Sarah T. Hughes, Only Woman to Ever Have Sworn in a U.S. President

April 23, 2018

Judges Sarah T. Hughes and T. Whitfield Davidson, ca. 1970. By Andy Hanson

Sarah  T. Hughes (1896 – 1985), American lawyer and federal judge, was a woman of firsts. She moved to Dallas, in 1922 with her husband, George E. Hughes, whom she had met in law school. George was able to find a job quickly, but no law firm would hire Sarah. Eventually, a small firm gave her rent-free space in exchange for her services as receptionist. As her practice grew and became more successful, Hughes became increasingly active in local women’s organizations. She became involved in politics, first being elected in 1930 to three terms in the Texas House of Representatives as a Democrat.

In 1935, she accepted an appointment as a state judge from Governor James Allred for the Fourteenth District Court in Dallas, becoming the state’s first woman district judge. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed her to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. She was the first woman to serve as a federal district judge in Texas. She was the only female judge appointed by Kennedy, and only the third woman ever to serve on the Federal bench.

Hughes was concerned over the ineligibility of women in Texas to serve on juries even though they had the right to vote. She coauthored a proposed amendment that would allow women on juries in Texas, but the bill failed. Due in to part to Hughes’s work, Texas women secured the right to serve on juries in 1954. Hughes was a member of the three-judge panel that first heard the case of Roe v. Wade; the panel’s decision was subsequently affirmed by the Supreme Court.

President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy. By Andy Hanson

On November 22, 1963, she was called upon to administer the oath of office to Lyndon B. Johnson after President Kennedy’s assassination. According to Barefoot Sanders, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas at the time, “LBJ called Irving Goldberg from the plane and asked, ‘Who can swear me in?’ Goldberg called me, and I said, ‘Well, we know a federal judge can.’ Then I got a call from the President’s plane, with the command ‘Find Sarah Hughes.’ I reached her at home and said, ‘They need you to swear in the Vice President at Love Field. Please get out there.’ She said, ‘Is there an oath?’ I said, ‘Yes, but we haven’t found it yet.’ She said, ‘Don’t worry about it; I’ll make one up.’ She was very resourceful, you know. By the time she got to the airplane, someone had already called it into the plane. We quickly realized that it is in the Constitution.” Hughes recalled, “I embraced Mrs. Kennedy and vice president. We didn’t say anything; there really wasn’t anything to say.” Hughes leaned toward Jackie and told her she’d loved her husband. After the oath, Johnson said, “Let’s be airborne,” and the plane got on its way. Hughes was the first and only woman to have sworn in a U.S. President.

Lyndon B. Johnson Hemmed in by Crowd, Dallas, 1960. By Andy Hanson



Hughes continued her work as a federal judge until 1982.









Anne E. Peterson, Curator of Photographs

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Mr. Stanley’s Birthday!!!

April 20, 2018

Stanley Marcus with Coco Chanel at Neiman Marcus Fashion Exposition Award Presentation, 1957


April 20 – it’s Mr. Stanley’s birthday! Born in Dallas, Stanley Marcus (April 20, 1905 – January 22, 2002) was the eldest son of Neiman Marcus store founder Herbert Marcus. He attended Harvard University where he graduated in 1925. It was during his years in Cambridge that he began his life-long hobby of collecting rare books. At the DeGolyer Library, besides his personal manuscripts and papers, the extensive Marcus book collection is also housed.

Joining the founders, other family members came into the store business. After the Harvard Business School, in 1926, Stanley joined the firm. He was a creative man with new ideas for the retail market. Soon, he conceived the idea of weekly fashion shows, the first in the country, and he introduced bridal shows. Eventually, all four Marcus brothers worked in the store and each made his own unique contributions. To avoid confusion between the many Mr. Marcus’s, staff members started using their first names, calling them Mr. Herbert, Mr. Stanley, Mr. Edward, Mr. Herbert, Jr. and Mr. Lawrence.

Chanel at Neiman Marcus Dallas with Mr. Stanley, 1957.

In 1938, Stanley inaugurated the Neiman Marcus Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion, bringing European and American fashion designers and women of style to Dallas. Called the “Oscars of the Fashion Industry,” among others the Neiman Marcus Fashion Awards were given to: Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Salvatore Ferragamo, Emilio Pucci, Pierre Balmain, Grace Kelly, Cecil Beaton, Estee Lauder, Valentino, Bill Blass, and Oscar de la Renta.

For the 50th anniversary of the store, in 1957, Mr. Stanley had the brilliant idea of bringing international culture to North Texas in the form of the first Fortnight event celebrating France. Almost overnight, the downtown store was transformed complete with a French theme and products throughout, and Fortnight was an instant success. Besides culture, fashion, and fun, the educational aspects of the Fortnights were equally important to Stanley. Fortnight, focusing on different countries around the world, continued to be a much-loved annual event in Dallas into the 1980s.

Stanley Marcus was an intelligent, cultured man with innovative business instincts. He had a wide array of interests, knowledge and world-wide acquaintances and was an important citizen in the changing city of Dallas.

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Isabel T. Kelly Ethnographic Archive, El Tajin Fieldwork

April 5, 2018

Isabel T. Kelly

Isabel Truesdell Kelly (1906-1983) was a social anthropologist and archaeologist who specialized in Mexican cultures. She developed a scholarly interest in anthropology while a student at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), and conducted fieldwork in 1931-1934 with the Coast Miwok and the Southern Paiute people. Kelly was an indefatigable field worker. She went to Mexico in 1935 working in Culiacan and Sinaloa and returned to Mexico for archaeological studies in 1939. She became a Mexican resident in 1940, settling in Tepepan, outside Mexico City. Kelly taught and conducted research among the Totonac people at El Tajin in Veracruz. She also studied health care in Mexico, early fieldwork in the area of medical anthropology. The Isabel T. Kelly ethnographic archive, part of the Archives of the Women of the Southwest at the DeGolyer Library has been of interest to a variety of scholars. Stanford PhD student, Sam Holley-Kline spent the 2017 fall semester researching the archive and has written the following about his experience with the collection. Anne E. Peterson, Curator of Photographs, DeGolyer Library

See finding aid:


When anthropologist Isabel Kelly arrived to the rural Mexican community of El Tajín in 1947, she was one of the few who had a camera. El Tajín was a largely Totonac-speaking community of farmers, located about a kilometer from a famous archaeological site of the same name. Kelly’s 1947-1948 fieldwork in El Tajín yielded the 1952 monograph The Tajín Totonac but she was never able to follow up with a planned second volume. Her notes, photos, and drafts eventually made their way to the DeGolyer Library.

Like most every student of Totonac Mexico, I had read The Tajín Totonac in advance of my own fieldwork. The El Tajín that I came to know during field research between 2012 and 2017 was a large community of mostly Spanish-speaking wage laborers, site guards, and vendors. Older residents still remembered Kelly, though: the house she rented, where the kindergarten now is; the candy she would had out to children; and her return visits in 1963-1964.

Thanks to funding from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, I had the opportunity to spend almost three months consulting Kelly’s materials. The extent of Kelly’s Tajín materials was stunning: thousands of typed 5”x8” field notes, a partial draft of the second volume, and hundreds of slides and negatives. Thanks to Curator of Photographs Anne Peterson and Norwick Center for Digital Solutions Assistant Director Cindy Boeke, I was able to access high-quality scans of these slides and negatives. In December 2017, I returned to Tajín to present some of these photos at two conferences in the archaeological site and the nearby city of Papantla.

El Tajin, ca. 1947

The public’s interest was immediate and striking. My previous public presentations in the area had met with polite interest, and audiences of maybe 20-30. This time, though, perhaps 50-60 people arrived; the auditorium in the archaeological site was standing room only. Each slide featuring one of Kelly’s photographs was met with whispers and hushed murmurs. In one case, a member of the audience recognized her late husband with his father, weaving palm stars. People quickly began asking me about the photos, proposing exhibits, displays, and books; the presentations were hopefully a step in this direction.

Using these photos with interlocutors from my fieldwork, however, proved as rewarding as it was productive. One young man recognized a photo from his great-grandparents’ wedding because Kelly had given the couple copies back in 1947. He’d never seen the slides, though, and was struck with the sharpness of their color. One of the last surviving children, aged 72, of Kelly’s key informant, Modesto González, saw a photo that she’d never seen: she and her father on her second birthday. “It’s like I was seeing him alive again,” she commented. For my own research, Kelly’s materials are invaluable. But, thanks to the efforts of the DeGolyer Library and the Norwick Center, they have the potential to reach a much wider audience – one for whom these photos are not just research material but family heirlooms.

By Sam Holley-Kline, Stanford University

Kelly loading car for fieldwork with Coast Miwok, ca. 1932


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