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.

Archives of Women of the Southwest SMU Archives

Remembering Ruth Morgan, March 8, 2021

Ruth P. Morgan, undated
Ruth P. Morgan, undated


Ruth P. Morgan was born in Berkeley, Calif., in 1934. Her family moved to Austin, Texas in 1939 when her father joined the University of Texas faculty. Ruth P. Morgan came to Southern Methodist University in 1966 as assistant professor of political science. She taught several courses including the American presidency and modern political thought. Her skills as an academician and pedagogue were recognized by both her colleagues and pupils, and she was twice named SMU’s outstanding professor. Dr. Ruth Morgan was actively involved in improving and developing SMU as an institution. While professor, she served as president of the Faculty Senate.

Press release, pg. 1, August 25th, 1987
Press release, pg. 1, August 25th, 1987
Press release, pg. 2, August 25th, 1987
Press release, pg. 2, August 25th, 1987














In 1978 she joined the provost’s office and her talent for managerial and administrative tasks proved priceless. She quickly climbed the ranks in this office. In 1986 she was named interim provost to fill the position left by William B. Stallcup, Jr., and in 1987, SMU’s ninth president, A. Kenneth Pye, made the appointment permanent. Morgan served an efficacious and diligent six years as provost and stepped down from her post in 1993.

During her term as SMU’s chief academic officer, Morgan reached many milestones including:

  • Appointment of four deans of degree-granting schools
  • Appointment of scholars to 23 endowed professorships
  • Awarded tenue to 80 faculty members
  • Filled new position of dean of research, graduate studies and information
  • New studies programs including: an evening degree program in humanities or social sciences, a joint master’s program in law and applied economics, an enriched and expanded two-year MBA program

In the provost’s office she held a number of positions including chair of a steering committee on self-study and program review. As the university’s first female provost, Dr. Morgan helped update the school’s academic program by increasing requirements for science, language and writing. She also established interdisciplinary programs in international and ethnic studies, as well as doctorate programs in both psychology and physics.

Dr. Morgan retired as provost emeritus and professor emeritus of political science at Southern Methodist University in 1995. Her published works include The President and Civil Rights: Policy-Making by Executive Order, 1987, and Governance by Decree: the Impact of the Voting Rights Act in Dallas, 2004.

Ruth Morgan served on the board of the Archives of Women of the Southwest for a number of years and is remembered is tributes of the Remember the Ladies campaign.

The Ruth P. Morgan papers, circa 1960s-1990s, reflect her activities as a civic leader in the Dallas Summit, the Dallas Forum, Charter 100, and the Hockaday School. These files also include her term as member and chair of SMU’s Shared Governance Board, University Assembly, and other activities at the University.

The Ruth P. Morgan Faculty papers  includes correspondence, invitations, subject and reading files, miscellaneous, administrative files, and her meeting notes and calendar. Although these records cover Dr. Morgan’s faculty career, the majority of the files reflect her years as Provost.

Contact Samantha Dodd, curator of the Archives of Women of the Southwest for additional information or assistance with accessing these materials. The DeGolyer Library awards the Ruth P. Morgan grants to encourage encourage work in women’s history or political history.

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.

SMU Archives Uncategorized

SMU and the Spanish Flu

On October 1st, 1918, The Campus, SMU’s student newspaper, led with stories on an upcoming football game between the Mustangs and the Texas Longhorns, a look at how SMU was losing faculty to war work, and an exploration of street car service in University Park.

News about the First World War was found throughout the issue, including a student obituary on the final page.  “Elonzo Sessions Dies in the U.S. Navy” described the passing of a second year Newspaper clippingstudent from Altus, Oklahoma.  He was the third SMU student to die in service.  But he wasn’t killed in action, or during training.  Instead, the newspaper notes that “an attack of Spanish influenza developed into pneumonia, from which he did not recover.”

This was the first record of the 1918 pandemic found in the SMU student publication digital archives. The pandemic appeared in March of 1918, and spread throughout the United States, often moving throughout the network of Army training camps across the country.  By October 1st of that year, the second wave of the pandemic was underway.  This wave began in late August, and is noted for being the deadliest period for the pandemic.  The first wave resembled previous flu outbreaks, with the elderly and children most at risk.  The second wave was when unique pattern of that pandemic became apparent, as young healthy adults represented a higher than expected number of fatalities.

A week later, The Campus noted that the Texas-SMU game would be delayed.  Unlike sports delays in the fall of 2020, this was due to conflicts with military training Newspaperschedules.  A short blurb let readers know that “Spanish influenza invaded the barracks of SMU at the opening of school.  However, every precaution is being used that applies to that disease. The number of cases up to date is about fifty-four. The daily sick list, however, bears about thirty. As yet no serious cases have developed, and because of this the head nurse, Miss Wilson, believes the infirmary will soon be emptied.”

Throughout November, influenza stories were outnumbered by coverage of the end of the war.  There wasn’t a daily count of the number of students and employees testing positive or in quarantine. Yet midway through the month, the tragedy of the pandemic announced itself.  On November 13th, it was reported that Freshman Ora Mae Cox died.  Two weeks later, A.A. Vick, the SMU Registrar, sophomore Monroe Burson, and recent graduate Frank Rye had passed away. This was followed by the deaths of Student Army Training Corps (SATC) members Alvin H. Tolle, a freshman, and Dudley W. Ayres, a sophomore, and Elonzo Harvey.  Issues of The Campus also carried notes of students who fell ill and recovered, and numerous cases of students and alumni who had died from pneumonia.


Newspaper articleThe final story about the influenza ran on January 29, 1919.  “Memorial Services in Honor of S.M.U. Heroes on Friday” described a recent gathering and moment of silence at the university chapel. 473 students enlisted during the war, and 11 died in service.  Among these men, one died during a training accident, three were killed in action, six of pneumonia, and one of the influenza–Elonzo Sessions.


Dallas was largely spared from the third and fourth wave of the pandemic.  If you’d like to read more about Spanish Influenza in the Metroplex, check out the stories below:

Influenza Encyclopedia: Dallas, Texas

In 1918, Dallas and Fort Worth weren’t worried about the flue.  In a month, 1,200 died

Here’s how Dallas managed the 1918 flu pandemic

100 years ago, the deadliest flu of all time devastated Dallas as it swept through the world

 A pandemic devastated Dallas more than a century ago. Here’s why hundreds died


Explore SMU student newspapers by clicking here:


Questions? Email Christina Jensen, Head of Public Services, as

SMU Archives Uncategorized

Exploring the Voices of SMU Collection

Last week, black students and alumni on Twitter described the racism, hate-speech, microaggressions, and harassment by police that they faced at SMU, with the hashtag #BlackAtSMU

To learn more about the historical experiences of black students at SMU, consider exploring the Voices of SMU Oral History and Digital Humanities Student Projects. The university archives is dedicated to documenting the whole of the student experience. Like most libraries and archives, the DeGolyer Library and the SMU Archives has fallen short in collecting, documenting, and supporting black voices and works.  A key part of our efforts to make up for these shortcomings is the Voices of SMU Oral History Project, a collaboration between students, alumni, and entities across campus, led by Dr. Jill Kelly from the Clements Department of History,  SMU Archivist Joan Gosnell, and the Norwick Center for Digital Solutions.

From their blog:

With Voices of SMU, Undergraduate Research Assistants conduct oral history interviews with SMU alumni from underrepresented groups. The oral histories are made available online in the SMU Libraries Digital Collections. The project grew out of a “Doing Oral History” class in 2018 and has since enabled extracurricular research experience for students—using the university archives, conducting and preserving interviews, presenting at conferences, and publishing their findings.

The interviews document not only the history of the university, but Texas as well, including the desegregation of higher education, the experiences of African American and Latinx university students, and black and brown student activism in Texas. They speak to growing up in Dallas’ Little Mexico; post-World War II African American community-building in places such as Hamilton Park, Dallas; studying as an undocumented student; organizing as minority seminarians and student activists; and shaping Texas’s churches, social ministries, and business communities upon graduation.”

The Oral History interviews are viewable through our digital library. You can browse the interviews with black students and alumni by clicking here.

Some highlights from interviews with recent graduates:

Charis ‘Kay’ Rodgers (Class of 2018)

Troy Alley (Class of 2015)

Vanessa Uzoh (B.A. 2013, M.S. 2019)


Contact Joan Gosnell at to learn more


SMU Archives Uncategorized

Documenting Student Life during Covid-19

It started, as these things do, with a conversation. Jill Kelly, history professor, had an idea that she shared with Cindy Boeke, digital collections librarian, and me, the SMU university archivist. Jill said, “What do you think about having a history intern use Zoom to interview students about their experiences during this time of Covid-19?”

That was all it took. I instantly loved this. If I had something like this from the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, I would be beyond happy.

RAs discussing interview
SMU undergraduate Research Assistants discussing Anga Sanders’ interview. From left to right Sryia Reddy, Nia Kamau, Carson Dudick, and India Simmons.

Some background: I work with the Voices of SMU Oral History project. Undergraduate Research Assistants, funded by the Undergraduate Research Program of the Office of Engaged Learning, interview Southern Methodist University alumni of color about their experiences as students to diversity the university archive. We’ve been working on this for almost three years—the students have completed over 130 interviews to date. Its success has been made possible by fabulous graduate student project managers and support from the Friends of the Libraries, the Provost’s Office of Student Academic Engagement and Success, the William P. Clements Department of History, and many others. Our students are wonderful (you know who you are). The folks from the amazing nCDS provide the necessary (and seamless) infrastructure and technical support. Jill Kelly is our fearless leader.

In all of my reading during this past month (has it only been a month?), I keep reading about how other archives are documenting Covid. Yes, I had started documenting what SMU did before we left the campus. I had printed out all the early emails. I have a email file with all the recent emails about how the hilltop is coping with Covid. The Daily Campus has started a “Class of Covid” special project.

I thought about asking people to journal knowing that it would be good for them (and good for the archives). In fact, I had spoken to history graduate student T. Ashton Reynolds about journaling. I knew my archivist friend Amy Schindler at University of Nebraska at Omaha had asked for journals. But, try as I could, I can’t even journal as much as I wanted to.

Journal with no words
Journal with no words

I just can’t gather my thoughts together in a coherent way.  How could I ask SMU students to do something that I could not?

Jill has a history student with a terrific resume (great interpersonal and organizational skills) who wants to do an internship during this summer.  As we know, this will be a distance internship. We brainstormed how we could help a student intern build archival skills as they would in person from afar, and one that would keep someone engaged remotely. nCDS experimented with Zoom, the distance meeting program that has taken over all of our lives this last month, for some Voices interviews last year. Then, the idea.

We plan for our student intern to interview graduating students (and maybe some staff and faculty) to talk about how the coronavirus impacted their lives. Our student will learn about the basics of oral history, from ethics, to asking open-ended questions and the nitty-gritty detail of recording and preservation. We will work together to come up with some good basic questions for the interviews. And we will talk about whether or not these interviews should be “quarantined” for a number of years. We want our interviewees to speak freely.

During and after the internship, the SMU archives will have to do the fundraising to get transcripts done. I don’t want the archivist after me to have these materials just in the cloud, but not accessible.  It all started with a conversation. And it will end with many conversations about how we survived and sometimes even thrived during these very trying times.


Written by Joan Gosnell, SMU University Archivist




SMU Archives

Doing It–Creating Controversy at SMU

Cover of controversial student handbook, “doing it.”

During the summer, our friends at the William G Jones film archives discovered a fascinating, and little known, story

about an uproar at Southern Methodist University in its WFAA Newsfilm Collection.  The controversy centered over the student handbook. Student handbooks are often the most mundane of publications—they’re rarely even read by the students who are the target audience. Not so, in September 1974 here on the Hilltop.

SMU’s first student handbook was published by the YMCA for the 1916-1917 school year.  It listed the names of faculty, administrators, and the officers of both the YMCA and the YWCA, and published the football schedule. Most importantly, it had a listing of all sorts of college slang for incoming freshmen including “Prexy” for President and “the dump,” for the men’s dormitory.

First student handbook at SMU

The handbook evolved into the “M” book, which continued to be published by the YMCA. It focused on clubs, traditions, the structure of the university, and some rules and regulations. There was usually space for students to keep a calendar or notes within the book–encouraging them to use the handbook for more than just the first weeks of school.  The “M” book was distributed to all students.

In the fall of 1968, the Office of the Vice-President for Student Affairs began publishing the SMU Enchiridion. The SMU Enchiridion was a manual of rules governing students of Southern Methodist University and mainly contained rules and regulations. In the fall of 1973, the Student senate formed an ad-hoc committee to create a new student handbook.  This was done with the blessing of Student Affairs.  The committee completed its work in the summer of 1974.   This time, however, the editors decided to have a little fun with the publication.

Doing It poked fun at campus security, the women’s symposium, students, and the administration. Reflecting its time, the handbook mentioned drug use, premarital sex, and used profanity. The straw that broke the camel’s back was this photo.

Male and Female students in a men’s bathroom

The Student Senate, after spending $6,400 on production and printing, rejected the handbooks, and refused to distribute them. Someone, however, broke into the Senate offices and stole 200 copies–and distributed them widely.  After more deliberation, the Senate reluctantly authorized distribution of handbooks with a disclaimer attached saying that they were not authorized.

Meanwhile, the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs updated the Enchiridion, which became the “official” handbook for school year 1974-1975.  It only had rules, regulations, and organizational structure. There was nothing about student clubs or activities.

Although right now, only five student handbooks have been digitized, the SMU Archives is planning to digitize our whole collection from 1916 to 2006.  Stay tuned to catch them all.


SMU Archives

Remembering Marsh Terry


Marsh Terry, also known as “Mr. SMU,” was born this day–February 7.  He was a long-term friend of the DeGolyer Library.  For a while, he even had an office (Room 318) here.

Marsh graduated from SMU.  Marsh worked at SMU.  Marsh taught at SMU.  And Marsh wrote about SMU.  From High on the Hilltop is his informal history filled with insights based on his long association with the university.  It is available from the DeGolyer Library for $34.95.

One of his earliest published works, “Night Alone,” appeared in the December 1952 Hoofprints, a SMU student publication.  His last published work from 2011, Loving U. The Story of a Love Affair (and Some Lover’s Quarrels) with a University. A Memoir was also published by a SMU entity–the DeGolyer Library.  If you want to read it, it is available from us for $25.

We celebrate Marsh, the writer.  We also remember  Marsh, our friend.  We miss his breaking into song, the twinkle in his eye, and his wisdom.  Thank you Marsh for all that you have given to Southern Methodist University.

SMU Archives

SMU Mustang Band: Celebrating 100 Years

The Mustang Band will be celebrating its 100th anniversary during SMU’s Homecoming this month. Known for its school spirit, its use of jazz music, and its uniforms, the band has made an indelible contribution to our campus throughout the past 100 years.

The band’s uniforms have their own history.  On November 3, 1922, the student newspaper reported that Cullum and Borem donated $25 to start the fund to “buy suits for the boys.”  SMU Vice President Horace Whaling said, “The Band can play some mighty pretty music, now what they need is some pretty uniforms to go with it.”

By 1925, the band uniforms were already in disarray.  Student-led director Cy Barcus was not taking care of the uniforms and equipment, so SMU Business Manager Layton Bailey sent this scolding letter.

Letter to Cy Barcus about untidy uniforms
Layton Bailey gets an inventory of the uniforms.

After this youthful indiscretion, Barcus graduated but returned as the first band director. He pioneered a number of new ideas, including introducing “swing” or Jazz music to the band.  He also persuaded Coach Ray Morrison to bring in a small black pony, soon to become known as Peruna I, as a mascot. Cy Barcus also started the flutter-tongue introduction on his cornet to get the band’s attention – still used today! After his service to the Mustang Band, Barcus became a Methodist minister.

In 1956, the Student Activity fee began allocating funds to the Mustang Band for uniforms.  The Daily Campus noted that before uniforms were always funded by donations. From 1956 through 1972, the Student Activity Fee made regular allocations to the uniform fund. Often this was $1,000.

In 1959-1960, Dr. Irving Dreibolt began introducing new uniforms to the Mustang Band.  By 1968-1969, the band had a total of 20 different uniforms in its wardrobe.  Some were exceptionally traditional; others, like the horse uniform, were anything but. With a wardrobe of unique uniforms, the band became known as the “Best Dressed Band in the Land.”

The infamous horse uniform
Traditional uniform, but not a traditional–or sanctioned–location.

No matter which uniform they wore, Mustang Band members have always jazzed up Southern Methodist University.

Events SMU Archives Uncategorized

Ask An Archivist

Oct. 4, 2017 is “Ask An Archivist” day.  This yearly Twitter campaign began in 2010 to engage everyday people who want to know about historic collections and the people who work with those collections.


The SMU Archives has formally participated in Twitter’s #Ask An Archivist day for only 2 years, but this day always brings a smile.  For the DeGolyer Library, every day is “Ask An Archivist Day.”

We’ve gotten questions about SMU history (“Why does the sundial in front of Dallas Hall not work correctly?”).  We’ve gotten questions about specific collections (“I want to find my mother’s wedding gown as seen in the 1974 JCPenney catalog” or Are there any copyright restrictions for an image in the Texas Instruments collection that I want to use?”).

We’ve gotten questions from students in library school wanting to know about how to become an archivist.  We’ve given advice to friends and co-workers about how to save their family photographs.

Almost each and every day, someone asks an archivist about the materials in the SMU Archives or the DeGolyer Library.  Yes, we even get questions on Sundays. No matter your question or when you decide to ask us, we archivists are happy to follow up with you.

So if you are on Twitter, tweet us (@SMUArchives) or any of the other archivists on the beautiful SMU campus (@artsarchivist, @BridwellLibrary, @metalarchivist, or @SMUJonesFilm) on Oct. 4—or any other day.  We love to help.



SMU Archives

Joining the SMU Community

Preparing students to join college life has always been a concern to university administrators.

In 1915 (and for some years after), freshmen at SMU were called “Fish.” During that first spring semester, seniors pranked two unsuspecting classes with fake finals.  As early as 1919, incoming freshman had mandatory psychological tests. These tests (although updated) remained in place until the mid-1970s.

The first formal freshman orientation was in 1924 and it lasted one day.  It began with a devotional exercise, and President Charles Selecman spoke on the ideals and traditions of SMU.  By 1928 that freshman day had expanded into a five-day-long orientation.

Beanies were a part of freshman life from 1916 until 1963. The first-year student were required to wear beanies until the end of the fall semester or if SMU won the homecoming game—whichever came first.  Beanies had one’s name printed on the front of the hat—and were not the most “fashion-forward” items.  Anyone caught not wearing their beanie was tossed into the fountain.   In 1963, a beanie cost $1.28.


In a book called, “The Freshman Girl,” published in 1925, there was no talk about a formal orientation program, but deans and professors from different colleges and universities discussed how to acclimate new students on how to study, survive social life, budget, and take care of their health.  “There are few groups of human beings more interesting than a class of schoolgirls going out into the new world of college or of society. There are few hearts of men or women that do not yearn toward them, longing to help them….”

Fifty years ago, in 1967, the SMU’s orientation process included a Tuesday to Sunday program-filled schedule.

Freshman in 1967 moved in to their dorm rooms on Tuesday morning. After their first lunch in the cafeteria, they were welcomed in an assembly by Provost Neill McFarland.  Another meeting at 7 pm introduced the group to the Student President.  At 10 pm, men in their dorms, women in theirs, learned their “respective rights and privileges.” Wednesday and Thursday students pored over physical and psychological exams deeming them “fit to be a Mustang.” An all-university street dance was held Thursday night behind Boaz Hall. On Friday, students registered for their first semester of classes.  After learning the SMU cheers on Saturday, students attended a 10 pm until midnight dance. Women had a special curfew of 1 am that night.  On Sunday, students went to religious services.

Today, in the late summer SMU first-year students still take part in an orientation to college life.  Today that process takes place in two steps, AARO  (Academic Advising, Registration, & Orientation) and Mustang Corral.  At AARO, a two-day event, incoming students are advised on classes, and parents are counseled about student life.  During Mustang Corral, a five-day event, first year students are introduced to Dallas, each other, SMU policies, and traditions.

No matter how or when you became a Mustang, we are happy that you joined Southern Methodist University. To relive some of your glory days, you can always visit the SMU Archives in the DeGolyer Library in person or online.