Let’s Go to the Fair!

In Dallas, the arrival of the fall season may or may not deliver cooler temperatures, but one can always count on the State Fair of Texas to bring plenty of pig races, cattle contests, craft exhibits, corn dogs and yet another new way to fry food.

The Dallas Morning News collection, part of the Belo records, holds manuscripts and visual materials related to the publication of Dallas’ longest surviving newspaper. Beginning with its very first issue on October 1, 1885, The Dallas Morning News started chronicling the life of a city that was rapidly growing, and it was common for journalists to cover the planning efforts for the State Fair that would open its doors a year later on October 11, 1886. Not only did the newspaper promote the State Fair in its pages, but it also celebrated it by festively decorating the outside of its building, as this early 1900s photograph attests.


By the 1930s, the State Fair of Texas had been well established as an annual tradition, and the locals anticipated the opening day as illustrated in this September 26, 1930 drawing by cartoonist John F. Knott.


For more than a century, carving has been a staple attraction at state fairs around the country. In addition to the famous butter carving, sculptors used a variety of media to promote their art throughout the time. Take, for example, this replica of the WFAA Radio Station broadcasting plant. Carved out of 7,000 pounds of Ivory Soap, “enough to last a family 170 years,” the sculpture by 15-year-old Mike Owens was one of the most popular exhibits at the 1930 State Fair in Dallas.

Twenty years later, live television brought the fair into people’s living rooms, as pictured in this photograph of a cooking demonstration broadcasted on the WFAA Chanel 8 in 1950.


Dallas has changed in many ways since the 1880s, when both the Texas State Fair and the publishing industry were in their infancy. However, the crowds still fill the fairgrounds today as much as they did then.




Contact Librarian Ada Negraru for more information or assistance accessing the materials in the Belo Corp. records.




Defeating the Stereotype

“Will electronics replace the housewife?” was the title of a 1958 tongue-in-cheek promotional piece for household appliances printed in Texins, Texas Instruments employees’ magazine. In addition to being a leader in oil exploration and the defense industry, the company’s advancements in infrared optics, transistor and vacuum technologies were positioning it as a contender in the larger consumer products market. Touting the benefits of employing ultrasonic research and solar energy in the design of vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers, and dishwashers, the piece predicted jokingly that “when all of these innovations become available, the housewife of the future will probably have to equip herself with a degree in physics or electrical engineering if she is going to remain useful as well as ornamental.” Nowadays, this choice of words would be seen as a poor attempt at humor, if not downright offensive. But at the time the article was merely banking on the proverbial stereotype surrounding the woman of the 1950s, whose main role as a housewife made her the perfect target for consumer advertising.

Defeating the stereotype? The many women employed by Texas Instruments and its predecessor Geophysical Services Inc. (GSI), starting in the 1940s as manufacturing laborers, switchboard operators, and office clerks. In 1952, the personnel roster of the GSI Dallas office listed twenty-two women among the 59 employees.  By May 1961, after Texas Instruments had expanded and opened several national and international divisions, the company’s personnel census listed 17,604 employees, 7,517 of them women; 102 served in salaried, managerial positions (compared with over 3,700 of the men), although the large majority were hourly workers.

Manufacturing division in the TI Semiconductor building, Dallas, 1958

Assembly line technicians, quality assurance specialists, typists and stenographers, office clerks, receptionists, librarians, administrative assistants, engineers, accountants, team supervisors, technical writers, and many other roles have made women an indispensable part of the workforce in a male dominated industry. Women possess the skills such as high precision, finesse, and attention to detail acquired through specialized training. Many have earned college and advanced degrees, although applying their education to their positions proved challenging in the earlier years.


Nelle Johnston receiving company seal from Patrick Haggerty
Nelle Johnston receiving company seal from Patrick Haggerty

Nelle Johnston graduated in 1942 with a B.A. in library science from Texas State College for Women (now Texas Woman’s University) and had briefly worked as a librarian before changing directions to the oil industry. She joined GSI as a stenographer in 1947, but she was soon assigned administrative duties as secretary to then manufacturing division manager Patrick Haggerty and controller Carl Thomsen. Johnston also kept records of the company’s military proposals, contracts and purchase orders of geophysical equipment. When GSI was reorganized as Texas Instruments Inc. in 1951, Johnston became secretarial assistant to co-founders and board leaders J. Erik Jonsson, Patrick Haggerty, and Eugene McDermott. She aided in the creation of the employee organizations Texins Association and Texins Credit Union, and also authored the first editions of TI and You, the company’s welcome brochure for new employees. In 1956 Johnston became involved with the Pilot Club of Dallas, which operated the Pilot Institute for the Deaf, and was named chair of the board in 1958. She was instrumental in the formation of the Callier Hearing and Speech Center in 1962, and in 1978 was the first recipient of the award established in her name by the center.

Patricia Brown in the TI Semiconductor library.

Patricia Brown earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Southwestern Louisiana Institute (now University of Louisiana at Lafayette) in 1947, as the school’s first woman engineering graduate. She continued her studies at the University of Texas, obtaining a M.A. in Chemistry with a minor in Chemical Engineering in 1949.  Brown specialized in technical writing and information science organization. She worked for several industrial and research laboratories before she became the Supervisor of Information Services at Texas Instruments in Dallas 1957, where she oversaw the opening of the research library in the new Semiconductor building. A feature in the fall 1961 issue of the company’s Texins magazine detailed that Brown’s role was to “provide information before TI engineers are aware they need it,” but also cited her “concern over America’s failure to seek out and utilize female engineering talent.” An advocate for cultivating the advancement of women in the engineering and science fields, Brown joined the Society of Women Engineers in 1951 and helped establish local sections in Detroit and Columbus, Ohio. She was elected the organization’s president in 1961, and was named a fellow in 1990.


When Gloria Moreno Verbeek started her engineering career as a process engineer at Texas Instruments in 1971, shortly after graduating with honors from North Texas State University (now University of North Texas) with a B.S. in chemistry, she was the first woman engineer in the wafer fabrication department, and one of the company’s only six women engineers at the time. During her thirty-year tenure at Texas Instruments, Verbeek earned a master’s in management and administrative science from UT Dallas and in 1995 became TI’s worldwide manager for supply quality, overseeing the company’s supply training and supplier relations in the United States, Japan, Europe, and South-East Asia. By the time Verbeek retired in 2001, more and more women were holding professional and high executive positions, as the company had started to intentionally seek the hiring and development of female talent and advanced technical training.


Texins for the employees of Texas Instruments Incorporated issues: April 1955, March 1957, September 1958, Fall, 1961

Texas Instruments Records, History Office Collection biographies. A2005.0025. 85-1, Box 9, Folder 27

Texas Instruments Records, Biography files.  A2005-0025. 2008-18, Box 4

Texas Instruments Records, Personnel census reports, 1951-1971. A2005.0025. 87-37

For more information about the Texas Instruments Records at the DeGolyer Library, contact Ada Negraru,



Mention the word “wireless” today, and the mind associates it with signal quality, upload or download speeds, or instant messaging.   However, it was radio broadcasting that pioneered wireless communication at the turn of the twentieth-century.

Last month marked 100 years since WRR started to broadcast in Dallas as the city’s first public radio station. While wireless communication was decades old and had been by the military during World War I, public

WFAA-Radio transmitter carved in soap for the Texas State Fair

radio broadcasting was gaining rapid popularity in the early 1920s. By June 1922, North Texas would acquire two more radio stations, WBAP in Fort Worth and WFAA in Dallas. The latter was owned by A.H. Belo and Company, publisher of the local newspaper The Dallas Morning News.







Walter A. Dealey. Cartoon portrait by John F. Knott



G.B. Dealey, director and later owner of A.H. Belo and Co., was sold on the public radio broadcasting idea by his eldest son, Walter Allen Dealey, Sr., whose childhood hobbies included experimenting with makeshift telephone equipment and code transmission. Walter, soon to be vice-president of the Belo Corp., persuaded his father to investigate radio broadcasting as the up and coming mass communication means that was threatening to replace print journalism.


WFAA-Radio early studio, ca. 1920s





WFAA started broadcasting in Dallas on June 25, 1922, and its first studio was located on the roof of the Dallas Morning News building on Commerce street. It shared transmission frequencies and audience with WBAP, founded a few months earlier. The two stations alternated transmission times.



WFAA remote radio transmission truck, 1937



Programming included news and weather bulletins, market reports and baseball scores. Specially equipped vehicles assisted with remote news reporting. Musical programs filled a significant portion of the schedule. An accompanying piano was present in the broadcasting studio from early on, but recordings of popular artists of the time were also played. In the 1930s, orchestra and vocal groups started broadcasting live, and programs such as “Mrs. Tucker’s Show,” “The Early Birds,” and “Saturday Night Shindig” became public favorites.





Regency TR-1 Radio on top of old fashioned radio console, ca. 1954


Listening to the radio remained a favorite pastime even after the arrival of television broadcasting in Dallas in the late 1940s. In 1954, the Dallas based Texas Instruments began marketing the world’s first commercially manufactured transistor radio, Regency TR-1. Minuscule in size compared to the old consoles that had furnished countless family rooms, the portable transistor radio allowed for carrying the news and the music in one’s pocket.

Radio did not replace print journalism as Walter Dealey feared in 1921. It only proved that there was room for another kind of mass media to fulfill people’s appetite for information and entertainment.



Schroeder, Richard. Texas Signs On: The Early Days of Radio and Television. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1998.

The WFAA-Radio Collection is part of the Belo Corporation records. It contains correspondence, reports, tape recordings, photographs, and scrapbooks. Selected images have been digitized and are part of the Belo Corporation records digital collection.

Materials related to the development of the Regency TR-1 commercial radio and subsequent models are part of the Texas Instruments records. Included are research notes, technical drawings, photographs, advertising materials, and artifacts. Selected images have been digitized and are part of the Texas Instruments records digital collection.

Contact Ada Negraru for more information.


Scoring Precision

Few events are met with so much anticipation as the Olympic Games. The five interlocking rings; the unmistakable hymn; the torch relay arriving at the opening ceremony; the sportsmanship; records getting broken, and medals decided within hundreds of a second. Bar world wars or a pandemic, athletes, organizers and public come together every four years to either put on or watch the grand spectacle. While the ever-changing rules and scoring systems usually generate much discussion, few give much thought to the technology used to record event results and determine place rankings.

Hand-held calculators and computerized technology entered the sports scene in the 1970s, when they were used to record race results and compute final rankings. However, pen and paper were still the norm when it came to centralizing scores from multiple locations during large events like world championships and the Olympic Games. The change came in 1980, when Texas Instruments, the official supplier of computers and calculators for the Lake Placid Olympic Games, introduced TI-SCORE (Texas Instruments System for Computerized Olympic Results and Events), which, according to a press release from June, 1979, supported “the data entry, processing and worldwide distribution of official results to the press, Olympic officials, participants and visitors from 22 sites in twelve categories, with over 1400 athletes competing in 88 events.” Additional features such as “athlete profiles, starting lists, support for reservations and accreditation for the Olympic Village” were also provided. At a time when there wasn’t an app for it, TI-SCORE came pretty close to becoming one.


The DS990 microcomputer systems, Model 771 intelligent terminals, OMNI 810 and 820 printer terminals, and Silent 700 portable data terminals that comprised the TI SCORE system were the result of Texas Instruments innovations in the field of semiconductor technology, which included areas such as microcomputer and microprocessor technology, thermal printhead technology and magnetic bubble memory. First announced in 1977, the scoring system represented one of TI’s commercial applications that combined microcomputer and programmable calculator capabilities.

The TI DS990 was part of a series of microcomputers first developed by Texas Instruments in 1975 to be software compatible with its 16-bit microprocessors. Later products would include the TI Professional Computer in 1983.

Another use for the DS990 during 1980s Lake Placid Olympics? Working with the Lake Placid Olympic Organizing Committee (LPOOC) to plan a computerized route and schedule for the Olympic torch relay. “With TI’s DS990 dual-host microcomputer system, TI and LPOOC have entered data about the 1,069 checkpoints and a code number indicating whether the participants are running, taking part in periodic ceremonies, or stopping for overnight breaks. From this data, the programmers have established the pace of the 52 relay runners and determined the time between each checkpoint” (Press release, January 4, 1980)

During the workday, TI employees were encouraged to keep up with the Olympic games through TILOR, a program that brought news from the competition to their workstation data terminals.

Today, we take for granted having this kind of information at our fingertips. However, the technology behind scoring sports competitions started to develop decades ago, and Texas Instruments was one of the leading companies that contributed to the field.


The DeGolyer Library is the repository for the Texas Instruments Records. Contact Ada Negraru for more information.

Books Manuscripts Photography Uncategorized

(Not) home for the holidays

“I’ll be home for Christmas,” promised Bing Crosby in 1943 in one of that year’s top hits. “I’ve been here all year anyway,” quips one of the myriad of memes trending on social media at the end of 2020. Both allude to situations in which protagonists long to be reunited with their loved ones for the holidays, though the circumstances differ: being home-bound during a pandemic, or far away from home during a war. Several DeGolyer Library manuscript collections document experiences of Dallas people who spent more than one holiday apart from their families while fighting in wars or as prisoners of war.

The John C. Cox papers include the letters, postcards, photographs, army periodicals, ephemera and artifacts documenting the Dallas native’s deployment to the Pacific during World War II.   One of the first photographs in the collection is dated March 1943 and illustrates a fully decorated Christmas tree with gifts underneath. Prior to his departure for military training in California, Cox’s family organized an out-of-season Christmas, unsure whether their son and brother would make it home for the actual holiday that year – or ever.

The correspondence with his family reveals that Cox was spending Christmas in the Philippines in 1944. A letter from December 26, 1944 recounts the events of the previous two days, starting with a Japanese bombing on Christmas Eve: “The celebration started on Christmas Eve. The Japanese were helping us celebrate, I think … [They] gave us a show. They raided us about 4 times during the night.” But further down, the letter reveals the attempt at spending the holiday as close to tradition as possible amid the attack: “I had just gone to the chapel to the Christmas Eve carol service, where I was going to act as an usher … when the red alert went on. We had an overflow crowd [and] had some Filipino soldiers and their families with us.” “A meal was served consisting of  “hot coffee and hot cocoa, plus coffee cakes and candies” –  apparently not the usual fare, given the letter writer’s appreciation: “All were very good and really hit the spot.” What he really appreciated, though, was finding “five letters and 3 Christmas cards. So, it was really heavenly,” he writes, along with receiving “one Xmas package from you, Mom, containing the fruit cake in a can, the Vienna sausage and rolls of mints. So fine a package,” he concludes before wishing his family a very Happy New Year. The following year, Christmas would find Cox among other American soldiers returning home aboard the USS Tabora (AKA-45) cargo ship. His letters from December 1945 and the discharge papers from January 13, 1946 show that he had just missed another holiday season with his family.

Half a decade after the end of World War II, the Korean War would also cause numerous families to spend the holidays apart. Among the materials included in the Sam Johnson congressional papers, there are several photographs and memorabilia from the earlier period of his life, when he was an Air Force pilot. This photograph from November 1952 documents how Sam, wife Shirley and their young son celebrated a combined Thanksgiving and Christmas right before Sam’s deployment to Korea, where he flew more than 60 combat missions.

Johnson also flew for the Air Force during the Vietnam War. In April 1966, Johnson’s plane was shot down and he was injured and captured as a POW. No correspondence was allowed to and from his prison cell in Hanoi, where the days were counted with marks in the wall, according to Captive Warriors, his autobiography published in 1992. On the first Christmas in captivity, Johnson was offered a” dish of candy and a bowl of bananas” by one of the prison officers, who looked suspiciously benevolent; though tempted by the rare sight of fresh fruit, Johnson and his cellmate turned them down fearing that Christmas was used as “another opportunity for propaganda” by their captors. Being injured and imprisoned brought “many reasons for sadness and loneliness,” but he instead thought of his family and “visualized Shirley and the children spending Christmas without me. I felt their loneliness… and I wanted to reassure them, to let them know that I was going to be okay.” It turned out that six more holiday seasons would pass before Johnson’s release and return to the United States in February 1973.

Whether memorialized in songs, letters, social media or marks on a wall, time away from family or friends is not easy on anyone. Browsing collections such as the papers of Congressman Sam Johnson or John C. Cox reminds us that celebrating the holidays in unfamiliar and hostile places during a war can be particularly hard. Nonetheless, they also inspire us to appreciate the little things and every minute we get to spend with our loved ones.

Best wishes for a very happy and much better 2021!

Contact Ada Negraru for information about the John C. Cox World War II papers and Congressman Sam Johnson papers (in process).



John C. Cox World War II papers, DeGolyer Library, MSS 105

John C. Cox World War II digital collection:

Sam Johnson congressional papers (in process)

Sam Johnson and Jan Winebrenner, Captive warriors: a Vietnam POW’s story (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1992).






The Dallas Morning News is 135 years old

In the early 1880s, Dallas was a rapidly growing city, but it did not yet have a thriving daily newspaper to report on the life of the community. That need was fulfilled by The Dallas Morning News. A sister publication of the Texas’ oldest periodical The Galveston News, owned by A.H. Belo, The Dallas Morning News was bringing modern printing technology and distribution methods to North Texas.



Published on October 1, 1885, the first issue of The Dallas Morning News contained eight pages and was printed on the high capacity Liny Bullock Press, which could produce 10,000 copies an hour.


Two years later, the newspaper started leasing special trains on the Texas & Pacific railroad to distribute copies to McKinney, Dennison, Sherman and Houston. Within ten years, its average daily circulation grew to about 15,000 copies.

Located in a new construction on Commerce Street in downtown Dallas, The Dallas Morning News plant was illuminated with incandescent lamps, a novelty for Texas at the time. The building’s three floors included departments such as the pressroom, engine room, composition room, and editorial offices. Col. A.H. Belo, the newspaper’s owner moved his family to Dallas soon after the publication was founded here by G.B. Dealey, its first managing director, who would eventually become the owner of the parent company.

Under Belo’s and Dealey’s leadership, The Dallas Morning News established the reputation of a forward thinking and influential publication, which put journalistic integrity above anything else. This stood true even when the newspaper’s stance came at odds with the views of some of its readership base and threatened to lose some subscribers, as it was the case with its years long anti K.K.K. campaign in the 1920s.

A staple in the Dallas community, the newspaper added supplement publications such as The Dallas Journal and the Semi-Weekly Farm News. Throughout the decades, it also branched out beyond the print medium into radio and television broadcasting. In the 2000s, an online version of the print newspaper was established.

The Dallas Morning News collection, a part of the Belo records, includes archival documents, photographs, oral history interviews, and artifacts. Contact Ada Negraru, librarian, for additional information about the collection and accessing the materials.

Visit the DeGolyer Library website to learn about our library’s holdings of rare books, archival and manuscript collections, photographs, maps, ephemera, and other materials.


Manuscripts Uncategorized

NASA’s Part Supplier

When the Apollo 11 spaceflight departed the Kennedy Space Center on July 16, 1969, it was carrying three astronauts, mankind’s aspirations to finally land on the Moon, and sophisticated equipment that made it all possible. Prior to the historic spaceflight, NASA contracted several companies to build the Saturn V launch vehicle, the Apollo spacecraft that landed on the Moon on July 20, and the Apollo ground control center in Houston. The Dallas based Texas Instruments was one of the subcontractors that supplied parts for all three components of the Apollo 11 mission.


TI World reported in its August 1969 issue that “in a televised transmission on the return trip to Earth, Astronaut Mike Collins cited the flawless

performance of the equipment in Apollo 11,” while holding one of the switches on the control panel of the command module -the capsule that brought the astronauts back to Earth. The switch, TI World proudly pointed out, had been produced by TI’s Control Products division in Attleboro, MA, one of a total of approximately 800 switches required by the space mission. Hundreds of TI’s small signal transistors, silicon and germanium power transistors, computer diodes,, miniature thermostats worked without a hitch to ensure the success of the spaceflight and Moon landing. While it didn’t actually go to the Moon or even outside of Dallas, the data signal conditioner in the image is an example of an integrated circuit similar to the luckier ones that were selected for space travel.


In 1969, Texas Instruments was not a novice in the space exploration field. A leader in the semiconductor industry due to its innovations in the integrated circuit and integrated circuit and solid state technology,  Texas Instruments established a Space System branch that supplied equipment to space exploration programs such as the Mariner Mars and Venus probe missions, the Ranger 7 photo mission to the Moon, as well as the subsequent Apollo, Mariner, Voyager, and Discovery missions that all enhanced space travel and exploration. Since low weight was essential in spacecraft, TI was capable to produce and deliver small devices, all due to the company’s pioneer innovations in the transistor and integrated circuit technologies.

IRIS (Infrared Interferometer Spectrometer) measured atmospheric constituents and temperature profiles of planets. Measurement accuracy was achieved in the TI labs via the IRIS bench checkout equipment.






Data and image recording devices built using TI components are essential in the recording and transmission of information taken by the space probes Voyager 1 and  Voyager 2, which were launched in 1977, and have since traveled beyond the known planets and into the interstellar space. The Hubble Space Telescope pictured here uses TI built imaging chips.

Texas Instruments Records document the company’s advancements in the semiconductor industry that led to significant developments in the transistor technology and the invention of the integrated circuit.

By Ada Negraru



The Integrated Circuit has just turned 60

Jack Kilby at desk with glasses, ca. 1960

During late summer 1958, many of Texas Instruments’ employees were enjoying the company’s annual two-week vacation. Not Jack Kilby, who as a recently hired engineer, had not accrued enough vacation time and kept on working in TI’s Semiconductor Components division in Dallas. TI was developing the micro-module program with the U.S. Army Signal Corps, but was not quite successful in finding cost-effective methods to miniaturize circuit components.

Kilby used the peace and quiet at the lab to draw several sketches for alternative types of semiconductors, which he presented to Willis Adcock, the manager of the SC development department when the latter returned from vacation. With Adcock’s approval, Kilby designed different versions of silicon circuits, ultimately arriving at a phase-shift oscillator circuit that integrated resistors and capacitors onto a single bar of germanium. Three oscillators were successfully tested on September 12, 1958 – the birthdate of the integrated circuit.

Jack Kilby holding circuit board with early ICs, ca. 1968
First IC, 1958

Though skeptical of the invention at first, the electronics industry would be revolutionized by the integrated circuit, also known as the microchip. Over the next decades, Kilby’s device led to the miniaturization of computer technology and the emergence of microelectronics. A wide array of fields, from aeronautics to defense and education have grown to rely on the miniature device,  and products that we now take for granted would not be possible without the invention of the IC: the hand-held calculator, the electronic watch, the mobile phone, and the digital camera are only a few examples of devices that use the microchip.


The DeGolyer Library holds the Texas Instruments archive, which contains records related to the invention of many of these products, as well as a copy of Kilby’s notebook. Jack Kilby’s papers are also part of DeGolyer’s collection of manuscripts.

Archives of Women of the Southwest Events Manuscripts

Archives of the Women of the Southwest 25th Anniversary Celebration

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


Elisabet Ney’s Formosa Studio, ca. 1892-1907. Part of Edmund Montgomery and Elizabet Ney papers.

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.