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Thelma Scott Bryant Collection

Identifier: MSS 0013

Scope and Contents

The Thelma Scott Bryant Collection houses the personal papers of Thelma Scott Bryant. This collection, which dates from 1940 to 2008, includes newsclippings, correspondence, manuscripts, church materials, publications, funeral programs, photos, a scrap book from here college years at Howard University and personal ephemera that document events, individuals, and organizations that had special meaning in her life. She leaves behind a legacy that touched many in the community through her publications, teachings, and her first hand accounts of African American history and life in Houston.


  • 1940 - 2008

Language of Materials

All materials are in English.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

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

Biographical note

Born Thelma O. Scott on September 26, 1905 she was the only child of Walter E. Scott and Ella Wall Scott. She grew up in the Third Ward and graduated from “Old Colored High School,” later named Booker T. Washington in 1922. She went on to Howard University in Washington D.C., where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1926. She started her career teaching at Phyllis Wheatley High School. She married Ira Babington Bryant Jr., on September 6, 1932. In 1941 she took early retirement to assist her husband in the research and writing of several books. After her husband’s passing in 1989, she went on to publish five books of her own based on her recollections of Houston’s early African American history. In 1993, she received the “Good Book Award” from the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance for Pioneer Families of the Early 1900’s, her first publication.

A life-long member of Trinity East United Methodist Church since 1920, while Dr. Julius S. Scott, Sr. was pastor, she had served in many capacities, her last position being church historian. As a child she played the piano for Sunday school and participated in all youth activities. As an adult she was a dedicated member of the Wesleyan Service Guild which became Woman’s Society of Christian Service, and later the United Methodist Women. She was recognized for her work by receiving a “Service Pin” in each group.

She came from a family heritage which included many educators and professionals. Chief among them was her uncle, Emmett J. Scott. He rose from humble beginnings to eventually become chief aide and confidant to Booker T. Washington. He also became the highest ranking African American under Woodrow Wilson’s Administration, as special advisor of Black Affairs to then Secretary of War Newton Baker.

Throughout her life she welcomed students and newcomers into her home recounting stories of Houston’s past as it related to African American History. She passed away, on September 15, 2008 at the age of 102. Although she and her husband never had children, she was survived by eight first cousins. She leaves behind a body of work that includes: Pioneer Families of Houston, As Remembered by Thelma Scott Bryant (1991), Our Journey Through Houston (1996), Methodism In England, America, and Trinity East (1998), Autobiography of Thelma Scott Bryant (2000), and The Story of Two Pioneer Families: The Scotts and Starks (2007).


2.5 Linear Feet (4)

Arrangement note

The collection is arranged by subject and material type.

Acquisition Information

Donated by: Patricia Smith Prather

Related Materials

MSS 0006 Willie Lee Gay Collection

The Houston Metropolitan Research Center holds related materials in the following collections:

MSS 452 Thelma Scott Bryant and Ira B. Bryant Papers

MSS 1021 Willie Lee Gay through Johnson Branch

MSS 1041 Willie Lee Gay & Carter G. Woodson Junior Historians # 244

Processing Information

Processed by: Vince Lee, January 2010

MSS 0013 Thelma Scott Bryant Collection
An Inventory of her Records at the African American Library at the Gregory School, Houston Public Library
Vince Lee
January, 2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Gregory School Repository


The African American Library at the Gregory School
1300 Victor Street
Houston, Texas 77019
Houston Metropolitan Research Center
Houston Public Library
550 McKinney St.
Houston, Texas 77002