News from the DeGolyer Library
February 2022
Our Latest Exhibit
“Black Lives, Black Letters: Primary Sources in African American History and Literature,” highlights 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 Wheatley to Toni Morrison, from Frederick Douglass to Barack Obama, are represented. But more often than not, our sources are 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 meditation 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.
News and Notes
The Natalie Ornish papers, part of the Archives of Women of the Southwest, are currently being processed. Ornish was a businesswoman, philanthropist, and historian, who researched and documented Jewish communities in Texas. Born in Galveston in 1926 to Jewish parents, Ornish earned a bachelor's degree in English from Sam Houston State Teachers College and a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern. She worked as an editor for The Associated Press, and later in the public relations industry. In 1988 Ornish founded Texas Heritage Press, through which she published numerous studies on Texas and Jewish history. Click here to learn more about Ornish and her papers.
In "Remember the Ladies...Adlene Harrison 1923-2022" Samantha Dodd pays tribute to the first woman mayor of Dallas, Adlene Harrison. Harrison served in the Dallas City Council from 1973 to 1977 before becoming the first Jewish woman to serve as a mayor of a major U.S. city. While in office, Harrison supported environmental and historic preservation legislation. After serving as Dallas mayor, Harrison was appointed to the EPA, where she continued her efforts against air pollution. Click here to read more.
From the Stacks
Collection Highlight

The Priscilla Art Club was founded in 1911 as a social and artistic club for young, married African-American women in Dallas. Founded under Mattie Mansfield Chalmers, the Priscilla Art Club was one of the oldest clubs in Dallas, with membership drawn from the upper class of African-American society in Dallas at the time. Between 1932 and 1941, the Graphic History of Negro Dallas album was compiled, which captured members, their houses, businesses, and social circles. Featured neighborhoods include Old East Dallas, Deep Ellum, and Oak Lawn. To explore the full album, click here. And click here to learn more about the club and view other archival sources which document its history.
Recent Accessions
In the DeGolyer’s Prints & Photographs division, there have been two exciting donations of groups of photographs. Lorraine Anne Davis has generously made a second donation of over 100 photographs from different historical periods. The donation includes works by such noted photographers as Paul Strand, Eugene Atget, Francis Frith, William Henry Jackson, Lady Clementina Howarden, Gorgio Sommer, William Carter and more. Such gifts as these greatly enhance the DeGolyer’s ability to serve a wide variety of researchers studying photographs and photographers from different time periods and locations.
An additional donation of more contemporary photography has been made by a group of collectors. The donations include more than 700 photographs by Larry Fink and Ralph Gibson as well as a group of editioned Gold Trees series pictures by Joyce Tenneson, and many by Walter Iooss, Peter Turnley, Kristin Capp, and photojournalist Donna Ferrato. These images by noted photographers significantly broaden DeGolyer holdings of diverse works by contemporary image-makers. 
Newly Digitized Items
274 images, circa 1885-1975, from the John Miller Morris Real Photographic Postcard and Photographs Collection were uploaded by nCDS to the digital library last month. The images were digitized thanks to support from a U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. When you explore the images you'll see why funding agencies saw the value in making them widely available, as they, and the larger collection, showcase the incredible natural and cultural diversity of Texas and its history. Click here to explore the collection.
DeGolyer Book Plate
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