Woolford, Bess Carroll

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Sam Woolford was born on April 2, 1897 in Galton, Illinois and spent his childhood in many cities including San Antonio from 1908 to 1912. Mr. Woolford returned to San Antonio in 1919. He became a cub reporter beginning a long career with the San Antonio Light that same year. After reporting on the military in San Antonio, Mr. Woolford held several positions including Sunday Editor from 1928 and 1941 and City Editor from 1941 to 1946. He retired from the San Antonio Light in 1950.

While working at the paper, Mr. Woolford hired Bess Carroll as a cub reporter in 1923. She had written for and edited several small papers including the Sommerset News and the Harlandale Hearld . She became a features writer for the San Antonio Light and a correspondent for several Hearst wire services. She and Sam Woolford were married in 1932.

After leaving the San Antonio Light in 1936, Bess Carroll Woolford served as Information Officer in several government agencies. She also was editor of Texas: A Guidebook to the Lonestar State, published by the Works Progress Administration as part of the American Guide series. In 1942, Mrs. Woolford became the first woman branch manager of the Office of War Information. She also wrote Allied propaganda to be broadcast to Nazi occupied countries on the Voice of America.

When Mr. Woolford retired from the San Antonio Light , he and his wife moved to Moonshine Valley, a ranch near Boerne, Texas. They continued to write both on separate projects and collaboratively. Their book, The San Antonio Story, was published in 1950. Mr. Woolford also wrote a Sunday column for the San Antonio Light from 1955 to 1975 called Woolford's Tales These columns were stories on the history and folklore of Texas the Southwest. Some of these stories were collected and published in Tales of the Moonshine Valley .

Sam and Bess Woolford were also active supporters of the Witte Museum in San Antonio. They were both friends of long time Curator Ellen Quillin. Mr. Woolford served on the Board of Directors and promoted the museum through a radio variety show in the 1930s. Mrs. Woolford wrote an extensive history of the Museum, The Story of the Witte Memorial Museum 1922-1960 . The Museum also published the archaeological finds made by Mr. Woolford during his many exploratory trips to west Texas.

Bess Woolford died on March 20, 1971 in Kerrville, Texas at the age of 69. Sam Woolford died on April 6, 1980 near Boerne, Texas at the age of 83.

From the guide to the Sam and Bess Woolford Papers MS 36., 1834-1979, (1930-1975), (University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Sam and Bess Woolford Papers MS 36., 1834-1979, (1930-1975) The University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries . Special Collections
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Place Name Admin Code Country
Boerne (Tex.)
Moonshine Valley (Tex.)
Folklorists--United States
Folklore--Texas--History--20th century
American literature--Texas--20th century
Authors, American--Texas--20th century
American newspapers--Texas
Folklore--Texas--Texas Hill Country


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