Born in Lindale, Texas, as the oldest child and only daughter of William and Jesse Anderson, Vivian Lou Anderson was raised on the family dairy farm in East Texas. Determined at a young age to become a writer, Castleberry taught herself to read before entering school. She attended high school in Athens, Texas, and earned a full academic scholarship to Southern Methodist University.
At SMU she served as journalist and later editor of the university’s newspaper, The Semi-Weekly Campus, until her graduation in 1944. In 1956, she joined the staff of the Dallas Times Herald as women’s editor and was the first woman appointed to the editorial board, a position from which she retired in 1984. Her work covered notable women’s and children’s issues including: family violence, child abuse, divorce and Title IX and X.
An accomplished author, she wrote and co-authored several books: Sarah–the Bridge Builder: Dowager of a Dallas Dynasty, Daughters of Dallas: A History of Greater Dallas through the Voices and Deeds of Its Women, Seeds of Success, and Texas Tornado, to name a few.
Castleberry was a fierce crusader for women’s rights, and her accomplishments were extensive. She was involved with founding the Women’s Interest Network, Peacemakers Incorporated, Women’s Center of Dallas and the Dallas Women’s Foundation. She worked on several the advisory boards including the SMU Women’s Symposium, The Family Place, and the Greater Dallas Community of Churches.
Her list of accolades is nearly as extensive as her resume. Castleberry was inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame, name a Change Agent by the National Press Foundation, and in 1996 American Mothers Inc. named her Texas Mother of the Year. Created in 1993, this organization recognizes mother’s contributions to home, their community, and the word in promotion of Mother’s Day. Vivian Castleberry married to Curtis Castleberry, a retired schoolteacher. The couple had five daughters, fourteen grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Vivian Castleberry passed away on October 4, 2017.
The Vivian Castleberry papers are a part of DeGolyer Library’s Archives of Women of the Southwest and comprise her personal papers, clippings, research for articles and books, materials relating to prominent women of Dallas, and materials from organizations associated with Castleberry.
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 women of the southwest, be sure to visit the DeGolyer Library and check out our books, manuscripts, pamphlets, and photographs.
O’Connor, Colleen. “Vivian Castleberry Tackling hard copy and motherhood in another era.” The Dallas Morning News, May 12, 1996. 1E.