Happy 100th Birthday to Julia Scott Reed (1917-2014)

June 30, 2017

The Archives of Women of the Southwest remembers Julia Scott Reed this July 17th on what would have been her 100th birthday. We are honored that Ms. Reed’s family placed her papers here at DeGolyer Library for future generations of scholars.

Dallas native Julia Scott Reed was born July 17, 1917, daughter of Johnnie and Nina McGee. She graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in Dallas, Texas, attended Wiley College, and graduated from Phillip’s Business School.

Early in her career Ms. Reed worked for the African-American newspaper The Dallas Express, where she often took her own photographs to accompany her articles. She eventually served as the paper’s city editor. For eight years she reported “News and Views” as a radio personality on Dallas radio station KNOK. In 1967, Ms. Reed became the first African-American writer to join the Dallas Morning News staff, and she also became the first African-American woman to join the Dallas Press Club and Dallas Altrusa Club. Her column “The Open Line” featured articles on community issues, politics, religion, race relations, and other current events.

Ms. Reed received numerous accolades and awards such as the Dallas Business and Professional Women’s Club’s Extra Mile Award, the Maura Award, and Woman of the Year Award from both the Florence B. Brooks Club and the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. She served on various boards, task forces, associations, and political campaigns including the NAACP, Social Welfare Association, various children’s and senior citizen advocacy groups, Precinct 335 chairperson, and Planned Parenthood to name a few. After she suffered a stroke in 1978, Ms. Reed was unable to continue her career as a newswoman and community advocate; however, her achievements and activism inspired generations of young women from her community including Dallas journalist Norma Adams-Wade.

Helping to document the closing of a JCPenney store

June 21, 2017

It usually starts with an email from a reporter.  “I am working on a story…..”   The first question is “what is your deadline?”  Then I begin the search for information, photographs, or anything else that can shape the story.

With this assignment, the reporter was looking for specific information about the JCPenney Pendleton, Oregon, store which was closing after 106 years.

JCPenney store in Pendleton, Ore., 1917.

I was lucky.  There were store interiors and store exterior photos from 1917. There was a written store history–current as of 2002 (JCPenney’s Centennial).  I even found a 1911 balance sheet from the Pendleton store. The reporter wanted materials from the 1960s or 1970s.  I didn’t have anything specific to Pendleton, but he accepted some fun fashion advertising and JCPenney catalog covers.

I waited, hoping that he would make “us” look good.  I hoped, too, that he would give credit to the JCPenney Archives at the DeGolyer Library at Southern Methodist University.

John Rosman, of Oregon Public Broadcasting, put together a piece that just made me smile–despite the sadness of a store closing.  He even managed to tie Jeff Bezos of Amazon into the video. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


An Evening Reminiscing

April 5, 2017

The Wittliffs and Virgil Musick

L to R: Bill Wittliff, Virgil Musick, and Sally Wittliff


On February 23, 2017, Bill Wittliff and Virgil Musick reunited for the first time in 20 years. Bill and Sally Wittliff, creators of the Encino Press, joined Virgil Musick, a faithful collector of their work, for an exhibition opening and panel discussion at the DeGolyer Library. Brought together nearly 30 years ago by Musick’s admiration for Wittliff’s talent creating fine press books, the three spent the evening reminiscing about the years the press was in operation. Before the panel discussion began, the special guests browsed among the cases of Wittliff’s materials that comprise the exhibit, Bill Wittliff, Texas Man of Letters: Selections from the Virgil Musick Collection. On display are awarding winning books from Wittliff’s time at the SMU Press and Encino Press as well as broadsides, exhibit catalogs, and photographs.


Bob More book

J. Frank Dobie
Bob More, Man and Bird Man
Dallas: The Encino Press, 1965
Introduction, design, and inscription by William D. Wittliff


Wittliff recounted that publishing houses in the Southwest were significantly fewer in number in the early 1960s than those found on the East Coast, and fine presses were even scarcer.  Nonetheless, the Wittliffs jumped in. Although his degree was in journalism, Wittliff had a knack for selecting typeface, paper, and colors, which when combined resulted in a distinctive Encino Press style, something noticed by Musick. Wittliff thanked Musick not only for collecting the works of the Encino Press, but also for being a “paying customer,” not always a given in the early years. The Wittliffs agreed that despite working out of a carport for a time, a warehouse fire that destroyed a significant part of their inventory, printing mishaps, and more, the years of the Encino Press were wonderful times. Musick shared the sentiment, clearly enjoying the opportunity to trade stories and recollections with the Witliffs. He related an anecdote about one of the last Encino Press publications that he tracked down years after its publication and joked that his wife never did know how much he paid for it.


Panel Discussion

Panel discussion with Bill Wittliff (L) and Virgil Musick (R)


The exhibit runs through June 1, 2017, in the Hillcrest Foundation Exhibit Hall.

View more posts