DeGolyer Library Exhibits Special Collections

THE STATE FAIR OF TEXAS, 1886-2016: Celebrating 130 Years of a Texas Institution

[Map in back pocket, State Fair of Texas] 1984, Lynn Lennon
This year, the State Fair of Texas is celebrating its 130th anniversary, a real Lone Star State tradition! Joining in the celebration, the DeGolyer Library will be kicking off the fun with an exhibition of State Fair photographs by Dallasite Lynn Lennon. In addition to Lennon’s images, there are several cases of related ephemera. Included are State Fair tokens, badges, pamphlets, brochures, postcards, handkerchiefs and more dating from the 19th into the 20th century from various DeGolyer collections.

Lynn Lennon’s slice-of-life photographs illustrate the excitement and diversity of the State Fair. Lennon was born in Dallas in 1927, a third generation Texan. Her interest in photography began when she was a child. For Christmas one year, she requested a camera and received a Baby Brownie. Her father set up a darkroom, and together they developed her negatives and made contact prints. Lennon never forgot the magic of seeing images slowly emerge in the developing tray.

After graduating from Baylor University, Lennon made paintings and assemblages. In 1970, she again became interested in black and white photography and took up the art with renewed interest. She photographed in Dallas, Louisiana, China and Europe and had one woman shows in galleries in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas, London, Paris, and other cities. Her work was exhibited at the Dallas Museum of Art, Contemporary Art Museum in Houston, and other museums. Lennon has published two books of photographs, Categorically Speaking and Dogmatically Speaking.

Although she had always loved attending the Fair, in 1984 Lennon took on a long-time photographic project. She decided to document the State Fair of Texas for ten years. During the run of the Fair, for the first few years, she went out every day, often staying all day. There was much to see and capture on film – people from all walks of life, livestock, the Midway, traditional and novelty foods, performers and entertainment of all kinds, and changing weather. Her work at the Fair captures the timeless essence and variety of a Texas institution!

DeGolyer Library Exhibit, September 8 to December 16, 2016

Hillcrest Foundation Exhibit Hall, Fondren Library Center, SMU

Hours: 8:30 to 5:00 Monday to Friday