Aralyn Hughes Papers
An Inventory of the Collection
Aralyn Hughes was born in Elk City, Oklahoma, in 1946. After receiving a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics from Oklahoma State University in 1968, she began work as a high school teacher. She married William Cepeda in 1968, and in 1975 they relocated to Austin, Texas, for his career. They divorced in 1977. By 1976, Hughes had become heavily involved in community activism, focusing on women’s health and reproductive rights within the realm of social welfare. She was a lobbyist for the National Organization for Women (N.O.W.), served as the director of The Ladies Center of Austin (Texas’s first abortion clinic), and served on the Board of Directors for Austin Rape Crisis Center, People’s Community Clinic, and Planned Parenthood. Hughes also served as a chair of the Austin Commission on the Status of Women.
Hughes worked as a local realtor for several years, starting her own real estate business, Aralyn & Associates. Hughes also participated in artistic endeavors including performance art, painting, and theater. At 65, she became a full-time performance artist producing autobiographical one woman shows under the title “Aralyn’s Home Economics presents...” In 2014, she published a book of collected essays, Kid Me Not, about women who came of age in the 1960s that chose to remain childfree thanks to birth control. In 2016, her longtime friend Amparo Garcia-Crow created a documentary on Hughes’s life called Love in the Sixties.
Potbellied pigs are also of interest to Hughes. She first came to adopt a potbelly pig when helping with a friend’s silent auction for a nonprofit. She bid on a baby pig to get the bidding war started but ended up being the only bidder. That is how she received her first potbelly pig, Ara. She taught Ara to bow, sit, turn around, bowl, and do figure-8s. Ara even accompanied Hughes on stage in performances. Hughes is also known for her 1988 Oldsmobile art car decorated with pig figurines, and her previous house off MoPac and Enfield that had large letters on the side saying "Keep Austin Weird" and a colorful facade.
As of 2019, Hughes continues to reside in Austin.
McDonald, Kelli. “Austin’s Aralyn Hughes on Pigs, Performing and the Final Bow.” The Austinot, April 5, 2016. Accessed January 2, 2019. https://austinot.com/aralyn-hughes-austin
Photographs and news clippings make up the bulk of the Aralyn Hughes Papers. There are some materials documenting her work with local and national organizations throughout the 1970s and 1980s, including brochures, fliers, and educational materials published by The Ladies Center, Austin Women's Network, Planned Parenthood, The Austin Rape Crisis Center, Texas National Organization for Women (NOW), National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), and the National Association for Commissions on Women. Of note is a Certificate of Appointment for Arayln Hughes Cepeda to chair the City of Austin Commission on the Status of Women signed by Mayor Carole Keeton McClellan in 1977. Also of interest is the first draft proof of Kid Me Not: An anthology by child-free women of the '60s now in their 60s with notes and edits.
Materials documenting Hughes's performances include autogrpahed copies of XLENT: The Weekly Entertainment Magazine of the Austin American-Statesman from September 29, 2005, which features the Zachary Scott Theatre production "Keepin' It Weird" as the cover story. Various members of the performance signed two copies addressed to Aralyn Hughes. Programs for the production and various production notes are also included. Programs and memorabilia documenting other performances and programs she was part of or attended from 1962-2016 are also part of the collection. Performance photographs taken by Bill Leissner document various on stage moments as well as behind-the-scenes shots, though largely unidentified and undated. There are several pictures documenting a 1982 Promenade at Auditorium Shores.
Other photographs document events with her friends and family (including more photographs taken by Bill Leissner), her "Keep Austin Weird" house on MoPac and Enfield, and portraits of herself throughout her life, including headshots. Articles and photographs about her potbelly pig are also part of the collection.
Open to all users
The Austin History Center (AHC) is the owner of the physical materials in the AHC collections and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the AHC before any publication use. The AHC does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.
Reproduction of photographs requires permission from the copyright holder.
Aralyn Hughes Papers (AR.2017.007). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/2017/027
Donation Date: 2017 March 9
Initial processing by Jim Rizkalla in April 2018. Final processing and finding aid by Kelly Hanus in December 2018.
Detailed Description of the Collection