Blog of the Hamon Arts Library

Who is Jerry Bywaters?

The Jerry Bywaters Special Collections at the Hamon Arts Library is an archival collection of art, documents, and other rare or unique materials largely from the Southwest region. But who is the man for this eponymously-named collection, Jerry Bywaters?

Jerry Bywaters (1906 – 1989) filled many roles in the development of the arts in Texas and the Southwest.  He was, in addition to being an artist, director of the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, chairman of the Division of Fine Arts at Southern Methodist University and director of its Pollock Gallery.  Throughout his career, Bywaters worked to strengthen awareness of Texas and the Southwest art arena, and to define the unique qualities that set it apart from other regions.  He taught and influenced many people, including other artists, art historians, those associated with Texas and Dallas museums, SMU art department faculty members, and countless students.  Bywaters donated his archival material to SMU at intervals from 1980 until his death in 1989.  Later the Bywaters family decided to give the rest of his archives, which had been stored in his home, to SMU.  In 1990, the collection was relocated to the new Jake and Nancy Hamon Arts Library and housed in the appropriately named Jerry Bywaters Special Collections Wing, constructed with funds from the Margaret and Eugene McDermott Foundation of Dallas.


Bywaters graduated from SMU with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Journalism in 1926 and the following year received another Bachelor of Arts degree in General Literature.    It was not until his last year in college, when he took an elective course in painting from Ralph Rowntree (1889 – 1992), a respected artist and art instructor at SMU, that Bywaters began to think about a career in art.   In a 1940 letter to Carl Zigrosser, then director of the Weyhe Gallery in New York and soon to become curator of Prints and Drawings at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Bywaters writes:

Last year in college I took an elective art course and that set me off into the unknown field.  Still evading things I went to Europe and liked the wrong kind of art, studied under the wrong teachers at the League in N. Y. (except Sloan).  I was still too young to know what I wanted (21) and my folks were too good to me about travel.  Trip to Mexico in 1928 started me thinking at last.  Rivera and Orozco etc. were just starting. 

In the early 1920s Bywaters began collecting art and museum catalogs, clippings, correspondence and photographs focusing on the cultural history of Texas, Dallas, and the Southwest, and continued to do so during his career as an artist, critic, curator, museum director, and teacher.  This material helps shed new light on the historical development of Bywaters’s career and the development of the arts in Dallas.  The Jerry Bywaters Collection on Art of the Southwest also contains works on paper by Bywaters and a few of his contemporaries  including Thomas Hart Benton, Charles Bowling, Don Brown, Mary Doyle, Otis Dozier, Edward G. Eisenlohr, Alexandre Hogue, DeForrest Judd, William Lester, Blanche McVeigh, Merritt Mauzey, Perry Nichols, Boardman Robinson, Everett Spruce, Thomas M. Stell, Jr., and Janet Turner. This collection and many others are located in the Bywaters Special Collections Wing, named in his honor.

To view the online holdings and artists represented in Bywaters Special Collections, please visit

Image: Jerry Bywaters, self-portrait, 1969, pencil on paper; Paper: 30 x 24 inches, Gift of Pat Bywaters, Katie Bywaters Cummings, and Leigh Bywaters Swanson (JB.09.2).

Courtesy of the Jerry Bywaters Collection on Art of the Southwest, Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University.

Continue reading “Who is Jerry Bywaters?”

Artstor Workshop: Basics and Beyond

The Artstor Digital Library is an image database of 2 million images from 300 of the world’s leading museums, photo archives, scholars, and artists.


Alhambra: detail of arcade between the Sala de los Mocarabes and the Courtyard of the Lions, 14th century
Granada, Andalusia, Spain

If you are new to using Artstor or experienced and would like to know more about its recent platform and collections, please attend one of the upcoming 50-minute workshops at the Hamon Arts Library, Hawn Conference room, 1st floor.

Tuesday, October 2nd, at 11 am
Wednesday, October 3rd at 2 pm

This workshop will cover:

  • Getting access and registered users ability to download content, create image groups, and share content
  • Search – basic, advanced, and filters
  • Organizing image groups and tagging
  • Sharing – downloading and exporting to power point
  • Interacting with the images and presenting them

Questions? Please contact Beverly Mitchell, Art & Dance Librarian at


Feature image: Artstor logo, courtesy of Artstor
Image of the Alhambra: Artstor, Art History Survey Collection

New digital collection: Jake and Nancy Hamon Papers

Selected items from this fabulous archival collection held in Bywaters Special Collections are now available online! Items include fashion design sketches created by Nancy Hamon during the 1930s as well as photographs of Jake and Nancy Hamon attending their annual theme parties in Dallas during the 1950s-1970s. The collection offers valuable insights into Dallas social and cultural history. See the following link:

More information about the Jake and Nancy Hamon Papers can be found in the detailed finding aid here:

Image Courtesy of Jake and Nancy Hamon Papers, Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University

ARK: Q&A with Filmmaker Mike Morris


This week’s blog post features an interview between curator, Emily Rueggeberg, and filmmaker, Mike Morris, the creator of ARK. ARK is on view in the Hawn Gallery now through November 4, 2018.



Emily Rueggeberg: What draws you to the experimental film format as opposed to traditional films?

Mike Morris: Moving images are an amazingly open group of technologies that have been interpreted pretty narrowly if you think about the formal approach of the film industry. Experimental film is a tradition that opens cinema to these expanded possibilities. That’s not to say that there isn’t plenty of meaningful work to be done within more traditional forms, but cinema doesn’t necessarily need to be a strictly illusionistic storytelling medium. When you’re working with film, you’re working with a physical, photo-chemical, and mechanical medium that can be manipulated to create many kinds of images in a highly formalized or improvisational manner.

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Write On! @ Hamon Arts Library: New Mobile White Boards

WriteOnAtHamonThanks to partial funding from Mustangs Give Back donors, Hamon now has three mobile whiteboards for everyone’s use! Roll one to wherever you’re inspired to calculate, illustrate or pontificate.

Dry Erase Markers and erasers available at the 1st floor services desk.

Post courtesy of LaGail Davis, General Operations Manager
Illustration and featured image: Sam Guerrero

Hawn Gallery presents: ARK: Featuring New Experimental 35 MM Film by Mike Morris

The Hawn Gallery presents


Featuring a New Experimental Film by Mike Morris


On view: August 20 – November 4, 2018
at the Hawn Gallery, located in the Hamon Arts Library at SMU

Public Opening Reception Friday, September 14, 5 -7pm
Mike Morris will give a gallery talk at 5:45 pm

ARK is a cinematic installation featuring a film by Michael A. Morris made from archival 35mm film prints held in the G. William Jones Film and Video Collection. This work is installed on a looping film system devised by the Collection’s Jeremy Spracklen and Scott Martin, and in conjunction with Brad Miller from Film-Tech Cinema Systems. The looping film is a new mosaic of images and sounds created by contact printing and hand processing of short lengths of films selected from the archive. Highlighting the mechanics of projection typically hidden from the viewer, the space of the Hawn Gallery performs as a small cinema. The metaphor of both Noah’s Ark and the Ark of the Covenant serves as a parallel for the archive as it rescues hundreds of films from the deluge of time. These films are reactivated by bringing them back into the light and onto the screen in a new looping film installation. Such assemblage embodies our cinematic heritage.

Continue reading “Hawn Gallery presents: ARK: Featuring New Experimental 35 MM Film by Mike Morris”

Jones Film Archive Update – June 2018

In the Media

  • Dallas Morning News’ Robert Wilonsky wrote a great piece on the work that we are doing with our social media push.  That article can be found here.
  • WFAA’s Chris Sadeghi aired a story on Grand Prairie as part of a long term collaboration with the Jones Collection.  That story can be found here. here.
  • The Fort Worth Star Telegram ran a story on MayFest using footage from the Jones Collection, which can be found here.

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Bywaters Special Collections Artist Profile: Cecilia Neuheisel Steinfeldt

Featured in the exhibition Texas Women Artists: Selections from Bywaters Special Collections, on the 2nd floor of Hamon Arts Library.

Cecilia Neuheisel Steinfeldt (1915 – 2013), referred to as the ‘First Lady of Texas Art’ for her work as both an artist and a Texas art historian, was born in Montello, Wisconsin and moved to San Antonio with her family in 1923.   Her aptitude for drawing and painting developed during childhood and she soon began art classes at the Witte Memorial Museum.  In 1932, she graduated from high school and then enrolled in art school in Mexico City where she studied with artist Carlos Mérida.  Upon returning to San Antonio, she joined the Witte museum staff in 1936 where she served as an art instructor.  She continued to work at the Witte Museum until her retirement at the age of 80.  Along with her husband Eric Steinfeld, she traveled throughout Texas and wrote numerous books about its history and artists including The Onderdonks: A Family of Texas Painters (1975), Art for History’s Sake (1993), and S. Seymour Thomas: A Texas Genius Rediscovered (2005).

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Interview with Lauren King, 2018 recipient of Larrie and Bobbi Weil Undergraduate Research Award

Congratulations go to Meadows art history student, Lauren King, who is the 2018 recipient of the Larrie and Bobbi Weil Undergraduate Research Award for her paper, An Alternative View on the Roll-Brimmed Hat. The Weil Award is given annually for excellence in undergraduate research, and the recipient is an SMU student nominated by their faculty for outstanding research and writing of a term paper. This year, Dr. Stephanie Langin-Hooper, Assistant Professor and Karl Kilinski II Endowed Chair of Hellenic Visual Culture, nominated Lauren for her paper.

Lauren, could you please briefly tell blog readers about the topic of your paper?

The goal of my paper is to re-examine how we think about the roll-brimmed hat worn by Gudea in his diorite statues. If you’ve taken any ancient Near East art history class, or even an introductory survey of western Art History, you’ve probably heard of the diorite statues of Gudea. The hat he wears, called a roll-brimmed hat, is usually taught as a symbol of humility. My paper questions this interpretation, and proposes that the hat is actually a symbol of power and masculinity.

Continue reading “Interview with Lauren King, 2018 recipient of Larrie and Bobbi Weil Undergraduate Research Award”

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