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Helen Douglas Collection

Identifier: 2008.72

Scope and Contents

The Helen Douglas collection provides information that grants understanding of Douglas' career, research, talent, and interests. The collection spans from 1860 to 1998. There are 6 different series in this collection, ordered alphabetically.

Series I: Books and Publications includes 13 different folders. These folders contain published items donated with the collection, including published material of the Barbour Family, Children's Books, materials that describe East Texas and the university, as well as wellness-centered materials like a book on Gentle Yoga. This series also contains informational pamphlet books, a copy of Monteith's Geography from 1878, and yearbooks from the Women's Home Demonstration club.

Series II: Documents includes 6 different folders. Included in these folders are a Personal Vita for Helen Douglas, documents from Alumni Banquet and Douglas' 50th reunion, and her many diplomas and certificates from East Texas State Technical School. This series also includes documents on her housing and taxes.

Series III: History includes 8 folders and two books written by Douglas. The series includes information on The Flag of the United States, the Alamo, Commerce banks and merchants, the 1987 Commerce Bois D'Arc Bash, the Commerce Leadership Institutes, and an old lock.

Series IV: Hobbies includes 7 folders which build understanding for her talents and interests in marionettes, meteorology, painting and writing, radio, research, the Seven Beauties Exhibit, and travel.

Series V: Periodicals includes 7 folders. The series contains the periodicals of the American Magazine, articles and ads on Apollo 11, Century Magazine, newspaper articles regarding the Commerce Centennial Celebration, Munsey Magazines, newspaper articles regarding Commerce history, and W5LGY and Radio Articles.

Series VI: Photos and Film includes 2 folders, divided into photos and film. This series' photos include pictures of Douglas at different stages of her life, as well as undocumented and undescribed photographs.

Series VII: Post Cards includes 9 folders, divided alphabetically by state then size. A significant portion of the collection are blank post cards from California. There is one written post card in this collection.


  • 1860 - 1998


Conditions Governing Use

Items in this collection are protected by applicable copyright laws.

Biographical / Historical

Helen Margaret Douglas was born April 15, 1904, in Dallas, as the daughter of William Henry and Belle Satcher Douglass. A lifetime resident of Commerce, she joined the First United Methodist Church on Easter Sunday in 1913. She graduated ninth grade and high school at East Texas State Teachers College Training School and received her bachelor’s degree in art and education from East Texas State Teachers College.

She was employed by Lindale Independent School District where she taught math and science in 1928-29. She then attended George Peabody College in Nashville, Tenn., where she received her master’s degree in art. During the time of the Depression, she taught art at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va. In 1936 she returned to Texas and taught for the San Antonio public schools.

She soon returned to Commerce to help operate the family business, Douglas Plumbing Hardware Sheet and Metal Company. She retired in 1948 when the family business was sold and she started manuscript writing.

She had dozens of articles published in The Commerce Eagle, the North Texas American and The Commerce Journal. She also wrote 40 articles and two books, “The ABC of Puppetry” and co-authored with Raymond Cameron “The History of East Texas State Teachers College Training School.”

Her hobbies were puppetry, philatelic, marionettes and operating amateur ham radios. She was a member of the American Radio Relay League and Quarter Century Wireless Association and served 52 years and received three public service awards for emergency service. She was a periodic speaker on these subjects at civic clubs of Commerce. She was one of 14 charter members of Texas YL Roundup Net and was recognized and awarded an Honorary Lifetime Membership for her 31 years of faithful attendance and dedicated service.

Helen Douglas, 104, of Commerce died July 28, 2008, at Oak Manor Nursing Home.


2.5 Linear Feet (2 boxes, 1 1/2 box)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Parts of this collection were donated to the university Special Collections and Archives by Helen Douglas in 1980 and 1996.

Helen Douglas Collection Finding Aid
Frankie Hausler
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections, Waters Library, Texas A&M University-Commerce Repository