Books Manuscripts Texana

Chili Cookoff

October and early November is chili cookoff season. The first cookoff took place at the State Fair of Texas in October 1952, where Mrs. F.G. Ventura was declared the winner. That same year one of the most essential books on chili was published. Joe E. Cooper’s With or Without Beans includes a recipe from E.L. DeGolyer, which was also published in Jane Trahey’s Neiman-Marcus cookbook, A Taste of Texas, in 1949. Below is a letter from Stanley Marcus requesting a recipe for the 1949 book, as well as DeGolyer’s recipe for chile con carne.

Stanley Marcus letter to E.L. DeGolyer Sr., 1948






Another cookoff was organized in Terlingua, Texas in 1967 by Frank X. Tolbert, Wick Fowler and Carroll  Shelby. The annual event continues every first weekend in November. Tolbert was a journalist for Dallas Morning News, owner of a Dallas restaurant in the 1970s, and the author of A Bowl of Red. Today his family operates Tolbert’s Restaurant and Chili Parlor in Grapevine, Texas that features his Bowl of Red.


Gebhardt Chili Powder Company’s chili con carne recipe, 1949

For more books and archival collections about chili and cookbooks, please contact for assistance in DeGolyer Library.


Everette Lee DeGolyer Sr. papers, MSS 60, Box 22, Folder 2374

Alter, Judy. Texas is chili country: a brief history with recipes. Lubbock, Texas: Texas Tech University Press, 2015. TX693.A448 2015

Cooper, Joe E. With or without beans; being a compendium to perpetuate the internationally-famous bowl of chili (Texas style) which occupies such an important place in modern civilization. Dallas: W.S. Henson, 1952. TX633.C69 1952

Gebhardt Chili Powder Company. Mexican cookery for American homes. San Antonio, Texas: Gebhardt Chili Powder Company, 1949. Pamphlet TX716.M4 M49 1949

Tolbert, Frank X. A bowl of red. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1972. TX633.T64 1972

Trahey, Jane. A taste of Texas. New York: Random House, 1949. TX715.T766


Miniature books


Group of 6 miniature books

Summer is a good time for library housekeeping projects due to the short downtime between busy semester schedules. In August the Broadside File Box location and Miniature books were rehoused in uniform boxes and relocated to another part of the library. At the DeGolyer Library, miniature books are 10 cm and smaller. Early miniatures were bibles, Victorian etiquette books for girls, and juvenile literature.

On Human Rights by Carlos Fuentes
Miniature book, On Human Rights by Carlos Fuentes


Many of the miniatures in DeGolyer Library are from Stanley Marcus’ personal library, and were published by his Somesuch Press from the 1970s-1999. Bibliophiles appreciate the craftsmanship of these tiny volumes.

One miniature has a penny on the front cover, and the second miniature’s cover is a dollar bill


Miniature from the Quoin Press












Symbol of America : an American Indian liberty was signed by the printer, Susan Acker.








For more information about the miniature book collection, please contact for assistance in DeGolyer Library.










Fuentes, Carlos, and Friedensreich Hundertwasser. On Human Rights : a Speech. Somesuch Press, 1984. From the collection of Stanley Marcus, former owner. Gift of Linda Marcus, 2003. Miniature Z232.S6887 F84 1984

Goforth, Joy. Symbol of America : an American Indian Liberty. Somesuch Press, 1986. From the collection of Stanley Marcus, former owner. Gift of Linda Marcus, 2003. Miniature Z232.S6887 G64 1986

Schuster, Steve. What It’s Worth, and That’s Not Much. Quoin Press, 1978. Miniature HG357 .S35

Weber, Francis J. Up 65 Years to Larchmont. Bela Blau, 1970. Miniature Z473.D3 W42

Books Manuscripts

The Virginian: 120th anniversary of a cowboy classic

Fans of American western culture are celebrating the 162nd birthday of author Owen Wister on July 14th. In 1902 Wister published The Virginian: a horseman of the plains, which is considered the basis for the modern western novel and film genres.

The Virginian by Owen Wister (1902)


The Virginian is the story of an unnamed ranch hand in Wyoming called “The Virginian” who works his way up to foreman, courts a school teacher, wins a shootout against his enemy, and lives a long and happy life with his wife in the West. DeGolyer Library’s copy includes a letter from Owen Wister on the front pastedown presumably addressed to his publisher, and includes a postscript about  “Mr. Clemons.”

Owen Wister letter to Mr. Davidson, October 22, 1901
Owen Wister letter to Mr. Davidson, October 22, 1901


This iconic novel has been adapted for film, stage, and a television show that aired from 1962-1970. There have been five film adaptations of The Virginian, and below is the screenplay from the 1929 film starred Gary Cooper, Walter Huston, and Mary Brian.


The Virginian screenplay, 1929




Following the success of The Virginian, Wister continued to write novels, short stories, and a book about his friendship with Theodore Roosevelt. DeGolyer Library has over 80 editions and impressions of The Virginian, an indication of its enduring popularity, 1902-2002.

The Virginian, Armed Forces edition, 1945
The Virginian, Armed Forces edition, 1945
The Virginian, 1945 printing
The Virginian, 1945 printing








The Virginian, 2002
The Virginian, 2002















Former SMU professor Darwin Payne wrote a biography of Owen Wister in 1985 that was published by the SMU Press. For more books and archival collections about the American West, please contact for assistance in DeGolyer Library.

Owen Wister, chronicler of the West, gentleman of the East by Darwin Payne (1985)




Collection of western film scripts, MSS 76

Payne, Darwin. Owen Wister, chronicler of the West, gentleman of the East. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1985.

Wister, Owen. The Virginian: a horseman of the plains. New York: Macmillan, 1902.

Wister, Owen. The Virginian. New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1945. 8th printing.

Wister, Owen. The Virginian. New York: Editions for the Armed Forces, 1945.

Wister, Owen. The Virginian: a horseman of the plains. Cody, Wyoming : McCracken Research Library, Buffalo Bill Historical Center, 2002. 100th anniversary edition.

Books Manuscripts Texana

Remembering Larry McMurtry, Texas author and bookseller













Larry McMurtry was an author and bookseller from Archer City, Texas who wrote about Texas and the American West to worldwide acclaim. His best known works include Lonesome Dove, The Last Picture Show, Terms of Endearment, and Brokeback Mountain. In 1969 his novel, The Last Picture Show, shared the Texas Institute of Letters award for best fiction with Tom Pendleton’s novel Iron Orchard.


Larry McMurtry letter to Franklin Gilliam, 1983

Booked Up, Larry McMurtry’s book store, began in Washington D.C in 1970, and moved to his hometown in Archer City in 1988. He purchased from book dealers like Franklin Gilliam and John Holmes Jenkins.  The  DeGolyer Library has some of McMurtry’s personal letters in both Gilliam and Jenkins’ collections. A separate selection of McMurtry’s personal letters are also available in the library, and the one above addressed to Franklin Gilliam talks about his “cowboy-novel-to-end-all-cowboy-novels”: Lonesome Dove.

Larry McMurtry inscription to Franklin and Mary Gilliam















Works about Larry McMurtry include Taking Stock: A Larry McMurtry Casebook by Clay Reynolds, published by SMU Press; and The Bookman: A Story About Larry McMurtry’s Other Day Job by Stayton Bonner. Promotional materials for McMurtry’s films are available in the Larry McMurtry In Film Collection, which includes movie posters, pressbooks, and trailers.



Please contact for questions about Larry McMurtry books and manuscripts in DeGolyer Library.



Bonner, Stayton. The Bookman : a Story About Larry McMurtry’s Other Day Job. Archer City, Tex.: Three Dog Press, 2006.

Franklin Gilliam papers, A2020.0013

John Holmes Jenkins papers, A2015.0001. Finding aid available at

Larry McMurtry letters, A1998.2204c

Larry McMurtry in film collection, Ag1986.0569x. Finding aid available at

McMurtry, Larry. Horseman, Pass By. New York: Harper, 1961.

McMurtry, Larry. Lonesome Dove. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1985.

Reynolds, Clay. Taking Stock : a Larry McMurtry Casebook. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1989.

Books Manuscripts

Nela Río, Argentine-Canadian artist and educator

Portrait of Nela Rio
Nela Río

Nela Río was born in Córdoba, Argentina in 1938 and was a writer from an early age. She studied literature in college in Argentina, at Emory University in Georgia, and finally earned a graduate degree from the University of New Brunswick in Canada. The political environment in Mendoza, Argentina and her first husband’s teaching career prompted her moves to Georgia, then Canada, where she has been a citizen since 1977. Río is known as a poet and professor of literature for over three decades at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick.



Books by Nela Rio
Books by Nela Río






Major themes in Nela Río’s work include ideological repression; violence against women; illness and aging; love and sexuality; revision of traditional myths; migration, exile, and nomadism. She states in her professional resume:

“In spite of the violence of some of the situations, love, tenderness and solidarity are prevalent in my work; I want my poems and short stories to praise life and the tone of my writing is definitely celebratory.”


Nela Río’s papers include her drafts, artist books, academic work, correspondence with authors, and materials for three international poem poster collaborations.

Poem poster by Livia Diaz
Poem poster by Livia Diaz

In addition to her personal papers, Río donated her book collection that includes authors from Latin America, Canada, and the United States. The vast majority are volumes of poetry, but there are also novels, short stories, and serials in Spanish, French, and English. Researchers should note there are also works on literature, women’s rights, and political history in Latin American countries. Over 800 titles have been recently cataloged, and many of the books are inscribed to Río by the authors.

Books in the Nela Rio collectionBooks in the Nela Rio collection

The finding aid to the collection is available online, and books in her collection can be found in the online catalog by using the search string “Part of the Nela Río collection.”


Please contact for questions about Nela Río’s papers and her book collection in DeGolyer Library.

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).





Books Uncategorized

Turkey Season

It’s not hard to figure out why Turkey, and its preceding political entities, the former Ottoman Empire, Byzantine Empire,  and Eastern Roman Empire, have been written about at length by western European diplomats, historians, and travelers.   The region which encompasses some of the earliest sites of permeant human settlement, is positioned at a critical geographic point for trade, and has a distinct and rich culture of food, art, literature, and architecture.

page of a book
“The Life of Solyman” from ‘The Generall Historie’

The DeGolyer Library is home to a number of books on Turkey and the Ottoman Empire, from early modern political histories to travel guides and essays that help define Romantic Orientalism. One of the earliest works in our collection is The Generall Historie of the Turkes, written by historian Richard Knolles.  Published in 1603, it was part of what was then a trend of 16th and early 17th century works about Turkey.  These titles, particularly the histories, were usually published in Latin, making Knolles’ work the first to appear in English. It’s not surprising that studies of the Ottoman Empire were popular during Knolles’ life, as it had become one of the dominant economic, political, and military powers in the world.


Title page and frontispiece
‘The History of the Present State of the Ottoman Empire’ title page

Knolles’ work was popular enough to see multiple editions reprinted over the century, with updates from later authors, including Edward Grimestone and Ambassador Sir Thomas Roe.  In 1700, Sir Paul Rycaut wrote an edition of Generall Historie, which built on his existing reputation as an authority on the Ottoman Empire, earned through his service as private secretary to Heneage Finch, ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, and as British Consul at Smyrna. What made Rycaut truly famous in regard to Ottoman studies was his 1666 book The History of the Present State of the Ottoman Empire. This was the first English account by an author with a personal in-depth understanding of the Empire, though it was also shaped by the legacy of Generall Historie, as well as the contemporary politics of the Stuart Restoration. The numerous editions received attest to its popularity throughout Europe.


Black and white illustration of a man in front of buildings by a river
An illustration from ‘Beauties of the Bosphorus’

In the late 18th and early 19th century, Romanticism took hold of Europe’s intelligentsia. Characterized by a glorification of the past, nature, and emotions, the movement birthed a wave of Orientalism.  A Western tradition of scholarship and art anchored in a fascination with the eastern world, particularly Islam and the Middle East, Orientalism is also defined by a prejudiced outsider’s interpretation of the history and cultures it focuses on. During the period, travelogues and memoirs of Turkey became fashionable.  The DeGolyer has a number of examples of this genre, including Records of Travels in Turkey, Greece, &c (1833) by Adolphus Slade, Travels in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia and Turkey (1827) by George Matthew Jones, and The Beauties of the Bosphorus [sic], written by novelist Julia Pardoe in 1838, which is pictured here. Bosphorus features Pardoe’s rumination on society in Istanbul, and features numerous illustrations of the region and its natural and architectural beauty.



If you’d like to learn more about any of the books mentioned above, contact Christina Jensen at



Ingram, Anders. Writing the Ottomans : Turkish History in Early Modern England, Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2015. ProQuest Ebook Central,





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

Books Manuscripts Texana

Remember the Alamo

Thirteen Days to Glory
13 Days to Glory by Lon Tinkle

It’s been 184 years since the battle of the Alamo was fought between February 23 and March 6, 1836 in San Antonio, Texas. Stephen Hardin’s Handbook of Texas article explains the context of these thirteen days that eventually led to Texas’ independence from Mexico.

Lon Tinkle’s papers contain manuscripts for his 1958 book, 13 Days to Glory, and materials related to the 1960 film and 1986 television movie inspired by his book.

The Alamo tickets and screenplay
The Alamo screenplay and tickets to the 1960 film premiere


Other notable manuscripts in the DeGolyer Library include:

Edward Hall letter to Andrew Briscoe, 1836 May 21  

Edward Hall writes to Andrew Briscoe about the cost of land in Texas, the reaction of the news of Santa Anna’s capture, and his hopes for awards due to those who fought for Texas independence.

Benjamin Franklin Hughes’ memoir
Hughes was a career soldier in the nineteenth century, and his memoir describes his experience as a fifteen-year-old soldier for the Texian Army during the battles of Refugio and Coleto. He was saved from the Goliad massacre by Francita Alavez.

Benjamin Franklin Hughes diary
Benjamin Franklin Hughes diary

Please contact for assistance with these and other materials available in DeGolyer Library.

Remember the Alamo music
Remember the Alamo by Jessie Beattie Thomas
















Handbook of Texas Online, Stephen L. Hardin. “Alamo, Battle of the,”accessed February 18, 2020,

Hughes, Benjamin Franklin. Benjamin Franklin Hughes memoir, A2017.0023x

Matovina, Timothy M. The Alamo remembered : Tejano accounts and perspectives. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1995. F390.M485 1995

Thomas, Jessie Beattie. Remember the Alamo. St. Louis, Mo.: Thomas & Davis, 1908. Oversize Pamphlet M1658.T35 T46 1908

Thompson, Frank T. The Alamo : the illustrated story of the epic film. New York: Newmarket Press, 2004. Folio PN1997.A3219 T46 2004

Tinkle, Lon. 13 Days to Glory. New York: McGraw Hill, 1958. F390.T5 1958b



Hollywood Bookshelves

It’s always fun to come across evidence of provenance in our collection.  From bookplates belonging to eighteenth century aristocrats, to the carefully written name of a young reader on the front page of a nineteenth century children’s book, I can’t help but imagine the life of a book’s previous owners.

For our newly accessioned copy of Boz: An Intimate Biography of Charles Dickens, I didn’t have to imagine much, because the owner was one of the twentieth century’s most famous figures—Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor.

The inscription on this copy reads; “To Miss Elizabeth Taylor, a fine little actress, with the best wishes of Joseph C. Boarman author of Boz April 4, 1946”

Taylor would have received this copy when she was 14 years old, two years after her breakout performance in National Velvet.  If you’d like to know more about this book, email Christina Jensen, Head of Public Services, at