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Sarah and Army Emmott Environmental Papers

Identifier: 2009-028

Materials available in this collection represent Sarah Emmott’s personal files. Archival processing preserved the original order of the materials as collected by Emmott. Alphabetical order is the primary arrangement pattern with multiples of an organization or issue arranged in chronological order. Emmott’s papers comprise three series housed in 15 boxes. Series 1 holds a single folder for biographical and historical materials on the Emmotts. Series 2 covers materials collected from organizations and agencies at local, state, and national levels. Series 3 offers materials on an array of issues and events.

It should be noted that Houston Metropolitan Research Center (HMRC) holds a complementary four-box collection of Emmott papers, including two boxes of scrapbooks. Although the HMRC collection includes some letters and memorabilia, the UH-HHA collection represents a substantial range of environmental issues and organizations.


  • 1975-1990


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, 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.

Photocopy decisions will be made by Special Collections staff on a case-by-case basis. Patrons are responsible for obtaining permission to publish from copyright holders.


15 linear feet

Biographical Information

Sarah and Army Emmott belonged to Houston's Outdoor Nature Club from the early days of its formation. For many years, they enjoyed the wilderness recreation offered by their association with Outdoor Nature Club members. In the late 1950s, problems with privatization of Texas beaches led the Emmotts and a few other members of the Outdoor Nature Club to established Texas Beaches Unlimited. All Texas legislators received letters coordinated by the Emmotts, and activists sent chain letters to inform the public of the issues at stake. Texas Representative Bob Eckhardt of Houston responded to the argument that beaches were a public resource to be preserved for the future. Facing tremendous opposition and supported by some legislative technicalities, Eckhardt’s Texas Open Beaches Law passed in the United States.

With the success of Texas Beaches Unlimited, the Emmotts devoted themselves to every aspect of environmental protection. During the mid-1960s, they supported the campaign to Save Buffalo Bayou and the founding of Citizens’ Environmental Coalition (CEC). Both Sarah and Army were active in the Houston Audubon Society and continued to enjoy outdoor recreation through a number of organizations and venues. Sarah died in 1992 just as she was finishing Memorial Park: A Priceless Legacy, a monograph on the history of Memorial Park and the role Catherine Emmott (Sarah’s mother-in-law) played in its preservation. Army Emmott died in 2000, not long after he received the CEC’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Custodial History

Materials were donated to Special Collections by Mildred Emmott Williams in July 2009.

Custodial History

The Sarah and Army Emmott Environmental Papers were acquired for the University of Houston Libraries in partnership with the Houston History Archives initiative of the UH Center for Public History.

Related Materials

Bayou Preservation Association Records, Citizens' Environmental Coalition Records, Joseph M. Heiser Papers, Outdoor Nature Club Records, The Park People



Guide to the Sarah and Army Emmott Environmental Papers
Pranay Devgan, Tanmay Wagh, and Anubhuti Tandon
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2021-07-15: As a part of the 2021 Special Collections reparative description project, Brooks Whittaker revised this finding aid’s biographical note for relevance and brevity per current best practices.

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