Two recent gifts expand special collections of SMU’s Hamon Arts Library

Contact: Patti LaSalle or Ann Abbas, 214-768-7660

February 4, 2013


DALLAS (SMU) — Two recent gifts will expand the special collections housed in the Jake and Nancy Hamon Arts Library at SMU. A gift of personal materials from the estate of Dallas philanthropist and arts patron Nancy Hamon includes $1 million to endow, preserve and exhibit the collection. In addition, a planned estate gift of movie archives valued at $1.5 million has been made by film historian and collector Jeff Gordon.

Dallasites will receive a preview of the Gordon collection through an exhibition, “Linda Darnell from Dallas to Hollywood: Selections from the Jeff Gordon Collection,” on view from Feb. 3 to May 17 in the Hawn Gallery of the Hamon Arts Library. A preview reception at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, will be followed by a lecture by Jeff Gordon at 7 p.m. in the Hamon Arts Library. RSVP online at or by calling 214-768-3225.

Nancy Hamon, who died in 2011, provided $5 million in 1988 to establish the Hamon Arts Library at SMU, which opened in 1990. A branch of SMU’s Central University Libraries, it houses materials relevant to the visual, performing and communication arts in support of Meadows School of the Arts. Its archives include the G. William Jones Film and Video Collection, which will house the Gordon Collection, and the Jerry Bywaters Special Collections, where the Hamon materials are located.

“These two new collections will greatly enrich and broaden the holdings of the Hamon Arts Library,” said Gillian M. McCombs, dean and director of SMU’s Central University Libraries. “The Gordon gift will significantly increase our ability to support teaching and research in American film. And the Hamon collection will draw researchers interested in Dallas history and the cultural history of the Southwest.”

The Gordon Collection

The Gordon collection bequeathed to SMU includes several hundred original movie posters and lobby cards, more than 15,000 35-millimeter slides of movie memorabilia (some of which have already been delivered to SMU), several thousand original movie photos, a 16-millimeter film collection with more than 200 features, more than 20 Warner Bros. cartoons, 100 television programs and a group of Elvis Presley materials. The Gordon archives focus primarily on movies made from the 1930s to the 1970s.

Although the entire collection will not be transferred to SMU until a future date, Gordon is curating the Linda Darnell exhibition as a sneak preview of his collection. The exhibition will include posters, photographs and materials from recently acquired scrapbooks of Darnell, a Dallas native who grew up in Oak Cliff and became a major movie star in the 1940s. She starred in cinema classics with leading men including Tyrone Power, Henry Fonda, Kirk Douglas and Robert Mitchum. Her career peaked with Forever Amber in 1947. She later appeared on television and stage before her tragic death in a house fire in 1965.

Gordon’s interest in film dates back to his childhood. He earned degrees in film production and cinema studies at New York University. In 1984 he formed Jagarts, a business dealing with the history of American movies. Since 2004 he has operated a film group in Knoxville, Tennessee. He is the author of Foxy Lady: The Authorized Biography of Lynn Bari, and has written for several entertainment-oriented publications.

The Hamon Collection

The Hamon materials include photograph albums, diaries, records of Nancy Hamon’s elaborate theme parties in the 1950s and ’60s, memorabilia, personal correspondence with seven U.S. presidents and other prominent leaders, and materials related to her husband’s long career in the oil business. Among highlights of the collection are photos of the Hamons’ trip to China with George H.W. and Barbara Bush in the 1970s.

“Nancy Hamon had a profound impact on the arts at SMU and in Dallas,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “We are grateful to Jack Roach, executor of her estate, for his efforts in bringing this extraordinary collection to SMU and providing funds to maintain the collection.”

A native of San Antonio, Mrs. Hamon is remembered as a woman with a Texas-sized personality. She appeared in several Hollywood movies in the 1940s before marrying legendary oil wildcatter Jake Hamon in 1949. She provided multimillion-dollar support to SMU, including the Hamon Arts Library and Hamon Galleries in the Meadows Museum, and several Dallas medical and arts organizations. Her honors include an honorary Doctor of Arts degree from SMU in 2000 and the prestigious Linz Award for her humanitarian and civic efforts.

In 2013, as part of its Second Century Celebration, SMU will commemorate The Year of the Library — the 100th anniversary of the University’s library collections, which began with the acquisition of the first books in 1913. In addition to marking historic milestones, the commemoration will recognize new commitments to further develop campus libraries for the future. New gifts such as the Gordon and Hamon collections count toward Second Century Campaign goals, which include new investments for library facilities, endowments for acquisitions and library staff positions, and expansion of special collections.

SMU’s Second Century Campaign coincides with celebration of the 100th anniversary of the University’s founding in 1911 and its opening in 1915. To date, the campaign has raised $653 million toward a goal of $750 million to support student quality, faculty and academic excellence and the campus experience.

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Happy holidays from the Hamon Arts Library!

The staff of the Hamon Arts Library would like to wish you a safe and joyous holiday season.  Hamon will be closed December 22-January 1.  Our hours for the remainder of the intersession are Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm.

See you in the New Year!

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Jones Collection Films on the Road

Tracked By Bloodhounds The Blood of Jesus The Pleasure Garden

A few 35mm film titles from the G. William Jones Film and Video Collection are traveling this month. Tracked by Bloodhounds or A Lynching in Cripple Creek (Harry Buckwalter, Wm. Selig, 1904) is showing in a program devoted to Selig pictures at the venerable Giornate del Cinema Muto (The Pordenone Silent Film Festival). Tracked by Bloodhounds is part of the Sulphur Springs Collection of Pre-Nickelodeon Films, most of which can be viewed online.

The Blood of Jesus (Spencer Williams, 1941), one of the most popular Jones Collection titles, will be shown at the Indiana University Cinema later this month. The Indiana University Bloomington is the home of our good colleagues at the Black Film Center/Archive. In conjunction with the screening of The Blood of Jesus, there will be a lecture by Jacqueline Stewart, an expert on the work of Spencer Williams.

Another of our most important films will be returning home this month after a long, interesting trip. Almost a year ago, it was arranged that the Jones Collection would loan its rare, tinted, nitrate print of The Pleasure Garden (Alfred Hitchcock, 1926) to the British Film Institute to be considered for inclusion in a project to restore the surviving silent Hitchcock films. Here is a photo of the print comparison in progress. We now know that the project was successful and that SMU is getting on-screen credit for providing one of the four original prints that were used in the restoration. Opportunities for seeing the restored film may come up later in this academic year.

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Current Exhibition: Renaissance Technology in Print

August 20-October 14, 2012, Mildred Hawn Gallery

This exhibition results from a seminar in Renaissance Technology for the Art History graduate students in the Rhetorics of Art, Space and Culture (RASC/a) program, and has evolved into a collaborative effort between RASC/aDeGolyer Library, and the Blaffer Foundation at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The exhibition examines the dissemination of ideas and knowledge through the advancement of print and book production, and includes six fifteenth- and sixteenth-century books as well as the eighteen plates of Stradanus’s Nova Reperta (New Discoveries). These important engravings feature important discoveries and inventions made before 1600. In conjunction with this event, Dr. James Clifton of the Blaffer Foundation will give a lecture the first week of October on the Nova Reperta series. This exhibition is co-curated by two second-year RASC/a graduate students, Emily Anderson and Sarah Foltz.

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New books in the Latin American collection

Hamon recently received a small but focused collection of books on Latin American art from John Lunsford, former curator of the Dallas Museum of Art and former Adjunct Associate Professor in Art History at SMU. Most of these books are in English or Spanish, and several are on colonial Latin American art and architecture, and Indian art and artifacts. To browse these books in the library catalog, please see this list of titles.  Below is a selection of them.

Caso, Alfonso. La cerámica de Monte AlbánNK4032.P8 C28 1967, Hamon

In the early twentieth century, Caso did extensive archaeological research on the pre-Columbian site, Monte Albán, in the Valley of Oaxaca in southern Mexico and on the Zapotec culture. This book highlights ceramic works from this site.

Kennedy Troya, Alexandra and Alfonso Ortiz Crespo. Convento de San Diego de Quito : historia y restauración.  BX2573.Q576 K46 1982, Hamon

This convent in Quito was built by the Franciscan monks in the 17th-century baroque style. In addition to giving the history of this convent, the authors of this book also include chapters on the architecture, and the colonial painting and sculpture in the collection.

Moya Rubio, Víctor José.  La vivienda indígena de México y del mundo.  F1219.3.D9 M69 1984, Hamon

Moya Rubo examines several types of Indian dwellings in Mexico. In his discussion of the architecture, he provides information on materials, plans and elevations.

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Tyler Collection featured on Good Morning Texas

The Tyler, Texas Black Film Collection was featured on WFAA’s Good Morning Texas program this week. Film and Media Arts professor Rick Worland answered questions about this varied group of films, which were made in the 30s, 40s, and 50s for black audiences in segregated theaters.

To find out more…

Watch the Good Morning Texas segment
Stream or download one of the films, The Blood of Jesus
Order the Tyler Collection DVD set
Read more about the Jones Film and Video Collection

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Spring Film Screenings

The Division of Film and Media Arts will screen five 16mm prints from the Jones Film and Video Collection over the next few weeks.

All screenings are open to the public. They will be held in the Greer Garson Theatre, Rm. 3527, at 7:00 PM, and admission is free. For more information, call 214-768-2129.

The program is subject to change, but the scheduled titles are:

  • February 2: Rules of the Game (1939, Jean Renoir)
  • February 9: Viridiana (1961, Luis Buñuel)
  • February 16: Mr. Hulot’s Holiday (1955, Jacques Tati)
  • February 23: The 400 Blows (1959, Francois Truffaut)
  • March 1: L’Eclisse (1962, Michelangelo Antonioni)


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Reception for Archive of Shadows by Andrew Douglas Underwood

Please join us this Friday, January 27, at 6:00 p.m. for the reception for our current exhibit in the Hawn Gallery: Archive of Shadows by Andrew Douglas Underwood.

Dallas-based artist Andrew Douglas Underwood presents his second solo exhibition, Archive of Shadows. His research-based artistic practice explores historic vignettes, examines the notion of perfection, and questions the possibility of objectivity. The museum-esque presentation of the work intrinsically implies, “The mementos collected here are of historic significance.” Also, like a museum, the act of collecting naturally integrates with a practice of creating archives of information. Where this collection diverges from the institutional and the quantitative is in the emotional reaction to the vignettes. For those willing to slow down and engage with the work, the reward is an involvement with a romantic moment from history.

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The Jerry Bywaters Collection on Art of the Southwest

Jerry Bywaters

Photo of Jerry Bywaters

This past December, art work by Jerry Bywaters was donated to SMU’s Meadows Museum by his daughter Jerry Bywaters Cochran (view the press release). This gift of paintings, pastels, prints, and watercolors, along with the Jerry Bywaters Collection on Art of the Southwest housed in the Hamon Arts Library, will make SMU the major repository of research materials and art work by Jerry Bywaters for future scholars and researchers interested in the art of the region.

In addition to her gift to the Meadows Museum, Mrs. Cochran also donated the Jerry Bywaters Cochran family papers to SMU which will become part of the existing Bywaters Collection in the Hamon Library.

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New DVDs in the Hamon AV Department

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