News from the DeGolyer Library
October 2020

Southern Methodist University
Our Latest Virtual Exhibit
If remembered at all in the popular mind, the Presidential election of 1884 is best known, perhaps, as the "dirtiest" campaign in American history. But the election of 1884 is notable in several other respects. It resulted in the first Democratic victory since 1856. Beyond the personal scandals associated with both candidates and the campaign, many other issues were at stake, some of which were addressed, some of which were suppressed or ignored, such as women's rights, civil rights for African Americans, growing disparities in wealth (and what to do about that), prohibition, civil service reform, and the challenges immigration posed in creating a more pluralistic society. If many of these sound familiar to us today, the election of 1884 is worth a second look.

This exhibit draws on over a hundred objects to tell the story of this moment in American history. The Hervey Priddy Collection, the Danny O. Crew Collection, and the R. Hal Williams Collection are featured prominently, as well as items from the general DeGolyer Library collections. From the beginning, our benefactor Hervey Priddy wanted to mount this exhibit in honor of the late Hal Williams, a beloved and respected professor here at SMU, who had been working on a biography of James G. Blaine at the time of his death. It is a pleasure for us to do so.

A novel by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner, The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today, defined the boom and bust times of the post Civil War era, when unbridled acquisitiveness dominated national life. As they note, tongue-in-cheek: "In a State where there is no fever of speculation, no inflamed desire for sudden wealth, where the poor are all simple-minded and contented, and the rich are all honest and generous, where society is in a condition of primitive purity and politics is the occupation of only the capable and the patriotic, there are necessarily no materials for such a history as we have constructed out of an ideal commonwealth."

1884 was a banner year in the Gilded Age.
Latest News
Gerry York, Curator of SMU Heritage Hall, completed work on a documentary exploring the football careers of Billy Stamps, Maco Stewart, Bob Finley, and Bobby Wilson. The four men led Corsicana High School to the State Championship, and collectively decided to attend SMU, where they won the 1935 National Championship, and competed against Stanford in the 1936 Rose Bowl. If you'd like an early glimpse at the documentary, reach out to the DeGolyer Library. The film is both a documentation of an important moment in SMU sports history, and a passion project for Gerry, a Corsicana native.
New Finding Aids

Sabine Royalty Corporation was a Texas business that invested in the exploration, drilling, and development of oil and gas properties. This collection contains Sabine Royalty Corporation’s minutes, financial information, annual reports, stock certificates, materials celebrating the company’s fiftieth anniversary, scrapbooks, and ephemera.

Ross McLaury Taylor was a writer of western fiction and professor of American Studies at Wichita State University in the twentieth century. His papers include his manuscripts and correspondence.
News & Notes
Halloween, All Hallow's Eve, All Saints' matter what you call it, join the DeGolyer Library via zoom on Friday, October 30th at 1:30pm CST to learn about all the spooky and macabre things that can be found in archives throughout north Texas. Click here to learn more about the event.

Free to attend but registration required! Click here to sign up!
In her latest post, Samantha Dodd highlights Dia de los Muertos related items found at the DeGolyer, including broadsides illustrated by the influential artist and printmaker Jose Guadalupe Posada. Posada was known for his prolific, often political illustrations, and his influence on Mexican muralism. You can view more of his work in our digital collection.

From the Stacks
Collection Highlight
Collector and Center for Presidential History Fellow Hervey A. Priddy has brought together a truly remarkable collection of political Americana, and generously donated much of the collection, as well as his time and expertise, to the DeGolyer. The Hervey A. Priddy Collection of American Presidential and Political Memorabilia at DeGolyer Library includes more than 500 items from the early 19th century to the present. Over 200 years of political history are represented, and the cultural artifacts of the campaigns, candidates, and issues chronicle the development of our political system and democracy in America.

Recent Accessions

The DeGolyer Library recently purchased a collection of correspondence between Hezekiah and Florence Henley. The letters describe their rural life in Indian territory at the end of the 19th century, and include discussion of land speculation, local politics, a murder trial and recent suicide, and the community of Native American, African American, and German Americans in their corner of Oklahoma. Click here to learn more.
Newly Digitized Items

55 items from the John Miller Morris Real Photographic Postcards and Photographs of Texas collection were recently uploaded to the digital library. These postcards features scenes of everyday life in south Texas and its border towns during the early 20th century.

DeGolyer Book Plate
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