JavaScript must be enabled to display this page properly.

O. Henry logo and Austin History Center navigation
link to O. Henry home page link to O. Henry biography link to O. Henry Austin Chronology link to O. Henry Texas Stories link to O. Henry resources link to O. Henry Punoff link to O. Henry Map
banner with composite of O.Henry artifacts link to page with larger William Sydney Porter as a child image link to page with larger Driskill Hotel image link to page with larger Saturday Evening Post, July 6, 1907 image
PICB 07214, Undated Portrait of William Sydney Porter

O Henry 150th Birthday Crawl

On September 11, 2012, O. Henry, aka William Sydney Porter, will celebrate the sesquicentennial of his birth. To mark this occasion, the Austin History Center, in partnership with the Capitol Visitors Center and the O. Henry Museum, is coordinating a citywide Birthday Party on Saturday, September 15, 12pm – 5:00pm, with festivities and activities at all three locations. Come celebrate the birth of one of Austin’s best loved writers. The featured programs staggered so you don’t have to miss anything! Visit all three sites during the event and win a prize! All events are free and open to the public.

Austin History Center

810 Guadalupe | Location Map

Featured program:  At 4:00 pm, the AHC will offer its featured program of the day, a Mock Appeals Trial of Porter’s embezzlement conviction. The mock trial will star Justice Jan Patterson of the Texas Court of Appeals, O. Henry Pun-Off punster Gary Hallock, and St. Edward’s University Theater Arts Professor Ev Lunning, with YOU starring as the Jury. Listen to the facts and arguments of the case and decide O. Henry’s criminal fate.

Other activities:

  • Explore the current exhibit in the Holt Photo Gallery, “O. Henry: A Short Story.” This exhibit tells more about the man than the writer that America discovered in the early 1900s. Or it tries to. O. Henry remains an enigmatic figure because nobody really knew him. That is to say that no one living after his success knew him. Like the contemporary enigma Bob Dylan, there are also six different lives of William Sydney Porter. Chronologically: the Dandy, the Family Man, the Embezzler, the Fugitive, the Widower, the Prisoner, and the Writer.
  • Children’s activities 12-3, led by APL's Youth Services Department, including designing your own Austin-themed O. Henry postage stamp (the USPS is issuing a New York themed stamp for O. Henry in September) and making costume moustaches.
  • Visit the AHC’s O. Henry Room and browse the offerings from Waterloo Press, the Austin History Center Association’s publishing arm.

Capitol Visitors Center

112 E. 11th Street | Location Map

Featured Program: Their featured program, offered at 11:00am and again at 12:00 noon, will be a dramatic presentation of O. Henry’s story “Bexar Script No. 2692: Murder at the Land Office.” This is one of his most famous Texas stories and it takes place in the Land Office Building that is now the Visitors Center

Other activities:

  • Explore their permanent exhibit on O. Henry in the historic building where he worked as a draftsman for the General Land Office.
  • “Pin the mustache on O. Henry” game
  • Postal stamp coloring pages.

O. Henry Museum

409 E. 5th Street | Location Map

Featured Program: Their featured program, beginning at 2:00 pm, will be a group reading of O. Henry’s “Buried Treasure,” where 12 writers take on one Texas Story.

Other activities:

  • Explore O. Henry’s Austin home and see the new exhibit, “O. Henry: Original Slacker.”
  • Performance by the New Hill City Quartet, reviving the music group that Porter sang with while living in Austin.
  • Unveiling of the new O. Henry postage stamp.

Transportation and Parking

Location Map

There will be a shuttle service available all day to move folks from location to location, so you only need to park once! Free parking is available in the visitor’s garage behind the Capitol Visitor’s Center. There is some street parking adjacent to both the O. Henry Museum and the Austin History Center, as well as paid parking garages near each.

The shuttle will run continuously 12-6, with pick-ups and drop offs on 11th street near the CVC, on Guadalupe in front of the AHC, and at 5th and Neches next to the OHM. The shuttle will arrive/depart each site every 15-20 minutes (and will run until everyone is returned to the location where they parked).

Visit all three locations and win a prize!

Passports will be available at all three locations, and if you visit all three, you will win a prize! The prizes will vary location. Pick up your passport, or download one from the link below. Limit one prize per household.

O. Henry Passport

O. Henry Birthday Crawl Poster

link to Austin History Center Photograph Collection link to Austin History Center Reference Services link to Austin History Center Exhibits link to Austin History Center Collections link to Austin History Center About Us link to Austin History Center home page