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A Guide to the Wick Fowler Collection, 1944-1991 (Bulk dates: 1944-1945, 1965-1978)

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Fowler, Wick
Title: The Wick Fowler Collection
Dates: 1944-1991 (Bulk dates: 1944-1945, 1965-1978)
Abstract: Journalist and chili enthusiast Wick Fowler (1909-1972) was born Homer Thomas Wilson Fowler in Big Sandy, Texas and grew up in Victoria, Texas. The Wick Fowler papers span 1944-1991 (bulk dates: 1944-1945, 1965-1978) and document Fowler’s journalism work as well as the Chili Appreciation Society International and Fowler’s 2-Alarm Chili product.
Identification: Collection 124
Extent: 3 boxes and 4 oversized boxes (9.25 linear feet)
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Southwestern Writers Collection, The Wittliff Collections, Alkek Library, Texas State University

Biographical Note

Journalist and chili enthusiast Wick Fowler (1909-1972) was born Homer Thomas Wilson Fowler in Big Sandy, Texas and grew up in Victoria, Texas.

Fowler began his newspaper career at the Austin American Statesman, then joined the Dallas Morning News, and later became editor of the Midland Reporter Telegram. During World War II he served as the only Texas news correspondent, writing for the Dallas Morning News, and was awarded a Purple Heart after being wounded in Italy with fellow journalist Ernie Pyle. He followed the 36th Infantry Division, which was partially comprised of men from his former National Guard unit.

During the Vietnam War Fowler shipped out to Vietnam as a war correspondent for the Denton Record Chronicle. Again Fowler told the story of Texan soldiers. He returned later to cover the local boys for 15 Texas newspapers, and again with Texas businessman H. Ross Perot in attempts to return prisoners of war.

Fowler helped found the Chili Appreciation Society International and created Wick Fowler’s 2-Alarm Chili product, both of which are still active. Both ideas were born of a chili cook-off first held in Terlingua, Texas in 1967, in which Fowler competed against Francis X. Tolbert, a friend and colleague at the Dallas Morning News.

Fowler was also a humorist, writing columns such as the “Towering Texan,” “Fowler Fare,” and “The World’s Fare” from 1947-1968. He brought Wick Fowler’s 2-Alarm Chili on his trips to Vietnam, and was called on to cheer the troops in World War II. Fowler also wrote on local issues such as the John F. Kennedy assassination in Dallas in which Texas governor John Connally was injured, crime and safety, and boating.


Wood, Sam, “A tribute to Wick Fowler…,” Texas State Directory, ca 1973, page 33.

Handbook of Texas Online, Alice M. Shukalo, “Fowler, Homer Thomas Wilson [Wick],” accessed August 18, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ffo50

Scope and Content Note

The Wick Fowler papers span 1944-1991 (bulk dates: 1944-1945, 1965-1978) and document Fowler’s journalism work as well as the Chili Appreciation Society International and Fowler’s 2-Alarm Chili product. The collection is arranged in 7 series: Biographical Information, Writings, Chili, Correspondence, Audio Recordings, General Newspapers, and Printed Material. The largest series, Chili, documents the chili cook-off in Terlingua, the Chili Appreciation Society International, and Wick Fowler’s 2-Alarm Chili product, and contains articles and clippings, a scrapbook, promotional materials, photographic materials, and artifacts. Note that the while the scrapbook largely contains Chili-related clippings, awards, posters, advertisements, and a draft by Fowler, it also contains articles by Fowler on World War II, the Vietnam War, crime, and boating.

The second series, Writings, documents Fowler’s career as a journalist. Subseries are World War II, Vietnam War, Humor, John Connally Assassination Attempt, Crime and Safety, and Boating. Each subseries contains clippings and columns by Fowler, including his “Vietnam Diary,” a special insert for the Dallas Morning News on February 27, 1966. Other items of note include articles on journalist Ernie Pyle, clippings documenting Fowler’s trip to Vietnam with Texas businessman H. Ross Perot, photographs of daily life in Vietnam and published photographs by Fowler. Also of note are two folders of notecards containing jokes, one-liners, and subject matter for speaking engagements.

The Correspondence series is also divided into periods, which are World War II, Vietnam, Chili, and family condolences. An exception to this is the Letters to Fowler, found in Writings-World War II, which includes hand-written and typed notes from various colleagues.

Many materials have been placed in oversized boxes. Researchers should note the box number on the container list as they are not always consecutive.


Access Restrictions

Research access by appointment only. Please request a research appointment by using the form at http://www.library.txstate.edu/about/departments/swwc/research-req-form.html

Subjects (Persons)

Fowler, Wick, 1909-1972 Archives.


Chili con carne.
World War II, 1939-1945.
Vietnam War, 1961-1975.
Sound recordings.
Photographic materials.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Wick Fowler Collection, Southwestern Writers Collection/Texas State University.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Gordon Fowler & Marcia Ball in 2016.

Processing Information

Processed by Lauren Goodley in 2016

Detailed Description of the Collection

Biographical Information, 1944-1978

Box Folder
1 1 Austin American, 1972
2 Austin Statesman, 1972
3 Dallas Morning News, 1972
4 Other newspapers, 1972
5 Clippings, 1972
6 Publications, 1972, 1978
7 Clippings scrapbook1972
Box Folder
1 8 Sparks, 1944-1946, 1963
Dallas Morning News-WFAA-KGKO Employees Roundtable)
9 Newspapers, 1944-1972
10 Clippings, 1944-1972
11 Small clippings, 1959, undated
12 Publications, 1969-1979
13 Articles on family, 1946, 1962-1973, 1989, undated
14 Dallas Morning Newsad, 1945
15 Political ads, 1971, undated
Box Folder
2 1 Press Club of Dallas documents, 1965, undated
2 Writings on Victoria, Texas, undated
3 Awards, 1971, undated
4 Photographic material, undated
(4 5x7 b&w prints, 8 8x10 b&w prints, 6 4x5 b&w prints, negatives, digital photographs-thumb drive and printouts)
Prinouts of thumb drive are availalbe for access.

Writings, 1944-1947, 1963-1971

World War II
Box Folder
2 5 Notes, ca 1945
6 Articles by Fowler, 1945
7 Articles by Fowler (scrapbook), 1945
8 Documents, 1944, undated
(cartoons, military documents, war correspondents meeting documents)
9 Ernie Pyle articles, 1944-1945
10 "Tribute to Ernie Pyle, undated
audio reel
Box Folder
3 1 Articles by Fowler (oversized, scrapbook), 1945, undated
2 Articles by Fowler (oversized), 1944-1945
3 Articles by Fowler (oversized), 1970
4 Letters to Fowler, ca 1945
5 General newspapers, 1945, 1947
Vietnam War
Box Folder
3 6 “Vietnam Diary”, Dallas Morning News special insert, Feb. 27, 1966
7 Clippings by Fowler, 1966-1969, undated
8 General newspapers and maps, 1965
Box Folder
2 11 Photographs, ca 1960s
(scenes of daily life, airplane; 17 3 ½x2 ½ b&w prints, 2 5x7 b&w prints)
12 Newspaper photographs by Fowler, 1966-1969, undated
13 Clippings on Fowler, 1966, 1970, undated
14 Clippings on Ross Perot, 1970, undated
15 Fowler event schedules, 1966, 1970, undated
Box Folder
2 16-17 Notecards, undated
(2 folders)
18 “Towering Texan” column, Feb. 1947 - April 1947
19 “Fowler Fare” column, 1963-1969, undated
20 “The World’s Fare” column, Jan. 25-July 25, 1967, 1968, undated
21 “The World’s Fare” column, 1968, undated
22 Other columns, 1963, 1968
Box Folder
3 9 Columns, 1967,undated
10 “Star Bright” column, 1971
Austin American-Statesman insert)
John Connally assassination attempt
Box Folder
3 11 Articles by Fowler, 1963
12 General articles, 1963
Box Folder
5 1 Notes and inauguration invitation, 1963, 1965
Other Writings
Box Folder
5 2 Crime and Safety, 1968-1969, undated
(speech, clippings, documents, political ad)
3 Boating-article by Fowler, 1963

Chili, 1945, 1964-1982

Box Folder
4 1 Magazine articles, 1967-1968, 1982
2 Clippings, 1964-1968
3 Clippings (large), 1964-1967
4 Clippings (large), 1968
5 Clippings, 1969
6 Clippings (large), 1970
7 Clippings, 1970
8 Clippings (large), 1971
9 Clippings, 1971-1974
10 Clippings (large), 1972-1978
11 Clippings, undated
12 Scrapbook, 1945, 1965-1970
(Chili clippings, also award, posters, advertisements, draft by Fowler; and Fowler articles on World War II, Vietnam War, crime, boating)
Box Folder
4 13 Tabloid and broadsheets, 1962, undated
14 Poster, undated
Mapcase Drawer 9 Poster, (2 copies)1981
(2 copies)
Photographic material
Box Folder
5 4 (7) 8x10 b&w prints, ca 1960s
5 (40) 3.5x3.5 and 3.5 x 4.5 b&w and color prints, ca 1960s
6 “Terlingua 1968,” (93) 3.5x3.5 prints, 1967, undated
7 “Terlingua 1969,” negatives, 1969
8 “Terlingua Nov. 71” negatives1971
Box Folder
5 9 Documents, 1968-1975 and undated
(press release, proclamation, speech)
10 Printed materials, 1975 and undated
(business cards, cooking guide, label, letterhead)
11 “Wick Fowler’s Famous 2-alarm Chili” packaging, undated
12 Bumper stickers (2), 1975, undated
13 “Mis amigos hambrientos” cookbook by Allegani Jani Schofield, 1971
(includes memory of Fowler, page 22)

Correspondence, 1944-1972

Box Folder
6 1 World War II correspondence, 1944-1946, undated
2 Vietnam War correspondence, 1965-1972
3 Chili correspondence, 1967-1980
4 Condolences to Fowler family, 1972
5 Various, 1968, undated
6 Envelopes, 1945-1970

Audio Recordings1967-1970, undated

1/4 inch reel-to-reel tape
Box Folder
6 7 “#1”, undated
8 “McDonalds 1/70”, 1970
9 “Barbershop / November 12, 1967”, 1967
10 Unlabeled, undated
11 Unlabeled, undated

General Newspapers, 1966-1972, 1991

Box Folder
7 1 Clippings, 1966-1972, undated
2 Newspapers, 1967-1974, 1991
3 The Victoria Advocate, Historical Edition, 1968

Printed Material1952, undated

Box Folder
7 4 Humorous dollar bill, 1952; Headliners Club seal, undated, 1952, undated