The Degolyer Library: a Rare Gem of Texas and Mexico Historical Materials at SMU

The DeGolyer Library is the principal repository at SMU for special collections in the humanities and the histories of business, science, technology, transportation and photography. The library houses extensive collections on the history of Texas and Mexico and provides members of the SMU community as well as scholars and researchers worldwide with resources for study and research.

The DeGolyer Library has played a significant role in the educational and cultural scenes of Dallas. The library began as the private collection of Everette L. DeGolyer, Sr., an extraordinary book collector and philanthropist who was a major figure in the twentieth-century oil business and pioneered work in the fields of petroleum geology and geophysics. After Mr. DeGolyer’s death in 1956, the collection was maintained by the DeGolyer Foundation and expanded by Everette L. DeGolyer, Jr., before being given to SMU in 1973.

The library, housed in the original Fondren Library building, offers unique physical and digital collections as well as exhibitions, lectures, publications, and other programs. Significant Texas-Mexico collections include the Elmer and Diane Powell Collection on Mexico and the Mexican Revolution – found here – and the historical Photographs, Manuscripts, and Imprints collections for both Texas and Mexico. The unique primary materials of the DeGolyer Library, totaling around 150,000 rare books, 2,500 manuscript collections, 900,000 photographs, 3,000 early maps, 2,000 periodical and newspaper titles, and a sizable collection of printed ephemera, are available to the SMU community as well as to visiting scholars and other researchers.

Images courtesy of DeGolyer Library, SMU. Go here to learn more about the library and how to visit.

This post was written by Katherine Rossmiller ’21. She is a Meadows Scholar studying Public Policy and Music with minors in American Politics and Statistical Science. She is on the Pre-Law track and is also involved with SMU’s Symphony Orchestra and the Belle Tones.

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