On Sunday, March 11, 2018, the Advisory Board of the Archives of the Women of the Southwest celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the founding of the board with a celebration at the DeGolyer Library at SMU. The Advisory Board was created in 1993 to:
- Promote the visibility and scholarly value of archival material related to women in the Southwestern regional area of the United States
- Encourage the use of the archives as an important resource for research
- Advise on collection development for the archives
- Coordinate fundraising to assure continuance of an endowment sufficient to maintain the archival collection
- Raise public awareness of the need of the archives
Major accomplishments over the 25-year life of the board include The Remember the Ladies! Campaign which raised $1,000,000 to endow an archivist position dedicated solely to supporting the collection.
The Archives of Women of the Southwest includes records of notable women leaders who acted as pioneers in social and political reform movements, businesswomen who paved the way for future generations to succeed in the workforce, influential women in the arts and voluntary service, as well as papers recording the daily lives of women in the 19th and 20th centuries.
At the event marking the 25th anniversary, Russell Martin, Director of the DeGolyer Library, read from love letters between teenagers Mattabel Lovett and Richard Spiller, 1903-1904, in Gray County and Lipscomb County, Texas. Mattabel’s correspondence was intelligent and lively, reflecting an independent spirit as well as the cultural attitudes of the time and place. The collection of Lovett’s letters is one of over 300 accessions in the Archives of Women of the Southwest. The Archives is well positioned to collect, preserve, and provide access to even more primary materials in women’s history over the next 25 years.