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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 4: Scrapbooks, 1905-1966, undatedAdd to your cart.
 
Box 1: Oversize Box-Scrapbook 1, 1918-1923Add to your cart.
 
Barcode: 100361
Item 1: Scrapbook 1, 1918-1923Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains correspondence; telegrams; hotel reciepts; invitations; menus; clippings; vaccination records p. 7; officers berthing card p.7; flyer in German dropped over German lines p. 12; passport with photo p. 55; French and German banknotes p. 58; club membership cards p. 75; and Official Program of the Fifth National Convention of the American Legion, October 15-19, 1923 p. 76.  Materials document Owsley's activities as Lt. Colonel in Europe during World War I and as Assistant Director of Americanism and Commander of  the American Legion.
Folder 2: Clippings, 1923Add to your cart.
Folder contains newspaper clippings in English and French.
Box 2: Oversize Box-Scrapbook 2, 1922-1923Add to your cart.
 
Barcode: 100362
Item 1: Scrapbook 2, 1922-1923Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains newspaper clippings documenting Owsley's activities as Commander of the American Legion.  Also includes flyers; photograph of Atlantic City boardwalk p.48; and a special detective card issued by Atlantic City p. 48.
Box 3: Oversize Box-Scrapbook 3, 1923Add to your cart.
 
Barcode: 100363
Item 1: Scrapbook 3, 1923Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains clippings; flyers; invitations; and event programs documenting Owsley's activities as Commander of the American Legion.
Box 4: Oversize Box-Scrapbooks 4 & 5, 1922-1925Add to your cart.
 
Barcode: 100364
Item 1: Scrapbook 4, 1923Add to your cart.
Scrapbook was compiled by Martin F. Biersmith, Post Commander of Hugh A. Carlisle Post, Albuquerque, New Mexico and contains clippings from Albuquerque newspapers of Owsley's activities and visit to the city as Commander of the American Legion.
Item 2: Scrapbook 5, 1922-1925Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains correspondence; telegrams; correspondence from Calvin Coolidge p. 20; and dinner and event programs.
Box 5: Oversize Box-Scrapbook 6, 1921-1923Add to your cart.
 
Barcode: 100365
Item 1: Scrapbook 6, 1921-1923Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains clippings; National Legion pamphlets and brochures; invitations; banquet and event programs; American Legion Day poster; and flyers documenting Owsley's election to and activities as Commander of the American Legion.
Box 6: Oversize Box-Scrapbooks 7 & 8, 1932-1939Add to your cart.
 
Barcode: 100366
Item 1: Scrapbook 7, 1933-1939Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains clippings in English and Danish; correspondence; and Christmas cards p. 42 documenting Owsley's activities mainly as Minister to Denmark.  Some clippings documenting activities as Minister to Irish Free State and one clipping pertaining to appointment as Minister to Romania also included.
Item 2: Scrapbook 8, 1932Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains clippings concerning American politics and Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidential campaign.
Box 7: Oversize Box-Scrapbooks 9 & 10, 1922-1966Add to your cart.
 
Barcode: 100367
Item 1: Scrapbook 9, 1944Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains notes and clippings concerning Roosevelt and Dewey presidential campaigns.
Item 2: Scrapbook 10, 1922-1966Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains clippings; correspondence; flyers; photographs p.95-103; The American Legion Weekly (November 1922); and personal and family correspondence.  Topics include communism; social, political, and economic issues; speaking engagements; death announcements for George Ball; United Nations; disarmament; American Legion; and family and social matters.
Box 8: Oversize Box-Scrapbook 11, 1963Add to your cart.
 
Barcode: 100368
Item 1: Scrapbook 11, 1963Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains clippings covering the 1963 American Legion National Convention.
Box 9: Oversize Box-Scrapbook 12, 1923-1965Add to your cart.
 
Barcode: 100369
Item 1: Scrapbook 12, 1923-1965Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains clippings; correspondence; photographs p.6-13,16, 28-43, 50, 63, 108, 127-128, ; convention program; and speech transcript.    Topics include family, social, and personal matters; speaking engagments; American Legion; and Bohemian Club;
Box 10: Oversize Box-Scrapbook 13, 1922-1923Add to your cart.
 
Barcode: 100370
Item 1: Scrapbook 13, 1922-1923Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains clippings; pamphlets; and event invitations/announcements documenting Owsley's activities as Commander of the American Legion.
Box 11: Oversize Box-Scrapbook 14, 1922Add to your cart.
 
Barcode: 100371
Item 1: Scrapbook 14, 1922Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains correpsondence and telegrams of congratulations for election to Commander of American Legion.
Box 12: Oversize Box-Scrapbook 15, 1934-1936Add to your cart.
 
Barcode: 100372
Item 1: Scrapbook 15, 1934-1936Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains clippings in English and Romanian; photos p.1,10, 13;  and correspondence from Franklin D. Roosevelt p. 7 documenting Owsley's activities as Minister to Romania and Minister to Irish Free State.
Box 13: Oversize Box-Scrapbook 16, 1917-1929Add to your cart.
 
Barcode: 100373
Item 1: Scrapbook 16, 1917-1929Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains clippings pertaining to WWI; immigration; politics; and other miscellaneous topics.
Box 14: Oversize Box-Scrapbook 17, 1936-1937Add to your cart.
 
Barcode: 100374
Item 1: Scrapbook 17, 1936-1937Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains clippings; photographs p. 14, 17; programs; and correspondence documenting Owsley's activities as Minister to Irish Free State.
Box 15: Oversize Box-Scrapbook 18, 1922-1923Add to your cart.
 
Barcode: 100375
Item 1: Scrapbook 18, 1922-1923Add to your cart.
Scrapbook includes clippings pertaining to American Legion activities.
Box 16: Oversize Box-Scrapbook 19, 1957Add to your cart.
 
Barcode: 100376
Item 1: Scrapbook 19, 1957Add to your cart.
Scrapbook includes clippings; correspondence; Senate hearing report; and releases pertaining to the William Girard case.
Box 17: Oversize Box-Scrapbook 20, 1927-1946Add to your cart.
 
Barcode: 100377
Item 1: Scrapbook 20, 1927-1946Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains clippings; correspondence; photographs p. 24, 55-62; Edinburgh postcards; pamphlet Polish Views on International Organization:  Polish Facts and Figures (1945); club membership cards; event invitations; and event programs.
Box 18: Oversize Box-Scrapbook 21, 1933-1942Add to your cart.
 
Barcode: 100378
Item 1: Scrapbook 21, 1933-1942Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains clippings; photographs p.7-8; correspondence; and correpondence from Franklin D. Roosevelt p.19.  Topics include lead-up to WWII; politics; social matters; resignation as Minister to Denmark; and miscellaneous.
Box 19: Oversize Box-Scrapbook 22, 1939-1941Add to your cart.
 
Barcode: 100379
Item 1: Scrapbook 22, 1939-1941Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains clippings concerning human interest and WWII related stories.
Box 20: Oversize Box-Scrapbook 23, 1922-1948Add to your cart.
NOTE: This box is stored off-site and must be requested 24 hours in advance.
Barcode: 100380
Item 1: Scrapbook 23, 1922-1948Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains clippings; photographs p.2, 3, 24, 30, 35-43, 50-51, 58, 60-61, 66, 68, 72, 74-75, and Owsley wedding announcement p. 36 documenting family, social, poltical, and professional activities of Owsley.
Box 21: Oversize Box-Scrapbook 24, 1936-1939Add to your cart.
 
Barcode: 100381
Item 1: Scrapbook 24, 1936-1939Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains photographs p.1, 20, 55, 59, 81-104; clippings in English and Danish; correspondence; and correspondence from Franklin D. Roosevelt p. 70, 77.  Materials document Owsley's activities as Minister to Denmark, Minister to Irish Free State, and Minister to Romania.
Box 22: Oversize Box-Scrapbook 25, 1933Add to your cart.
 
Barcode: 100382
Item 1: Scrapbook 25, 1933Add to your cart.
Scrapbook is dedicated Presented to the Hon. Alvin M. Owsley upon the Occasion of his Departure to Accept the Post of Minister to Roumania by his Friends.  Scrapbook contains signatures of friends and supporters; photograph p.17; and congratulatory telegrams and letters concerning appointment to Minister to Rumania.
Box 23: Oversize Box-Scrapbook 26 & 27, 1918-1923, undatedAdd to your cart.
NOTE: This box is stored off-site and must be requested 24 hours in advance.
Barcode: 100383
Item 1: Scrapbook 26, undatedAdd to your cart.
Scrapbook contains photographs.
Item 2: Scrapbook 27, 1918-1923Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains photographs and clippings of Alvin and brothers Henry and Clark and sister Stella Owsley.  Also contains clippings of American Legion activities.
Box 24: Oversize Box-Scrapbook 28, undatedAdd to your cart.
NOTE: This box is stored off-site and must be requested 24 hours in advance.
Barcode: 100384
Item 1: Scrapbook 28, undatedAdd to your cart.
Scrapbook contains family photographs of Owsley's childhood years and photographs from time at Virginia Military Institute.
Box 25: Oversize Box-Scrapbook 29, 1921-1923Add to your cart.
NOTE: This box is stored off-site and must be requested 24 hours in advance.
Barcode: 100385
Item 1: Scrapbook 29, 1921-1923Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains photographs documenting Owsley's American Legion activities.
Box 26: Oversize Box-Scrapbooks 30 & 31, 1933-1936, undatedAdd to your cart.
NOTE: This box is stored off-site and must be requested 24 hours in advance.
Barcode: 100386
Item 1: Scrapbook 30, undatedAdd to your cart.
Scrapbook contains photographs.
Item 2: Scrapbook 31, 1933-1936Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains photographs documenting Owsley's activities as Minister to Romania and Minister to Irish Free State.
Box 27: Oversize Box-Scrapbooks 32-34, 1927-1955Add to your cart.
NOTE: This box is stored off-site and must be requested 24 hours in advance.
Barcode: 100387
Item 1: 1927-1955Add to your cart.
Scrapbooks contains miscellaneous photographs; clippings; event programs; and telegrams.
Box 28: Oversize Box-Scrapbooks 35 & 36, 1926-1927; 1946Add to your cart.
NOTE: This box is stored off-site and must be requested 24 hours in advance.
Barcode: 100388
Item 1: Scrapbook 35, circa 1926-1927Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains clippings covering Dan Moody's campaign for Texas governor.
Item 2: Scrapbook 36, 1946Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains maps; letters; reports; instructions; flyers; pamphlets; and clippings concerning the National Americanism Endowment Fund of the American Legion.
Box 29: Oversize Box-Scrapbook 37, 1922Add to your cart.
NOTE: This box is stored off-site and must be requested 24 hours in advance.
Barcode: 100389
Item 1: Scrapbook 37, 1922Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains clippings covering election of Owsley to National Commander of the American Legion.
Box 30: Oversize Box-Scrapbooks 38 & 39, 1930-1964Add to your cart.
NOTE: This box is stored off-site and must be requested 24 hours in advance.
Barcode: 100390
Item 1: Scrapbook 38, 1930-1964Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains various certificates; clippings; correspondence; letter from Lyndon B. Johnson p.22; invitation to Inauguration of Lyndon B. Johnson p. 28; and invitation to Innaugural Ball for Dwight Eisenhower p. 29.
Item 2: Scrapbook 39, 1962Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains clippings covering the 44th National Convention of the American Legion in Las Vegas.
Box 31: Oversize Box-Scrapbooks 40 & 41, 1943-1951Add to your cart.
NOTE: This box is stored off-site and must be requested 24 hours in advance.
Barcode: 100391
Item 1: Scrapbook 40, 1943Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains clippings covering WWII.
Item 2: Scrapbook 41, 1947-1951Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains miscellaneous clippings and correspondence.
Box 32: Oversize Box-Scrapbooks 42 & 43, 1954-1954, undatedAdd to your cart.
NOTE: This box is stored off-site and must be requested 24 hours in advance.
Barcode: 100392
Item 1: Scrapbook 42, 1954-1957Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains clippings; correspondence; and pamphlets concerning speaking engagements; Girard case; events; and miscellaneous.
Item 2: Scrapbook 43, undatedAdd to your cart.
Scrapbook contains photos.
Box 33: Oversize Box-Scrapbooks 44 & 45, 1927, undatedAdd to your cart.
NOTE: This box is stored off-site and must be requested 24 hours in advance.
Barcode: 100393
Item 1: Scrapbook 44, undatedAdd to your cart.
Scrapbook contains photographs.
Item 2: Scrapbook 45, 1927, undatedAdd to your cart.
Scrapbook contains family photographs.
Box 34: Oversize Box-Scrapbook 46, undatedAdd to your cart.
NOTE: This box is stored off-site and must be requested 24 hours in advance.
Barcode: 100394
Item 1: Scrapbook 46, undatedAdd to your cart.
Scrapbook contains photographs of the Ball family from Lucy's childhood.
Box 35: Oversize Box- Scrapbook 47, 1911, undatedAdd to your cart.
NOTE: This box is stored off-site and must be requested 24 hours in advance.
Barcode: 100395
Item 1: Scrapbook 47, 1911, undatedAdd to your cart.
Scrapbook contains photographs of the Ball family from Lucy's childhood.
Box 36: Oversize Box-Scrapbook 48, 1914-1916Add to your cart.
NOTE: This box is stored off-site and must be requested 24 hours in advance.
Barcode: 100396
Item 1: Scrapbook 48, 1914-1916Add to your cart.
Scrapbook is Lucy Ball's school memory book from Mount Vernon Seminary.  Memory book contains signatures; journal entries; schedule; invitations; calling cards; Household Regulations; mementos; programs; photographs; and postcards.
Box 37: Oversize Box-Scrapbook 49, undatedAdd to your cart.
NOTE: This box is stored off-site and must be requested 24 hours in advance.
Barcode: 100397
Item 1: Scrapbook 49, undatedAdd to your cart.
Scrapbook is stamped with Mount Vernon Seminary Seal and entitled Notes on the Great War.  Scrapbook includes clippings of images and captions pertaining to leaders, soldiers, places, and battles of World War I.  Also includes War Map of the French Front Northern Section; War Map of the French Front Southern Section; War Map of the Entire Western Battle Front in Europe; and War Map of the British Front; War Map of the Italian Front; and War Map of All Europe and Asia fold-out Rand McNally pocket maps p.96-101; and Continental Daily Mail Map of the Battlefields of France fold-out map p.121.
Box 38: Oversize Box-Scrapbooks 50 & 51, 1935-1937Add to your cart.

NOTE: This box is stored off-site and must be requested 24 hours in advance.

100398

Barcode: 100398
Item 1: Scrapbook 50, 1935-1937Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains postcards from Lucy to her mother p. 1, 23, 25; Irish stamps; clippings; correspondence; and photographs p.62 documenting the Owsley family's activities in the Irish Free State.
Item 2: Scrapbook 51, 1933-1936Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains clippings; photographs p.3, 5, 38, 55 ; correspondence; calling cards p.37; and postcards from Owsley children p. 42-43 documenting Owsley family's activities in Romania.
Box 39: Oversize Box-Scrapbooks 52 & 53, 1940-1943, undatedAdd to your cart.
NOTE: This box is stored off-site and must be requested 24 hours in advance.
Barcode: 100399
Item 1: Scrapbook 52, 1940-1943Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains clippings concerning WWII events in Scandanavian countries.
Item 2: Scrapbook 53, undatedAdd to your cart.
Scrapbook contains clippings of Dorothy Dix Says column.
Box 40: Oversize Box-Scrapbooks 54-57, 1936-1971, undatedAdd to your cart.
NOTE: This box is stored off-site and must be requested 24 hours in advance.
Barcode: 100400
Item 1: Scrapbook 54, undatedAdd to your cart.
Scrapbook contains one clipping concerning Lucy Owsley.
Item 2: Scrapbook 55, undatedAdd to your cart.
Scrapbook contains miscellaneous clippings.
Item 3: Scrapbook 56, 1936-1938Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains clippings documenting the Ball family's activities.
Item 4: Scrapbook 57, 1971Add to your cart.
Scrapbook contains clippings concerning the publication of Alvin M. Owsley of Texas:  Apostle of Americanism by Marion S. Adams.
Box 41: Oversize Box-Scrapbooks 58 & 59, 1905-1925, undatedAdd to your cart.
NOTE: This box is stored off-site and must be requested 24 hours in advance.
Barcode: 100401
Item 1: Scrapbook 58, 1905-1909, undatedAdd to your cart.
Scrapbook contains photographs of Lucy Ball as child; Alvin Owsley at Virginia Military Institute; other family photographs; a program featuring Ball family members; and clipping concerning recital of Lucy and Helen Ball.
Item 2: Scrapbook 59, 1925, undatedAdd to your cart.
Scrapbook contains large photographs of Lucy Ball, inlcuding bridal portraits.

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