Scope and Contents of the Papers
This collection of materials relates generally to the personal life of Lynette S. Autrey and her family. There are two personal letters to Lynette and a card of condolences written to her in 1973 on the occasion of Herbert’s death. Another letter from the collection is of particular interest. This is a letter written in 1915 by Lynette to her mother from the Los Angeles hotel where Lynette and Herbert spent their honeymoon. A short newspaper clipping announcing the wedding is with these materials. The wedding service and funeral books, including legal documentation on those events, are also in the collection. Three other letters related to Autrey family business matters are with the materials. Photographic album of the family dating from 1913 includes photographs of Lynette and Herbert, many of the subjects are not identified.
Restrictions on Use
Permission to publish from the Lynette S. Autrey Papers must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.
Lynette S. Autrey was born on December 21, 1891 into a Houston family prominent in a variety of business ventures. On October 12, 1915, Lynette married Herbert Autrey, whose father Robert Lee Autrey founded Galveston-Houston Breweries. Herbert carried on this business after his father’s death, but in the early 1960s sold the brewery to Falstaff. From wise investments in land and other business ventures, the Autreys amassed a considerable estate, half of which went to Lynette when Herbert died in 1973. Part of his estate was also left to Rice, the University of Houston, and Christ Church Cathedral Endowment Fund, a fund established by Herbert’s mother in memory of her other son, Max Autrey, killed during World War I. This was one of the earliest bequests given to Rice, which was then a new institution. From Herbert’s bequest to Rice, the first Autrey endowed chair was created in the new Jesse H. Jones School of Graduate Administration. Lynette and her sister Elma Schneider had also received inherited money from the estates of members of their family.
Although Lynette and Elma were raised during a time when women were not expected to actively participate in business affairs, they both managed their properties wisely and lived modestly during the remainder of their lives. At her death in 1978, Lynette left half a million dollars to Elma, two bequests to Christ Church Cathedral Endowment Fund, money to the University of Houston for student scholarships, and the entire residual estate to Rice University. The endowment to Rice stipulated that the money would be used to establish chairs in the humanities, social sciences, and business, named alternately in her name and Herbert’s. There are ten chairs named for the Autreys and two endowed in the name of Elma Schneider, who also left bequests to Rice.