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John Thomas "Tom" Hendrix Collection

 Collection — Container: 83
Identifier: ELIBR-0083

Scope and Contents

Series I, Personal, 1960-2014, consists of personal documents regarding his work history, the loss of his first wife Judith, certificates and awards, newspaper articles, personal items, and items Hendrix collected.

Series II, Business, 1978-2014, consists of documents regarding Hendrix and his wife’s business ventures, such as Wind Prophet Publications, Sundance Photography, and The Penny Project as well as book sales.

Series III, Works, 1973-2007, consists of sketches and mock-ups of Hendrix’s books, poems, collections of poetry, and notes.

Series IV, Correspondence, 1964-2012, consists of personal and professional correspondence.

Series V, Submissions, 1976-2011, consists of documentation regarding poetry submitted to publishers and those entered into national poetry competitions.

Series VI, Publications, 1974-2011, consists of collected publications, newspapers, and poetry publications that featured Hendrix poems.

Series VII, Photographs, 1963-2011, consists of personal and professional photographs, slides, negatives, and contact sheets of various subjects.


  • 1960-2014
  • Majority of material found in 1970-2010


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use. Some of the collection may contain personally identifying information. Please contact the special collections department ahead of your visit to speak with staff about access of specific contents within the collection.

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials in our collections may be protected by copyright. Publication, transmission, or reproduction of items protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Whenever possible, accurate information about the copyright status of material is provided in the item record and/or documentation for material in the collection. The Library does not own the copyright in much of the material in its collection and is therefore unable to grant copyright permission to publish those items. It is the researcher's responsibility to determine copyright or other use restrictions and obtain proper permission when publishing or distributing materials found in these collections. Researchers must make their own assessments of rights in light of their intended use. Additional information about copyright and fair use is available via the Library's Copyright Guide at

Biographical / Historical

John Thomas Hendrix was born in Galesburg, Illinois, on September 2, 1940, to Kay Spangler of Harlingen and Merle Hendrix of Springfield, Illinois. Hendrix grew up in Harlingen and graduated from Harlingen High School in 1959. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1963 and began his poetry career in 1966 while stationed in Tripoli, North Africa at Wheelus Air Force Base. His poetry style is open verse, which is rhythmic but non-rhyming, and was influenced by the writings of American author Carl Sandburg (1878-1967). Some of Hendrix’s favorite poets included Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) and Walt Whitman (1819-1892). Hendrix’s first poetry book, “Love Brackets,” was published in 1974. More than 60 of his works have appeared in books of collected poetry and magazines from all over the country. During his 20-year career, Hendrix received several awards and honorable mention awards in national competitions. Hendrix wrote most of his beach poetry while living on South Padre Island. Hendrix worked many different jobs in the Rio Grande Valley. His jobs included working as an usher at the Arcadia Theater, working at a cotton gin spraying cotton, working construction during the day while bartending at night at South Padre Island, selling cameras and electronics at Gibsons, K-Mart, and Wal-Mart, and managing aloe vera production at Natural Way Labs in La Feria. He also worked as a freelance photographer for weddings and live bands; among his most notable jobs was a photography shoot for a Freddie Fender concert in 1976, for which he shot for 72 hours straight, for a total of 3,000 photos. Hendrix and his wife moved to Kingsville in 1980 and together operated a freelance photography business and collaborated on poetry books. In 1988, they moved to Troy, Texas and 1991 they moved to Lake Belton, Texas where they lived until his death.


19 Linear Feet (15 record boxes)

Language of Materials



John Thomas “Tom” Hendrix was an author, poet, and freelance photographer. He was born on September 2, 1940 in Galesburg, Illinois and grew up in Harlingen, Texas. The collection consists of personal documents, such as correspondences, photographs, awards, and certificates. Also included are copies of published and unpublished manuscripts of poems, as well as drawings and artwork by Hendrix’s wife, Penny Hendrix. The bulk of the collection consists of the author’s poetry, third-party publication submissions, and photographs.


Series I. Personal, 1960-2014 (32 folders) Series II. Business, 1978-2014 (19 folders) Series III. Works, 1973-2007 (160 folders) Series IV. Correspondence, 1964-2012 (51 folders) Series V. Submissions, 1976-2011 (70 folders) Series VI. Publications, 1974-2011 (22 folders) Series VII. Photographs, 1963-2011 (70 folders)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Penny Hendrix (widow)


Please contact University Library, Special Collections and University Archives at (956) 665-2726 or via email at for more information and requests.

John Thomas "Tom" Hendrix
Deandra Portner
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Special Collections and Archives, Edinburg Campus Repository

ELIBR 1.104
University Library
1201 West University Drive
Edinburg TX 78539-2999
(956) 665-2726