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Alvin Mansfield Owsley Collection, 1904-1972 | Manuscripts

By Bridgett Tanner and Laura Treat; Perri Hamilton; Rachel Motes

Collection Overview

Title: Alvin Mansfield Owsley Collection, 1904-1972Add to your cart.
Predominant Dates:1922-1965
ID: 01/HM.15
Extent: 3010.0 Boxes
Arrangement: Series 1-3 are arranged according to topic and described at folder level. Series 4-9 are arranged according to material type and topic and are described at folder or item level.
Languages: English

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Abstract

The Owsley Collection contains the documents of statesman and attorney Alvin M. Owsley (1888-1967) and his family. The collection contains materials pertaining to Alvin M. Owsley's activities as a soldier in World War I; his election as National Commander of the American Legion in 1922 and subsequent lifelong association with the American Legion; his ambassadorships to Romania, the Irish Free State, and Denmark during the 1930s; his involvement in political campaigns, speechmaking, and radio and television programs; and his practice as a Dallas attorney.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection documents the activities of Alvin M. Owsley; his wife, Lucy Ball Owsley; and their children, Alvin Jr., Constance, and David. The extensive collection includes photographs, correspondence, clippings, memorabilia, scrapbooks, transcripts, financial records, artifacts, posters, printed material, 16mm film reels and VHS tapes, and an audio cassette. These materials document all aspects of Owsley’s professional activities including his experiences as a soldier in World War I; his election as National Commander of the American Legion in 1922 and subsequent lifelong association with the American Legion; his ambassadorships to Romania, the Irish Free State, and Denmark during the 1930s; his involvement in political campaigns, speechmaking, and radio and television programs; and his practice as a Dallas attorney. Photographs, correspondence, records, and scrapbooks also document Alvin M. Owsley’s early years as a student at the Virginia Military Institute and as a boy growing up in Denton, Texas.

The collection also contains extensive materials documenting the activities of Lucy Ball Owsley including diaries, correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks, records, film reels, club memberships, and other materials. Lucy Ball Owsley’s father, Frank C. Ball, and his company, the Ball Corporation, are also represented within the collection through photographs, correspondence, clippings, records, publications, and other printed material.

The personal lives of Alvin M. and Lucy Ball Owsley are represented through photographs, scrapbooks, correspondence, and home movies documenting their family life and travels. Genealogical records, publications, and correspondence for both the Owsley and Ball families are also included.

Collection Historical Note

A soldier, statesman, attorney, and gifted orator,  Alvin Mansfield Owsley was born in Denton, Texas in 1888 to Alvin Clark and Sallie Owsley.  He graduated from the Virginia Military Institute and attended the University of Texas to study law before being admitted to the Texas bar in 1912 and subsequently serving a term in the Texas Legislature.  He was serving as county attorney in Denton when the outbreak of World War I compelled Owsley to resign from his legal practive and volunteer for military service.  During the war, Owsley served with the 36th Infantry Division in France where he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel.  Following the war, Owlsey became active in the American Legion and was elected national commander in 1922.  In 1925, he married Lucy Ball, the daughter of the Ball Brothers Glass Company founder, and he and Lucy soon expanded their family to include Alvin M. Owsley, Jr., Constance Owsley, and Thomas David Owsley.

Owsley's commitment and dedication to service to his country continued in the 1930s as he was named United States Ambassador to Romania in 1933, the Irish Free State in 1935, and Denmark in 1937.  Following his departure from diplomatic service in 1939, Owsley resided for a short time in Muncie, Indiana before returning to the North Texas area and resuming his legal practice in Dallas, Texas.  A gifted orator, he also continued to make use of his noted public speaking skills by giving many speeches and broadcasts on various topics with the theme of Americanism a particular favorite of his and becoming a radio and television personality.  He also continued to remain active in the American Legion and was instrumental in planning and bringing the American Legion's National Convention to Dallas, Texas in 1964.  Alvin M. Owsley died in Dallas, Texas in 1967 at the age of 78.

Administrative Information

Repository: Manuscripts
Access Restrictions: This collection is not restricted.
Use Restrictions: Reproduction and publication of materials in this collection are subject to the policies of the UNT Special Collections department. Copyright restrictions may apply.
Physical Access Note: This collection is stored off-site and requires a minimum of 24 hour notice prior to use. Oversize boxes 742-758; 841-855; and Series 6, 8, and 9 are stored in vault and require a minimum of 24 hour notice prior to use.
Acquisition Source: Lucy Ball Owsley
Acquisition Method: Gift
Preferred Citation: Alvin Mansfield Owsley Collection, University of North Texas Special Collections.
Processing Information: Manuscript materials processed by Bridgett Tanner. Media processed by Laura Treat.
Finding Aid Revision History: Rachel Motes processed the accretion of [Box 43: Reel to Reel Tapes] to this collection on July 7, 2017 and of [Box 310] on August 9, 2017.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:


Series 8: Artifacts (2)Add to your cart.
 
Box 1: Coins, 1921-1945Add to your cart.
 
Barcode: 641348
Folder 1: Jamaican coins, 1938-1945Add to your cart.
5 Jamaican coins. Museum accession numbers: 85.19.358 a-e
Folder 2: Irish coins, 1928Add to your cart.
8 Irish coins. Museum accession numbers: 85.19.408 a-h
Folder 3: Yugoslavian coins, 1925Add to your cart.
2 Yugoslavian coins. Museum accession numbers: 85.19.409 a-b
Folder 4: Romanian coins, 1924-1930Add to your cart.
3 Romanian coins. Museum accession numbers: 85.19.410 a-c
Folder 5: German coins, 1924-1938Add to your cart.
3 German coins. Museum accession numbers: 85.19.411 a-c
Folder 6: Hungarian coins, 1926-1927Add to your cart.
6 Hungarian coins. Museum accession numbers: 85.19.412 a-f
Folder 7: Turkish coinsAdd to your cart.
4 Turkish coins. Museum accession numbers: 85.19.413 a-d
Folder 8: Danish coins and Hong Kong coin, 1924-1938Add to your cart.
13 Danish coins and 1 Hong Kong coin. Museum accession numbers: 85.19.414 a-n
Folder 9: French coins, 1921-1937Add to your cart.
17 French coins. Museum accession numbers: 85.19.415 a-q
Folder 10: Austrian coins, 1925-1935Add to your cart.
8 Austrian coins. Museum accession numbers: 85.19.417
Box 2: Medals, 1918-1964, undatedAdd to your cart.
 
Barcode: 641349
Item 1: Past National Commander of the American Legion ribbon and medal in caseAdd to your cart.
Museum accesion numbers: 85.19.278 a-b
Item 2: Polonia Restituta Medal and case, 1918Add to your cart.
Museum accession number: 85.19.279 a-b
Item 3: World War medal presented by state of New Jersey and caseAdd to your cart.
Museum accession number: 85.19.281 a-b
Item 4: Medal from Republique Francaise and caseAdd to your cart.
Museum accession number: 85.19.282 a-b
Item 5: Medal in commemoration of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and case, 1937Add to your cart.
Museum accession number: 85.19.283 a-b
Item 6: Medal commemorating the 46th Annual National Convention of the American Legion, Dallas, Texas and case, 1964Add to your cart.
Museum accession number: 85.19.325 a-b
Item 7: Military Order of the World War medal, 1922Add to your cart.
Museum accession number: 85.19.330
Item 8: Verdun MedalAdd to your cart.
Museum accession number: 85.19.331
Item 9: World War medal presented by city of MobileAdd to your cart.
Museum accession number: 85.19.359
Item 10: Chalres A. Linbergh Reception name tag with ribbon and medal, September 27, 1927Add to your cart.
Museum accession number: 85.19.364
Item 11: Meuse-Argonne Defensive Sector, The Great War for Civilization medalAdd to your cart.
Museum accession number: 85.19.366
Item 12: Union Nationale des Combattants medalAdd to your cart.
Museum accession number: 85.19.382
Item 13: Group of small medals and ribbonsAdd to your cart.
 
Item 3: Men's black beaver top hat and hat box, Paris, FranceAdd to your cart.
Museum accession number: 85.19.371 a-b
Barcode: 641352
Box 4: PortraitsAdd to your cart.
 
Item 1: Portrait: Alvin M. OwsleyAdd to your cart.
 
Item 2: Portrait: Sallie Blount OwsleyAdd to your cart.
 
Item 3: Portrait: Joshua ChiltonAdd to your cart.
 
Item 5: Alvin Owsley and Lucy Ball Owsley, Framed PhotographAdd to your cart.
NOTE: This item is housed in the Research Collections Library. It is stored hanging with other framed artwork.
Barcode: 642801
Item 6: Alvin Owsley Speaking as National Commander of the American LegionAdd to your cart.
NOTE: This item is housed in the Research Collections Library. It is stored hanging with other framed artwork.
Barcode: 642800
Box 46: Ball-Mason Glass Jar, no dateAdd to your cart.
 
Barcode: 703052
Box 313: Alvin M. and Lucy B. Owsley, 1996Add to your cart.
A plaque that was used to dedicate the Owsley reception room in the University Archives in 1996.  The Archives later moved and combined with the Rare Book Room to form Special Collections.
Barcode: 708122

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