This Court Is Adjourned

November 18, 2019

By Archives of the Women of the Southwest intern Melissa Calderon.

In today’s world, women are seen more in the law community either by being attorneys or judges. It is fair to say that women have been committed to making their presence known in the male dominated field that is law. Paula Sue Waddle, a Dallas native born on November 9, 1947, was one of many women who was determined to change the norm within the law field.

Paula Waddle photograph, undated

Paula Waddle photograph, undated

Paula Waddle in judge's robes on stage in Austin

Paula Waddle in judge’s robes on stage in Austin














As an aspiring attorney myself, I was excited to come across Ms. Waddle’s collection. She was an attorney and judge who actively participated in making her community better. By graduating from the University of Texas at Austin law school, she took the first step towards a road that would lead her to making history. The year was 1982 and Ms. Waddle became the first woman to be appointed municipal court judge in Corpus Christi.

Headline Corpus Christi Times, October 20, 1982

Headline Corpus Christi Times, October 20, 1982

The Paula S. Waddle collection consists of ephemera, correspondence, letters, newspaper clippings, court case materials and photographs that document her personal life and extensive professional career. Ms. Waddle’s documents show how important her law career was to her and why she was always looking for ways to better herself. She was a leader who made the change she wanted and inspired others to the same.

Paula Waddle Polaroid photograph, undated

Paula Waddle Polaroid photograph, undated


Contact Samantha Dodd, curator of the Archives of Women of the Southwest for additional information or assistance with accessing the collections.

For access to these collections or to learn more about the adventurous women of the southwest, be sure to visit the DeGolyer Library and check out our books, manuscripts, pamphlets, and photographs.

Isn’t it bazaar?

November 1, 2019

Tomorrow, November 2, is the second annual DFW archives bazaar. This event will take place from 1:00pm-5:00pm at the Patterson-Appleton Arts Center in Denton, Texas.

2019 DFW archives bazaar logo

2019 DFW archives bazaar logo

Come visit with archivists, museum curators, librarians, and history professionals from all across the DFW area. Discover the various resources in your own backyard, learn how to preserve your family treasures, interview family members about their own history, digitize family memories, and much more. Visit the “Ask an Archivist” Station, and find out what it takes to become a professional archivist. In addition to the exhibitors and demos, there will be door prizes, trivia, and more.

My path to becoming an archivist was not straightforward. I found my way into the profession while in graduate school working on an MA in history. My first archival gig was as an intern at a local historical museum. From the moment I walked into the stacks, I was hooked.

What I love most about this profession is that every day is an opportunity to learn new things about the people, places, and events of our past. Since we just finished celebrating American Archives Month, I thought I would take an opportunity to answer a few of the questions I get asked the most on the job.

What is the oldest item in your collection?

A Columbus letter dated 29 April 1493.

What is your favorite item in the collection?

1816 letter from Lady Diana Barham to Mrs. Thomas Haweis

1816 letter from Lady Diana Barham to Mrs. Thomas Haweis

This is hard because there are just so many amazing pieces that I could never narrow it to one item. I can say that correspondence is definitely my favorite type of record. Throughout my archivist career I have read thousands upon thousands of letters from centuries old to a few weeks old, from handwritten notes to corporate form letters. Because letter writing is not instant like, say, a tweet or blog post, when I read through these letters I imagine a person sitting down to write out their thoughts and feelings. Combine this with a knowledge of time and place and you can get a visual image of what that particular day in their life was like.


Why don’t you just put everything online?

If I had a dollar for every time I get asked this question, I still wouldn’t be able to put even a fraction of our holdings online. Mass digitization is costly, both in money and time. Each box on the shelf can hold roughly 700-1800 individual pieces of paper and even more photographs, negatives, and slides. Many archival record groups are not easy to scan quickly. The fastest way is with an automatic feeder, but this only works with same-sized pages in good condition. Manual scanning is the best option for unique or fragile records. Depending on the record, it may take multiple scans to capture all of the information. On top of the logistics, there are a number of laws that affect digital projects including privacy laws, HIPPA, FERPA, and of course copyright and intellectual property laws.

Despite these challenges, archives around the globe are working to make materials available online and on improving access to these resources. Here at SMU we have the incredible team at the Norwick Center for Digital Solutions (nCDS). You can follow their blog Off the Shelf to stay up to date with our ongoing digital projects and to see what’s new online.

Visit the DeGolyer library to view rare books, manuscripts, photographs, maps, and other materials. The collections are available to all SMU students, faculty, visiting scholars, and other researchers. DeGolyer Library’s holdings of primary sources are complemented by exhibitions, lectures, publications, and other programs. We hope to see you soon!

Season of the Witch

October 22, 2019

With Halloween approaching, I went searching for the spookiest book I could find in the DeGolyer stacks.  We’ve got items on vampires, ghosts, and creatures that go bump in the night, and one work that claims to offer “full and plain evidence concerning witches.”

Printed in 1681, Saducismus triumphatus, or, full and plain evidence concerning witches and apparitions: in two parts. The first treating of their possibility, the second of their real existence (BF1581.A2) was written by Joseph Glanvill (1636-1680) and published after his death by Henry More (1614-1687).

Saducismus triumphatus title page

Our copy features two striking woodcut illustrations.  The first is a frontispiece featuring the Witch of Endor, described in the Hebrew Bible is a woman who aids Saul in summoning the spirit of the prophet Samuel.

The Frontispiece

The second image features six separate scenes, including the devil and demons, angels, and levitation.

Woodcut illustrations

The book makes an argument for the existence of witches, ghosts, and the supernatural.  It begins by interpreting biblical stories as evidence of witches, then shares numerous contemporary accounts of the supernatural. The stories are mostly tales of interactions between individuals in English communities and ghosts, such as the story of “a Dutch man that could see ghosts, and of the ghost he saw in the town of Woodbridge in Suffolk” or “the appearing of the ghost of one Mr. Bower of Guildford, to a highway-man in prison, as it is set down in a letter of Dr. Ezekias Burton to a Dr. H. More.”

Additional stories include cases of witchcraft and the ‘confessions’ of convicted witches, such as “the witchcraft of Elizabeth Styles of Bayford, widow” who after being arrested and imprisoned for witchcraft, described how “the Devil about ten years since appeared to her in the shape of a handsome man, and after of a black dog. That he promised her money, and that she should live gallantly, and have the pleasure of the world for twelve years, if she would with her blood sign his paper, which was to give her soul to him, and observe his laws, and that he might suck her blood.”

Happy Halloween!


Contact Christina Jensen to view Saducismus triumphatus and other books at the DeGolyer.

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