W. J. Estelle Collection

Identity elements

Reference code


Name and location of repository

Level of description



W. J. Estelle Collection


  • 1927-1984; Undated (Creation)


14 boxes (14 linear feet)

Name of creator

Biographical history

W. J. Estelle, Jr. was born March 31, 1931, in Henry County, Indiana. Soon after, however, the Estelles moved to California, where Mr. Estelle spent most of his childhood. Following high school, Mr. Estelle attended Sacramento State College and received a B. A. in Police Science and Correctional Administration. He went on to do graduate work in criminology at the University of California-Berkeley and at Sam Houston State University.

Mr. Estelle's first job was with the California Department of Corrections. In eighteen years, his positions ranged from correctional officer to associate warden, and he worked in nearly every area from reception to maximum security. His employment experience also included five years as a field parole officer, two years as Warden of the Montana State Prison, and some experience in teaching correctional administration at two California colleges. Mr. Estelle was also a member of several criminal justice associations and he served as vice-president of both the Association of State Correctional Administrators and the American Correctional Association.

In September 1972, Mr. Estelle accepted a position as Director of the Texas Department of Corrections. In 1983, he left to accept a position as president of a bank in Consol, Texas. A year later, Mr. Estelle returned to California, where he has lived ever since. He is presently working in the Industrial Division of the California Department of Corrections in Sacramento.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

This collection contains mostly correspondence dating from 1927to 1984; personal office calendars; speeches; criminal justice materials; Huntsville First National Bank materials; and clippings, especially concerning the escape attempt of Fred Carrasco, Alcoholics Anonymous, and the Ruiz v. Estelle court case.

Also present are reports, publications, reprints, and photographs relating to the several prison systems with which W. J. Estelle was associated during his career in corrections, some video cassettes, audiotapes, and souvenirs, including buttons, pins, and badges.

System of arrangement

  • Series 1. General Correspondence. 1927-1984; Undated
  • Series 2. Personal Office Calendars, Speeches, Criminal Justice Class Materials, and Huntsville First National Bank. 1953-1983
  • Series 3. Newspaper Clippings and Articles. 1943 - July 1984
  • Series 4. Materials Concerning the Escape Attempt of Fred Carrasco. 1974-1975; Undated
  • Series 5. Alcoholics Anonymous Materials. 1983; Undated
  • Series 6. Materials Concerning the Ruiz vs. Estelle Case. 1980-1982
  • Series 7. Other Court Cases. Undated
  • Series 8. Prison Systems in Reports, Publications, and Reprints. Undated
  • Series 9. Corrections in Other States. Undated
  • Series 10. Magazine Articles and Reprints. 1950-1983
  • Series 11. Miscellaneous Certificates, Programs, etc. Undated
  • Series 12. Photographs. the 1960s-1980s; Undated
  • Series 13. Audiovisual and Museum Items

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

Physical access

These materials are stored offsite and require additional time for retrieval.

Technical access

A/V materials must be digitized, if possible, before use.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law. It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure those rights when needed. Permission to reproduce does not constitute permission to publish. The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming to the laws of copyright, literary property rights, and libel.

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

Language and script notes

Finding aids

Acquisition and appraisal elements

Custodial history

Immediate source of acquisition

Received as a gift to the repository from W. J. Estelle, Jr. in 1984.


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Sources used

Archivist's note

Finding Aid Authors: Jay Harrison.

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