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W. E. Pope papers

Identifier: Coll-15

The W.E. Pope papers contain a wealth of information on the history of Corpus Christi, South Texas, as well as on Mr. Pope's many positive contributions to the development of his city and state. They include office files of the Corpus Christi law firm of Scott, Boone, & Pope, legislative and other correspondence of W.E. Pope during his tenure in the Texas House of Representatives and W.E. Pope's real estate and other business office files. The documents date from 1832 to 1944, with a few biographical items concerning Mr. Pope written during the 1960s and 1970s.


  • Majority of material found within 1832-1970
  • 1832 - 1979


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

This material is made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The user assumes full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to taking precautions against infringement of copyright and respecting the publication rights of reproduced materials. All rights are reserved and retained regardless of current or future development or laws that may apply to fair use standards. Any materials used should be fully credited with their source according to the example given in the Preferred Citation note. Requests for assistance with citations and images of publication quality should be directed to


70 Linear Feet


Walter Elmer Pope was a Corpus Christi attorney, real estate developer, civic leader, and longtime state representative from South Texas. The collection includes seventy linear feet of historical papers from Pope’s legal practice, business office, as well as his correspondence as a state legislator. The documents date from 1832 to 1944, with a few biographical items concerning Mr. Pope written during the 1960s and 1970s.

Biographical / Historical

Biographical Note

Walter Elmer Pope (1879-1944) was a longtime Corpus Christi attorney, state representative, and central figure in the development of his city. One of the most distinguished and colorful residents of Corpus Christi during the first half of the twentieth century, he was born on February 9, 1879, in Leon County, Texas. He attended public school in Leona, graduated from Burnetta College with a bachelor’s degree in literature, attended Fort Worth University and graduated from the University of Texas Law School in 1902. Mr. Pope began his law career in Madisonville, Texas in 1902. He was elected District Attorney for the 12th Judicial District which included the counties of Leon, Madison, Grimes, Walker and Trinity. Mr. Pope resigned from that position in 1908 to move to Corpus Christi. There he formed a law partnership with G.R. Scott, a prominent attorney and land agent. Gordon Boone, a future mayor of Corpus Christi, joined the firm in 1911. Mr. Pope was elected City Attorney and married Lucille Scott, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. G.R. Scott, in 1912.

Mr. Pope was elected to the Texas legislature in 1916. In 1924, he resigned from the legislature to launch an unsuccessful bid for governor. He was re-elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1928 and held that position until 1940. An influential member of the legislature, Mr. Pope was affectionately called "Uncle Elmer" by family, friends, and colleagues. During his twenty-two years in the Texas House, Mr. Pope was credited with having introduced more bills than any other representative or senator of his time. In 1917, he sponsored a bill calling for remission of ad valorem taxes to help finance the building of the seawall for Corpus Christi. In 1919, he sponsored a similar bill to help finance the construction of the Port of Corpus Christi, in addition to donating land where the first turning basin was dug. Mr. Pope introduced bills which provided for the construction of a highway to the Rio Grande Valley, and the purchase of 90,000 acres of land on Padre Island for use as public parks.

In 1917, Mr. Pope purchased the Corpus Christi Democrat and changed the paper's name to the Corpus Christi Times. He sold the Times in 1928 to finance the construction of the ten story Medical Professional Building, a sign of modern architecture for Corpus Christi. As a land agent, he was involved in numerous land development projects throughout the city. He was instrumental in the establishment of Texas A&I University in Kingsville. Mr. Pope likewise worked on the building of a causeway to Padre Island, along with various bayfront improvement projects in Corpus Christi.

The Popes did not have children. His nephew, Judge Jack Pope, former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Texas, donated his papers to the university. Jack Pope had kept his uncle’s papers for fifty years, he said W.E. Pope’s place in history had been obscured and he should be recognized as one of the early builders of the city of Corpus Christi. Walter Elmer Pope died on November 2, 1944 from a cerebral hemorrhage and was buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Corpus Christi. His list of accomplishments for Corpus Christi lives on in the documents he generated during a lifetime of service to his city and region.


The collection consists of four groups of records which are arranged in the following order: (1) Office files of the Corpus Christi law firm of Scott, Boone, & Pope (2) Legislative and other correspondence of W.E. Pope during his tenure in the Texas House of Representatives (3) W.E. Pope's real estate and other business office files (4) W.E. Pope’s Personal and Biographical Materials

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift; 1991. The W.E. Pope Papers were donated to Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Library in 1991 by Judge Jack Pope, Retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas. As W.E. Pope's nephew and protege, Judge Pope had carefully retained the papers since his uncle's death.

Related Materials

Dan E. Kilgore Collection; William M. Neyland Papers; Meuly-Daimwood Family Papers; Eli T. Merriman Family Papers

W. E. Pope Papers
Amanda Kowalski and Lori Atkins
2020 March (revised)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Edition statement

Revision Statements

  • March 2020: Updated legacy finding aid when records were migrated to ArchivesSpace

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives, Mary and Jeff Bell Library, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Repository

6300 Ocean Dr.
Unit 5702
Corpus Christi TX 78412 United States
361-825-5973 (Fax)