April 15, 2008

Archives of Women of the Southwest
'Remembering the Ladies' reaches goal's halfway point

Lucy Ann Thornton Kidd-Key

Lucy Ann Thornton Kidd-Key ran a rigorous campus. As president of North Texas Female College from 1888 until her death in 1916, the Methodist bishop's wife established strict rules including mandatory church attendance and a ban on unchaperoned off-campus excursions for the "genteel young ladies" who came to the Sherman, Texas, school to study fine arts. She enforced those rules with the help of a bell she used to summon students to her office.

Kidd-Key's bell and her legacy as an educator are preserved as part of SMU's Archives of Women of the Southwest, located in DeGolyer Library.

The archives includes papers of notable women's organizations and their leaders, as well as those of social and political reform movements and of outstanding women in the professions, the arts and voluntary service. Collections include the papers of real estate legend Ebby Halliday, Dallas journalists Lee Cullum and Julia Scott Reed, the YWCA of Dallas and the Tejas Girl Scout Council.

The size and importance of such collections point to the archives' most urgent need: a full-time expert to continue cataloging work and to pursue additional acquisitions, says Russell Martin, DeGolyer Library director. The "Remember the Ladies" campaign will establish a $1 million endowment toward that goal. U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison serves as honorary campaign chair.

In March, the campaign celebrated reaching the halfway point of its $1 million goal (Read more).

"Statue Posing" was a popular class
at North Texas Female College in 1892.

One collection is of special significance to the University the records of Kidd-Key College and Conservatory. Renamed for Lucy Kidd-Key in 1919, the school that was chartered in 1876 as North Texas Female College, closed in 1935. Its alumnae and history were adopted by SMU in a special ceremony in 1938. The Kidd-Key collection contains everything from official records, letters, transcripts and promotional materials to pennants, class photos, scrapbooks and regalia right down to the bell that sat on Lucy Kidd-Key's desk.

"It's hard to overstate how important it is to have a dedicated archivist," says Russell Martin, DeGolyer Library director. "Cataloging the Kidd-Key College collection was a big milestone, especially with the significance those materials will have as we prepare for SMU's centennial celebration. Yet we had to accomplish that with the help of a graduate student working under staff supervision. We simply have more collections to catalog than we have staff time to devote to them. A full-time expert on the archives will be crucial to making all this information accessible."

Related Links:

# # #