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Maxine Mesinger Papers

Identifier: 2002-002

Clippings spanning the run of Messinger's "Big City Beat" column make up the bulk of this collection. The collection contains photographs documenting Mesinger's social life, friends and family, a small amount of correspondence from family and friends, and two audiotapes.


  • 1965-2001

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

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, obtaining permission to publish from 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. Reproduction decisions will be made by Special Collections staff on a case-by-case basis.


5.0 linear feet

Biographical Information

Maxine Mesinger (1925-2001), author of the social column, "Big City Beat" for the Houston Chronicle from 1964 to 2000. Born in Houston in 1925 to Ella and Julian "Drake" David, Mesinger graduated from San Jacinto High School and attended Texas Women's University, Indiana University, and University of Houston. She married Emil Mesinger in 1944; they have two children, Julianne and Jay.

After a short career in Houston television, Mesinger was hired as a columnist for the Houston Chronicle in 1964. Known for her lively writing style (she coined terms such as "swankienda" and "playcation") and candid access to Houston society, Mesinger's columns intersected with her own life in her famed friendships with notables such as Frank Sinatra, Barbara Walters, Carol Channing, Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli and Shirley MacLaine. Known as "Miss Moonlight", she covered local events as well as happenings on the national scale. Her columns trace Houston's economic and political growth through the lens of an at times outrageous society life. Her Houston Chronicle obituary summarized this by stating "Mesinger watched Houston grow from a dusty cowtown to a sophisticated international city."

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donation of Emil Mesinger, 2002.

Processing Information

Amelia Abreu, 2006 and Stacey Johnson, 2010

Guide to the Maxine Mesinger Papers
Amelia Abreu and Stacey Johnson
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Houston Libraries Special Collections Repository

University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
MD Anderson Library
4333 University Drive
Houston TX 77204-2000 USA