News from the DeGolyer Library
January 2022
Coming Soon
Black Lives, Black Letters:
Primary Sources in African American History
“Black Lives, Black Letters: Primary Sources in African American History,” will highlight the range of DeGolyer Library’s holdings in this area, featuring rare books, pamphlets, broadsides, sheet music, prints, photographs, manuscripts, and ephemera documenting aspects of the Black experience in America, from the colonial period to the present. Well known figures, from Phillis Whitney to Toni Morrison, from Frederick Douglass to Barack Obama, will be represented. But more often than not, our sources will be drawn from much less familiar, sometimes anonymous, figures from the past, in literature, education, politics, religion, business, sports, the performing arts, domestic life, and popular culture.
Our exhibition is designed to complement a lecture at SMU on March 24 by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Annette Gordon-Reed, whose recent book, On Juneteenth, is both a personal memoir of growing up in segregated Texas and a profound mediation on the meaning of our shared past. “All the major currents of American history flow through Texas,” she writes. We agree, and will attempt to illustrate that fact through this exhibition, bringing attention to important, previously overlooked voices.

Opening date is scheduled for Feb. 10, 2022

An Eye for Elegance, Carrie Marcus Neiman and the Women Who Shaped Neiman Marcus

Virtual Exhibit Launch

If you missed seeing our blockbuster exhibit about Carrie Marcus Neiman in person, you can visit our virtual exhibit to view items, see installation images, and learn more about Carrie's life and legacy.

For questions, contact Anne E. Peterson, Curator of Photographs, DeGolyer Library, email:
News and Notes
We were saddened to learn of the death of author Jane Roberts Wood on Jan. 19. Jane was a great friend of the DeGolyer Library and one of the leading writers in Texas, honored by critics and beloved by the general reading public. She is best known for her novels, beginning with A Train to Estelline (1987), but she also taught for many years in the Dallas County Community College and in the continuing education program at SMU. 

Estelline was followed by A Place Called Sweet Shrub (1990) and Dance a Little Longer (1993), comprising a trilogy based on the life of her strong-willed heroine, Lucy Richards Arnold. More novels were to come: Grace (2001), Roseborough (2003), and Out the Summerhill Road (2010). Jane’s work was steeped in the values of small-town Texas, which she knew well, both in its West Texas and East Texas manifestations. Conflicts, prejudices, and hypocrisies were balanced by humor, good will, and charity. We were pleased to publish Seven Stories (2011), a collection of some of her best shorter fiction. 

Jane also co-edited another volume of short fiction, Out of Dallas: 14 Stories (1989). And she took pleasure in writing a children’s book, Mocha: The Real Doctor (2003), in which a cat who lives at a veterinary hospital makes night-time rounds to visit with various animals.

Jane was a member of the Texas Institute of Letters and honored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. She donated her papers to the DeGolyer Library in 2011, where they will be preserved and made accessible to scholars interested in her life and work. We extend our sympathies to her family and many friends.
Looking for something new to read? Check out Danielle Dreilinger's The Secret History of Home Economics, which was chosen by NPR as one of their best books of 2021.

Dreilinger worked with the J. C. Penney records and SMU Archives in 2019 when researching her study of the surprising feminist history behind the science of better living.

DeGolyer Library staff have begun surveying the collection for ‘poison books’ from the 19th century, bound in emerald green cloth containing toxic arsenate pigments.

DeGolyer Library recently requested color guides (pictured here) from Winterthur Museum, which will help us identify possible poison books which will be added to a national arsenical books database, so that librarians and conservators can quickly identify and care for the books in their collections.
For a history of the Poison Book Project and arsenical bindings, visit
Friend of the DeGolyer Tom Taylor is the subject of a new documentary short feature. We Took Care of Our Texts explores Taylor's career as a book dealer, and celebrates the a culture and community of book arts in Texas.
New Finding Aids and Collections

E.L. DeGolyer Jr. was the first director of DeGolyer Library. His papers include personal and railroad-related correspondence, railroad research, photographs, scrapbooks, and materials for Southern Methodist University business history courses he taught in the 1970s.

Jerome McDonough was a Texas playwright and high school drama teacher in Amarillo, Texas. His papers include his manuscripts, unpublished memoir, correspondence, photographs, audiovisual materials, and scrapbooks.

Virgil Willard Teufel was a surveyor for Geophysical Service Inc. in the 1940s-1950s. His papers contain diaries, business correspondence, and surveys.

Recently Accessioned

A2021.0035  - Nellie Potts Martin diaries
A2021.0036x - Musa Dunn scrapbooks

A2021.0037c - Society for the Reformation of Men's Evening Costume : a short catechism for the use of neophytes : autograph manuscript
From the Stacks
Collection Highlight

209 years after it was first published by Thomas Egerton and sold for 18 shillings, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice remains one of the most beloved novels of the English language. Featured here is Stanley and Billie Marcus's copy from The Limited Editions Club, featuring illustrations by Helen Sewell, and designed and printed by Daniel Berkeley Updike of The Merrymount Press in Boston in 1940.

Recent Accessions
A collection of letters by Charmian London, writer and wife of Jack London, were recently acquired by the DeGolyer. The collection of 10 letters date from 1915 to 1920 discuss her and her husband's literary works, as well as her grief at his passing in 1916. In a letter from that year to a friend, she wrote advice we could all take to heart; "take good care of yourself; it is the greatest thing in the world, to keep one's body fit, and then the mind keeps fit. You owe it to yourself, to me, to the cosmos, to keep yourself in conditions to deliver the best work." Click here to learn more about the collection.
Newly Digitized Items
Course catalogs from 1915-1921 were added to the digital library last month. The catalogs give a detailed look into how SMU operated in its early years, with a directory of students, faculty, and administration, as well as courses offered, campus information, and general student life regulations. Click here to view the collection.
DeGolyer Book Plate
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