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Archives of Women of the Southwest Manuscripts Uncategorized

In Process, Natalie Ornish papers

Natalie Ornish, Associated Press, Omaha, 1945
Natalie Ornish, Associated Press, Omaha, 1945

New Year, new processing project for the Archives of Women of the Southwest. Archival processing is a crucial element of collections care; it’s how we begin to know what materials are included in a collection, how we ensure preservation, and the first step in making our collections available to the public.

This year I am kicking off with the papers of Natalie Ornish. During a research appointment last fall, it became apparent that I did not know as much about Mrs. Ornish or her work as I would need to in order to assist patrons with accessing her materials. With only a brief catalog record available I set out to understand her life and career. I took a deep dive into the unprocessed boxes in order to put together a more descriptive and accessible record of her papers.

Natalie Ornish was a Jewish Texas businesswoman, philanthropist and historian. Ornish did years of research to uncover the history of Jews in Texas and published several texts on the subject. Daughter of George Israel and Bess Moskowitz, Natalie Gene Ornish was born on February 14, 1926 in Galveston, Texas. She was 14 when she graduated from Ball High School in Galveston, 17 when she earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Sam Houston State Teachers College, now Sam Houston State University. She earned a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., the youngest person at the time to receive a graduate degree from Northwestern.

Bookstop Marquee
Bookstop Marquee

She was an editor for The Associated Press in Omaha, Neb., before returning to Galveston, where she worked in public relations. In 1949 she married Dallas dentist, Dr. Edwin P. Ornish. Following her stint in PR, Ornish founded Dallas Records and Natwin Creative Productions. As she raised her family, Ornish worked on an array of projects, beginning with lyrics for two long-playing records, Songs for Suburban Children, released in 1957, and The Ages of Childhood, in 1966. She also wrote a musical, Just Twelve, about the angst of being a preteen, which was produced at Dallas’ Theatre Three and Casa Mañana Theatre in Fort Worth.

Book Pioneer Jewish Texans
Book Pioneer Jewish Texans

 

 

Ornish also produced a multimedia presentation, Texans All, as part of the 1976 Bicentennial celebration. In 1988, she founded Texas Heritage Press, which she used to publish Pioneer Jewish Texans: Their Impact on Texas and American History for 400 Years 1590-1990. The book was republished by Texas A&M Press in 2011.  She published Ehrenberg : Goliad survivor, Old West explorer in 1997, a translation of Ehrenberg’s memoir originally published in 1844: Der Freiheitskampf in Texas im Jahre 1836. In addition, she contributed 61 entries to the Handbook of Texas.

Natalie Ornish died on May 16, 2016.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Categories
Archives of Women of the Southwest Manuscripts

Pumpkin Eater

Pumpkin logo from the Compleat Pumpkin Eater
Pumpkin logo from the Compleat Pumpkin Eater

“Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater” is an English language nursery rhyme first published in Infant Institutes, part the first: or a Nurserical Essay on the Poetry, Lyric and Allegorical, of the Earliest Ages, &c., in London around 1797.

Anyone who knows me, knows I am all about pumpkins. From decorations to drinks, apparel to recipes, if it looks like, smells like, or tastes like a pumpkin, count me in. While there are many pumpkin enthusiasts out there, I never knew another whose obsession could revival mine; that is until I learned more about Dallas’ own Caroline Rose Hunt.

Caroline was born in El Dorado, Arkansas on January 8, 1923, to Haroldson Lafayette and Lyda Bunker Hunt. She attended school at Hockaday, Mary Baldwin College, and the University of Texas at Austin. She graduated in 1943 with a bachelor’s degree in English.

Cover the Compleat Pumpkin Eater
Cover the Compleat Pumpkin Eater

 

 

Known as a savvy business woman, she founded Rosewood Hotels &  Resorts, a worldwide chain of exclusive properties in the 1980s. It began when Caroline purchased an old Dallas Mansion about to be torn down, and built the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. She went on to own and manage twenty two luxury hotels around the world, as well as a line of luxury bathing and skin products.

Though she was a very successful hotelier and business woman, Caroline had many passions in life. One was pumpkins, the other to be a writer. In 1980 she published The Compleat Pumpkin Eater cookbook. Books were sold at her hotels including the Mansion on Turtle Creek and the Hotel Crescent Court in Dallas.

 

 

 

Recipe for Pumpkin Almond Bisque
Recipe for Pumpkin Almond Bisque

In 1983 Caroline was awarded first place in the Houston March of Dimes Gourmet Gala for her original almond pumpkin bisque. Inspired by her love of pumpkins, and a trip to Italy, she commissioned Rosewood’s food consultant Wolfgang Puck, to create a pasta dish using pumpkin to be the featured item in her award-winning hotel restaurants.

On top of publishing a cookbook of pumpkin recipes, and commissioning pumpkin inspired recipes for her restaurants, Caroline even owned a charter helicopter company called Pumpkin Air. Now that is dedication.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are 438 different pumpkin recipes in the Compleat Pumpkin Eater, but here are a few for the upcoming holidays.

Iranian eggplant and pumpkin casserole
Iranian eggplant and pumpkin casserole
Pumpkin stuffed mushrooms; Mushroom porcupines with pumpkin see quills
Pumpkin stuffed mushrooms; Mushroom porcupines with pumpkin see quills

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 adventurous women of the southwest, be sure to visit the DeGolyer Library and check out our books, manuscripts, pamphlets, and photographs.

 

 

 

Categories
Archives of Women of the Southwest Manuscripts

Carrera Por La Vida (Race for Life)

Carrera por la vida race bib, 1998 March 8

Nancy Brinker founded the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation on July 22, 1982 in Dallas, Texas, in her sister’s memory. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, the organization searches for an end to breast cancer. In 1983 the first Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure® took place in Dallas, Texas, with 800 participants.

Costa Rica become the first country outside of the United States to host a Race for the Cure event. The inspiration for the event came from former U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica (1994-1998), Sonia Picado. An advocate for women’s health issues, Picado was an ardent support of the Race for the Cure in Washington DC. The race took place in La Sabana National Park in San José, Costa Rica on March 8, 1998.

Race participants

The goals of the race were to spread the message of early detection, and to raise funds to improve breast cancer education, screening, and treatment programs. At the time, breast cancer accounted for the second highest mortality rate of cancer for women in Costa Rica. Over 3,500 participated in the event, with funds raised from the event going towards Fundeso, the National Foundation for Solidarity Against Breast Cancer. Created in 1983 by Elena Sikora, a cancer survivor herself, this non-profit organization is run by volunteers, mostly cancer survivors, who fight cancer through early detection, prompt and effective medical intervention, and rehabilitation programs.

Women of Fundeso, recipient of the race funds

Housed in the DeGolyer Library are the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation records, 1983-2011, and the Susan G. Komen papers. The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation records consist of papers, photographs, clippings, company publications, awards, and artifacts along with an additional terabyte of digital video, photograph, and document files related to the development of affiliate Komen programs and races around the world.

Race for the Cure volunteers
Race for the Cure volunteers

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 adventurous women of the southwest, be sure to visit the DeGolyer Library and check out our books, manuscripts, pamphlets, and photographs.

Categories
Archives of Women of the Southwest Manuscripts

Townsend Times

Image of Clara Virginia Townsend, undated
Image of Clara Virginia Townsend, undated

Clara Virginia Townsend was a teacher in Fulton, Missouri and Kansas City, an early feminist and writer. Her columns were published in Youth’s Companion, The Ladies World (New York), The Kansas City star, and other newspapers. This author’s personal scrapbook of her published works includes many columns entitled “Back talk to girls by Naomi Wantmore,” and a speech about women’s rights addressed to the Alumnae of Synodical Female College (1895).

Townsend was born September 28, 1857, in Fulton, the daughter of Eli and Margaret (Kelley) Townsend. She attended public schools and graduated from Synodical College with highest honors in 1877. In 1887 she was granted a state certificate by the Superintendent of Schools. Townsend taught for over fifty years.

Mollie's Valentine
Mollie’s Valentine

 

 

 

In addition to teaching she found time and talent for writing. Few writers are so fortunate as to have their very first story accepted by a major periodical, but this was the case for Townsend, whose work “Mollie’s Valentine” appeared in the publication Youth’s Companion. According to Literary Honors, “Miss Townsend possesses an individuality of style that insures her success in the literary world.”

 

 

 

 

She Declares Herself
She Declares Herself

 

 

Townsend’s poetry and prose centered on education, teachers, and women’s rights. In “She Declares Herself,” Townsend wrote of the woman’s sphere, and encouraged all women to break out.

“Farewell the timid ones who fear to tread at dusk or eve in their native city’s street; welcome the woman who in self-reliance can circumnavigate the globe alone…our place is what we choose; our sphere the world.”

 

 

 

 

 

The Dream of an Average Teacher
The Dream of an Average Teacher

 

 

And what teacher cannot relate to Townsend’s poem “The Dream of the Average Teacher”?

“Sleep no more, examination grades have murdered sleep!…and last there came a creature wan and pale who said, ‘Behold me, wretch! I was a parent. Full many a time and oft in days gone by my little boy that I esteemed so bright by your relentless hand was graded zero’…I would not pass another such a night for all the salary of a high school teacher. My friends, I bid you shun the teacher’s path, that way distraction lies.”

 

 

 

 

 

Perhaps one of her more uplifting writings comes from her address before the alumnae of Synodical Female College, June 4, 1895, entitled “Woman, To-Day and Yesterday”:

“To be a woman is to reign an uncrowned queen, who sees the golden field of opportunity the field where she may do a woman’s part…Our place is what we choose, our sphere, the world. Our limitations, simply to be womanly, for no pent up Utica contacts our powers but the whole boundless universe is ours.”

Woman, To-Day and Yesterday
Woman, To-Day and Yesterday

In a review of her address, the alumnæ association noted that Townsend’s address was delivered before the largest audience ever attended by alumna. Her words surpassed any address before, “her treatment of the woman’s rights question was a source of enthusiasm to her audience and an inspiration.”

Signature
Signature

Contact Samantha Dodd, curator of the Archives of Women of the Southwest for additional information or assistance with accessing these materials. To view more materials on women’s rights, check out the digital exhibit Women’s Voices Women’s Vote. The DeGolyer continues to expand our digitization efforts, adding new content weekly. We have thousands of items digitized and searchable in our digital collections with many thousands more to come!

Categories
Archives of Women of the Southwest Manuscripts

Folklore in the Archives

Folklore panel logo
Folklore in the Archives Web Banner

Join archivists, researchers, and lore enthusiasts from around North America for a two-part virtual showcase all about folklore in the archives. Attendees will learn more about collections and research through archival materials on topics such as cryptids, urban legends, superstitions, local lore, hauntings and ghosts, UFOs, and more!

Registration is required: bit.ly/3BILXpv

August 27 speakers:

-Jennifer Brannock, University of Southern Mississippi
-Christine Blythe, Brigham Young University
-SMiles Lewis, Anomaly Archives
-Teresa Gray, Vanderbilt University
-Helena de Lemos, Occidental College
-Nick Richbell, University of Waterloo
-Matina Newsom and Bobby Griffith, University of North Texas
-Louise LoBello, Franklin & Marshall College

September 3 speakers:

-Samantha Dodd, Southern Methodist University
-April C. Armstrong, Princeton University
-Joshua Youngblood, University of Arkansas
-Ben Murphy, Whitman College
-Stephanie Khattak, Creative Project Studio
-Sara Butler-Tongate, Bowling Green State University
-Tiffany Cole, James Madison University
-Jennifer Daugherty, East Carolina University

Samantha Dodd, curator of the Archives of Women of the Southwest, will be presenting: Donde hay voluntad hay modo (Where there is a will there is a Way): Aurora Lucero-White Lea and the Folklore of New Mexico on September 3rd, at 11:00am.

Aurora Lucero-White Lea (February 8, 1894 – 1965) was an American folklorist, author, and suffragist. Daughter of New Mexico’s first secretary of State, Antonio Lucero, Aurora was extremely active in politics. She was named delegate to the Ladies Delegation Aids group in Washington D.C. and was a strong Lobbyist for women’s rights.

Aurora Lucero-White Lea , undated
Aurora Lucero-White Lea , undated

After graduating from college she taught bilingual classes at Tucumcari High school. In 1927 Highlands University appointed her assistant professor of Spanish, and from 1925-1927 she served as the Superintendent of schools for the San Miguel County. During this time Aurora traveled throughout the state for her job. She began to record the cultural folktales, songs, dances, and stories of the Hispanic villages she visited for in addition to politics, and education, Aurora’s passion was folklore. Author of several historical plays, she also wrote about New Mexican folklore. Lucero-White is most known for her 1953 book Literary Folklore of the Hispanic Southwest, a compilation of cultural traditions, songs, and stories collected while traveling northern New Mexico. She was appointed assistant superintendent of instruction for the New Mexico Department of Education in 1934, allowing her to include traditional folklore in the state’s curriculum.

Lucero-White worked on preserving the lore of the villagers or gente (folk) of New Mexico. In publishing the folklore, she hoped to keep alive, and to put into the hands of students and the general public the romances, corridos, cuentos, proverbios, dichos, adivinanzas of the past.

Juan Bobo cover
Juan Bobo cover

The presentation on September 3rd will explore the life and work of Aurora Lucero-White Lea. It will include excerpts from her plays and works, such as: Coloquios de los Pastores, a centuries old Christmas folk tale compiled, edited, and translated by Lucero-White and from Juan Bobo, the muchacho of Santa fe that charmed the Governor of New Mexico and captured the customs and flavor of both New Mexico and Spain.

Contact Samantha Dodd, curator of the Archives of Women of the Southwest for additional information or assistance with accessing these materials. The DeGolyer continues to expand our digitization efforts, adding new content weekly. We have thousands of items digitized and searchable in our digital collections. Be sure to browse our holdings to find more letters, photographs, manuscripts, imprints, art, and audio/video.

Categories
Archives of Women of the Southwest Manuscripts Photography

Summer in Miami…Texas

Three club members standing in front of “Welcome to Miami” sign

Summer in Miami…Texas

You can spend your summer traveling to Paris (Texas), or Italy (Texas). But why not instead take a trip to Miami (Texas)? Miami, the county seat of Roberts County, is on U.S. Highway 60 between Canadian and Pampa in the southeastern part of the county.

15 portrait images forming the letters XX

This photograph and scrap album, kept by Ruth Chisum of Miami, Texas, records the organized outdoor activities of the XX Club of Miami 1922-1923. More than 400 photographs, clipped images, and news clippings are mounted on these album pages. Portrait images of 15 members of the club form the title “XX Club”.

We do not know much about this women’s social organization. My co-workers and I speculate that the XX Club could have been named for the XX chromosome, XX as in kisses or XX meaning 20 in roman numerals.  One of the joys and frustrations about archives is that sometimes we just can’t find out everything we want to know about a collection!

Members of the XX Club playing in the Vapor Baths of Miami
Club members on horseback
Club members on horseback

Most of the images are uncaptioned, but still manage to narrate the activities of a Texas Panhandle “cowgirl” club in the 1920s. These images record the social club on various outings with many pictures of members in western garb, horseback riding, playing with dogs, hiking, hill climbing, motoring, swimming, and general horsing around the Texas countryside.

Not a bad way to spend the summer months.

 

 

 

Contact Samantha Dodd, curator of the Archives of Women of the Southwest for additional information or assistance with accessing these materials. For more information and access to photograph collections, contact our Curator of Photographs Anne E. Peterson. The DeGolyer continues to expand our digitization efforts, adding new content weekly. We have thousands of items digitized and searchable in our digital collections with many thousands more to come!

 

Categories
Archives of Women of the Southwest Manuscripts

Time for a little Arts and Crafts…

Junior Three Arts Study Club tree emblem, 1953
Junior Three Arts Study Club tree emblem, 1953

The Dallas Federation of Women’s Clubs (DFWC), originally named the City Federation of Women’s Clubs, was created in 1898 as the consolidation of five existing women’s cultural and literary clubs. At the general meeting on November 3, 1931, the federation entertained a recommendation for the formation of the Three Arts Study Club, a new women’s literary group whose focus was programming on art, music, and literature.

Page from Junior Three Arts Study Club scrapbook, 1953
Page from Junior Three Arts Study Club scrapbook, 1953

Several years later, in 1953, the Junior Three Arts Study Club was formed by and for the daughters and daughters-in-law of the senior club members. Their purpose, too,   was to study music, art, and literature. The group also provided social activities and fundraising events for its members in Dallas, Texas and surrounding areas. The tree emblem illustrates the many limbs that grow from the three main branches of the arts: literature, art, and music.

Talks and meetings took place in members’ homes on the second Wednesday of each month. During the inaugural year, the group heard from another notable speaker/scholar in the archives of women of the Southwest: Ermance Rejebian. Not only did members study the arts, some were talented artists themselves as seen in this piece from a club member in 1953:

Pencil sketch of three cowboys branding a cow, undated
Pencil sketch of three cowboys branding a cow, undated

 

 

 

 

 

The 10th anniversary banquet took place at the Metropolitan Savings and Loan Building off of Preston and Forest. The theme was the Old South, and women and men dressed in period clothing, while southern music and decorations lined the hall. In 2003, the group celebrated their 50th anniversary.

Junior Three Arts Study Club 50th anniversary emblem, 2003
Junior Three Arts Study Club 50th anniversary emblem, 2003

 

The Junior Three Arts Study Club records comprise scrapbooks containing photographs, newspaper clippings, and minutes of meetings, programs, rosters, party invitations, and drawings. Also included are five ledger books detailing members’ dues paid and club expenses.

Contact Samantha Dodd, curator of the Archives of Women of the Southwest for additional information or assistance with accessing these materials. The DeGolyer continues to expand our digitization efforts, adding new content weekly. We have thousands of items digitized and searchable in our digital collections. Be sure to browse our holdings to find more letters, photographs, manuscripts, imprints, art, and audio/video.

Categories
Archives of Women of the Southwest Photography

Swimsuit Season!

Despite the recent damp spring weather, we are looking forward to sunnier days ahead. Summer is fast approaching and with that barbeques, beach balls, and swimming. Browsing through the SMU digital collections of the Archives of Women of the Southwest, Kenda North’s photographs of sun bathers stood out. Some of the 1970s summer fashion featured in these photographs would not be out of place today.

Harlequin, 1977
Harlequin, 1977; Photograph of the midsection of a sunbathing woman wearing a blue polka-dot bikini.
Mich in Pool, 1978, Photograph of the midsection of a sunbathing woman wearing a green swimsuit.
Mich in Pool, 1978, Photograph of the midsection of a sunbathing woman wearing a green swimsuit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kenda North has been specifically working in color in photography her entire career with innovative work with dye transfer materials in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Her career has been marked by consistent experimentation and techniques of available color processes. North has had over 50 one person exhibitions and participated in over 100 group exhibitions, both nationally and internationally. Her photographs are in over 50 public collections throughout the U.S. and Europe. From 1989 to 2020, North was on the faculty at the University of Texas, Arlington. She was Chair of the Art and Art History Department from 1991 to 1999 and was awarded Professor Emerita in summer 2020.

 

 

Striped suit, 1977, Photograph of the torso of a sunbathing woman wearing a striped bikini.
Striped suit, 1977, Photograph of the torso of a sunbathing woman wearing a striped bikini.
Visor, 1977, Photograph of the upper body of a sunbathing woman with her head covered by a visor.
Visor, 1977, Photograph of the upper body of a sunbathing woman with her head covered by a visor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Kenda North photographs and papers, 1972-2017, at the DeGolyer Library consists of 1,059 photographic prints and large framed pieces. The majority are in various color processes. There are hand colored dye transfer prints, Polaroids, and Cibachrome prints. Also included are notebooks, her exhibition invitations and announcements. These images come from the sunbather series. “The “Sunbather Series” was photographed and printed from 1976 to 1982 and consist of 20 Hand colored dye transfer prints with titles and number identifications. They started with photographs made on public beaches from Chicago to Los Angeles with focus on sections of the body in the landscape.”

 

Self Portrait, 1976, Photograph of the upper body and head of a sunbathing woman wearing a black and white bikini top.
Self Portrait, 1976, Photograph of the upper body and head of a sunbathing woman wearing a black and white bikini top.
Green suit, 1976, Photograph of the torso of a sunbathing woman wearing a green bikini.
Green suit, 1976, Photograph of the torso of a sunbathing woman wearing a green bikini.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contact Samantha Dodd, curator of the Archives of Women of the Southwest for additional information or assistance with accessing these materials. For more information and access to photograph collections, contact our Curator of Photographs Anne E. Peterson. The DeGolyer continues to expand our digitization efforts, adding new content weekly. We have thousands of items digitized and searchable in our digital collections with many thousands more to come!

Categories
Archives of Women of the Southwest Manuscripts

Hooray for Hollywood!

Margaret Tallichet, undated
Margaret Tallichet, undated

As I read through the list of Golden Globe and Academy Award winners, I realized that even though I was quarantined for the better part of last year, I somehow still missed so many movies and television shows. It seems as though 2021 will be another yearlong binge-a-thon. The papers of Margaret Tallichet Wyler document the life and career of a Texas gone Hollywood actress, one who reminds me of the golden age of cinema.

Margaret Tallichet at Hockaday School, 1927
Margaret Tallichet at Hockaday School, 1927
Margaret Tallichet, SMU Annual Beauty photograph, 1937
Margaret Tallichet, SMU Annual Beauty photograph, 1937

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Margaret Tallichet was born March 13, 1914 in Dallas, Texas. She graduated from Southern Methodist University in 1935 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and French. Following graduation she wrote for the society pages and completed film reviews for the Dallas Times Herald and the Dallas Morning News.  When she was not writing, she was performing in plays for the Arden Club and Dallas Little Theatre.

In 1936 Tallichet left home and moved to California. Shortly after arriving she befriended actress Carole Lomdbard while working in the publicity department at Paramount Studios. Carole introduced Tallichet to producer David O. Selznick, who gave Tallichet her screen test for the coveted role of Scarlet O’Hara.  Margaret had a small-uncredited role in the 1937 hit A Star is Born, and stared on the picture A Desperate Adventure, opposite Ramon Novarro.

Margaret Tallichet photograph by Joe Walters, Undated
Margaret Tallichet photograph by Joe Walters, Undated

She married movie director William Wyler in 1938 and together the couple had five children: Catherine, Judy, David, Melanie Ann, and William Jr. The Margaret Tallichet Wyler papers comprise publicity shots, press clippings, correspondence, interview transcripts, family genealogy, programs and playbills, contracts, yearbooks, diaries, and photographs documenting Margaret’s life, and acting career. Included in the collection is a transcript of a Southern Methodist Oral History interview conducted by Ronald Davis on July 19, 1982. Margaret details her experiences on campus at SMU working as a student assistant to Lon Tinkle in the French Department, her travels to Hollywood, dinners with stars like Clark Gable, screen tests, family, travel, and life as a Hollywood actress.

Margaret died of cancer on May 3, 1991 at the age of 77.

Contact Samantha Dodd, curator of the Archives of Women of the Southwest for additional information or assistance with accessing these materials. The DeGolyer continues to expand our digitization efforts, adding new content weekly. We have thousands of items digitized and searchable in our digital collections. Be sure to browse our holdings to find more letters, photographs, manuscripts, imprints, art, and audio/video.

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Archives of Women of the Southwest Manuscripts SMU Archives

National Library Week 2021

It’s National Library Week, and this year’s theme is “Welcome to Your Library.” The library universe has long extended far beyond the four walls of a building and during this past tumultuous year, librarians around the world found new ways to meet the information needs of their communities, such as curbside service virtual reference, and a variety of zoom programs.

In celebration of these leaders of literacy, these titans of technology, these curators of culture, let’s take a look back in time at Southern Methodist University’s very first librarian.

Dorothy Amann was born on February 20, 1874, in Ripley, Mississippi. She attended Thomas Arnold Academy in Salado, Texas, and trained as a businesswoman at Old Eastman Business College in Poughkeepsie, New York.

Dorothy Amann, February 28, 1893
Dorothy Amann, February 28, 1893

Hired as one of the first staff members of the newly formed Southern Methodist University, she traveled from Midland, Texas, to Dallas in October 1913 to serve as President R.S. Hyer’s secretary. She became SMU’s first librarian when the responsibility for the collection and disposition of books fell to her in 1915. Miss Amann’s zeal for the job led her to study library science at Columbia University. Her contribution to the library field included serving as President of the Texas Library Association (1921-22), President and founder of the Southwest Library Association (1938-40), and organizer and President of the Dallas Library Club.

The Dorothy Amann papers encompass her involvement in the organization and development of Southern Methodist University from its humble beginnings to the opening of the Fondren Library and beyond. Most importantly, and beloved by students, she suggested the name of the athletics team by exclaiming: “They look like a bunch of wild mustangs.” The collection contains early SMU historical information in the form of Miss Amann’s letters, speeches, articles, and nostalgic ephemera. The letters include correspondence between Miss Amann and President Robert Hyer and President Umphrey Lee. Of special note are the diagram cuttings from a journal article published in 1941 heralding the opening of Fondren Library.

Contact Samantha Dodd, curator of the Archives of Women of the Southwest for additional information or assistance with accessing these collections.

Contact Joan Gosnell, University Archivists, for additional information on the history of Southern Methodist University.

The DeGolyer Library continues to expand our digitization efforts, adding new content weekly. We have thousands of items digitized and searchable in our digital collections. Be sure to browse our holdings to find more letters, photographs, manuscripts, imprints, art, and audio/video.