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Alvin Romansky Papers


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Finding Aid/Inventory



European Art Trip

African Art Exhibit, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Joseph Romansky

Thomas Flaxman


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Alvin Romansky Papers, 1907-1994 | University of Houston Libraries

By Monika Zarzycka and Julie Grob, 2000-2001

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Collection Overview

Title: Alvin Romansky Papers, 1907-1994

ID: 05/1968-001

Primary Creator: Romansky, Alvin

Extent: 3.0 Linear Feet

Subjects: Arts, Contemporary Arts Association (Houston, Tex.), Contemporary Arts Museum, Flaxman, Thomas, No-Tsu-Oh, Romansky, Alvin

Forms of Material: Clippings (information artifacts), Correspondence, Photographs, Scrapbooks

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Alvin Romansky Papers include photographs, correspondence, documents, printed materials, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, and memorabilia related to the life and civic pursuits of Alvin Romansky, his father Joseph Romansky, and his uncle Thomas Flaxman. The bulk of the material (principally that related to Alvin Romansky) dates from the 1950s, but a significant amount of material related to Thomas Flaxman dates from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The first two boxes in the collection contain loose papers and photographs. Material related to Alvin Romansky comes first in these boxes, followed by material related to Thomas Flaxman, and then material related to Joseph Romansky. The third box holds a silver loving cup presented to Thomas Flaxman by the Directors of No-tsu-oh Association. The fourth box holds portions of two scrapbooks.

Special Collections holds a large number of materials that were donated to the department by Alvin Romansky, including rare books, and art books and catalogues. In addition, Special Collections also holds a large collection of fine art prints which were donated by Alvin Romansky. A large sub-collection of these prints are cartoons from the French Third Empire and the Franco-Prussian War.

The Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, also holds some microfilmed material on Alvin Romansky. Included is a transcript of a recorded interview with Romansky, conducted by the Archives of American Art. For more information, see their web site: http://www.aaa.si.edu/.

Related Materials:

Franco-Prussian War and Paris Commune Caricatures digital collection (http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/roman)

Biographical Note

Alvin Sylvan Romansky was born in Houston, Texas on March 15, 1907, the only child of Joseph L. Romansky and Kate Flaxman. Following his childhood in Houston, he attended the Wharton School of Commerce and Finance at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Texas at Austin, and the Houston Law School, where he received an LLB (Bachelor of Laws) degree in 1929.

Romansky remained in Houston to practice law. He was a member of the Texas State Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the Commercial Law League of America.

In 1948, Romansky and five others chartered the Contemporary Arts Association, a non-profit organization founded to present exhibits of contemporary art to supplement the more traditional art shown at the Museum of Fine Arts. In 1949, the Association became the Contemporary Arts Museum, with its own building. Romansky served as Vice President of the Contemporary Arts Association/Museum from 1947-1952.

An art patron and collector, Romansky favored French graphics, contemporary French art, and Ashanti objects. He arranged the Rufino Tamayo exhibit and the Contemporary in Cotton exhibit at the Contemporary Arts Museum, and Ashanti Goldwrights exhibit at the University of Texas, as well as many others. He was also active in the Lithography Department of the Glassell School of Art. He donated a collection of graphics to the University of Texas, and an Alvin Romansky Print Room to the Museum of Fine Arts. Romansky was appointed a Life Trustee by the Museum of Fine Arts.

In addition, Romansky served as "Lieutenant Colonel" on the staff of Governor Miriam "Ma" Ferguson between 1933 and 1935, representing the State of Texas at official functions. He was co-founder of the Harris County Heritage Society, and drafted its original charter. He also served as a member of the Chancellor's Council of the University of Texas at Austin. Alvin Romansky was married to his wife Ethel for nineteen years. He died on March 14, 1994.

Subject/Index Terms

Contemporary Arts Association (Houston, Tex.)
Contemporary Arts Museum
Flaxman, Thomas
Romansky, Alvin

Administrative Information

Repository: University of Houston Libraries

Access Restrictions: Open for research.

Use Restrictions: Special Collections owns the physical items in our collections, but copyright normally belongs to the creator of the materials or their heirs. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, locating copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections material in print or electronic form. For more information, consult the appropriate librarian.

Acquisition Method: Donated by Mr. Romansky in 1968 and 1969

Separated Materials:

Two publications were removed from this collection and cataloged:

The Houston clubber. Houston, Tex.: Houston Club, 1958.

Spec Coll HS2725.H68  H684

The new Houston Club. Houston, Tex.: The Club, [1955].

Spec Coll Ovs HS2725.H68 H68 1955

Related Materials: Franco-Prussian War and Paris Commune Caricatures digital collection (http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/roman)

Preferred Citation: Alvin Romansky Papers, Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries

Processing Information: Monika Zarzycka and Julie Grob, 2000-2001

Other Note: Uploaded to TARO, 2006.

Other URL: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/uhsc/00037/hsc-00037.html

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence, 1932-1980],
[Series 2: Memorabilia, 1900-1950],
[Series 3: European Art Trip, 1950-1964],
[Series 4: African Art Exhibit, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1959],
[Series 5: Joseph Romansky],
[Series 6: Thomas Flaxman],
[Series 7: Scrapbook, 1933-1957, undated],

Series 1: Correspondence, 1932-1980
This series includes correspondence from various people to Alvin Romansky, arranged alphabetically by sender. Notable correspondents include Oveta Culp Hobby, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Coke R. Stevenson.
Box 1
Folder 1: Note from Tom Connally, June 8, 1942; Oct. 14, 1946
Folder 2: Letter  from Oveta Culp Hobby, March 23, 1965
Folder 3: Telegram from Josef Israels, Aug. 18, 1932
Folder 4: Letter from Lyndon B. Johnson, November 14, 1960
Folder 5: Letter from Richard F. Roper, January 26, 1934
Folder 6: Letter from Alfred E. Smith, May 5, 1932
Folder 7: Letter from Coke R. Stevenson, 1939-1941
Folder 8: Letter from Albert Thomas, March 23, 1965
Folder 9: Printed European Christmas cards, 1960-1980
Folder 47-52: African Art Exhibit
Folder 53-55: Joseph Romansky
Series 2: Memorabilia, 1900-1950
This series is comprised of photographs, documents, and clippings related to Alvin Romansky, which are arranged chronologically, with the exception of two unidentified photographs (Folders 14 and 15) that have been placed at the end. Included are a baby picture of Alvin Romansky, a printed program from a Houston memorial service for Warren G. Harding, and the charter of the Harris County Heritage Society. A 1924 diploma from the Prosso Preparatory School is in an oversized folder
Box 1
Folder 10: [ca. 1907]
Folder 11: August 10, 1923
Folder 12: 1926-27
Folder 13: 1934
Folder 14: May 1, 1947
Folder 15: June 9, 1954
Folder 16-17: [ca. 1950]
Folder 18: [ca. 1960s]
Folder 19: undated
Folder 20: [19th century]
Folder 21: [ca. 1940]
OVS_Box 1
Folder 1: Alvin Romansky, 1924
Series 3: European Art Trip, 1950-1964
This series consists of black and white snapshots taken during a trip to France and Italy. Most of the photographs record visits to the printing workshops of Fernand Mourlot, Georges Visat, and Maeght. Also included are an image of Pablo Picasso's ceramics and pottery kiln in France, and one of Friedensreich Hundertwasser and his wife.
Box 1
Folder 22: 1956-1968
Folder 23: May 1, 1959
Folder 24: 1960
Folder 25: June/July 1962
Folder 26: Nov. 27, 1963
Folder 27: 1967
Folder 28: March, 1969
Folder 29-44: approximately 1950's
Folder 45: undated
Folder 46: Newspaper clippings, 1958-1964
Series 4: African Art Exhibit, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1959
This series contains black and white snapshots of displays of African sculpture from an exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
Box 1
Folder 47-52: March 1959
Series 5: Joseph Romansky
This series contains two photographs and a photocopied obituary for Joseph L. Romansky, Alvin Romansky's father. Joseph Romansky worked for the Flaxman Dry Goods Co., which was owned by his brother-in-law, Thomas Flaxman.
Folder 53: approximately 1940
Folder 54-55: undated
Series 6: Thomas Flaxman

This series contains materials related to Thomas Flaxman, who was Alvin Romansky's uncle. At various times, Flaxman was president of Flaxman Dry Goods, head of the Port Houston Land and Townsite Company, and vice-president of the Houston Farms Development Company. Flaxman was also a founder of the Houston Country Club and the Houston Club, served on numerous civic boards, and was general manager of No-Tsu-Oh, an annual Mardi Gras-style carnival held in Houston before World War I.

Included are photographs, copies of newspaper clippings, the memorial book from Thomas Flaxman's memorial service, and a tablet with biographical or autobiographical notes about Thomas Flaxman. No-Tsu-Oh materials include a report from the directors of the 1914 Deep Water Festival, a sheet of stationery from that festival, and a silver loving cup that was presented to Thomas Flaxman. Also included are a number of photographs of the Houston Country Club, and the Houston Golf Club which formerly stood on its site.

Box 1
Folder 56: [1897]
Folder 57: 1904
Folder 58: Sept. 25, 1952
Folder 59: Nov. 25, 1952
Folder 60: March 1965
Folder 61: [1965]
Folder 62-63: undated
Folder 64: No-Tsu-Oh and Other Fairs, January 1914
Folder 65: No-Tsu-Oh and Other Fairs, June 30, 1914
Folder 66: No-Tsu-Oh and Other Fairs, 1914
Folder 67: No-Tsu-Oh and Other Fairs, 1915
Folder 68: No-Tsu-Oh and Other Fairs, 1922
Folder 69-74: Houston Country Club, approximately 1900
Folder 75: Houston Club, June 18-22, 1964
Folder 76: Houston Club, 1955-1958
Box 3
Item 1: No-Tsu-Oh (Loving Cup)
Series 7: Scrapbook, 1933-1957, undated

This series contains materials from two scrapbooks compiled by Alvin Romansky. Because the scrapbooks were fragile and in poor condition, most of the materials have been removed and placed in acid-free folders. Intact portions of two scrapbooks with their original newspaper clippings may be found in Box 4.

The scrapbook series includes the original charter and by-laws of the Contemporary Arts Association, photographs of modern furniture and silverware, exhibit catalogs and local arts publications, and many newspaper clippings. The clippings have been photocopied onto acid-free paper for preservation purposes.

Box 2
Folder 1: Correspondence, 1948-1953
Folder 2: Contemporary Arts Association, 1948-1954
Folder 3: Contemporary Arts Association, 1949
Folder 4: Contemporary Arts Association, 1952-1954
Folder 5: Contemporary Arts Association, approximately 1950
Folder 6: Houston Exhibits, 1950-1953
Folder 7-13: Photographs, 1950's
Folder 14: Exhibits - Catalogs, 1951-1954
Folder 15: Exhibits - Catalogs, 1954
Folder 16: Local Art Publications, 1948-1949
Folder 17: Local Art Publications, 1948-1950
Folder 18: Local Art Publications, 1950
Folder 19: Local Art Publications, 1954-1955
Folder 20: Congregation Beth Israel, 1957
Folder 21: Miscellaneous, ca. 1950's
Folder 22: Clippings, 1933-1949
Folder 23: Clippings, 1950
Folder 24: Clippings, 1950-1953
Folder 25: Clippings, 1953-1954
Folder 26: Clippings, 1955-1957
Folder 27-31: Clippings, undated
Box 4
Item 1: Scrapbook

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence, 1932-1980],
[Series 2: Memorabilia, 1900-1950],
[Series 3: European Art Trip, 1950-1964],
[Series 4: African Art Exhibit, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1959],
[Series 5: Joseph Romansky],
[Series 6: Thomas Flaxman],
[Series 7: Scrapbook, 1933-1957, undated],

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