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Ballinger and Associates Collection

Identifier: MSS 0043

Scope and Contents

The collection of the Galveston law firm of Ballinger and Associates is a large holding of nineteenth century correspondence relating to economic, legal and political affairs of Texas, particularly the Gulf Coast area. The name of the firm varied during the 1855-1907 period of this collection. Partnerships included those of Ballinger and Jack, Ballinger and Mott, Willie, Campbell and Ballinger, Terry, Ballinger and Smith, and Terry, Cavin and Mills. For archival purposes, all will be referred to as Ballinger and Associates. The collection also contains a volume of letters to Thomas M. League and the 1875-1876 correspondence of the law firm of Willie and Cleveland. The University of Houston deposited the Ballinger papers in the HMRC in January, 1977.


  • 1836-1907, bulk dates 1854-1907
  • Majority of material found within 1854 - 1907

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish or reproduce materials from the Ballinger and Associates Collection must be obtained from the Houston Metropolitan Research Center or the appropriate copyright holder.

Biographical Note

Born in Barboursville, Kentucky, in 1825, William Pitt Ballinger moved to Galveston in 1845 to study law with his uncle, James Love. In 1850 he became the United States district attorney for the Texas district leaving that office in 1854 to organize the Galveston firm. Soon a leading attorney in the city, Ballinger served as legal counselor for the Galveston Wharf Company and strongly supported the island's economic growth. As a moderate-minded conservative, Ballinger refused to take a stand on the gubernatorial conflict between Runnels and Houston in 1859, but he later helped to organize the Bell-Everett Club of the Constitutional Union Party. After secession, he served as receiver for the Confederacy at Galveston until the end of the Civil War, when he went to New Orleans to negotiate the surrender of Texas. Although he declined two appointments to the Texas Supreme Court, Ballinger did accept membership to the Judicial Committee of the Constitutional Convention of 1875. He died January 20, 1888.


38.5 Linear Feet (92 document boxes)

Language of Materials



The collection of incoming correspondence to the Ballinger firm is arranged chronologically followed by outgoing correspondence and the volumes relating to Thomas M. League and Willie and Campbell. Within each of the ninety boxes the letters are usually, but not always, arranged alphabetically and sometimes indexed at the beginning of the volume. A separate index is available. It is complete and listed by correspondent up to Box 68, where it becomes selective and listed by either correspondent or subject. Correspondence for 1856, 1864, 1897 and A though K of 1898 is missing. Up to Box 56 (1887) the contents of most letters are summarized on the backs of the letters. The papers include information concerning slavery, secession, the Civil War, the Buckley-Bell controversy, Texas politics, railroads, navigation companies and land development.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by the University of Houston Special Collections in 1977.

Processing Information

Processed by Pam Barron, Jan. 3, 1978.

Ballinger and Associates Collection
Inventory prepared by Pam Barron
Jan. 3, 1978
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • finding aid revision date not supplied: <date normal="20040424">March 24, 2004</date><item>Proofread and revised by Andrew Hempe.</item></change><change><date normal="200304">April 2003</date><item>Edited with XMetaL 3 by Susan Lindberg, according to instructions in <title> TARO 2 EAD 2002 Editing Instructions</title></item>

Repository Details

Part of the Houston History Research Center Repository


African American History Research Center
Houston Public Library
1300 Victor Street
Houston, Texas 77019
Houston History Research Center
Houston Public Library
550 McKinney St.
Houston, Texas 77002