A. "Dee" Simpson was born in Burnet, Texas, in 1881. His father, a Methodist minister, died when he was eleven and left a surviving family of six in poverty. Dee was able to finish high school only by combining long hours of work with study. After graduation he took a series of inconsequential jobs. In 1913, however, he accepted employment as the chief assistant to the president of Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.
While visiting Houston on university business in 1917, he had occasion to meet with magnate Jesse Jones. It was a fateful encounter, especially for Simpson, and it marked the beginning of a lifelong association between the two. Simpson moved to Houston the next year, where he was employed by Jones as a clerk in the National Bank of Commerce. A series of promotions followed and in 1934 he was named president of the bank. By then, he had become a much admired and well liked member of the city's civic and business elite, which he remained until his death on Christmas day, 1960.
During his career he was either president or member of the board of such national and international organizations as the American Bankers Association, the Foreign Trade Council, Trans-World Airlines, RKO Pictures Corporation, and the Buffalo-Rochester and Pittsburgh Railroad. Locally he held similar positions in the Chamber of Commerce, the YMCA, the Houston Public Library, Jefferson Davis Hospital, the University of Houston, the Foreign Trade Assocaition, the Houston Transit Company, and the River Oaks Country Club.
In 1958 he was named "Man of the Year" by Dixie Business Magazine, but he had become one of the most influential men in Houston long before then. He was married to Mamie Tate Simpson, and they had four children.
A. D. Simpson, Jr., the eldest of the children, majored in architecture for three years at Rice University. During the time covered by his letters (1927-1939), he worked for several different companies in Texas, Louisiana, and Missouri as a draftsman and construction inspector.