Outlaw Raymond Hamilton and the Barrow Gang.


Raymond Hamilton was a notorious outlaw and member of the Barrow Gang in the early 1930s. Born in Oklahoma and raised in Dallas, Hamilton later fell in with the infamous Bonnie and Clyde of the Barrow Gang. He was well-known for participating in the murder of Sheriff Eugene C. Moore in Stringtown, Oklahoma. But it was his escape from the Eastham prison farm in Texas that eventually put Hamilton in Old Sparky, the Texas Electric Chair.

In 1935, Raymond Hamilton was sentenced to death in Walker County, Texas for the murder of Major Crowson, a Texas prison official. Crowson was shot during Hamilton’s escape from the Eastham prison farm. Hamilton and Joe Palmer escaped with the help of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. Hamilton claimed that Joe Palmer, another notorious Barrow Gang member killed Major Crowson. The jury determined that there was no way to distinguish which man had killed Crowson during the escape and sentenced both men to die in the electric chair. Above are the official court documents from Walker County on Hamilton’s death sentence.

Stop by SHSU Special Collections in the Newton Gresham Library if you are interested in more information on Raymond Hamilton and other famous Texas outlaws.

Thanks to Trent Shotwell, MLIS, Library Associate for Special Collections in the Thomason Room for contributing this week’s posting.

Jane Howe Gregory Research Collection


Jane Howe Gregory was a researcher and advocate for prison reform in Texas. She was an active member of the Houston community as President of the Houston Museum of Science Guild, a member of the Board of the Houston Seminar and the Advisory Board of Neuhaus Education Center. She volunteered at the Harris County jail and helped organize literacy programs in the Texas prison system.

The materials of this collection represent Jane Howe Gregory’s extensive research into the Texas Penitentiary, mostly focusing on issues surrounding female inmates. Journal articles, class notes and photocopied prison records are the most common types of materials in this collection. Prison statistics and prison reform pertaining to female prisoners are the most common themes throughout the collection. Also present are newspaper articles, correspondence and records of  prison statistics.

View a detailed finding aid of her collection at Sam Houston State University’s Archon page and see just what materials are in the collection.



Austin H. MacCormick Papers, 1923-1978

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Picture of Austin MacCormick (Second to left)

Austin H. MacCormick was influential figure in the field of Criminal Justice and the Texas prison system. MacCormick held such positions as as Executive Officer of the U.S. Naval Prison, Assistant Director of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, Professor and Dean of Criminology at Berkeley, and Director of the Osborne Association of New York. His impact on Texas prisons came as a result of his surveys of state prison systems in the southern states. His first survey in 1944 of the Texas Prison System exposed harsh conditions and practices of the prison farms.  By 1947, the prison conditions in Texas had continued to decline and MacCormick made his findings public which created a demand for corrective action.  With a directive from Governor T.C. Jester and under the leadership of Prison Director O.B. Ellis, Texas Prisons instigated comprehensive reforms that made Texas one of the top three prison systems in the country.

The Austin H. MacCormick Papers (1923-1978; eight boxes) consist of documents, reports, brochures, and correspondence concerning Austin H. MacCormick throughout his career as one of the nation’s most influential criminologists and prison reformers.  The documents, brochures, and correspondence portray Austin H. MacCormick’s personal life and career as influential figure in federal and state prison reform and his work with adult and juvenile prisons throughout the nation.  Some of the many subjects include: state and federal prison conditions, prison reformation, juvenile detention centers, probation, parole, correctional standards and staff training.  The collection includes over twenty five individual state correctional system reports conducted by Austin H. MacCormick and other criminologists of the time.

View a detailed finding aid of his collection at Sam Houston State University’s Archon page and see just what materials are in the collection.