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Remember the Ladies! Archives of Women of the Southwest celebrates milestone

Remember the Ladies! Group
Among the longtime supporters joining Central University Libraries (CUL) in celebrating the Archives of Women of the Southwest were: (standing, left to right) Becky Schergens '62; Russell L. Martin III '78, '86, Director, DeGolyer Library, and Interim Assistant Dean, Scholarly Resources and Research Services, Central University Libraries; Jackie McElhaney '62; Ruth P. Morgan, SMU Provost Emerita; Judy Jolley Mohraz; Mary Blake Meadows '74; Nancy Martinez '75; Lea Courington '74 and Sandy Kraus '76, '80; and (seated) Lottye Brodsky; Gillian M. McCombs, Dean and Director, CUL; and Nan Snow '75.

Professors and entrepreneurs, human rights activists and mothers, women's clubs and drill teams: the honorees of the Remember the Ladies! campaign cover the spectrum of human endeavor, yet share the accomplishment of having been an important influence on the lives they touched. DeGolyer Library recognized more than 100 remarkable women and organizations during a special event September 23 celebrating the Archives of Women of the Southwest.

The campaign reached its $1 million endowment goal in May to support an archivist. A commemorative plaque in the library, engraved with each honoree's name, serves as a permanent reminder of the achievement and the women who made it possible.

Established in 1993, the Archives of Women of the Southwest focuses on the historical experience of women in Texas, with a special emphasis on Dallas and North Texas, as well as Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and the Spanish Borderlands. The collection contains records, letters, diaries, speeches, photographs, periodicals, scrapbooks and other print, audio and video materials.

The resources document the profound impact women had on their communities at a time when they were not fully franchised and rarely worked outside the home. At the celebration, historian Judy Jolley Mohraz talked about the "grit and grace" of the pioneering women who established public libraries, free kindergartens and other programs to benefit society. Mohraz, the CEO and Trustee of the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust in Phoenix, Arizona, is the former president of Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland, and a former SMU faculty member. She honored the late Judge Sarah T. Hughes, a Goucher alumna, in the Remember the Ladies! campaign.

The archives' primary materials have already attracted the attention of scholars, students and other researchers, according to Russell L. Martin III '78, '86, Director of DeGolyer Library. Martin says researchers who use the archives have an opportunity to "enlarge their understanding of history and come away with a deeper appreciation of the essential role women have played in the shaping not only of the American Southwest but of our country as a whole."