A Photo Timeline of Mercy Ramsey
She was born on November 22, 1911 in a little bungalow at 404 West 38th
in Austin, Texas.
undated photo of the house where Mercy was born.
A photocopy of Mercy's birth certificate
Mother on left; Mother, Murray and Grandma on right. Few of our photos are dated so the years listed are based on the probable ages of the children.
Mother and Murray; Mother, Grandpa holding Jessie Mary, Murray. Jessie Mary was born on September 16, 1913. The family was still living in the house on 38th Street. On October 29, 1913, Mercy was taken to the Baker School Mother's Club Better Babies Contest. According to the ‘scorecard', she was 23 months old with blue eyes and light hair. On the form Grandma had put her birth weight at 8 1/2 pounds but her baby book said 9 pounds. She was then 24 pounds and 32 inches tall. She was breast fed for 14 months and slept with her mother. She had no speech defects, was not irritable, nervous or bad tempered. Out of the 1000 possible points, Mercy had 965, presumably making her a better baby!
A family camp-out. Mother looks bald!
Mother, Jessie Mary and Murray swimming; Mother on a family trip to Yellowstone; dressed for winter at 4312. The family moved into their new house at 4312 Speedway in 1914.
Playing in the snow at 4312
Helen Georgia Ramsey was born at the ranch in Eastland County on September 15, 1917; right, the four Ramsey kids all bundled up against the cold.
photo on the right, taken in the side yard at 4312, was used in nursery
Mother, sitting in the chair on the left, looks like Madeline. From
age, it might have been taken in 1919. The one above left, from Helen's
age and Mother's reminiscence, was probably taken in early 1918.
In the same reminiscence as above, Mother said, "Another happier memory is the one picture taken of Helen, Jessie Mary, Murray and myself in the south side of our yard. Helen is sitting in my doll buggy and I am pushing her. I was so proud of the fact that she could sit in my doll buggy. Helen must have been only a few months old; so, again, I was only six years old. This picture hangs in one of my bedrooms."
photo on the left
looks so much like a similar one of Madeline and Catherine at the same
I'm not sure if it was taken in 1918 or 1919. The image of Mother on
is from a 1919 class photo. I can almost see myself in that photo.
A winter visit to Mary Dauler and her kids, Little Mary, Bill and Liz possbily in 1920 or 1921. Mother would have been 9 or 10. Mother in the headband is from 1921.
front of FT and Belle's house at 4412 Ave B; a close-up of Mother
Ramsey siblings (in the version of the photo with wrinkles removed from Mother's dress!)
According to a note on the photo back above left,
a late snow in April 1923 in Austin. At the age of 12, in 1923 Mercy
the Order of the Rainbow for Girls. I assume she did so because she was
in that organization, working her way up to Grand Worthy Associate
1924The group shot of a family swim outing was taken on June 27, 1924 at the “old place on the San Gabriel.” Mother is in the center, next to FT and in front of Grandma. She would have been 12 going on 13. Next to that is Mother in 1924 in some kind of uniform, scout perhaps.
The photo above left, is of the Baker School winners of the Music Memory Contest. Baker School won in 1922, 1923 and 1924. Mother participated in 1924 so the photo was taken that year. Mother is second from the left in the front row. On February 1, 1924, Mercy left Baker School and was admitted into John C. Allan [Junior] High School. At that time junior high schools only had two greades, 7th and 8th. Below is her report card for 6th grade, 1923-24. With all the A's and A+'s, she was obviously a good student.
photo in front
of FT and Belle's house in 1925 and a close-up of Mother. Interesting
she's wearing. It appears she's wearing it in the photo below too.
Above right, Jessie Mary is on the left and Annabel Murray on the right.
According to the Centennial History of Austin High, Allen Junior High was once in the building at 12th and Rio Grande. Austin High was downtown on Trinity Street. In the fall of 1925, when Mercy was in the 7th grade, Allen and Austin High switched buildings and Austin High was at 12th and Rio Grande until 1975.
The photo on the upper left was taken from a group
winners in the Latin Tournament 1926 in the 1926 Austin High School
yearbook. The photo next to it had written on it "13 years old" which
meant it was probably taken in the spring of 1925, but I'm including it
here since it's the same outfit and was probably taken the same day as
the ones below that were used to illustrate a
article on Grandma in 1926. On January 28, 1926, Mercy ‘graduated' from
Junior High and was admitted to Austin High School.
In the Centennial History of Austin High, Dorothy Watts Dean, a 1927 graduate, wrote an essay on what it was like in those days. She said, "Many world events had affected our lives. My class had been youngsters in early elementary school during the "Great War" as it was called then, or World War I as it is called now. We had memories of the war; the many friends and relatives who lost their lives and the flu epidemic that took the lives of soldiers and civilians alike. [Grandma Ramsey caught that terrible flu but luckily survived.] .. Our lives were greatly affected by the happenings of the "Roaring Twenties." The gangsters; the big cities; prohibition and the illegal use of alcohol; the speak-easies. .. This was the age of the "it' girl: Clara Bow, spit curls,, short skirts, the Charleston. It was not an attractive period in many ways. There was no television, few radios, and no air conditioning. Barton Springs was our main recreational area both for fun and cooling off. .. In the fall of 1926, Mr. Gullett [the principal] announced the breaking up of the very selective girls' clubs. .. He called a group of so-called leaders, girls to his office to discuss the cliques in Austin High School which he hated. It was at this meeting that he told us he wanted to establish an organization open to any girl student who met the one requirement, a B-average." That group ended up being organized along the lines of the UT Orange Jackets. The organizers ordered 100 maroon jackets for the first group of girls and were very upset when the jackets that arrived were red. They decided to call the organization The Red Jackets and the name stuck even though the later jackets were indeed maroon, the official school color. Mother was not shown in the very first photo, though she might have been a member. She was a member in 1928, her senior year.
Photo above left of Mother with her violin, may have been taken in 1926. The middle photo was used in the 1927 Austin High School Comet. The one on the left is another in the series. In the Austin High annual, Mercy's nickname was appropriately “Dynamo” and her ambition was to understand geometry. Mercy played in the Austin School Orchestra as a first violin. She was also a member of the Minnie Fisher Cunningham Literary Society. An article pasted in her scrapbook said she was one of the most promising players in a newly created gym class for junior girls that would play basketball. Below is her report card for 10th grade, 1926-27. She continued to be active in Rainbow, attending her first Grand Assembly in Austin in 1927. Her report card still had lots of A's on it.
Above left , Mother's senior photo in the 1928
Comet. Above right, showing Mother, Helen and Jessie Mary, was
published in the Austin paper on June 17, 1928. In her senior year she
was a first violin in the orchestra, was president of M.F. Cunningham
a member of the Red Jackets and was honored for scholastic excellence.
graduation ceremony was held on June 1, 1928.
The 1928 Red Jackets
at Austin High School. I think Mercy is the second from the left on the
Above left, the report card from her senior year at Austin High School. The school only had 11 grades back then. Right, some bridge tallies from parties Mercy attended in honor of her graduation. The one in the center shows the casual racism that was prevalent then.
I think the photo above commemorates
graduation from high school. In the one on the right, she's
diploma and wearing the same set of pearls.
On September 28 at the age of 16, she filled out
an information form at
UT. She noted she'd graduated from high school, having attended three
and a half years, having entered in 1925 and graduated in 1928. In the
area for What honors did you receive? she noted she'd had
all A and B grades. The form asked of what church she was a member
which she answered Christian. The form went on to ask if not a member,
what church do you prefer? There wasn't room at UT for non-church goers
seemingly. The form shows that Mercy got
credit in English, Ancient History, M & M H, American History,
Civics, Algebra, Plane Geometry, Latin, Botany, Gen Science and H
E from her work at Austin High School. She
in the fall and joined Phi Mu sorority. Mercy
Ed Carl that fall in 1928 when the A&M Corp came to Austin for the
football game. A sorority sister of hers arranged the date. Above
Mercy's UT athletic season ticket for 1928-29. Above right, her
The photo above left was from the Phi Mu page in
the 1929 UT
Cactus yearbook, from her freshman year. The next photo was from a
Mrs. Reese's violin students. I'm guessing it is from 1929 because of
hairstyle and grown-up look. The bathing beauty shot of Jessie Mary,
Mary Dauler and Mother may also have been from around this time period,
visit up north, as could the photo at right. On May 2, 1929, Mercy was
into the Phi Chapter of Phi Mu sorority. On September 21, 1929, she
installed as Worthy Advisor of Austin Assembly No.5, Order of the
Girls. She served for four months. A letter in our files
21, 1929 was from DAR, the Daughters of the American Revolution,
to join the Andrew Carruthers Chapter of the organization in Austin.
letter, dated November 16, 1929 informed Mercy that she'd been
member of the Grand Cross of Color, an honorary group within Rainbow
all her hard work and dedication to the organization. She was still a
big sports fan. The photo on her season ticket for 1929-30 is
especially interesting because it shows how different her hairstyle was
that year from the previous and following years.
black and white photos from
Mother's 1930 UT cactus yearbook, from Phi Mu and the Sidney Lanier
photo that may have been taken around the same time. She stayed active
in Rainbow and in 1930 was elected Grand Drill Leader. She was always
interested in sports so every year purchased a season ticket to UT
1931 UT cactus, junior class photo and Phi Mu; a color photo possibly
time and a silhouette probably done at a state fair and her UT season
An article published in 1931 in the Austin paper on Mercy being elected Grand Worthy Associate Advisor. It also lists many of her other activities. She was to be president of her Phi Mu chapter in 1932. The article mentioned that she'd just returned from Colorado where she represented her sorority at the national convention. We have the official program from that gathering which was held in Colorado Springs, not Denver as the article said, from June 22-27, 1931. According to the article, she contributed to the musical part of the program, giving violin numbers at one of the banquets. Above right, her UT record from her Junior year.
According to thank you notes written by students, it appears Mercy did six weeks of student teaching in English in the spring of 1932, prior to graduation. Her supervising teacher was Mrs. Lander. Even though Mercy spent almost all her career teaching in elementary schools, her student teaching was done at Allen Junior High. Mrs. Lander wrote, “I am especially proud that a little girl I taught in Junior High came back to show me how it could be done better.
senior photo in 1932. Above, her UT record from her Senior year,
1931-32 and two graduate courses in 1935.
Photos from Mother's UT graduation in May 1932.
She earned a
BA in English with a minor in French.
In her senior UT Cactus annual, it was noted she was in the
Lanier Literary Society, Orchesis, Sophomore Cabinet of the YWCA, on
Honor Council and Cap and Gown as well as Phi Mu. She was president of
her Phi Mu chapter. She had been active
organizations in the university and she continued that after
graduation. In the summer of 1932 a Saturday Afternoon Bridge Club was
organized with eight charter members, Mercy, Alma Camp, Eula Lea Kohn,
Chrystle Sheilds, Allison Shaw, Exelle Bohn, Beulah Belle Daniels, and
Helen Sundstrom. The club continued, with different members joining,
for over 6o years. That
fall Mercy began teaching at Baker School. Because she graduated ahead
Murray, she was the first one in her generation to get a college
degree. In August 1932, Mercy was initiated into Chapter 304 of the
Order of the Eastern Star. She was active in the group her entire life.
Above, a pencil drawing of Mother from the Chicago World's Fair in 1933; immediately above, Mother at the fair A photo Mercy took at the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago
posters from the
from bridge games Mercy played during the 1930's. Since people
have television much less the Internet to entertain them, they did
play cards. By 1933-34, she was a member of AAUW, the American
Association of University Women.
The two photos above are of Mother and her class at Baker School.
left, Mercy went to see Katharine Cornell in "The Barretts of Wimpole
Street" on February 21, 1934. Jessie Mary Ramsey and Julian Cate
married on July 27, 1934;
photo above of Mother, from 1934, may be what she wore to their
wedding. She was Jessie Mary's Maid of Honor.
Mother and Mae Caller were best friends, having been together from grade school through college. They were both planning on getting married in 1935 and were to be in each other's weddings. When Mercy broke up with Buck, Mae offered to postpone her wedding, but Mother said no and served as Mae's Maid of Honor. The photo above was taken after Mae's wedding on July 14, 1935. Mother was so hurt by the break-up of her relationship that at the time her wedding and honeymoon would have taken place, she and a group of women friends went on a trip out West. She is second from the right. She didn't waste away. She stayed active in the community and in her many organizations.
She was a member of Beta Sigma Phi. The nametag above is a cute version of the Greek designation: . Beta Sigma Phi is an international non-academic sorority founded in 1931 to assist women during the Great Depression, it has grown to the 'largest women's friendship' network in the world, with 200,000 members in 30 countries. Its motto, and Greek initials, means Life, Learning and Friendship. Above right is an undated ribbon from a Texas Round-up. It was started in 1930 as a celebration to inform parents of prospective students and ex-students of what was going on at UT.
Above left, on January 1, 1936, the cousins got together to celebrate the new year. Above right, Mother dressed up in western gear.
Mother dated other men after Buck but this man is unidentified. From the similarity of the hairstyle in the other photos with the one on the left, I think these proofs were made in 1936.
Also in 1936, she attended the Centennial State Fair in Dallas and saw not only television, but television telephones! Mercy's snapshot of the 1936 Centennial State Fair in Dallas in August 1936
On February 20, 1937, Mercy attended the national meeting of the National Education Association meeting in New Orleans. In her postcard back home, she carefully noted the number of miles between stops. Right, a photo of Mercy with an unidentified man at the NEA meeting on February 21, 1937. She was also a member of the Texas State Teachers Association. On April 25, 1937, Mercy and a group of friends and family attended the grand opening of Bastrop State Park.
The next day, April 26, 1937, she had her picture taken with her Baker School class, 3B. Right, a fuzzy close-up.
files we have a
note Grandma wrote to Mother on May 24, 1937 thanking her for all her
during Grandma's year as Worthy Matron.
In the summer of 1937, from July 8th through August 1, Grandpa, Grandma, Helen and Mother took a trip up east. They visited the Taylors in DC and then went up to Pittsburgh to visit Mary Dauler and her grown children and grandchildren.The people in the photo are from left to right standing: Elizabeth (aka Betty, Liz) Risacher, Mercy Ramsey, Mary Kay, Mary Perkins Dauler, Mercy Perkins Ramsey, JM Ramsey, Helen Ramsey. Front row: Bill Dauler holding William Lewis 'Billy' Kay and Lewis Gallagher Kay holding Thomas Kay.
of Mercy taken
on October 9, 1937, just a few months before Ed proposed. Above right,
Mercy and her sister-in-law, Alice Strong
Since Mercy's hair and dress are the same as the pictures above, this
probably also taken in 1939. Alice had married Murray Ramsey in
Mercy and Alice were close to the same age. Alice was born in January
Mercy in November 1911.
The development date on this set of school photos is March 28, 1938. I assume this is Mercy with some of her fellow Baker School teachers. Mercy is the second from the right, next to the woman holding the old-fashioned milk battle.
Above left, another group photo of the Ramsey clan in front of what had been FT and Belle's house in Austin
In our files is a letter Miss Minnie wrote Mercy on Feb 5, 1938 saying Ed had shared the happy news of their engagement with her and Mr. Carl and welcoming her into the family. Mercy visited Ed in Colorado Springs in June 1938. He was still under medical supervision at a veteran's hospital because of the tuberculosis he caught while working in a CCC camp in 1936. He must have been released and they made plans to marry in 1939, but in the fall of 1938, he fell while trimming a pecan tree in his father's yard in San Antonio and started spitting up blood. Mr. Carl, Sr. drove him to the Army Tubercular Hospital at Legion, Texas near Kerrville, north of San Antonio, where he remained for over a year. That meant their wedding had to be postponed until 1940. Mother told me that after Ed's fall and return to the hospital, she asked Miss Minnie if she should still plan to marry him. Miss Minnie said yes because if Mercy didn't Ed would probably die.
wrote home while on her trip to see Ed in Colorado, she mentioned some
experiences. Above, earlier in the year, she'd gotten to see Helen
this time in ‘Victoria Regina.'
March 2nd, Texas
Independence Day, in 1939, Mercy joined other ex-students to celebrate.
She was a member of the Ex Students Association.
Mother with her 1939 Baker school classes
The development date on the set of school pictures
Jun 27, 1939, but the upper one is probably from the previous fall term
one on the other is probably from the spring term, 1939 at Baker
got high marks as a teacher. In June 1939, Mr. Porter, her principal
work is same as before, consistent, dependable and excellent.” In our
a letter from the Pecan Springs School District in Austin dated
offering her a teaching position the following school year. With it is a rough draft of her reply
in which she accepted the position. In an interview she said after
Baker School she
Wooldridge, but unless that school was in the Pecan Springs School
appears for the 1939-40 school year she was at Pecan Springs. I'm
confused by the contradiction.
on the photo above left is Feb 6, 1940. Mother had said that after
at Baker School, she moved to Wooldridge Elementary, but the offer from
the Pecan Springs School Board makes it seem she spent the fall of 1939
and the spring of 1940 at Pecan
Elementary. Comparing a photo of Wooldridge at the Austin History
Center, it appears this class photo was taken at Wooldridge not at
Mother was teaching and therefore bringing in a salary. I don't know if she paid anything for room and board, but I found a statement from Modern Floors dated March 4, 1940 and sent to her at 4312 that noted she'd paid for linoleum, strip and sanding at a total cost of $77.08. (That would be $1,200 in 2010 dollars.) That would have been a lot of money for a teacher since her 1939 tax return noted her annual salary was $1187.50, but knowing she was getting married soon perhaps this was a gift to her parents. Linoleum would have been put on the kitchen floor and also possibly in the bathrooms.
on May 18, 1940. These color images were pulled from the announcement
party/wedding movie. JM (with his red mustache) and Mercy Ramsey look
pleased for their daughter. And Ed Carl, Sr and Miss Minnie look happy
for Ed. Above right, an article on the engagement and party ran in
paper on May 19 with a photo of Mother in her engagement dress.
In an interview Mother gave while watching the party/wedding movie she said, "This is my announcement party. Almost everyone had an announcement party back then. I designed the centerpiece myself: Mercy - June 12th – Ed. (I don’t think I had 1940 on there. I can’t remember the florist I had do the flowers, it was Connelly’s or Hilliare’s). The date of the announcement party was May 18, 1940, but I was giving the date of my wedding to be on that little centerpiece there. I had tried to keep it secret from everybody at school because two or three of us were getting married that same summer and I didn’t announce mine till real late."
According to the article on the party, the centerpiece on the table was "a crescent arrangement of blue cornflowers spelling the names "Mercy and Ed" separated by the date, June 12. The design was reflected in a mirror which was banked about with sprays of pink cornflowers and white baby's breath beneath the crescent. About the frame of the mirror ran an outline of pink and blue cornflowers. Two pink candles, one on each side of the centerpiece completed the decoration. An Italian cutwork and lace cover was used and trays and candlesticks were of silver. Pink gladiolas and larspur were used throughout other rooms of the home." The blue and pink flowers foreshadowed the colors Mercy used for her wedding.
12, 1940, Mercy
Ramsey and Ed Carl married at the Central Christian Church in Austin.
Above right and below, leaving the church, stills from the wedding
Maxine Fincher, Mercy's friend and C.N. Wideman, Ed's cousin; Walter and Helen Hudlow; Alice and Murray Ramsey; Julian Cate and Mary Jean Murray.