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Chris Thomas Barnette family papers

Identifier: SC-Mss. Coll. 108

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of material related to the personal and professional life of Chris Thomas Barnette and his family.

Series 1: Chris Thomas Barnette papers, circa 1910-1983. This series primarily consists of material documenting Barnette’s profession as a judge. This includes judicial opinions (1963-1970), correspondence (1925-1983), a scrapbook (1937-1941), clippings (1930-1982), printed items (1911-1982), photographs (circa 1910-1980), meeting minutes (1960-1964), and a film depicting Barnette’s last day serving as Caddo Parish juvenile court judge (1964). The correspondence also includes one letter about his road trip to New York City with friends from Centenary College of Louisiana (August 9, 1925), and two letters with United States Senator Russell B. Long about publications claiming to identify well-known Americans as communists (February 1961). The scrapbook contains clippings and programs documenting Barnette’s initial years working as Caddo Parish juvenile court judge; it also includes clippings about Centenary College of Louisiana’s alumni association (1937), the death of Barnette’s father (1939), and the construction of an educational building at Noel Memorial Methodist Church (1940). The meeting minutes document the activities of the Louisiana Youth Commission (1972), and the National Juvenile Court Foundation Inc. (1960-1964). Barnette’s manuscript titled “Dogwood Springs, A Chronicle” details the family’s construction of a cabin near Plain Dealing, Louisiana.

Series 2: Barnette and Cupples family papers, 1888-2000. This series includes material about the relatives of Chris Thomas Barnette and his wife, Emily Sue Cupples. Much of the material consists of clippings, correspondence, photographs, and printed items pertaining to specific family members. Also included are Barnette family genealogy notes. Emily Sue Cupples Barnette photographs include images depicting her time at Centenary College of Louisiana (graduated 1928). William Chappelle Barnette’s papers and photographs include material about his work as Caddo Parish juvenile court judge from 1932 to 1939. The Cupples family photographs (circa 1910) include images depicting their home and school in Westdale, Louisiana. The Harvey Robert Cupples Sr. autograph album (1888) contains notes from his family and friends at Lumber City High School (Lumber City, Pennsylvania). The Strube family photographs depict persons connected to the Barnette and Cupples families. Herman Strube, a barber, hired Barnette for assistance with legal services in the 1920s. In 1945, the Strube family deeded Barnette the “Dogwood Springs” property near Plain Dealing, Louisiana, on which he constructed a cabin.


  • 1888 - 2000


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Physical rights are retained by the Centenary College of Louisiana Archives and Special Collections. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. copyright laws.

Biographical / Historical

Chris Thomas Barnette (1905-1982) of Shreveport, Louisiana, served as a judge whose career is associated with laws related to juvenile courts, juvenile institutions, and adoptions.

Barnette was born in Arcadia, Louisiana. He is the son of William Chappelle Barnette (1875-1939) and Eula Yarborough Barnette (1876-1960). His father, William Barnette, worked as a lawyer and district attorney in Arcadia, then was elected district judge of Claibourne and Bienville parishes in 1912. In 1915, the family moved to Shreveport, where William Barnette worked as a lawyer, then served as Caddo Parish juvenile court judge from 1932 to 1939. A charter member of the Shreveport Kiwanis Club, Barnette served as the first president in 1921.

Chris Barnette graduated from Centenary College of Louisiana in 1925 and attended law school classes at Louisiana State University and Tulane University. Prior to graduation from law school, he qualified to take the Louisiana bar examination. He was admitted to the bar in January 1928 and began practicing law in Shreveport, Louisiana. In 1936, he formed the law practice Barnette and Barnette with his brother, Leslie Yarborough Barnette (1902-1957).

From 1939 to 1964, Barnette served as Caddo Parish juvenile court judge; he was initially appointed to complete the term of his deceased father. In the late 1950s, he led a campaign to construct a new Caddo Parish Juvenile Court building. Barnette’s judicial positions also included: the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal in New Orleans (1964-1971), the Louisiana Fourth Judicial District, the Louisiana First Judicial District, the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal in Baton Rouge (1974), and the Louisiana Twenty-Second Judicial Court in Saint Tammany and Washington Parishes (1976-1977). Barnette served as president of the National Council of Juvenile Court Judges (1953-1954), chairman of the board of trustees of the National Juvenile Court Foundation, and chairman of the Louisiana Youth Commission.

Barnette was also active in religious and civic organizations. His involvement in the United Methodist Church included serving as administrative board member of Noel Memorial United Methodist Church (Shreveport, La.) and board member of the Methodist Children’s Home (Ruston, La.). In 1962, he was awarded “Outstanding Layman of the Year” by the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Church. Barnette’s civic memberships included the Shreveport Kiwanis Club (serving as president in 1943) and the Shreveport Optimist Club.

Throughout his life, Barnette maintained connections with his alma mater, Centenary College of Louisiana. He served as president of the Alumni Association (1937-1938) and was a member of the board of trustees (1939-1952). In 1971, he was named to the college’s Alumni Hall of Fame.

In 1929, Chris Barnette married Emily Sue Cupples (1908-2000). They had three daughters: Ruth Ann Barnette Pierce, Jane Barnette Hancock, Clara Sue Barnette Watts.


3.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Arranged in two series: 1. Chris Thomas Barnette papers (circa 1910-1983), 2. Barnette and Cupples family papers (1888-2000).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Collection donated by Jane Barnette and Alton O. Hancock in 2012.

Finding Aid to the Chris Thomas Barnette family papers
Chris Brown
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Centenary College of Louisiana Archives and Special Collections Repository

2911 Centenary Blvd.
Shreveport LA 71104 US
(318) 869-5462