacturers Building, Houston (1930); the Blackstone Building, Tyler (1938); and the Santa Rita Courts housing project, Austin (1939).

Harris returned to military service in 1940, causing the dissolution of the Giesecke & Harris architectural firm in 1941. He was discharged in 1946 as a lieutenant colonel and returned to Austin after the war, continuing to practice architecture independently until he formed a partnership with his son William. Two notable Austin buildings designed by Harris during this period are the State Bar of Texas building (1951) and Govalle Fire Station No. 15 (1952).

Harris' contributions to architecture also include research on Austin's built environment. He authored two books on the subject: The Elgin-Butler Brick Company, 1873-1963 (1963) and Minor and Major Mansions in Early Austin. The latter was published in three editions; the original printing in 1955, "a sequel" in 1958, and "a supplement" in 1959, each edition containing drawings of different homes and buildings in Austin. Each of the drawings was created by the author based on his research into these buildings. In addition to these books, Harris also authored the Specifications of the Repair and Renovation of the Old General Land Office Building (1957) for the State Building Commission and produced historical maps based on his research.

Harris was a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and his civic involvement in Austin included memberships in the Austin Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee, the Heritage Society of Austin, Austin's Zoning Commission, and the Travis County Historical Survey Committee. He had also served as a consultant with the Austin Mayor's Emergency Housing Commission to provide housing for World War II veterans.

Harris married Loula Macgill Ujffy in 1922, with whom he had four children: Clara, August, Jr., William, and Eleanor. He died at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Waco on January 31, 1968 and is buried at the Oakwood Cemetery in Austin.

(Sources include: Bell, Cherise J., "Harris, August Watkins, Sr. [Watt]," Handbook of Texas Online. National Register of Historic Places listings for Giesecke & Harris found through the National Archives Catalog at https://catalog.archives.gov/. Both sites accessed July 17, 2019.)

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

August Watkins Harris was an Austin-based architect who designed buildings throughout Texas. He also published two books on architecture in Austin, as well as the Specifications of the Repair and Renovation of the Old General Land Office Building for the State Building Commission. The Harris drawings consist of two diazotype prints of the 1853 Limestone Capitol building, which Harris calls the "Texas Colonial Capitol," dating September 26, 1957. One print depicts the building's front elevation and one print is of the Capitol's floor plans. These drawings are included in the 1958 sequel to Minor and Major Mansions in Early Austin and are noted to be "compiled and drawn from data discovered in the archives of the State of Texas, the collection of the Austin Public Library, and from photographic and related material made available by Mr. Walter E. Long."

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Arrangement of the Collection

The drawings are arranged by level of detail with the front elevation followed by the floor plans.

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Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

Materials do not circulate, but may be used in the State Archives search room. Materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage areas by staff members.

Restrictions on Use

Under the Copyright Act of 1976 as amended in 1998, unpublished works are protected for the life of the author plus 70 years. The term of copyright for published material varies. Researchers are responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).

Technical Requirements

Drawings are too large to be photocopied.

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Index Terms

The terms listed here were used to catalog the records. The terms can be used to find similar or related records.
Subjects (Persons):
Long, Walter Ewing.
Subjects (Organizations):
Texas. State Building Commission.
Austin Public Library.
Subjects:
Architecture--Texas--Austin.
Places:
Austin (Tex.)
Document Types:
Diazotypes (copies)

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Related Material

The following materials are offered as possible sources of further information on the agencies and subjects covered by the records. The listing is not exhaustive.

Texas State Archives
A.W. Harris Collection, 1856-1900, (2 photographs of the Old General Land Office) [There is no finding aid for this collection. Call number is 1957/038 ]
A.W. Harris, Camp Funston officers' training camp roster, Leon Springs, TX, 1917 [There is no finding aid for this collection. Call number is 1961/104]
A. Watt Harris, General highway map of Travis County, TX, about 1962 [There is no finding aid for this collection. Call number is 1962/133]
August Watkins Harris, Historic Austin, seat of government 1960, Map 1667, about 1961 [There is no finding aid for this collection. Call number is 1984/160]
Austin History Center
August Watkins Harris Records and Drawings, 1918-2008, 7 linear feet (9 text boxes) and 1 flat file drawer and 8 rolls (300 drawings; 66 sets)
Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library at the Alamo, San Antonio, Texas
August Watkins Harris Papers, 1927-1976, 5.04 linear feet (6 boxes, 1 oversize folder)
Briscoe Center for American History
August Watkins Harris Papers, 1959, 3 items
Publications
Harris, A.W., Minor and Major Mansions in Early Austin. Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones Co., 1955.
Harris, A.W., Minor and Major Mansions in Early Austin, a Sequel. Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones Co., 1958.
Harris, A.W., Minor and Major Mansions in Early Austin, a Supplement. Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones Co., 1959.
Harris, A.W., Specifications for the repair and renovation of the Old General Land Office Building for the State of Texas, Austin, Texas. Austin: State Building Commission, 1957.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the item), August Watkins Harris drawings. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information

Accession number: 2019/113

Provenance is unknown. These drawings were likely donated to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by August Harris or his spouse sometime after 1958.

Processing Information

Processed by Angela Swift, May 2019

Other Formats for the Collection

The drawings described in this finding aid have been digitized and are part of the Texas Digital Archive, available online at https://tsl.access.preservica.com/tda/manuscripts-collections/#harris.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

August Watkins Harris drawings, 1957 September 26,
0.05 cubic ft. (two drawings)

Map-drawer Folder
368 2019/113 1853 Limestone Capitol front elevation, 1957, September 26
[one 24 ½ x 11 ⅝-inch diazotype (copy)]
2019/113 1853 Limestone Capitol building floor plans, 1957, September 26
[one 35 x 24-inch diazotype (copy)]

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