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Ruth Hutton Fred Papers

Identifier: MS 0901
Finding aid note: Forms part of the Houston Jewish History Archive. Stored offsite at the Library Service Center and require 24-hour notice for retrieval. Please contact the Woodson Research Center at 713-348-2586 or for more information.

Scope and Contents

The Ruth Hutton Fred collection contains materials from 1928 to 2013 including correspondence, event materials, military documents/materials, newspaper clippings, newsletters, and photographs. Many papers are related to Ruth Hutton Fred and her life in the Houston Jewish community. The collection also contains materials pertaining to her husband, Harry Fred's army service during World War II. The materials are ideal for researchers interested in the Houston Jewish Community and Ruth Hutton Fred's role as the Executive Director of Jewish Family Services.


  • Creation: 1928 - 2013

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open for research.

Stored offsite at the Library Service Center and require 24-hour notice for retrieval. Please contact the Woodson Research Center at 713-348-2586 or for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from the Ruth Hutton Fred Papers must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library.

The Woodson Research Center use policy is that researchers assume sole responsibility for any infringement of privacy,  literary rights, copyrights, or other rights arising from their use of the archival materials. In addition to any restrictions placed by donors, certain kinds of archival materials are restricted for the life of the creator plus 50 years. These materials include, but are not limited to, student grades, transcripts, and any job applications or recommendations.

Biographical / Historical

Ruth Hutton was born to parents Anna and William Hutton (formerly Chotiakof) on September 2, 1909 in Marlette, Michigan. Anna and William immigrated to the United States through Ellis Island in 1906 from Kiev, Russia (now Kiev, Ukraine) where their last name was changed from Chotiakof to Hutton.

In September 1931 Ruth Hutton received her Bachelor of Arts in social work from the University of Michigan. She received her Masters of Social Work from Smith College in 1937.

Harry Fred was born on February 9, 1910 in St. Louis Missouri to Henry and Jenni Fred, from Russia. Harry Fred was the only one of his siblings to be born in the United States.

On April 21, 1940 Ruth Hutton married Harry Fred in St. Louis, Missouri. Ruth and Harry moved to Houston in 1940, where Ruth Fred became the first executive director of Jewish Family Services (at the time called United Jewish Charities). Ruth Fred would serve in this position for 37 years, until 1977. Harry Fred served as a soldier in the 128th infantry, 32nd division during World War II, from April 1943 to December 1945, when he was honorably discharged.

Jan H. Fred was born to her parents Ruth and Harry on April 22, 1950 in Houston, TX.

Harry Fred died in Houston September 19, 1960.

Ruth Fred provided advice to the community through the "Ask Ruth" KTRH radio show, beginning around 1965 and lasting thirteen years, and through her "Dear Ruth" column in the Jewish Herald Voice, lasting ten years.

Ruth Fred died in Houston on July 21, 1998.


0.50 Linear Feet (1 Box)

Language of Materials



This collection is made up of one box containing correspondence, photographs, news clippings, newsletters, event materials, and military documents/materials from Ruth Hutton Fred and her family, spanning from 1928-2013.


The materials in this collection have been arranged in six series as follows: Series I: Correspondence; Series II: Media; Series III: Memorabilia; Series IV: Military Documents/Materials; Series V: Photographs; Series VI: Printed Materials

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Jan Hutton donated the papers in September 2019.

Related Materials

There is a digitized copy of an interview with Ruth Fred available at the Houston Metropolitan Research Center website located at the following link:

Guide to the Ruth Hutton Fred Papers, 1928-2013
Rebecca Topper
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Woodson Research Center, Rice University, Houston, Texas Repository

Fondren Library MS-44, Rice University
6100 Main St.
Houston Texas 77005 USA