Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

February 14, 2019

newspaper clipping

She blazed a trail in journalism, Dallas Morning News, October 27, 2004

Trailblazing journalist Julia Scott Reed found her voice during the height of the civil rights movement in the United States.  Using her position in the newsroom, her “open line” to the black community in Dallas brought awareness and inspiration to her readers.

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.





Her career as a reporter began at the Kansas City Call, a weekly African-American newspaper in Missouri; she served as the publication’s Texas correspondent. In 1951 Ms. Reed was hired to work for the African American newspaper The Dallas Express and for eight years she reported “News and Views” as a radio personality on Dallas radio station KNOK. Reed earned her reputation as a trusted voice and reporter with her coverage of landmark events such as the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education and Jack Ruby’s trial following the assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald. In 1967 Ms. Reed became the first African American writer to join the Dallas Morning News staff. She also became the first African American woman to join the Dallas Press Club and Dallas Altrusa Club.

Photograph Lawrence Harrison directing Dallas traffic, May 1975

Lawrence Harrison directing Dallas traffic, May 1975


Her column “The Open Line” featured articles on community issues, politics, religion, race relations, and other current events. Often her columns highlighted individual stories in Dallas, like Lawrence Harrison. A police sergeant from the Bahamas, Mr. Harrison is seen here directing traffic in Dallas at Commerce and Akard. His visit to Dallas served as a promotional tool for Eastern Airline’s new flight service to Freeport in the Bahamas. In her story Reed did more than just recount Harrison’s visit; she painted a picture of a hardworking man whose education and experiences brought him to Texas.







Letter from Texas Governor Dolph Briscoe, February 19, 1975

Letter from Texas Governor Dolph Briscoe, February 19, 1975

Reed received numerous accolades and awards for her work. Her achievements and activism inspired generations of young women from her community including Dallas journalist Norma Adams-Wade. Those wishing to read Julia Scott Reed’s column, “The Open Line”, can do so by using the SMU libraries’ access to the Dallas Morning News historical database. Her personal papers are comprised mainly of the numerous awards, plaques, and certificates of achievement that she received for her efforts in the fields of journalism and community advocacy during her distinguished career and the accompanying notes, cards, and telegrams. The collection also includes over 100 photographs of Julia Scott Reed and photographs taken by Ms. Reed or other staff photographers for her newspaper column “The Open Line.” The Julia Scott Reed papers are available for research in the Archives of Women of the Southwest in the DeGolyer Library.




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

Love is in the Air! War-time Letters Between Stanley Marcus and His Wife, Billie

February 8, 2019

Stanley and Mary ‘Billie’ Marcus Onboard Ship en route to Nassau, ca. 1935.

As February moves on towards Valentine’s Day, one’s thoughts turn to expressions of affection and love – flowers, cards, gifts, decorations, etc. In thinking about the season, I am reminded of letters in the Stanley Marcus Papers between him and his wife. Marcus married the former Mary “Billie” Cantrell in 1932. During World War II, Stanley Marcus, then executive vice president of the Neiman Marcus company in Dallas, was called to assist in the war effort in Washington, D.C. In January, 1942, it was announced he would undertake the job in the Office of Production Management (O.P.M.) as Chairman of the Apparel Division, War Production Board. The purpose of his position was to assist in establishing wartime guidelines for fabric conservation and style simplification work. Knowing the fashion industry as he did, Marcus was perfectly suited to the position and willingly moved to Washington to serve his country.

Although they had been married ten years, the letters between Stanley and Billie are filled with love and longing to be together again. Stanley starts a letter soon after leaving Dallas, in mid January 1942: “Darling, I’ve been homesick & lonesome as hell all weekend. I feel so cut off from all the things & people I want to be with and close to. Your voice a little while ago sounded the same note that my inner voice feels. Every time I get in the real depths, I just ask myself ‘What if you were in Australia, or Bataan, or Iceland, or Panama?’ And then my questions sink into their relative position of importance. If I am helping the national effort I have not cause for personal complaint. Wars never bring with them joy. Wars aren’t meant to be easy. Wars mean only sacrifice of one kind or another by all persons involved. And if mine were the greatest sacrifice, we wouldn’t have much to sacrifice at all. The people who are really sacrificing are those who are paying with their lives, their arms, their eyes, their faces. These are the answers I keep giving myself.” He closes the eight page letter with, “All in all – a dull, depressing, and boring weekend. But maybe the sun will shine this week, but whether it does or not I’ll be thinking of you. Your, Stanley.”

At about the same time, Billie begins a letter to Stanley, “My darling, You have decided and rightly so. Today and tonight were hard and I know there will be others like them. And while I won’t promise not to indulge in a few, I do promise you I’ll remember every word we both said about what we would be to each other this coming year – Friday night before you left. Do you recall? I know you do. There are so many words I want to write you darling, now all this has become a reality but they are still jumbling out of my mind and I can’t spin them together.”  She ends her long letter with, “I love you more than I can tell you. Always, Billie.”

Duty in D.C. was shorter than expected, and Stanley returned to Dallas and his beloved wife in June, 1942.













By Anne E. Peterson, Curator of Photographs, DeGolyer Library, SMU

Notes in the Margins

January 9, 2019

Do you write in your books?  You’re not alone–in our copy of Francis Bacon’s The Historie of the Raigne of King Henry the Seventh (1622), one reader went beyond underlining key points or scribbling notes in margins, and created an index where there was none.

Francis Bacon wrote The Historie of the Raigne of King Henry the Seventh in 1622, as an attempt to regain favor with Britain’s then-king, James I.

The handwritten index



The title page




Bacon began writing Historie in 1621, at the lowest point in his life. Famously the creator of the scientific method and father of empiricism, he was also a statesman and made Lord Chancellor of England by James I. But in three short years, Bacon was impeached by Parliament over corruption charges and briefly imprisoned in the Tower of London. It was then that Bacon began writing Historie.  It’s believed that Historie, a flattering biography of James’s royal ancestor, was written as an attempt to regain favor with James.





The index



Our first edition folio was printed in London by W. Stansby for Matthew Lownes and William Barret, and features a portrait of Henry VII by John Payne.  The front and back cover of the book (the boards) are still covered in the calf skin they were bound with in 1622, but the spine was re-backed, or rebuilt, at a later date.






A big question when working with rare books is the provenance—who were the previous owners?  When we’re dealing with a book printed nearly 400 years ago, it’s no surprise it’s changed hands many times.  With this book, we have the names of four separate owners.


“Ex Libris Jabobi Mundy”


On the front page, it’s written ‘Ex Libris Jacobi Mundy (xx) Inter Templo 19 Dec 1727’.  I haven’t been able to find any additional information about Jacob Mundy, but by signing his name with ‘Inter Templo’, we know he was a barrister (lawyer), as the Inns of Court in London is the professional association to which barristers in England and Wales belong.


Charles Gery Milnes bookplate





Also featured is a bookplate for Charles Gery Milnes (1804-1855).  Milnes, who according to Burke’s Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry, was a gentleman who resided at Beckingham Hall in County Lincoln.







“J. Milnes”


Above the title page, ‘J. Milnes, Middle Temple” wrote an inscription about the manuscript dated 1791.



Burkes Peerage lists Charles’ parents as John Milnes and Mary Selina Gery, so it’s safe to assume ‘J. Milnes’ is John, Charles father (and by listing ‘Middle Temple’ we know that like Jacob Mundy, J. Milnes belonged to the Inns of Court and was therefore a barrister.)








The handwriting on the ‘J. Milnes’ note matches the handwriting on the index, but interestingly, not the handwriting in the margins throughout the text.  Were the margin notes Charles’ addition to a book left to him by his father?






Jacobus bookplate



Finally, the bookplate that represents how Historie became part of the DeGolyer’s collection– one commemorating the gifting of  Historie to SMU by Mr. and Mrs. Henry S. Jacobus, Jr. and Mr. and Mrs. Lorch Folz, in honor of Dorothy and Henry Jacobus’s fortieth wedding anniversary. This gift by Dorothy and Henry’s children was both in recognition of their parents’ marriage, as well as the family legacy at SMU—in 1971, Dorothy and Henry presented SMU with a 1,500 volume book collection representing 200 years of English culture.






For more information, or to view this or any of the DeGolyer’s 17th century books, contact Christina Jensen.



Bacon, Francis. The Historie of the Raigne of King Henry the Seventh. London: Printed by W. Stansby for Matthew Lownes, and William Barret, 1622.

Burke, J. Bernard, A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland for 1852: In 2 Vol. London: Colburn and Co., 1852.

Peltonen, Markku. The Cambridge Companion to Bacon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Peltonen, Markku. 2007 “Bacon, Francis, Viscount St Alban (1561–1626), lord chancellor, politician, and philosopher.” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 9 Jan. 2019. http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-990.

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