Browse Exhibits (22 total)

Women’s Voices, Women’s Votes


“Women’s Voices, Women’s Votes: An Exhibition Marking the 100th Anniversary of the Passage of the 19th Amendment” features over 100 objects from the collections of Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner, Helen LaKelly Hunt, and the DeGolyer Library. The exhibit includes materials such as rare books, pamphlets, broadsides, photographs, sheet music, manuscripts, and ephemera documenting the history of the women’s rights movement, from the publication of Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) through the 19th century and early 20th century, with emphasis on the roles women played first in the abolitionist movement and then in the suffrage movement. Represented are well-known figures such as the Grimke sisters, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Sojourner Truth, as well as more local figures and organizations, such as the Women Suffrage Association of Oklahoma. 

“Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion”: James G. Blaine, Grover Cleveland, and the Election of 1884


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.

Best of the DeGolyer: Items Featured in 'Fossils to Film'

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In the Spring of 2021, the Meadows Museum celebrated its unique association with Southern Methodist University with a new exhibit, Fossils to Film: The Best of SMU’s Collections.

Fossils to Film brought together highlights from collections at the DeGolyer Library alongside highlights from the Underwood Law LibraryG. William Jones Film and Video CollectionBywaters Special CollectionsHamon Arts Library, the Shuler Museum of Paleontology, the Department of AnthropologyBridwell Library, and the noted University Art Collection.

This virtual exhibit features a number of DeGolyer Library items featured on display at the Meadows Museum.  Explore the items here, which from March 14th to June 20th, 2021, joined over 100 works of art, specimens, historical documents, and artifacts, many of which were exhibited outside of their home departments for the first time. 

Love Notes


“There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart.” — Jane Austen, Emma

February 14th marks Valentine's Day each year, a celebration named in honor of one St. Valentine. Though the namesake's origin is of some dispute, and uncertainty, what is certain is that this year, we could all use a little extra love.  

In honor of Valentine's Day, and for all those perusing the digital universe in search of some good news, and happy endings, staff of the DeGolyer Library put together  a sampling of romantic stories, of cards and love letters from the past.

From the stacks in the Southern Methodist University Archives, to the postcards in the DeGolyer Prints and Photographs collections, and the ladies of the Archives of Women of the Southwest, these items depict the butterflies of new relationships, the heartfelt terms of endearment of long time couples, highlight the pangs of loneliness for long distance lovers, and provide insight into how men and women expressed their feelings of love and adoration across time and miles. 

Written in a Tropical Glow: Books, Prints and Manuscripts Describing the Biological Exploration of the New World Tropics


Where were you, what were you doing, on your 23rd birthday? Charles Darwin was crossing the Atlantic, on H.M.S. Beagle, so eager to explore the New World tropics that he declared himself filled with “a tropical glow.” When he arrived, in 1832, he was but the latest in a long line of young naturalists who had come to South America seeking adventure and discovery and such renown as science had to offer. More came soon after. “Written in a Tropical Glow” tells their stories, from the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the West Indies to the intrepid English biologist who wandered alone across South America in the 1840s. Between them came botanists and zoologists from Germany, Spain, Holland, France, and Austria, most of them constellated around the remarkable scientist/explorer Alexander von Humboldt.

Their stories are told in books they wrote describing their adventures and discoveries, ranging from modest volumes to impressive folios filled with color plates of the highest quality. These books, along with related prints and manuscripts, will be exhibited at the DeGolyer Library, from September 27 to December 14, 2018. The items exhibited are drawn both from the DeGolyer collections and from the personal collection of the guest curator, Tom Taylor

Andy Hanson: Picturing Dallas 1960-2008

The DeGolyer Library celebrates Andy Hanson’s long career in Dallas where he was a staff photographer for the Dallas Times Herald, covering society, politics, the performing arts, and the major news events of the day. The exhibit will highlight his vast photographic archive, held at the library’s Prints and Photographs Collection.

"All Goes Onward and Outward"

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The DeGolyer Library and renowned collector Robert Harris are marking the bicentennial of Walt Whitman’s birth with "All Goes Onward and Outward": Walt Whitman at 200. Mr. Harris has selected some treasures from his collection, ranging from the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass to a souvenir viewbook on the 1957 opening of the Walt Whitman Bridge over the Delaware River.


On display are rare books, newspapers, periodicals, broadsides, posters, and photographs, all documenting Whitman’s place in American literature and culture. We are grateful to Mr. Harris not only for his curatorial expertise and generosity in lending parts of his collection but also for his estate plans, which will keep his collection intact in the DeGolyer Library where it will be preserved and available for future generations.

Bill Wittliff—Texas Man of Letters, Selections from the Virgil Musick Collection


Bill Wittliff spent two decades as the creative force behind The Encino Press (1963-1983), which garnered more than 100 awards for its publications. Alongside his wife Sally, Wittliff established a company that became synonymous with Southwestern literature, exceptional book design, and fine press printing and publishing. In these early days of regional publishing Wittliff found authors and artists, and they found him. 

Texas native Virgil Musick also noticed something special in The Encino Press. A former Army radar operator at the North Pole in the early 1950s and later the founder of a transportation consulting company, Musick pursued an interest in Bill Wittliff’s work, including his time at Southern Methodist University Press and The Encino Press. His collection includes first editions and signed works, many with personal notes from Wittliff to Musick. In addition to books, Musick also assembled broadsides, ephemera, prints, and correspondence. In 2016 Virgil Musick donated his collection to DeGolyer Library at Southern Methodist University.

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Jackie Robinson, the Brooklyn Dodgers, and a Pivotal Era, 1947-1957


To mark the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s breaking the color line in major league baseball, and in recognition of Bernie and Ann Parker’s gift to the DeGolyer Library of a remarkable collection of memorabilia devoted to the Brooklyn Dodgers, DeGolyer Library explored a “golden age” in baseball history, during which the three New York teams—Yankees, Dodgers, and Giants--dominated the standings with some of the most memorable and talented players and managers of all time: Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Roy Campanella, Don Newcombe, Duke Snider, Yogi Berra, Monte Irvin, Casey Stengel, Leo Durocher, and Walter Alston.

Featured are period books, magazines, newspapers, programs, souvenirs, photographs, balls, bats, and gloves--even two seats from Ebbets Field, the home of the Dodgers! A young reporter for the Fort Worth Press, Blackie Sherrod, even wrote a poem describing Willie Mays and “the catch” in the 1954 World Series.

Beyond baseball, we are also reminded of Jackie Robinson’s courage, devotion to the cause of civil rights, and legacy for all Americans.

Go West, Young Man (or Woman): Children’s Books and the American West, 1830-1930

The purpose of this exhibit is to survey roughly the first 100 years of books for children with settings in the American West, highlighting some of the characteristics of the genre and drawing on a range of examples from the DeGolyer collection.

“Western” juvenile books mirror many of the same preoccupations of American children’s literature as a whole.  In the earliest period, the didactic impulse tends to dominate.  After the Civil War, with the appearance of dime novels, the ingredients for the formulaic western become established, and juvenile books participate in this popular trend.  Entertainment, rather than stern moral instruction, is given free rein. In fact, one of the great practitioners of formula fiction, Horatio Alger, also wrote “westerns,” in which his heroes follow the same upward trajectory out on the prairies and in the mountains as they do on the streets of New York.

Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is now regarded as a classic of American literature but in our exhibit it is placed in its original context, with other “boys’ books” of the 1880s. By the end of the period, the series book comes to fore, with both male and female protagonists. The “Ranch Girls” series is particularly notable.

Children’s books are not only fun to read (whether readers are 8 or 80) but they also tell us a good deal about the times in which they were written and published. One could study, for example, the way Native Americans are depicted in children’s books, or family life, or the westering experience itself.

Children’s books on the American West published in Europe for European audiences have seldom been studied. Many of the authors were prolific and deserve to be better known and studied in the context of the publishing economy of the time.  In short, these “small books” can support interesting advanced research projects.