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Special Collections

Collection Spotlight: Edward Gustav Eisenlohr art work and papers

Edward Gustav Eisenlohr was born in Ohio to a family of German immigrants. When he was two years old the family relocated to Dallas, where his father established Eisenlohr Drug Store. As a young boy living in Dallas, E. G. Eisenlohr showed a strong aptitude in art, a trait which continued into his adult life. He was instrumental in establishing the Dallas Art Association, forerunner of the Dallas Museum of Arts, in 1903. Eisenlohr studied art with Texas artists Robert J. Onderdonk and Frank Reaugh and at the Art Students’ League summer school in Woodstock, New York. He later took additional art training in Germany before returning to Texas. Eisenlohr drew inspiration for art subjects from the Oak Cliff area of Dallas and his travels to New Mexico, the Texas Hill Country, and the western areas of his adopted state. The collection includes artwork, clippings, correspondence, photographs, published works, scrapbooks, and three-dimensional objects reflecting his German family history and his interest in the landscape of the American Southwest. The matted works on paper consist of eleven lithographs, three pencil self-portraits, and one pencil sketch by fellow artist Ruth John Sanders.

Please take a look at the detailed finding aid available through Texas Archival Resources Online.


Image: Courtesy of Edward Gustav Eisenlohr art work and papers, Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University

Collection Spotlight: Vivian L. Aunspaugh Art Club records

The Vivian L. Aunspaugh Art Club was organized in 1945 by former and current students of Miss Vivian Louise Aunspaugh and others interested in studying art in Dallas. Miss Aunspaugh, a native of Virginia, studied art in New York and France prior to moving to Dallas in 1891. She soon taught art classes in local colleges and in 1898, with sculptress Clyde Chandler, established joint studio classes in Dallas. In 1902 the Aunspaugh Art School was founded in the Dreyfuss Building in downtown Dallas, the first art school in the southwest to offer classes in fine and commercial art. The following year Clyde Chandler moved to Chicago but Vivian Aunspaugh remained in Dallas and eventually moved the school to 3509 Bryan Street. Miss Aunspaugh taught art in Dallas for over 50 years until shortly before her death in 1960. The Vivian L. Aunspaugh Art Club met continuously until 1986, when the organization ceased operation. Continue reading “Collection Spotlight: Vivian L. Aunspaugh Art Club records”

GCI online exhibition – Octavio Medellin: Maya-Toltec Temples and Carvings

The Bywaters Special Collections staff are happy to announce that SMU’s Central University Libraries is now a part of the Google Cultural Institute. BSC staff, Ellen Buie Niewyk, curated the first GCI exhibition with archivist, Emily George Grubbs. Octavio Medellin: Maya-Toltec Temples and Carvings, 1938 is an exhibition curated from the holdings of photographs and documents of the artist from Bywaters Special Collections. Take a look!


Thank you to Emily George Grubbs, Archivist, Bywaters Special Collections, for this post!

Image: Courtesy of Octavio Medellin Art work and Papers, Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University

Collection Spotlight: G. J. Signaigo collection of theater materials

George Joseph Signaigo was a prominent Dallas businessman who co-owned the Brannon-Signaigo Cigar Company of Texas. The majority of the material in this collection consists of theater programs that were collected over the course of Signaigo’s life. The collection includes correspondence, ephemera, manuscripts, publicity and published works relating to the theater ca. 1910-1930. Most of the material originates from Dallas, Texas, but there is also material from New York City and other states and cities.

Please take a look at the detailed finding aid available through Texas Archival Resources Online.


Image: Courtesy of G. J. Signaigo collection of theater materials Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University

Arts Management students tour Bywaters Special Collections

I have the pleasure of working with the International Arts Management graduate students here in Meadow’s Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship (AMAE) division. They represent a diverse mix of academic backgrounds and nationalities – coming out of film, theater, visual art, performing arts, or humanities backgrounds and originating from the United States, Europe, Canada, South America, Central America, Asia, and Australia.  These students are in Dallas only for the first semester of their program before traveling to study at HEC Montreal and SDA Bocconi in Milan with a two-week stopover in Bogota, Columbia.  Taking in everything they can from every place they study, they are obviously determined to gain a wide variety of experiences, and their visit to Hamon Arts Library was no different. Continue reading “Arts Management students tour Bywaters Special Collections”

WFAA Newsfilm Collection: Look what I found this week!

Greetings. My name is Jeremy Spracklen, and I am the moving image curator of the G. William Jones Film and Video Archive inside the Hamon Arts Library. One of my current projects is the digitization of the Library’s WFAA Newsfilm footage spanning from 1960 to 1977. Every other week I’m going to share a set of clips that I’ve found while working on the collection. They may not all be significant about the history of Dallas, but I still find them each fascinating for what they reveal about life in Dallas-Fort Worth 40-50 years ago. Continue reading “WFAA Newsfilm Collection: Look what I found this week!”

Write for the Blog of the Hamon Arts Library!

Submissions to the Hamon blog are accepted year round. We welcome submissions from students, faculty, staff, and those from the broader Dallas community. Examples of submissions include:

  • Interviews with local arts professionals
  • Reviews of materials found in Hamon’s collections
  • Reviews of exhibitions and other arts events around Meadows and Dallas-Fort Worth

See our guide for submissions, and email your contributions or ideas for submissions to hamonblog@smu.edu.

Image by Carine Felgueiras.

Collection Spotlight: Evaline Sellors Art Work and Papers

Evaline Sellors (1903 – 1995) was an artist and teacher active in the Dallas and Fort Worth area mainly from the 1930s through the 1960s. Primarily known as a sculptor, she also worked in ceramics, mosaics, and stained glass. Her work can be found in museums and private collections in the north Texas area. Sellors was instrumental in helping establish the Fort Worth School of Fine Arts; some of her students later became promoters of modern art in the city and were referred to as “The Fort Worth School.” The collection consists of a photography portfolio containing images of her work and photographs of the individuals who presented Sellors with the portfolio. Two pencil drawings by fellow artist and colleague, Octavio Medellin, made when studying the ruins in Chichén Itzá in 1938, are part of the collection.

Please take a look at the detailed finding aid available through Texas Archival Resources Online.


Image: Courtesy of Evaline Sellors Art Work and Papers, Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University

Strange inheritance

In the spring of 2009, I received a telephone call from Atlee Phillips, Texas art specialist at Dallas’s Heritage Auction Galleries.  Although I’d never met Atlee, she told me that I’d soon think of her as “my new best friend.”  A few days later, she arrived in my office with numerous photographs of a painting of the Battle of San Jacinto by Texas painter Henry Arthur McArdle (1836-1908).  Although I knew that this painting had been executed in 1901, I had assumed it to have been destroyed in a fire and had stated as much in a footnote in my 1992 book, Painting Texas History to 1900.  But Atlee’s photographs, taken by members of McArdle’s family, who owned the house in West Virginia where the painting had been stored in an attic since the 1950s, proved me wrong (fortunately).  In November 2010, Heritage auctioned the painting, which was purchased by a private collector in Texas. Continue reading “Strange inheritance”

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