Ebby’s Thanksgiving Wish

November 21, 2022

Ebby’s Thanks

Texas didn’t make Thanksgiving an official holiday until 1848. But in 1961, the Lone Star State became a special place in the holiday’s history, as home to the world’s only Thanksgiving shrine, known as Thanks-Giving Square.

Today, Thanks-Giving Square is a unique, interfaith, multicultural site and research center on a 3.5-acre site in the heart of downtown Dallas. It’s designed as a serene and uplifting meeting place, focusing on tolerance and mutual understanding–ideas which Ebby believed in deeply. It seeks to promote gratitude among all people.

Promotional pamphlet for the Center of World Thanksgiving

Designed by renowned architect Philip Johnson and opened to the public in 1977, the site includes a chapel with a stained-glass ceiling, an exhibit hall, a ring of thanks, a bell tower, fountains and green space.

A portion of an advertisement used by TU Electric to commemorate Thanksgiving, depicting a rendering of Thanks-Giving Square, 1996

Ebby Halliday was involved with Thanks-Giving Square Foundation between 1995 to 2000 and guided several major initiatives, such as the expansion of the square from 1 acre to 3 acres and the installation of three monoliths honoring the history of Thanksgiving in the World, Nation, and Texas. In 1997, former President George W. Bush, who was governor at the time, came to dedicate the Texas Monolith. During her tenure as Thanksgiving Square Foundation’s first female Board President, she supported the installation of a 14-foot diameter, vertical ring, covered in gold-leaf, also designed by Philip Johnson. The Ring of Thanks was opened in a public ceremony in May 1996 as an “emblem of gratitude in the place of praise”.

Promotional flier for the World Thanksgiving Celebration in 1996 shows Ebby standing in the Ring of Thanks

Project archivist Krishna Shenoy will be working on processing the Ebby Halliday papers thanks to a generous gift of the Ebby Halliday foundation, to preserve and make accessible the work of the first lady of real estate.

Contact Samantha Doddcurator 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 women of the southwest, be sure to visit the DeGolyer Library and check out our books, manuscripts, pamphlets, and photographs.

 

Ebby Halliday Sings

November 7, 2022

Ebby with ukulele FWST

Ebby with ukulele Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 1987

Almost as famous as Ebby Halliday was Ebby Halliday’s ukulele. Whether she was the recipient of an award or welcoming a new class of real estate agents to Ebby Halliday, Inc., Ebby channeled charm and humor through her ukulele. She had a penchant for changing lyrics to well known songs to suit her topic and audience. She assured the audience “You know I really can’t play the ukulele or sing, but it helps to have a  shtick, everybody needs a shtick.”

She rewrote the lyrics to well-known songs of the time and drew inspiration from songbooks such as the Community Sing Session songbooks which provided a collection of songs for group singing for all occasions. These community songs had a simple chord structure, a melody that was recognizable, simple rhythm and a memorable chorus. Ebby would take classics and make them her own by changing the lyrics to suit her audience.

Community Sing Session Cover

Community Sing Session Cover

Community Sing Session inside

Community Sing Session inside

She used the tune to “Happy Days Are Here Again” to celebrate the economic impact of low interest rates, Fannie Mae loans, and eager homebuyers. The songs weren’t always the same. They changed over the years and with the times. Listen to Ebby sing “Happy Days Here, Again” (timecode 1:26) to a group of real estate agents in training.

Happy Days Are Here Again

Happy Days Are Here Again

She even took the popular song “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” most famously known as a Coca-Cola commercial during the 1980s and used it to promote Ebby Halliday’s Relocation services, known as RELO.

RELO Coke Song

RELO Coke Song

Ebby used the Ragtime-era song “Five Foot Two and Eyes of Blue” to promote the town of Irving as the place to be.

Five Foot Two

Five Foot Two

Ebby’s collection of songbooks includes this one by Pinky Hull who was a Ragtime piano player and magician. It folds out to reveal the lyrics to over 50 popular songs such as “Light of the Silvery Moon” and “Won’t You Come Home Bill Bailey”. Ebby’s magic was knowing how effective a funny lyric, a familiar tune, and the occasional off-beat note could be in winning over admirers in business and in friendship.

Pinky Hull songbook

Pinky Hull songbook

Project archivist Krishna Shenoy will be working on processing the Ebby Halliday papers thanks to a generous gift of the Ebby Halliday foundation, to preserve and make accessible the work of the first lady of real estate.

Contact Samantha Doddcurator 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 women of the southwest, be sure to visit the DeGolyer Library and check out our books, manuscripts, pamphlets, and photographs.

Texas League: we knew them when…

November 1, 2022

 

Aledmys Diaz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baseball fans have waited all season to see who will battle for the World Series championship. The formidable Houston Astros swept the Yankees and now they are looking to beat the wildcard Philadelphia Phillies. Many of these players began their career in the minor leagues around the country, including the Texas League.  Three players from the Houston Astros played for the Corpus Christi Hooks: Jose Altuve, Lance McCullers Jr., and Aledmys Diaz. Diaz also previously played for the Springfield Cardinals. Many baseball players in the minor leagues do not always move up to play in the major leagues. They sometimes have entirely different careers, like Kurt Russell. He played for the El Paso Sun Kings in 1973 before returning to his acting career.

 

The Texas League was founded in 1888 by John J. McCloskey, and throughout its history the league has organized minor league baseball in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, and Tennessee. In 2022 the current teams are:

  • Amarillo Sod Poodles
  • Arkansas Travelers
  • Corpus Christi Hooks
  • Frisco Rough Riders
  • Midland RockHounds
  • Northwest Arkansas Naturals
  • San Antonio Missions
  • Springfield Cardinals
  • Tulsa Drillers
  • Wichita Wind Surge

Frisco Rough Riders team, 2004

The Frisco Rough Riders are the 2022 Texas League champions. Their first time to win the league title was in 2004, just one year after the team was founded in Frisco, Texas.

 

Tom Kayser

Former Texas League president, Tom Kayser, wrote a history of the league in 2005. After he retired, Kayser gave his collection on the league’s history to the DeGolyer Library in 2021. A finding aid to the collection is available at https://txarchives.org/smu/finding_aids/00396.xml. The collection mostly contains statistics and research notes, but there are also baseball cards, photographs, programs, scrapbooks, and scorecards. Researchers are welcome to visit the library to view the collection and related books. Please contact degolyer@smu.edu for assistance in DeGolyer Library.

 

 

Sources:

Tom Kayser collection on the Texas League, MSS 175, https://txarchives.org/smu/finding_aids/00396.xml

Kayser, Tom. Baseball in the lone star state: the Texas League’s greatest hits. San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 2005. GV875.T36 K39 2005

 


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