Guide to the Wendell H. Stepp Papers

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)
    Originals and copies of scripts for short historical presentations for Stepp’s WDHN channel 18 television program.  Includes research notes, scripts, and photographs.
  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.
  3. Historical Research and Publications, 1983-2008 (33 folders)
    Research materials and drafts/tear sheets 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. 
  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/tear sheets 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 ID  and Description

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.