Finding “The House of Schreiner”

In June 1920, J.E. Grinstead published an article titled “The House of Schreiner.”  This article contains one of few instances that one can find of Charles Schreiner reflecting on his businesses and successes.  Unfortunately, this particular article is quite elusive – I began to doubt its existence. 

The Hunt

The hunt began when I was contacted by Bill R., a community member who wanted to find out more about Charles Schreiner.  I’ve worked here a long time, and this was the first time that anyone walked up with this reference and wanted to actually see it.  S.U. has a near-complete run of Grinstead’s Graphic, a magazine published 1921-1925, but no 1920 issue.  The WorldCat record (think “world library catalog”) showed that Graphic began publication in 1921, but unfortunately, Mr. Grinstead did not think far enough ahead to individually number his issues so that one could easily verify where the magazine began and ended.  Few do – it’s a pet peeve – I won’t go there right now.

In our special collections we also held one issue of Grinstead’s Magazine, published in 1916, which was all about Kimble County (Junction).  Could this article be published under this title instead?  Bill suggested that we take a field trip to Austin to see J.E. Grinstead’s archival collection, currently held at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.  I happily agreed.

Have you ever find that something is in the last place you look?  It’s no different with research sometimes. 

On December 5th, Bill and I made our separate ways to Austin, he from Kerrville, I from San Antonio (yes, I make a daily commute to Kerrville- it’s against traffic and quite stress-free when I am not driving past dark).  We spent four straight hours looking through boxes, reading some quite interesting correspondence, looking at photographs.  I was able to verify that Grinstead’s Graphic began publication in 1921, so either the original citation was incorrect in the title of the publication, or the date.  I knew it wasn’t the date because of S.U.’s run.  The finding aid did not even acknowledge the existence of Grinstead’s Magazine.  This is probably where archivists can learn a little from librarians – different titles are different serials unless otherwise indicated. Perhaps our 1916 issue was a fluke.

At 2 PM I began packing up.  Bill had the box containing their collection of Grinstead Graphics, quite sparse, honestly – maybe 15 of the 60 issues.  I was talking to Bill about how the citation could just be flat wrong, that perhaps someone quoted him incorrectly, or maybe it didn’t exist altogether.  But low and behold – JUNE 1920.  It was a Grinstead’s Magazine, not a Grinstead’s Graphic.  Great condition!  The 9 page article contained pictures and several quotes by Charles Schreiner himself.  I alerted the staff that they needed to update the finding aid because of this rare jewel – let’s see if they do.  Texas Hill Country researchers will certainly benefit from the correction.

In an effort to provide the best access to the content of the article, you can read the text HERE sans photos.  If a community member donates the issue to us, I will happily get it scanned and published online as part of our digital library efforts.  In fact, I would be uber-excited if anyone steps forward.  Please contact me!

A BIG THANKS to Bill – we had a fun hunting for the article and learned a lot on the way.  I am always grateful to community and university members who join me in “the hunt.”

I will write more later about what I learned about J.E. Grinstead.  I will post it after finals.  Mr. Grinstead was a bit of a character…


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