Some of the locations and buildings in the Houston Public Library system have been named in honor of the individuals listed below, recognizing their contributions which have enhanced the quality of life for the citizens of Houston.
Attorney J.S. Bracewell was also an educator and church leader who held positions during his lifetime as school board president, Houston Bar Association president, Harris County Tax Board member, member of the Port Commission, and 26 years on the Houston Public Library Board.
Wealthy steel manufacturer Andrew Carnegie financed the construction of more than 2,500 public libraries throughout the world. Houston's original Carnegie Library, at the corner of McKinney Avenue and Travis Street, was dedicated in 1904; it was outgrown and replaced in 1926. One of the first Houston Public Library branches was named in his honor.
Will Clayton co-founded the international cotton brokerage firm of Anderson, Clayton. As assistant secretary of state he helped implement the Marshall Plan following World War II. His home, designed by Houston architect Birdsall Briscoe, and an adjacent newer building house the library's genealogical collection.
Everett Collier worked his way up from campus correspondent to editor of the Houston Chronicle. He held that position for more than thirteen years and continued to serve as a consultant to that newspaper for several more years after his retirement.
Believing that a library would increase the educational and occupational potential of her community, Mrs. Amanda E. Dixon led the six-year drive for a branch library to serve the Trinity Gardens area.
The Most Reverend Patricio F. Flores, Archbishop of San Antonio, served as a priest in the Houston-Galveston Diocese during the 1950s and 1960s and was active in programs for Houston's Hispanic community. He became the first Mexican-American elevated to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in the United States.
Columnist Morris Frank covered sports for both Houston newspapers. A nationally known dinner speaker, Frank hosted two television programs during his long career and was active in many of Houston's civic and charitable organizations. In 1960 he was honored as Houston's Sportsman of the Year.
Eleanor Freed Stern, longtime art critic for the Houston Post and a patron of numerous cultural institutions in Houston, was for many years a member and then president of the Friends of the Library. She later served with distinction on the Houston Public Library Board.
David M. Henington, retired in 1994 after 26 years as director of Houston Public Library. During his tenure the library system grew from 13 to 35 branches and from 900,000 to more than 4 million volumes. Henington was honored by the Texas Library Association as Librarian of the Year in 1976 and for Distinguished Service to Libraries in 1993.
The family of Arnold L. Hillendahl pioneered the Spring Branch area from its beginnings as a farming community in the 1830s.
A member of the first class in library science at the University of Texas, Julia Ideson was appointed the first librarian for the Houston Lyceum and Carnegie Library in 1903. As director she oversaw the growth of the Houston Public Library through the Great Depression and two world wars until her death in 1945.
Educator W.L.D. Johnson, Sr., led a drive in 1910 to raise funds for the purchase of land for Houston's Colored Carnegie Library; he was one of the original board members for that library. Johnson was appointed principal of Blackshear Elementary School in 1918 and continued in that position for more than forty years.
Jesse H. Jones built his fortune in the lumber, real estate, and banking industries, and as owner and publisher of the Houston Chronicle. He held several major positions in government, most notably as Secretary of Commerce in Franklin Roosevelt's cabinet. The Houston Endowment, a charitable foundation established by Jones and his wife, continues to support many of Houston's educational and cultural institutions.
Active in the diverse businesses of cotton, oil, banking, and real estate, J. Frank Jungman devoted time and energy throughout his life to the betterment of Houston's civic, religious, and cultural life. Dedicated to libraries, he helped found the public library in his home town of Hondo, Texas, and strongly supported the libraries at Rice and Texas A&M Universities as well as Houston Public Library.
While serving as president of the Woman's Club in Houston in 1898 and 1899, Belle Sherman Kendall initiated and carried out the negotiations with Andrew Carnegie which resulted in his donation of $50,000 toward the establishment of a public library for the citizens of Houston. A founding member of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Mrs. Kendall was the daughter of General Sidney Sherman, who commanded the left wing of the Texas Army at the Battle of San Jacinto.
Descended from both a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence and a founding resident of Harris County, Adele Briscoe Looscan played an important role in the cultural growth of Houston in her own right. As the first president of the City Federation of Women's Clubs, Looscan led the movement to establish a library for the city. A charter member of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and the Texas State Historical Society, Mrs. Looscan wrote and published a number of articles on Texas history. At her death she bequeathed her large personal library, including many valuable Texana items, to Houston Public Library.
Frank O. Mancuso enjoyed a substantial career in professional baseball before entering politics. He was appointed to Houston's City Council in 1963 and served in that body for thirty years under six mayors.
Dr. Eva Alice McCrane held both doctor of business education and doctor of education degrees and completed thirty years of service in various schools in the Houston Independent School District between 1945 and 1978. Early in her career she was a reporter for both the Houston Informer and the Labor News. She held leadership positions in professional and civic organizations and served as a library volunteer for several decades, taking a particular interest in the Summer Reading Program.
Dr. John P. McGovern, a distinguished American and internationally noted physician, made contributions to the fields of science and medicine and has been called a physician who “embodies service to humanity.” His generous contribution to the Houston Public Library enabled the expansion of this library to 20,000 square feet. He also provided funding to the Museum of Health and Medical Science, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston Zoo, and the Museum of Natural Science. In addition, he received numerous national and international awards and decorations.
Lucile Yvonne Melcher, a native Houstonian, learned from the uncle who raised her to love books and learning. In his honor she established a fund for the continuing support of the children's collection at the branch that is her namesake.
George B. Meyer, Sr. developed the Meyerland subdivision in the mid-1950s on land held for three generations by his family. Land for a branch library was donated by the Meyer family to the city to meet the greatly increased demand for library services resulting from the development of the area.
Nettie Moody operated the Texas Abstract Company and was an active real estate investor. In 1946 she was named Houston's Businesswoman of the Year.
Elizabeth L. Ring's service to libraries began in 1887 when she joined the Ladies' Reading Club and started working for the establishment of a free public library in Houston. Because of her tremendous involvement in securing a public library, she was appointed a member of the first Houston Public Library Board in 1900, serving continuously for forty-one years. She devoted her energies to countless activities contributing to the welfare of women and children and to the cultural, educational and recreational life of Houston.
When Judson W. Robinson, Jr. won election to Houston City Council in 1971, he was the first African-American elected to city-wide office since Reconstruction. A tireless advocate for education and civil rights, he was re-elected nine times. Before entering city politics full-time, he had achieved success in high school and college football and in diverse areas of business.
Beulah Shepard, a community activist, crossed many political barriers. She made herself heard about what she believed in and supported many important causes with great passion. She worked on several political campaigns that included John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Jimmy Carter, Barbara Jordan, Mark White, and Mickey Leland. She shared her wisdom with public figures at all levels. Local city council members, county officials, state legislators, members of Congress and even several U.S. Presidents sought her advice and counsel. Shepard became known as the “Mayor” of Acres Homes, where was instrumental in improving her community.
Dr. Lonnie E. Smith received his dental degree from Meharry Medical College and practiced briefly in Galveston before coming to Houston. He was the plaintiff in the 1944 landmark Supreme Court case Smith v. Allwright which won the right of all African-Americans to vote in Texas primary elections.
Civic leader Nena E. Stanaker served her neighborhood tirelessly for more than fifty years and was fondly known among her many friends as the "Mayor of the East End." Prior to the opening of the Central Park branch which was later re-named in her honor, she created and maintained a volunteer library for the benefit of area children.
Sherman E. Stimley was a lover of books. He contributed his time and talent to schools and children through his advocacy for libraries across the state. Stimley received a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from the University of Kansas at Lawrence, a master's degree in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government and juris doctor at Harvard University Law School. Upon graduation, Stimley became the first African-American attorney hired by Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. to work in the firm's corporate and bank sections. He opened his own practice in 1985. It was the first African-American firm in Texas to consult exclusively in tax-exempt bond law.
Cliff Tuttle's career in banking began when he was sixteen and culminated in the vice-presidency of First City National Bank. An active participant in civic and governmental work, he was a leader in the Denver Harbor community for forty years with special interest in youth recreation.
Judge William A. Vinson came to Houston in 1915 and founded the law firm now known as Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. Active on the Houston Public Library Board for more then twenty-five years, Judge Vinson served as president of the Board from 1926 to 1951. Upon his retirement from the Board he was appointed Chairman Emeritus.
During World War I, M.E. Walter received the French Croix de Guerre for heroism. After the war he came to Houston and began a newspaper career. He retired as vice-president of the Houston Chronicle in 1964. As vice-chairman and later chairman of the City Planning Commission he took a special interest in the development of Greater Houston, the freeway system, and the growth of the Civic Center.
Active in politics all her life, Alice McKean Young was one of the first in Texas to campaign women's right to vote. Appointed to the Houston Public Library Board by Mayor Oscar Holcombe, she was the dean of the Board by the time she attended her last meeting, which was held at her bedside during her final illness.