University of Houston Libraries, Special Collections

Bessie Alva Griffiths Papers

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Griffiths, Bessie
Title: Bessie Alva Griffiths Papers
Dates: 1888-1940
Abstract: Houston pianist Bessie Alva Griffiths studied piano with local philanthropist Ima Hogg before going on to give recitals and to teach piano in her home. Griffith's papers include personal photographs, some programs and other materials related to her career, and a small amount of memorabilia.
Identification: 1969-020
Quantity: 2 boxes, 1 oversize folder; 1 linear feet
Repository: Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries

Biographical Note

Native Houstonian Bessie Griffiths was born in 1896. She studied piano with Ima Hogg, the daughter of former governer James Hogg, who gave music lessons to a select group of students before going on to become a leading local art patron. Between 1912 and 1916 Griffiths studied with various teachers in Europe. After her return to Houston, Griffiths performed with the Houston Symphony, gave recitals accompanied by her sister Florence, and taught piano at a studio that she maintained in her home. Griffiths died some time after 1971.

Scope and Contents

The Bessie Alva Griffiths Collection contains photographs, memorabilia, and papers such as programs and miscellaneous correspondence and receipts. The dates of items in the collection range from 1888-1940. Original order of materials has been adhered to whenever possible. Correspondence and receipts are arranged in chronological order.

Included among the papers in the Griffiths Collection are materials belonging to Griffiths' roommate Katherine Dick, who may have been associated with the Harris County School for Girls, and a manuscript which may have been written by Bessie Griffiths.


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use Restrictions

Special Collections owns the physical items in our collections, but copyright normally belongs to the creator of the materials or their heirs. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, locating copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections material in print or electronic form. For more information, consult the appropriate librarian.

Index Terms

Terms are either Library of Congress Subject Headings or taken from local sources.

Subjects (Persons)

Griffiths, Bessie Alva, b. 1896
Hogg, Ima



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Bessie Alva Griffiths Papers, Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries.

Processed by

Original processing: J. Ranee Clark, 1997

Reprocessing: Julie Grob, 1998

Detailed Description

box folder
1 1-67 Photographs
Photographs in the collection date primarily from the 19th century, and include photographs in the carte de visite and cabinet card formats, and tintypes. Many of the photographs were removed from their original housing for preservation purposes. Photographs in folders 1-11 were removed from envelopes, photographs in folders 12-21, folders 22-36, and folders 42-67 were removed from three different albums. Original order has been maintained, and descriptive information such as names has been noted in the folder listing below. Folders 37-41 contain miscellaneous materials such as newspaper clippings and handwritten prayers which were removed from the second photograph album.
Box Folder
1 1-6 Unidentified, before 1900
7-8 Related to Cornelia Ennis Cargill College, ca. 1920
9 Harris County School for Girls, Bellaire, Texas, ca. 1920
10-18 Unidentified, before 1900
19 Unidentified, before 1900; "Miss Lou O'Banion of San Marcos, Texas 440 lbs," April 20, 1988
20-21 Unidentified, before 1900
22 Charles W. Crouch, Mr. and Mrs. Crouch, unidentified, before 1900
23 Willie H. Crouch, J.D. Crouch, Mrs. Mary Holman, before 1900
24 I.S. Crouch, [Robert Russell?], before 1900
25 Mrs. Kati Cherry, Miss Cora Cherry, Mr. J. Burleson, before 1900
26 Miss Victoria Thomas, C.I. Polk, before 1900
27 Mrs. Mary Massiv, [Henry Russell?], before 1900
28 [--] Hopkins, Willie H. Crouch, Lottie Cruger, Helen Cruger, before 1900
29 Willie Massin, unidentified, Mrs. V. Polk, before 1900
30 Jack King, Katie King, J.D. King, before 1900
31 J.V. Polk, Henry K. Polk, James Polk, before 1900
32 Bormond Cruger, Helen Cruger, Sam H. King, before 1900
33 Lenny Dunn, Mag. Cane, Laura Cane, before 1900
34 Marie Crouch, Marie Massin, before 1900; Flory (Inscribed on back, "Dear old Per. from your loving sister Flory, September 1889")
35 Unidentified, Brantly and Julia, before 1900
36 Unidentified, before 1900
37 Bessie Griffith Studio, ca. 1940
38 Unidentified; newspaper clipping: Leslie Spots, 1958-1965
39 Unidentified, ca. 1920
40 Newspaper clippings: Jan Robinson, Forest Peterson, ca. 1940
41 Miscellaneous handwritten prayers, 1895-1970
42 Unidentified; Kit and Dan, 1967
43 Rain barrel at Nancy Wallace, Flint, June 1967; home of Margaret Bright-Holmes, 1967
44 Bay Tree, Binford - Dora and Gladys; garden at Nancy Wallace
45 Dining at the Little Thatch along the Portsmouth Road outside Guilford; unidentified, 1966-1967
46 John & Marjorie & Soot; garden at Bramley Grange, June 1967
47 Fred Strong McCormick's Creek State Park, Spencer, Indiana, May 1967; unidentified
48 Susan, Robert, Beverly, Miss Bess, Beth, Joanne; Willie Ada, 1965-1967
49 unidentified; Xmas dinner, at Olive's Nov. 1965;1967,
50 Narissa Strong, Dec. 1967; Unidentified; N.Y.C. on route to Detroit, Sept. 27, 1960
51 Unidentified; Dec. 1965; Irene Englin, 1963
52 Joanne, Mother, & Margaret, 1965; unidentified, [ca. 1960s]
53 Sept. 1965
54 Aug. 1964; Nov. 1968
55 Unidentified, 1968 and [ca. 1960s]
56 Unidentified, [ca. 1960s]
57 Unidentified, Nov. 7, 1961; Phyllis' 33d b'day, Weeki Wachee, [ca. 1960s]
58 Unidentified, [ca. 1960s]
59 Miss Lil, 1965; unidentified, [ca. 1960s]
60-63 Unidentified, [ca. 1960s]
64 Unidentified; [home of] Eva Rosin, Santa Barbara, CA Dec. 1967,
65 Pamela Mary [Morton?], christened Grace Church, Jersey City, NJ; unidentified Aug. 1964;July 8, 1956,
66 Unidentified; Christmas; Queen Mary, New York July 29, 1953,
67 In the village, Old Bayhill, Ursula's dog [Misty?]; Frankie, 2-1/2 mo. Aug. 6th,Nov. 1965;

box folder
2, Oversize 1-15 Papers
Included among the papers in the Griffiths Collection are materials belonging to Griffiths' roommate Katherine Dick, who may have been associated with the Harris County School for Girls, and a manuscript which may have been written by Bessie Griffiths.
Box Folder
2 1 Programs: Houston Symphony Orchestra, 1916-1931
2 Programs: Miscellaneous, 1916-1930
3 Programs: Miscellaneous, 1930-1940, and undated
3 Programs: Bessie Griffiths, 1913-1924, and undated
5 Correspondence, 1925-1931
6 Receipts: Bessie Griffiths, 1929-1931, and undated
7 Clubs and organizations, 1917-1925, and undated
8 Travel mementos, ca. 1920, and undated
9 Miscellaneous, 1918, and undated
10 Financial documents: Katherine Dick, 1915-1925, and undated
11 School workbook: Katherine Dick, October 1909
12 Correspondence: Katherine Dick, 1917-1930, and undated
13-15 Manuscript, ca. 1935
Oversize Passport, June 12, 1916
Diploma, July 25, 1919

box folder
2 16 (Env. 1)-19 (Env. 10) Memorabilia
This small section contains a few pieces of jewelry, ticket stubs, dance cards, flag and program.
Box Folder
2 16 (Env. 1) Brass ring, ca. 1920
16 (Env. 2-3) Pendants, ca. 1920
17 (Env. 4) Photographic plate for reproduction, Bessie Griffiths, ca. 1920s
18 (Env. 5) Dance cards (2), May 4, 1922
18 (Env. 6) Tickets (3), Feb. 22, 1918
18 (Env. 7) Ticket, Galveston Houston Electric Railway Company, March 1917
19 (Env. 8) Commencement program, Prairie View State College, May 21, 1928
19 (Env. 9) Flag, ca. 1940
19 (Env. 10) Hat pin, German, ca. 1915