Guide to the Wendell H. Stepp Papers

Record Group 110

Date Span 1983-2008
Extent ca. 1.5 cf

Biographical Sketch:  Wendell H. Stepp (March 25, 1924—July 21, 2008) was a Dothan-area historian who co-authored the book Dothan: A Pictorial History with his daughter Pamela Stepp.  Extending his interest in both history and civic improvement, he became an influential member of the Downtown Group and the Dothan Festival of Murals, the organization responsible for commissioning and maintaining the historically-themed murals on the walls of downtown Dothan.

Mr. Stepp’s special area of historical interest was the development and early history of Dothan, and he gave many presentations to local clubs and organizations concerning the economical and geographical factors that contributed to Dothan’s establishment and growth. He also wrote and delivered short segments on these topics for WDHN, a local television channel, and published a series of articles in Dothan Magazine in a series entitled “Stepp Back in History.”
Stepp played an especially important role in the implementation and design of each historical Dothan mural. In addition to assisting the Festival of Murals with administrative tasks, Mr. Stepp suggested and researched the themes of many, if not all, of the murals, and provided research materials to each mural artist as a basis for his or her work. Each mural represents a significant moment of or factor in Dothan’s history and development, including subjects like the Dothan Riot, the peanut industry, and the women of the Wiregrass region. 

Mr. Stepp was born in Huntington, W. Va.  He met his wife, Winifred, while he served in the Army Air Corps near her home in England during World War Two.  They were married in November 1945, and moved to the United States shortly thereafter.  The Stepps had two children, Michael and Pamela.  In 1965, the Stepps moved to Dothan, AL, where Mr. Stepp helped build Akwell Industries (later Ansell), retiring in the 1980s as senior vice president and general manager.  Stepp was very active with the Boy Scouts and the Disabled American Veterans (member of Chapter 87).  In addition to these and his work with the Downtown Group and Festival of Murals, he served on the State Industries Board, State Board of Veterans Affairs, and the Dothan Historical Preservation Committee.
[Written by Autumn Faulkner, AWHC Intern/UA MLIS Student, June 2011]

Scope / Content: 
Research notes, newspaper clippings, magazines, texts of media spots, and speeches concerning the history of Dothan and southeast Alabama.  Assembled by Wendell Stepp.  Also contains ca. 1/2 cubic foot of research notes, correspondence, and copies of contracts concerning the Murals of the Wiregrass project which Mr. Stepp chaired for so long.

Organization
            Organized into 4 series:  1. WDHN Presentations, 1991-2000 (7 folders)2. Wiregrass Festival of Murals 1992-2007 (19 folders)3. Historical Research and Publications, 1983-2008 (33 folders)4. Miscellaneous (1 folder).

Provenance
            Materials collected by Mr. Stepp during the course of his work on the history and with the historical community in Dothan, AL.

Preferred Citation
            Wendell H. Stepp Papers, RG110.  Wiregrass Archives, Troy University Dothan Campus, Dothan, AL.

Access/User Limits?
            Open for research, Mrs. Winnie Stepp retains copyright.  See Donor Agreement, April 2011

INVENTORY


Series 1:  WDHN Presentations, 1991-2000, 7 folders

Originals and copies of scripts for short historical presentations for Stepp’s WDHN channel 18 television program.  Includes research notes, scripts, and photographs.

File I.D.   File Label

110

10-1014

001

001

 

Pictures

110

10-1014

001

002

 

Pictures 1-16

110

10-1014

001

003

 

Script #11

110

10-1014

001

004

 

Script #8

110

10-1014

001

005

 

WDHN - 1/20/00

110

10-1014

001

006

 

WDHN Master

110

10-1014

001

007

 

WDHN Research

Series 2. Wiregrass Festival of Murals 1992-2007 (19 folders)
Papers and notes concerning research, planning, commissioning, and dedicating murals in downtown Dothan.  Includes artist sketches, photocopies of contracts and invoices, correspondence, and printed color postcards of murals.  Also contains minutes of the first meeting of the Wiregrass Festival of Murals Board of Directors.

File I.D.

 

File Label

110

10-1014

001

008

 

Fundraising

110

10-1014

001

009

 

History and Murals

110

10-1014

001

010

 

Insurance

110

10-1014

001

011

 

Johnny Mack Brown Mural

110

10-1014

001

012

 

Mission Statement

110

10-1014

001

013

 

Mules in the Wiregrass Mural

110

10-1014

001

014

 

Mural 5 - Women of the Wiregrass

110

10-1014

001

015

 

Mural Book Notes

110

10-1014

001

016

 

Murals

110

10-1014

001

017

 

Murals and Downtown Group

110

10-1014

001

018

 

Paints and Coating

110

10-1014

001

019

 

Peanut Festival

110

10-1014

001

020

 

Railroads and Turpentine

110

10-1014

001

021

 

Salute to the Peanut Industry Mural

110

10-1014

001

022

 

Sherman Rose Mural 1

110

10-1014

001

023

 

Steamboat Mural

110

10-1014

001

024

 

Tours

110

10-1014

001

025

 

Tuskegee Airmen

110

10-1014

001

026

 

Wiregrass

Series 3. Historical Research and Publications, 1983-2008 (33 folders)
Research materials and drafts/tearsheets of historical articles written for presentation or publication, many from Stepp’s series, “Stepp Back in Time,” published in Dothan Magazine.  Research materials include notes, correspondence, copies of articles, newspaper clippings, and photographs. 

File I.D.

 

File Label

110

10-1014

001

027

 

Alveeta Hawk [Alveta Hawk]

110

10-1014

001

028

 

Columbia

110

10-1014

001

029

 

Couch Construction

110

10-1014

001

030

 

Early Dothan

110

10-1014

001

031

 

Electricity

110

10-1014

001

032

 

Ellicott's Line/Spanish Florida

110

10-1014

001

033

 

George Washington Carver

110

10-1014

001

034

 

Harry Hall

110

10-1014

001

035

 

Headland

110

10-1014

001

036

 

Letter from Claudia Williams

110

10-1014

001

037

 

Local History and Development

110

10-1014

001

038

 

[Local History]

110

10-1014

001

039

 

Local Magazines and Brochures

110

10-1014

001

040

 

Logging

110

10-1014

001

041

 

Magazine Articles

110

10-1014

001

042

 

[Miscellaneous Research/Clippings]

110

10-1014

001

043

 

Negro Fort

110

10-1014

001

044

 

Notes of Early Dothan

110

10-1014

001

045

 

Opera House and Bates

110

10-1014

001

046

 

Schools

110

10-1014

002

001

 

Street Names

110

10-1014

002

002

 

Streets DT

110

10-1014

002

003

 

[Tear Sheets]

110

10-1014

002

004

 

Wiregrass History

110

10-1014

002

005

 

Wiregrass Research

110

10-1014

002

006

 

(1) J.P. Folkes, W.J. Baxley, A.C. Crawford and Misc.

110

10-1014

002

007

 

(2) First post office - Town name - Ltr J.P. Folkes

110

10-1014

002

008

 

(4) Streets - Ross Clark Circle

110

10-1014

002

009

 

(9) Incorporation, Houston County

110

10-1014

002

010

 

Mr. Keener Baxley - Early History

110

10-1014

002

011

 

[Newspaper Clippings]

110

10-1014

MD7

OS1

 

Columbia Recorder Newspaper 28 April 1892

110

10-1014

OS

001

 

Dothan Eagle Newspaper 27 October 1953 (bound)

Series 4:  Miscellaneous, 1 folder.

File I.D.

 

File Label

110

11-0905

001

001

 

Negatives of switchboard at General Telephone Co, 3rd floor, newspaper clippings, pamphlets edited by Mr. Stepp, lecture notes, research notes, 1839 land grant, Mr. Stepp's memorial service pamphlet 2008, Cong. Terry Everett's tribute to Wendell Stepp, Certificate honoring the memory of Wendell Stepp - from the President. Mr. Stepp's brief bio page, photographs.

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