News from the DeGolyer Library
December 2020

Southern Methodist University
Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year from all of us at the DeGolyer Library!

So long (and good riddance) to 2020. We look forward to seeing you all in our reading room sometime next year.
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.
Research Highlights
The end of the year is a good time to reflect on how researchers are using images from our collection in their projects and scholarship.

Graduate student Mohammad Qureshi used images from our album on the construction of the Hardinge Bridge for his upcoming book, Hardinge Our Pride, which will be published by Guerilla 1971 Press next year.

Writer Melanie Wiggins intends to use this mid-19th century image of the First Galveston City Hall/Market from the Lawrence T. Jones III Texas Photography Collection for an upcoming non-fiction work on the early history of Galveston

Journalist Carol Roark used items from our collection to illustrate the history of Juneteenth celebrations in Fort Worth for an article in her column for the Fort Worth Star-Star Telegram, which you can click here to read.
New Finding Aids and Collections

Orley Hosmer Truman was an inventor of a gravity meter for oil exploration. His scientific papers include his manuscripts, correspondence, technical drawings, and photographs regarding his work with the Lowell Observatory in Arizona and Humble Oil in Texas.

These records document the establishment of the Women’s and Gender Studies program at Southern Methodist University. It began as the Women’s Studies (WS) program in 1972, offering an undergraduate minor and a graduate certificate. Materials found in this collection include: minutes, agendas, by-laws, proposals, correspondence, statistics, course materials, program booklets, reports, publications, and articles.

Recently Accessioned

A2020.0022c Scrapbook of Texas authors
A2020.0023c John Ciardi correspondence with Lewis Turco
A2020.0024c Collection of Bishop College records
A2020.0025c Collection of Chilocco Indian Agricultural School correspondence
A2020.0026c Hezekiah Henley family correspondence
A2020.0027c Collection of William Howard Taft presidential campaign literature
News & Notes
Samantha Dodd brings something we could all use, Tidings of Comfort and Joy. In her latest blog post, she highlights the Christmas cards and letters found within the Archives of Women of the Southwest. Click the link above to learn more about holiday greetings from the past, and maybe gather some inspiration for your own correspondence.
Many of us won't be able to be with loved ones this season. In (Not) Home for the Holidays Ada Negraru dug into the papers of John C. Cox and Congressman Sam Johnson, who both documented Christmases away from their families, while serving in World War II (Cox) and Vietnam (Johnson).

The Congressman Sam Johnson papers are currently being processed. Click here to explore the John C. Cox World War II digital collection.
From the Stacks
Collection Highlight
In 1957, Neiman Marcus celebrated Coco Chanel's visit to Texas to receive the Neiman Marcus Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion. What followed was the first Neiman Marcus Fortnight. The theme was France with a celebration of French fashion and culture that evolved into the annual Fortnight extravaganza. Each Fortnight celebrated the culture and design of a different country, complete with extravagant installations at the downtown department store, and parties honoring dignitaries from around the world.

From 1963 to 1986, Alvin Colt designed the Fortnight installations. The DeGolyer Library is home to his collection of drawings, prints, photographs, and correspondence, which not only highlight the celebrations themselves, but detail the extensive labor involved. Much of the collection has been digitized, which you can explore by clicking here.
Recent Accessions

For most of us, 2020 has been a year without new stamps in the passport. But with vaccine distribution underway, we can start looking forward to future vacations. Two trucks’ worth of inspiration rolled into the DeGolyer Library this month, heavy with travel accounts written by Americans in the late 19th century, adding to our already strong holdings in travel and transportation. Many of these are listed and described in Harold Smith’s American travellers abroad: a bibliography of accounts published before 1900, and provide us not only with glimpses of foreign lands but American attitudes and perceptions as well.
Newly Digitized Items

158 negatives from the Collection of Dallas Morning News Negatives and Copy Photographs were recently digitized by the Norwick Center for Digital Solutions. The images, captured between 1872 and 1939, feature Dallas as it began its transformation into the major metropolis that it is today. Images include skyline photos like this one, pointing out downtown development including the Magnolia building and Adolphus Hotel.
DeGolyer Book Plate
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