Category Archives: Historical artifacts and documents
TCU Special Collections is pleased to announce that the Ruth Millett Papers are open for research. Ruth Linwood Millett was born February 10, 1912 to Ralph and Alice Millett in Dallas, Texas. The family moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where Ralph Millett, was a columnist and editor of the Memphis Press-Scimitar. After graduating from the University of Iowa, Millett became dean of women at Northwest Missouri State Teachers College in Maryville. She eventually moved to New York City to follow in her father’s footsteps and pursue a career in journalism. Millett soon began writing two syndicated columns, Mind Your Manners and Ruth Millett Says . . . (later titled We the Women), for the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA). She married Dr. Frederick Lowry and became a mother of twins. The family moved around the Midwest a bit before settling in Austin, Texas. Millett continued writing her columns until her retirement in 1967. During her 30 year career, she received thousands of letters from readers and was named one of the U.S.’s top ten most powerful women by Pageant magazine in 1953. She was also honored by the New York Newspaper Women’s Club, Theta Sigma Phi, a fraternity for women writers, and named the Austin American Statesman Career Woman of 1963. Ruth died April 16, 1997 in Austin.
The Ruth Millett Papers include professional and personal correspondence, photographs, printed material, speeches, writings, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, and newspaper “slicks,” glossy pages printed with a week’s worth of Millett’s columns and distributed to newspapers by NEA for reproduction. Her column We the Women addressed women’s issues of the mid-20th century, from education and career, to homemaking, etiquette, personal relationships, and popular culture. Of note are Millett’s columns addressing the changes in women’s lives brought about by the Great Depression, World War II, and cultural movements of the 1950s and 1960s. She was a strong advocate for women taking a larger role in society, and spoke out against the unequal treatment women often faced in the workplace. However, Millett also held women’s traditional roles as wives and mothers in high regard and urged them to take a strong role in leading their households. Millett wrote several booklets which offered advice for wives, husbands, and teenagers. She focused specifically on maintaining healthy relationships, family bonding time, and well-kept homes. This collection offers unique insight into the lives of middle class American women in the 20th century and how they coped with changing roles, expectations, and perceptions.
The collection is available for research in the Special Collections Department of the Mary Couts Burnett Library Monday through Friday from 8-5.
The library has recently acquired a collection of twenty-five manuscripts in Spanish from the archives of the Duke of Abrantes y Linares, many relating to a lawsuit over lands in Mexico. These are probably connected to the lengthy and complicated suits brought by the heirs of the last Aztec ruler, Montezuma, over their just inheritance, which dragged on throughout the colonial period.
The Dukes of Abrantes, ennobled in the 17th century, were descended through the female line from Montezuma. The Duke’s opponent, the Conde de Valle, was descended from Hernán Cortes, ennobled as the Marques de Valle after the Conquest. This archive consists of letters to and from the Duke of Abrantes, with reference to his financial affairs and his lawsuit against the Conde del Valle. The majority of the documents are dated 1782. References to the Valle case are found amongst the Duke’s correspondence. For instance, the draft of one of his letters contains the following personal commentary on the litigation (here in translation): “In spite of my administrator’s best efforts and copious documentary evidence, the Count, being well aware of the justice of my claims, seeks to delay the verdict, in which conspiracy he is assisted by his aunt, the Marquesa de Salvatierra, who, I think, has much influence with the ministers, and they are hoping to fleece me of large sums.” [from the William Reese Company catalogue]
The documents also relate to other matters in which the Duke was directly or indirectly concerned, including an estate and the Hospicio de Nuestra Señora de Cobadonga.
The collection consists of 55 manuscript pages, 36 folio and 19 quarto, written in several different hands including signed letters from the Duke, Pedro Alonso de Alles, Juan Antonio de Elosua Abarratequi, Agustin de Compaxan, Antonio Francisco del Rio, and Fray Antonio Blanco Valdes.
A native of Iowa Park, Texas, Ernest Ligon and his family travelled between the Texas-Oklahoma border to construct towns. He lived in Byers, Texas when he enrolled at Texas Christian University. He earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 1921. Ligon earned extra credits for serving in the Air Corps during World War I. He participated in school clubs, functions, and sporting events while attending TCU. Professor Errett Weir McDiarmid and Dr. Edward McShane Waits, president of TCU in 1916-1941, influenced Ligon as a young man. He developed a paper in Prof. McDiarmid’s class that would be the foundation of his first book. TCU conferred him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1948. Even after not visiting the campus for years, Ligon supported TCU monetarily and contributed to the Meyer Fund Donation in 1961.
After earning a Bachelor of Divinity degree and a doctorate in psychology from Yale University, Ligon taught at different universities before settling at Union College in Schenectady, New York. For 33 years, he taught psychology courses and conducted peer-reviewed studies. Psychologists recognized Ligon for his 42 years as co-director and volunteer consultant for the CRP. The project explored the philosophy of Jesus Christ as outlined in the Bible to evaluate character development. Ligon’s The Psychology of Christian Personality set the guidelines and principles for the CRP. According to the monograph, Jesus Christ’s teachings, as stated in the Beatitudes, provide a guide to develop a healthy lifestyle.
The CRP conducted decades of workshops for families and churches to help Christian parents rear their children into wholesome and morally sound individuals. The CRP designed pamphlets such as “Let me Introduce Myself” to instill a Christian character in infants and young adults. With the support of the Eli Lilly Company, Ligon published his findings not only through his six books but also in esteemed journals of psychology and religion. The papers in Special Collections contain Ligon’s personal correspondence with Eli Lilly. The Mary Couts Burnett Library houses all of Ligon’s works.
In 1962, Ligon retired from Union College. He continued to volunteer his time to the CRP and the Sigma XI American Psychological Association. He and his wife, Lois Wood, supported the Rotary Club and YMCA. Ligon passed away at the age of 87 in 1984. He bequeathed his papers to TCU’s Special Collections and a significant monetary donation to the Mary Couts Burnett Library upon his death.
Entry by Miriam E. Villanueva
Special Collections recently received items from the family of Mrs. Kathleen Woodier Lutz. Born in Harvey, Illinois in 1921, she moved with her family to Vernon, Texas during her high school years. While attending Harris School of Nursing, she married in secret, as student nurses were not allowed to have spouses. She graduated in 1943 and continued to work at Harris Hospital until she moved with her husband to Bremerton, Washington in 1944.
Items in the collection include a nurse’s cape, cap, a diploma from Harris Nursing College, two photographs of Mrs. Lutz, and other items. A collection inventory is available on the Special Collections website.
Mrs. Lutz shared a story with her family about working at Harris Hospital in Fort Worth.
“Mom said that the student nurses had to wear stockings. However, due to the summer heat in Ft. Worth, the staff allowed them to go bare legged providing they had tanned legs. Ergo, after pulling night shifts, mom and her cohorts, and I guess the bulk of the students, would go sit up on the hospital roof to soak up the sun. She used to say ‘Bet they wouldn’t recommend that now!'”
The Harris School of Nursing was founded by Fort Worth surgeon Dr. Charles Harris in 1912 when he saw a need for highly trained nurses in North Texas. In 1946, the School was incorporated into TCU and became the Harris College of Nursing.
This excerpt from the 1947/1948 Harris College of Nursing catalog and handbook shows that Mrs. Lutz was probably not the only young student to wed in secret.