Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Special Collections for the Student Worker

One of the largest special collections in the nation among schools of Southwestern’s size, the Edward A. Clark Collection was a gift of more than 2,400 volumes donated in 1965 from the private collection of Ambassador Edward A. Clark. It is rich in basic, printed materials for the period of the Republic of Texas (1836-1845), the annexation by the United States (1845) and Reconstruction (1865). Also included in this collection are a number of periodicals, photographs and other printed materials. Since Clark’s original gift, the collection has grown to more than 10,000 items, including more than 7,000 books.

This small collection includes titles that are exemplars of artisanal handcrafted books from a variety of large and small presses. The video below, hosted by Anthony Bourdain, features one of the presses represented in our collections - the Arion Press, located in San Francisco. The video gives you a solid introduction into what is meant by the term "fine press."

Through the years complete libraries of several ministries were given: Rev. Homer S. Thrall, Rev. R.G. Mood, Rev. C.M. Bishop, Dr. H.L. Gray, Rev. F.L. Batchelor and Rev. Bruce Galloway. Some of the libraries include Methodist Conference Minutes and other books that help form our collection on Methodism.

The Thomas Bewick Collection of 33 volumes contains works by the English naturalist and wood engraver Thomas Bewick. Some of the titles in this collection include his General History of Quadrupeds and History of British Birds. Also included in the collection are letters and other printed materials containing Bewick’s engravings.

The William Blake Collection contains works by and about the poet and printer William Blake (1757-1827), many donated by alumna Margarett Root Brown ’17 before her death in 1963.  Most notable is a complete set of Blake’s engraved illustrations of the Book of Job  that is likely from the 1874 strike, the fourth and last use of Blake’s copperplates.  Two works published during Blake’s lifetime are John Gay’s Fables, with a life of the author, and embellished with seventy plates (1793) containing 12 plates by Blake and Robert Blair’s The grave (1813), illustrated with 12 large water colored plates.  The collection also holds 7 titles of the well-known Trianon Press facsimiles, and two of these include a set of hand-colored plates showing progressive stages, color collotype proofs, and an original guide sheet and stencil.

The Brown Collection, donated by Margarett Root Brown, contains over 200 volumes including the Bewick Collection (above), Bibles, English histories, religious books, the Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine and descriptive books on Europe and the Middle East. Included are books by several prominent authors such as Stephen Crane, Daniel DeFoe and Emile Zola.

Collected during the time that Edward A. Clark was ambassador to Australia in the 1960’s, this collection of 240 titles includes works on natural history, social life and customs, art, literature, ethnology and history.

Chronicled in a collection of 49 printed works is the life of Aaron Burr with highlights of his career, trials and memoirs. The collection was donated by Ambassador Edward A. Clark.

The Jackson/Greenwood Collection is very large and consists of several areas of interest including literature, religion and Methodism among others. The Collection features 19th century English and American literary titles; Wesleyana materials focusing on the extensive Wesley family; history of religion, including an English translation from the Greek of Eusebius’ History of the Church; Methodism and church history, including journals, such as the Arminian Magazine and Martin Luther’s Artzneybuch (Doctor Book); books issued to German prisoners of war in San Antonio; and books about China. A collection of correspondence, issues of The Emancipator, picture postcards and personal papers belonging to Bishop John Cowper Granbery and his family are part of this collection. A large collection of youth titles including an extensive selection of Horatio Alger’s books and Martha Finley’s Elsie Dinsmore stories, as well as a number of works by L. Frank Baum, is included.

The Henry E. Meyer Hymnal Collection of 106 volumes contains hymnals, Bibles and religious texts. Some of the items unique to the collection are a hymnal in the Delaware Indian language, an English Old Version Psalm Book and the first Wesleyan Hymn Book. Many of the books are more than 100 years old and have fine leather bindings handsomely embossed with gold.

The Duncan E. Osborne Collection of Herman Melville, on loan, contains papers and memorabilia pertaining to his great-great-grandfather. Of particular note is a letter from Herman Melville to his aunt Lucy Melville written in 1828 when he was 9 years old.

The Bertha McKee Dobie Collection contains a large collection of her correspondence, memorabilia, manuscripts, personal documents and books from the personal library of the wife of the noted author, J. Frank Dobie.

Bertha McKee Dobie (Southwestern University class of 1910) was born on July 8, 1890, and spent her childhood chiefly in Velasco, Texas. After graduating from school at age 14, she entered Southwestern University. In some of her classes at Southwestern, she noticed a young man named James Frank Dobie, but did not meet him until February of their last year, when rules were changed to allow senior girls to date. Six years later, after a lengthy exchange of letters, Bertha McKee and Frank Dobie were married in the McKee home in Velasco on September 20, 1916.

When Bertha Dobie was given Southwestern’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1973, she said her sole claim to fame was as a helpmeet to her famous husband. But she had become a writer in her own right, contributing a series of articles on gardening to Texas newspapers, and writing articles and stories for numerous periodicals, including Nature Magazine, the New York Herald Tribune Magazine, Garden Digest, Holland’s Magazine, Southwest Review, and Publications of the Texas Folklore Society. After J. Frank Dobie died in 1964, she edited his posthumous works, including Rattlesnakes (1965), Some Part of Myself (1967), and Out of the Old Rock (1972).

But Bertha Dobie by no means spent all her time helping her husband or completing his projects. In fact, she thought of her own life as centering on plants and the world of nature. For many years an active member of the Texas Federated Garden Clubs, she also syndicated a garden column in Texas newspapers and gave talks in many Texas towns and cities on gardening. She took botany courses and collected specimens for the University of Texas herbarium. She was a member of the Audubon Society and an interested participant in the formulation of plans for Paisano Ranch, a Hill Country retreat for Texas writers and artists. She also was famous for her lovely rose garden at the Dobie home at 702 Park Place in Austin, known as “the house on Waller Creek.”

Bertha McKee Dobie – helpmeet, author, and Texas naturalist – died on December 18, 1974, at the age of 84, and was buried alongside her husband in the State Cemetery in Austin.

A collection of 542 titles rich in early J. Frank Dobie materials, it included contributions made by the noted folklorist and author to the university’s yearbook, the Sou’wester, proof copies and manuscripts of many of his books, and a complete collection of all his printed works.

Isabel Maltsberger Gaddis was an avid collector of the works of the well-known folklorist, humorist and scholar J. Frank Dobie. Gaddis met Dobie when he was her professor at the University of Texas, where she graduated with a major in journalism. She later completed graduate work at Columbia University and then returned to Texas to teach in the Cotulla public schools. She eventually enrolled at Our Lady of the Lake College in San Antonio, becoming a school librarian. Her son is the well-known US historian, John Lewis Gaddis.

Dobie and Gaddis became friends and Dobie visited the Gaddis family frequently. The various letters and photos in this collection give evidence to the warm friendship and intellectual camaraderie between the two. Dobie often sent Mrs. Gaddis copies of his books with personal inscriptions and he sought her advice and editorial skills. They co-edited a collection of Dobie's short stories, I'll Tell You a Tale.

Both J. Frank Dobie and his wife Bertha Mckee Dobie (whose papers Southwestern holds) were 1911 graduates of Southwestern University. Southwestern University campus recognized Gaddis with a "Dobie-Gaddis Day" celebration on the day of her formal donations of her collection, on October 27, 1970. In addition to the Gaddis Collection, the university also has another significant Dobie collection, The Clara Harmon Lewis Collection of Dobie Material, as well as several other smaller collections.