Events Photography Texana

Juneteenth National Independence Day

President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation took effect on January 1, 1863. However, it was two and a half years later before Texas slaves got the message when Union Major General Gordon Granger issued the order in Galveston, “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.” It was June 19, 1865 establishing the basis for the holiday, “Juneteenth” (“June” plus “nineteenth”), today the most popular annual celebration of emancipation from slavery in the United States.

For years, Juneteenth has been recognized with some form of observance in almost every state. On June 15, 2021 the Senate unanimously approved a bill to make Juneteenth a legal public holiday. The next day, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the bill. Then on June 17, President Joe Biden signed into law legislation establishing June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day, a U.S. federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

Below are just three related examples of Juneteenth and celebrations from the DeGolyer collections. To see hundreds more images from our collections that document the African American experience, follow this link:!dgl!jtx!tex!wes!gcd!jmm/searchterm/african%20americans/field/all/mode/all/conn/all/order/date/ad/asc/page/1  And to pursue projects in African American history in greater depth, we encourage researchers to visit the DeGolyer Library in person!


Union Major General Gordon Granger, 1865


Emancipation Day, 1913, Corpus Christi, Texas















Emancipation Celebration, June 19, 1913


54th Anniversary Emancipation Proclamation, 1865-1919



















By Anne E. Peterson, Curator of Photographs, DeGolyer Library

Events Photography

1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Anniversary

As we are now at the hundredth anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, people look back at the atrocity with questions even today. They wonder how such a thing could happen. The Tulsa massacre occurred when white mobs attacked the affluent Greenwood African American community. The complete devastation of the Greenwood neighborhood, known as Black Wall Street, that was burned to the ground is hard to comprehend. It has been called the deadliest and most destructive massacre in our country’s history. It was a brutal attack on the prosperous black neighborhood with thousands of angry white people targeting the area and its citizens in a wave of violence that included murder, shootings, the looting of homes and businesses, fires set by torches, even incendiary explosive devices dropped from small airplanes that caused buildings to burn from the roof down. A number of the more graphic photographs were printed after the massacre as postcards such as these. Members of Tulsa white supremacist organizations displayed them and mailed them to sympathizers around the country. What caused the terrible outbreak? Apparently a young black teenager named Dick Rowland entered an elevator in an office building downtown. At some point after that, the young white elevator operator, Sarah Page, screamed, and Rowland fled. It has largely been accepted that Rowland may have only stumbled into the girl. The police were called, and the next morning they arrested Rowland. Later a large group of angry white men gathered outside the courthouse demanding Rowland, and rumors of a lynching spread. The white men grew to 1,500, some armed. About 75 black men had gathered to protect Rowland, some also armed. After shots were fired, the outnumbered black men went back to Greenwood, and there the massacre began. In the end, 35 blocks were burned to the ground, as many as 300 blacks were killed, and nearly 10,000 people were left homeless. No one was ever charged for these crimes, and prosperity for the African American community has never returned. For generations the tragedy was repressed, only now at the 100-year anniversary getting the attention it deserves.                                                               By Anne E. Peterson, Curator of Photographs


In Remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday January 18, 2021 is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. During these turbulent times of a worldwide pandemic causing thousands of deaths daily and national political and social unrest in the United States, it is particularly appropriate to remember Martin Luther King and everything he stood for. His inspirational words ring as true today as ever before.

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

“True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.”

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

“Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

“We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy.”

When King spoke at SMU in March 1966, he noted that the question he fielded most often was whether we were making any real progress in race relations. “I would say that we have come a long, long way in our struggle to make justice a reality for all … but we have a long, long way to go before the problem is solved,” he said. That was 55 years ago, and we are still answering this question the same way. As King said, “The time is always right to do what is right.”












Anne E. Peterson, Curator of Photographs, DeGolyer Library

Books Photography Uncategorized

Melvin C. Shaffer World War II Photographs

Melvin C. Shaffer World War II Photographs housed at the DeGolyer Library depict local populations and conditions of North Africa, Italy, Southern France, and Germany from the years 1943 to 1945. Included are images of war-torn Europe with shattered buildings, wounded soldiers, army hospitals and bases, and even Mount Vesuvius’s eruption in 1944.


Melvin Shaffer With Cine Special Motion Picture Camera, 8th Evacuation Hospital, Italy, 1943.

Melvin Shaffer was born May 9, 1924 in Shinnston, West Virginia, a rural town with an economy based on mining and oil fields. After high school, he attended college in Phillipi, West Virginia. While there, he worked as a medical photographer at a local hospital.

World War II interrupted Shaffer’s college experience, and he enlisted in the army in 1943 at the Army Medical Museum in Washington, D.C. He received training as a medical corpsman and further training as a medical photographer. In August 1943, Shaffer was transferred to Northern Africa. During the course of the next two years, he traveled extensively to such places as Casablanca, Sicily, Salerno, Naples, Anzio, Rome, Florence, Poltava, Southern France, Dachau, Munich, Berlin, Nuremburg and Paris.

Shaffer explained his wartime duties, “Beginning in Italy, these assignments expanded beyond the development of instructional materials to encompass the documentation of the medical history of the war. This ultimately involved making motion pictures of every major campaign in Italy, the invasion of southern France, and the final push across southern Europe to Dachau and ultimately to Berlin — the emphasis always being on filming medical care, from the battlefield to the final disposition of a case.”

Berlin, Late May, 1945.

To access the Shaffer online WWII collection at the DeGolyer, see:

Melvin Shaffer has written an autobiography published by the DeGolyer Library. To order, see:

By Anne Peterson, Curator of Photographs, DeGolyer Library, SMU

Photography Uncategorized

Black Lives Matter

Today’s social environment reflects the turbulent and difficult times in which we find ourselves. We are experiencing national and global anger over the senseless killing of George Floyd and other African Americans by police. Black lives do matter, and people of good will acutely feel for those who are in pain. We are aware that we must continue the struggle for meaningful and enduring change to overcome acts of racism and violence that corrode our nation and the world.

Sadly, these recent events have a related, dark past stretching back for centuries. Some acts of racial violence have received attention, while others have gone undocumented. In the photography collection at the DeGolyer Library, we hold illustrations of past racial injustice in our region. The importance of photography in documenting such events can not be overestimated.

Lynching of Allen Brooks in Downtown Dallas, 1910.

In Dallas on March 3, 1910, Allen Brooks, a 65-year old African-American laborer accused of rape, awaited arraignment at the Dallas County Courthouse. An angry vigilante crowd of white men had gathered outside. They broke into the courthouse and threw Brooks out a second-story window. He was then stabbed and beaten. With a rope around his neck, he was dragged through the street and strung up on a telephone pole near the Elk Arch in downtown. A crowd of 5,000 men, women, and children dispassionately watched as if it were a sporting event. Spectators took pieces of Brooks’s clothing as souvenirs. The sensational story of Allen Brooks’s lynching was disturbing enough to make national and even international newspapers; however, there is still no marker to commemorate his violent death.

While times were tough for most blacks after the Civil War, they still had their emancipation to celebrate. It was June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger landed at Galveston with the announcement that the war was over, and slaves had been emancipated two years before. The day came to be known as Juneteenth, an annual day for African Americans to celebrate their freedom and advancement.

Juneteenth, Emancipation Day, 1913, Corpus Christi, Texas.

Post Civil War, the Ku Klux Klan, a white supremacist hate group, was active throughout the south, and Texas was no exception. Their initial goal was the suppression of African Americans, but by the 1920s they also included hatred of Catholics, Jews, and foreigners. In 1922, with six thousand members, Fort Worth had one of the strongest Klans in the country. Its members, to quote the Star-Telegram on April 3, 1922, were the “best men in every walk of life,” and many were policemen. When the city finance commissioner, W.B. Townsend, died in 1923, the Dallas Morning News reported his funeral included what was called the first Klan funeral parade ever held.

Fort Worth Klan No. 101. Realm of Texas Knights Ku Klux Klan, 1923.

The Tulsa, Oklahoma, race riot and massacre that took place May 31 and June 1, 1921, has been called the single worst incident of racial violence in U.S. history. A black teenage shoe shiner, Dick Rowland, was accused of assaulting a white female elevator operator. The ensuing racial attack by white mobs destroyed more than 35 square blocks in the wealthiest African American community in America, known as Black Wall Street. The Red Cross estimated 300 blacks dead, 1,250 residences burned, and many homes looted. However, those published estimates could greatly underestimate the real numbers.

Negro Slain in Tulsa Riot, June-1-1921.

Hispanic Americans have also faced racism and violence and are also documented in our collections. In Dallas, in the early morning of July 24, 1973, 12 year old Santos Rodriguez and his 13 year old brother, David, were taken from their home, handcuffed, and put in a police squad car. They were accused of robbing a gas station vending machine. Without a warrant, the boys were taken to the gas station for interrogation. A white officer, Darrell L. Cain, tried to get a confession from the Rodriguez brothers, but they consistently denied the crime. Officer Cain then got out his gun, removed some bullets, and put the revolver to Santos’s head. Threatening to kill him, Cain began to play Russian roulette. He pulled the trigger, an empty round. Cain fired again, sending a bullet into Santos’s head killing the boy instantly. It was later proved that the Rodriguez brothers had nothing to do with the petty cash robbery. Cain was sentenced to five years in prison for murder with malice; however, he only served two and a half years for killing the Hispanic child.  A few days after Santos’s death, there was a march of protest attended by a multiracial group of 5,000 Latino, African American, and white citizens.

March of Justice for Santos Rodriguez, July 28, 1973.

The struggle for racial equality and human rights has been ongoing for a very long time. My great-great-grandfather was a white abolitionist. William Harrison Smith, who lived in Kenosha, Wisconsin, was a church deacon and part of the Underground Railroad. He operated a “safe house” in the 1850s and 1860s and helped get fugitive slaves north to safety in Canada. Because helping slaves was illegal, everyone who worked with the Underground Railroad worked secretly, usually at night and did so at great risk. It is important to remember in the turbulence of today that the Underground Railroad was interracial. It’s an example of whites and blacks working together for a common cause to promote liberty and ultimately equality. Times have changed since the Underground Railroad in the 19th century, but clearly much more change is needed. The future holds promise along with many challenges. Black and brown lives matter, and we all need to work toward a future of lasting change for racial equality.

Photographs such as the ones shown here, and many more like them in our collection, help to illustrate where we’ve been, and how much more work we have to do to form ‘a more perfect Union.’

Anne E. Peterson, Curator of Photographs, DeGolyer Library, SMU



Kirk Douglas, Passing of a Hollywood Icon

Kirk Douglas with Lynda Bird Johnson Robb, December 12, 1977. Photograph by Andy Hanson, DeGolyer Library

One of the last survivors of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Kirk Douglas died on February 5, 2020 at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 103.  After an impoverished childhood with Jewish immigrant parents and six sisters, Douglas made his film debut in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946) with Barbara Stanwyck. Douglas’s rugged good looks and muscular intensity made him known for commanding roles in westerns, war movies and Roman-era spectacles, notably in celebrated films like  “Lust for Life,” “Spartacus” and “Paths of Glory.” In 80 movies across a half-century, Douglas was equally at home on city streets, in jazz clubs and, as artist Vincent van Gogh. He was an actor, producer, director, philanthropist and writer. In addition to his many roles, Douglas received three Academy Award nominations, an honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Anne E. Peterson,

Curator of Photographs, DeGolyer Library Photograph by Andy Hanson, DeGolyer Library


Love is in the Air! War-time Letters Between Stanley Marcus and His Wife, Billie

Stanley and Mary ‘Billie’ Marcus Onboard Ship en route to Nassau, ca. 1935.

As February moves on towards Valentine’s Day, one’s thoughts turn to expressions of affection and love – flowers, cards, gifts, decorations, etc. In thinking about the season, I am reminded of letters in the Stanley Marcus Papers between him and his wife. Marcus married the former Mary “Billie” Cantrell in 1932. During World War II, Stanley Marcus, then executive vice president of the Neiman Marcus company in Dallas, was called to assist in the war effort in Washington, D.C. In January, 1942, it was announced he would undertake the job in the Office of Production Management (O.P.M.) as Chairman of the Apparel Division, War Production Board. The purpose of his position was to assist in establishing wartime guidelines for fabric conservation and style simplification work. Knowing the fashion industry as he did, Marcus was perfectly suited to the position and willingly moved to Washington to serve his country.

Although they had been married ten years, the letters between Stanley and Billie are filled with love and longing to be together again. Stanley starts a letter soon after leaving Dallas, in mid January 1942: “Darling, I’ve been homesick & lonesome as hell all weekend. I feel so cut off from all the things & people I want to be with and close to. Your voice a little while ago sounded the same note that my inner voice feels. Every time I get in the real depths, I just ask myself ‘What if you were in Australia, or Bataan, or Iceland, or Panama?’ And then my questions sink into their relative position of importance. If I am helping the national effort I have not cause for personal complaint. Wars never bring with them joy. Wars aren’t meant to be easy. Wars mean only sacrifice of one kind or another by all persons involved. And if mine were the greatest sacrifice, we wouldn’t have much to sacrifice at all. The people who are really sacrificing are those who are paying with their lives, their arms, their eyes, their faces. These are the answers I keep giving myself.” He closes the eight page letter with, “All in all – a dull, depressing, and boring weekend. But maybe the sun will shine this week, but whether it does or not I’ll be thinking of you. Your, Stanley.”

At about the same time, Billie begins a letter to Stanley, “My darling, You have decided and rightly so. Today and tonight were hard and I know there will be others like them. And while I won’t promise not to indulge in a few, I do promise you I’ll remember every word we both said about what we would be to each other this coming year – Friday night before you left. Do you recall? I know you do. There are so many words I want to write you darling, now all this has become a reality but they are still jumbling out of my mind and I can’t spin them together.”  She ends her long letter with, “I love you more than I can tell you. Always, Billie.”

Duty in D.C. was shorter than expected, and Stanley returned to Dallas and his beloved wife in June, 1942.













By Anne E. Peterson, Curator of Photographs, DeGolyer Library, SMU

Events Photography

A Life of Service: George H. W. Bush

George H.W. Bush, 1963, by Andy Hanson, DeGolyer Library

A Texas icon and 41st president, George H. W. Bush (1924-2018) died November 30, 2018 at his home in Houston. Bush, the patriarch of one of the most influential political families in the U.S., was 94. Barbara, his wife of 73 years, died last April. They had six children, among them George W. Bush, 43rd U.S. president.

Soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor, at 18, Bush enlisted in the armed services and became the youngest Navy aviator. During WWII, he flew 58 combat missions and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery in action. He and Barbara married in 1945, and the Bush family moved to Texas in 1948 to enter the oil business. Bush served two terms as a representative to Congress from Texas. He went on to serve as ambassador to the United Nations, chairman of the Republican National Committee, chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in the People’s Republic of China, and became director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He was chosen as a running mate by Ronald Reagan, and served as his vice president.


President George H. W. Bush After Throwing Opening Pitch at Texas Rangers Opening Game, 1991. The former first baseman for Yale is shown grimacing here after his pitch had bounced in the dirt. Mr. Bush made very few errant throws in his career!   By Andy Hanson, DeGolyer Library



In 1988, Bush won the general presidential election, with Senator Dan Quayle of Indiana as his running mate, and became the 41st president of the United States (1989–1993). His single term of office was during a rapidly changing world: the end of the Cold War, the dissolution of the Communist empire, the fall of the Berlin Wall. In response to Iraq’s Saddam Hussein led invasion of Kuwait in 1990, working with United Nations partners, Bush organized a coalition of nations to oppose the invasion resulting in the Persian Gulf War. After 42 days, a cease-fire was signed.

President Barack Obama awarded George H. W. Bush with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 2010, lauding his more than 70 years of service, his humility and decency that “reflects the very best of the American spirit.” At the news of Bush’s passing, Obama said, George H. W. Bush’s “life is a testament to the notion that public service is a noble, joyous calling….”  “It’s a legacy of service that may never be matched, even though he’d want us to try.” Bush will be buried next to his wife at his presidential library in College Station.






Dallas Mayor Starke Taylor, Kay Bailey Hutchison, and Barbara Bush, ca.1985. By Andy Hanson, DeGolyer Library





















By Anne E. Peterson, Curator of Photographs, DeGolyer Library.

The Andy Hanson Photographs collection, held at the DeGolyer Library, is an important visual record of Dallas history. The large archive of more than 79,000 prints and 373,000 negatives provide a “whos who” of people living in Dallas and the politicians and celebrities who visited the city from 1960 to 2008.




Honoring Santos Rodriguez

Mid-May of this year, I discovered a series of contact sheets and photographs in the Andy Hanson collection here at the DeGolyer Library. Hanson was a photographer for the Dallas Times Herald. I didn’t know what I was looking at except that the pictures were of a demonstration. I could see that in some frames of the contact sheets, people were carrying banners that read, “March of Justice for Santos Rodriguez.” Unaware of the event, I Googled it and found that the images were of the demonstration in Dallas July 28, 1973 after the brutal and senseless murder of a child, 12 year old Santos Rodriguez, by a Dallas policeman. The images are moving and interesting documents of that important multicultural demonstration led by Hispanics. Sometimes called a race riot, it is the only such demonstration in the history of Dallas, although many such events were happening at the time all over the U.S.

In the early morning hours of July 24, policemen thought they saw Santos and his brother leave the scene of a vandalized gas station vending machine in the Little Mexico neighborhood. Police went to their home, handcuffed the boys and put them in their squad car. The boys denied being involved with the robbery.

Then, Officer Darrell L. Cain decided to play Russian-roulette, aiming the gun at Santos’s head. He pulled the trigger once — nothing; the second time, a bullet struck Santos’s head killing him as his brother, now drenched in blood, watched helplessly. Cain was tried for murder and was given a five year sentence by an all white jury. He only served two and a half years. It was later found that the two boys had nothing to do with the vending machine theft.

Florentino A. Ramirez, Rudy Sanchez and Rene Martinez and Demonstrators Link Arms During March.

Four days after Santos was murdered, thousands of demonstrators gathered in downtown Dallas. The march started at the Kennedy Memorial and proceeded east on Main Street to the old City Hall.

News Crews and Demonstrators Outside Old City Hall, March of Justice.

The demonstration was peaceful until a second group of marchers showed up – they were younger, angrier and some intoxicated. Then the march turned into a riot with random looting and vandalism.


Demonstrator Lights Police Motorcycle on Fire, March of Justice for Santos Rodriguez.
Police and Demonstrators Clash, the March of Justice for Santos Rodriguez.

Today, July 24, 2018 is the forty-fifth anniversary of Santos’s death. There have been events to commemorate his life and murder, and an extraordinary new documentary film, “Santos Vive” by Byron Hunter to illustrate the historical facts with important interviews and period film footage and still photographs. There are plans for the city of Dallas to create a Santos memorial to honor him and the accomplishments of the city’s Mexican American community. A Santos Rodriguez public art project is underway for Pike Park on Harry Hines Boulevard located in the old Little Mexico neighborhood, and there are thoughts of changing the name of the park to Santos Rodriguez Park as a lasting memorial.

Anne E. Peterson

Curator of Photographs, DeGolyer Library, SMU

Note SMU scholarship: The Santos Rodriguez Memorial Endowed Scholarship at SMU promotes Human Rights education for emerging leaders and honors the memory of a young boy whose life ended far too soon. Scholarship funds provide support to qualified students studying Human Rights at SMU. As one of only seven institutions in the nation to offer an undergraduate degree in Human Rights, SMU is dedicated to nurturing a new generation of ethical and effective leaders.


June 6, 1968 – June 6, 2018: the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy

“Barefoot and Boss.” Barefoot Sanders and Robert F. Kennedy, Dallas, Nov. 14, 1961. Andy Hanson photograph, DeGolyer Library, SMU






Fifty years ago, like his brother President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert F. Kennedy – Bobby – was murdered by an assassin’s bullet.  The year 1968 was a tempestuous time in America. The Vietnam War continued, and the anti-war movement peaked. Martin Luther King had been killed earlier in the year, igniting riots across the country. President Lyndon B. Johnson decided not to seek a second term in the upcoming election. Robert Kennedy, former U.S. Attorney General, stepped up to a swell of support, running for national office. He was perceived by some to be the only man in American politics capable of uniting the people. He was beloved by minorities for his integrity and devotion to the civil rights cause.



“For a whole generation of progressive political activists and journalists, there was a glimmer of something different in RFK than the more conventional politics of his brothers Jack and Ted — an ability to both put together a mind-bending coalition of minority and white-working-class voters that would blow up the racial politics the GOP was beginning to aggressively embrace by 1968 and to keep the fraying New Deal majority alive.” New York Magazine, June 5, 2018


Quotes from Robert F. Kennedy:

“The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.” 

“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

“All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don’t. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.”

“Some men see things as they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were, and ask why not.”

The picture above is from the Andy Hanson photographs collection. Hanson worked for the Dallas Times Herald for thirty years until it closed in 1991. He photographed and actively documented the theater, opera, musical, and social events in the city. Included in the collection are many photographs and negatives of famous, high profile, politicians, celebrities, and newsworthy people in Dallas.

For some Hanson images online, see:


Anne E. Peterson, Curator of Photographs, DeGolyer Library, SMU