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

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

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,






The Dallas Morning News is 135 years old

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



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


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

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

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

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

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

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


Archives of Women of the Southwest Manuscripts Uncategorized

On the road again…

Margaret Burkhalder scrapbook cover, 1936
Margaret Burkhalder scrapbook cover, 1936

Last summer I stumbled across “Our Trek to the West,” Elizabeth Dalrymple’s manuscript describing the adventurous summer road trip of four women. Their stories made me laugh, and reminisce over my own road trips and exciting excursions with my friends. Given the state of travel these days, it seems like researching a road trip is a good way to spend an afternoon.

I took another dive into the Archives of Women of the Southwest to find other adventurous women, and, behold, I found not one, but several other accounts of women taking off across the country with friends and belongings in tow.

Margaret Burkhalder’s scrapbook contains a travel journal and diary, postcards, clippings, programs, and ephemera from a five week trip from Buffalo, New York to the Midwest and Western United States and Canada with a group of nurses from Buffalo General Hospital, June 11 to July 14, 1936.

Burkhalder documents the cities, sights, and activities in Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, Oregon, Idaho, British Columbia, Alberta, Iowa, Michigan, and Ontario. On the trip, Margaret and her friends visited tourist attractions like the Grand Canyon, Bryce National Park, Los Angeles, Yosemite National Park, San Francisco, Banff, and Mount Rushmore.

Buffalo General Hospital vacation pass, 1936
Buffalo General Hospital vacation pass, 1936

The scrapbook opens with Burkhalder’s pass from Buffalo General Hospital granting her 14 days of vacation from June 12th-26th. The nurses departed their residence at 4:30 a.m. on Thursday June 11, 1936, bound for the west. The party consisted of Ann Clancy, Mildred Gent, Marjorie Craig, Nina Dorey and Margaret.

Margaret Burkhalder scrapbook page, June 17th, 1936
Margaret Burkhalder scrapbook, June 17th, 1936




The scrapbook provides details into the experiences of these women, and what they saw along the road in 1936. On the 7th day of their trip, they stopped at the Painted Desert. “The miles and miles of many colored sand make a very lovely sight. Soon we were at the petrified forest to see the numerous pieces of stone-once wood.” Shortly after lunch, the girls encountered some trouble when the car’s radiator overheated. After a quick repair they hit the trail once more before stopping in Flagstaff for the night.





Margaret Burkhalder scrapbook, June 22, 1936
Margaret Burkhalder scrapbook, June 22, 1936




They arrived in Los Angeles, California just in time for the Biennial Nursing Convention on June 22, “the sole object of our pilgrimage (?)”. Margaret’s account is full of memories, stories, and laughs. Reading through it, I can once again picture myself driving along the highway with my friends, pulling over to experience the adventures of the road.







To learn more about these adventurous women who explored the southwest, be sure to visit the DeGolyer library and check out our books, manuscripts, pamphlets, and photographs.

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

If you opt to hit the road, remember that the journey is part of the adventure.

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


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


Archives of Women of the Southwest Exhibits Manuscripts Photography Uncategorized

Andy Hanson’s Dallas

This winter, we celebrated the life and professional legacy of Andy Hanson with our exhibit Andy Hanson: Picturing Dallas 1960-2008.  The exhibit allowed visitors to appreciate Hanson’s incredible talent and reflect on the history of Dallas. If you were unable to visit the exhibit, you can explore the virtual exhibit at any time by clicking the link below:  

 Andy Hanson

You can also view the digital Andy Hanson collection via the link below:  


Much of Andy’s career was spent in a Dallas newsroom, covering the city’s politicians and leaders.  If you’d like to learn more about the political history of Dallas, consider the following collections:  


Earle Cabell Papers 

Earle and Elizabeth Cabell with campaign supporters

Earle Cabell (1906 – 1975) was a dairyman, food merchant, Dallas mayor, and United States Congressman. In serving as mayor of Dallas, Cabell followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. His term was from 1961 to 1964, during which time he guided the city through the John F. Kennedy assassination and aftermath. Cabell served four consecutive terms as Texas’ Fifth District Congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1964 to 1972.   

You can view the finding aid, in two parts, here: Part 1 Part 2   

And see photographs of Cabell from the Hanson collection here:,%20Earle,%201906-1975/mode/exact 


Erik Jonsson papers

Erik Jonsson

Erik Jonsson (1901-1995) was the Brooklyn-born co-founder and president of Texas Instruments, and mayor of Dallas from 1964 to 1971, which saw among other achievements the development of the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.  A strong advocate for education, Jonsson founded what would become The University of Texas at Dallas.

You can view the finding aid, in three parts, here: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 

And explore the digital collection here: 


James M. Collins Congressional papers  

James M. Collins

James M. Collins (1916-1989) was raised in Dallas and earned a bachelor’s degree from SMU before serving as a captain in Patton’s Third Army, where he earned a Purple Heart.  After years of working in his family’s insurance firm, he was elected in 1968 to the U.S. House of Representatives, serving Texas’ Third Congressional District. After leaving politics in 1983, Collins served as president of SMU Alumni, and as a member of the SMU Board of Trustees.   

View the finding aid here:  


Dallas in the second half of the 20th century was known for its booming businesses and high-society, marked by glamour and decadence.  If you’d like to read more about some movers and shakers captured by Andy, check out the following collections:  

                                                                    Caroline Rose Hunt  papersCaroline Rose Hunt photoCaroline Rose Hunt (1923-2019) was the third of  legendary oilman H.L. Hunt’s fifteen children. As an adult she was recognized as the richest woman in the world, thanks to careful management of her inheritance, and bolstered by the success of the numerous hotels she opened and operated under the Rosewood Hotels and Resorts banner. In addition to her business interests, Hunt published a novel and two cookbooks, and was a dedicated supporter of the arts and humanities.   

The Caroline Rose Hunt papers are currently being processed   

Click below to learn more about the collection: 


Stanley Marcus papers  

Sophia Loren and Stanley Marcus

Stanley Marcus (1905-2002) was the eldest son of Neiman Marcus department store founder Herbert Marcus. He joined the family firm after attending Harvard Business School, and became the creative heart of the company, launching numerous initiatives including in-house fashion shows, industry awards, and the annual Fortnight celebrations, which brought international culture and fashion to Dallas.  “Mr. Stanley” was also a noted patron of the arts and humanities in Dallas, as well as a critical voice for social justice in the city. 

The Stanley Marcus papers are open to researchers 

Click below to view the digital Stanley Marcus collection: 


Ebby Halliday papers  

Ebby Halliday  

Ebby Halliday (1911-2005) went from selling women’s hats to founding and leading one of the world’s largest independently owned real estate firms, earning her the nickname the “First Lady of Real Estate” and recognition as one of the business leaders of Dallas. 

The Ebby Halliday papers are open to researchers. You can also check out her biography Ebby Halliday: the first lady of real estate. 


If you’d like to learn more about the history of Dallas, consider the following titles: 

Book cover


Big D: triumphs and troubles of an American supercity in the 20th century by Darwin Payne 




Book cover

The Dallas Myth: the making and unmaking of an American city by Harvey J. Graff 





Book Cover


Dallas: A History of ‘Big D’ by Michael V. Hazel 







If you have any questions about the collections mentioned above, please email Christina Jensen at, or stop by the DeGolyer reading room.