University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Boyce House Papers, 1944-1947

Descriptive Summary

Creator: House, Boyce, 1896-1961
Title: House, Boyce, Papers
Dates: 1944-1947
Abstract: Assortment of materials relating to Boyce House, Texas historian, humorist, columnist and radio personality.
Accession No.: 1943
Extent: 7 items
Language: Materials are written in German and English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Boyce B. House (1896-1961) traveled extensively starting at a young age. He was born to Noah E. and Margaret (O’Brien) House in Piggott, Arkansas, and finally settled with his mother in Memphis, Tennessee, following his father’s death. He continued to travel, visiting Texas alone and attending schools in multiple towns. He graduated with honors from Memphis Central High School, where he had also been a respected member of the debate team. Unable to afford college, House began working for two Memphis newspapers. However, due to poor health, House left his editing position at the Piggott Banner in 1920 and moved to Texas, where he continued to gain acclamation as a reporter.

Stories featuring “Old Rip,” a horned toad that apparently survived for thirty-years in the cornerstone of the Eastland County Courthouse, and the Santa Claus bank robbery in Cisco, California, earned House a national reputation for writing about curiosities to match his local reputation for hard work and integrity. He soon became an expert on Texas oil and the history of boomtowns, leading to the publication of several books and papers, as well as his role as technical advisor for the movie Boomtown (1940), starring Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Claudette Colbert, and Heddy Lamar.

Following this experience, House returned to Texas and began writing humorous columns and books. His weekly column and radio show gained national coverage and warranted a celebrity status in Texas. This led him to get involved in politics, and despite losing the nomination as the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor of Texas, he remained a strong supporter of the Democratic Party.

House corresponded heavily throughout his life, conversing with William Jennings Bryan during his time as the editor of the Piggot Banner, and with hundreds of people in Wichita Falls and Burkburnett in order to learn everything possible about the Burkburnett oilfield while working on Boomtown.


Hewitt, Harry P. “House, Boyce B.” Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed July 21, 2010.

Scope and Contents

The Boyce B. House Papers, 1944-1945, 1947, include correspondence, post card, literary productions and speeches. The collection relates to reminiscences on episodes from Texas history and on Texana and Western lore used by House as material for feature stories. The episodes deal with the Alamo, banditry, Indian fighting, and oil-field lore.


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Geronimo, 1829-1909.
Hardin, John Wesley, 1853-1895.
House, Boyce, 1896-1961 -- Archives.
Nocona, Peta, ?-1864.
Parker, Cynthia Ann, 1827?-1864.
Reagan, John H. (John Henninger), 1818-1905.
Weaver, James B. (James Baird), 1833-1912
Subjects (Organizations)
Eastland daily oil belt news.
Texas Company -- History.
Farms -- Texas -- Franklin County.
Frontier and pioneer life -- Texas.
Indians of North America -- Texas.
Oil fields.
Petroleum industry and trade -- Texas -- History.
Railroads -- Texas -- 1880-1890.
Alamo (San Antonio, Tex.)
Eastland, Tex.
Franklin County, Tex.
Frontier, Tex.
Llano County, Tex. -- History -- 19th century -- Sources.
Texas -- History -- 19th century -- Sources.

Related Material

The Boyce B. House Papers at the Fork Belknap Archives, located near Newcastle, Texas.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Boyce House Papers, 1944-1947, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s “History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project,” 2009-2011.

Detailed Description of the Papers



2E249 Poem, "I Love the State of Texas" by House, Christmas, 1947
Correspondence, 1944-1945
Letter from J.O. Teagarden to T.A. Bendy about John Wesley Hardin, June 29, 1945.
Letter to House from Ben Moore regarding Indians in Texas.
Letter from John H. McGaughey, publisher of "The Albany News" about oil industry activity in Shackelford County.
Postcard and letter from X. Carsen telling the story of his father and family opening a farm in the woods in Franklin (then Titus) County, January 10, 1944.
Two letters from E. A. Masur of Masur Hardware Company in Lockhart, Texas, discussing his aunt Susanna Dickenson, who was appointed by Santa Anna to tell Gen. Sam Houston about the fall of the Alamo, November 6, 1945.
Letter from Don H. Biggers about the Ranger-Eastland oil boom. Also includes a transcript of a speech he gave at a banquet in Eastland. November 11, 1945, undated