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MSS 0181 Elvira Pickens Collection

Identifier: MSS 0181

Content Description

The Elvira Pickens Collection document her career as a hairstylist in Houston, Texas from 1956 through 2005 with most of the materials from the late 1950s to mid-1970s. Photographs, 30 total, depict activities of the International Hair Weevers Association, various Hair Weeve conventions and portraits of Mrs. Pickens. It also contains a history of the Lone Star Hair-Weev Center, news clippings, contracts, Hair Weeve License, product brochure, a letter from the Texas Cosmetology Board, a funeral program, and an award.


  • 1956-2005
  • Majority of material found in 1956-1975


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish or reproduce materials from the Elvira Pickens Collection must be obtained from the African American Library at the Gregory School or the appropriate copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Elvira Pickens was an entrepreneur and cosmetologist and was one of the first to introduce the pole method of hair weave to the state Texas.

Elvira was born June 21, 1913 to Major Dixion and Henrietta Phelps. Educated in the Houston Independent school district, she graduated from Prairie View College and trained as a beautician and instructor at Franklin Beauty School and Scotts Beauty College in New Jersey. She also attended Pan American Academy of Beauty where she received a Master Artist Instructor License. From July 2 to July 27, 1956 Elvira Pickens went to Cleveland Ohio to learn hair weaving at Hair Weev Inc. After receiving her license, she returned home, where she introduced the pole method of hair weaving to Texas. After receiving her instructors license to teach hair weaving and her first student was Doris Hayes in 1958 and the second was Vivian Hayes in 1959. She opened Pickens Hair Weave Center, later called the Lone Star HairWeev Center, offering a five day training program for licensed beauticians to learn the hair weaving technique.

Mrs. Pickens was the first Vice president of the National Hair Wave Convention, the State supervisor and Regional Director. Elvira Pickens died in 2005


.25 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



Arranged by format and subject.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Charles Cunningham

Related Materials

RG 0011 Reens Beauty Salon

RG 0002 Franklin Beauty School Collection

RG D 0044 Franklin Beauty School Records 1920s - 1970s

Processing Information

Processed by Sheena Wilson, March 2021

MSS 0181 Elvira Pickens Collection
An inventory of records at the African American Library at the Gregory School
Sheena Wilson
March 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the African American 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