Southern Methodist University

Dorothy Amann papers

A Guide to the Collection


Creator: Amann, Dorothy
Title: Dorothy Amann papers
Dates: 1913-1967
Abstract: Dorothy Amann, one of the first staff members of Southern Methodist University, joined SMU in 1913 as secretary to President Robert Hyer. In 1915, she became the first librarian of SMU. Her papers include correspondence, programs, personal documents, snapshots, and university memorabilia.
Accession No: SMU 1991.0016
Extent: 4 boxes (2 linear feet)
Language: Material is in English
Repository Southern Methodist University Archives, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

Biographical Note

Dorothy Amann was born on February 20, 1874, in Ripley, Mississippi. She attended Thomas Arnold Academy in Salado, Texas, and trained as a businesswoman at Old Eastman Business College in Poughkeepsie, New York.

Hired as one of the first staff members of the newly formed Southern Methodist University, she traveled from Midland, Texas, to Dallas in October 1913 to serve as President R.S. Hyer's secretary. She became SMU's first librarian when the responsibility for the collection and disposition of books fell to her in 1915. Miss Amann's zeal for the job led her to study library science at Columbia University. Her contribution to the library field included presiding as President of the Texas Library Association (1921-22), President and founder of the Southwest Library Association (1938-40), and organizer and President of the Dallas Library Club.

Her devotion to SMU and library science was legendary. An oral history interview of Miss Amann captured the early days of SMU. Interested in every facet of the university, she organized and attended various organizations and events. To encourage the scholarship of young women, she founded Decima, the SMU Mortar Board Chapter, in 1932. The library, though, remained her highest priority, and the opening of the Fondren Library in 1940 marked the pinnacle of her career. Miss Amann retired as head librarian at SMU in 1949. She died on July 14, 1967.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Dorothy Amann papers encompass her involvement in the organization and development of Southern Methodist University from its humble beginnings to the opening of the Fondren Library and beyond.

The collection contains early SMU historical information in the form of Miss Amann's letters, speeches, articles, and nostalgic ephemera. The letters include correspondence between Miss Amann and President Robert Hyer and President Umphrey Lee. Of special note are the diagram cuttings from a journal article published in 1941 heralding the opening of Fondren Library.

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is organized into one series.


Access to Collection:

Collection is open for research use.

Publication Rights:

Permission to publish materials must be obtained from the Director of the DeGolyer Library.

Copyright Statement:

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain copyright authorization.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following terms in the Southern Methodist University Libraries' online catalog. Researchers desiring related materials may search the catalog using these terms.
Southern Methodist University -- Professional staff.
Southern Methodist University. Libraries.
Academic Librarians -- Texas.

Related Materials

This is one of the collections in the Archives of Women of the Southwest.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Dorothy Amann papers, Southern Methodist University Archives, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University.

Acquisition Information

Gift, June 28, 1991.

Processing Information

The finding aid was written by Pamalla Anderson, 2006.

Encoded by

Lara Corazalla, 2007.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1:

Box Folder
1 1 Inventory/Index
2 Personal Documents – death certificate, social security card, insurance policy, and funeral program
3 Photographs – snapshot of Miss Amann, photos of letters from Patrick Henry, and photo of Bowie knife
4 Letters – Correspondence between Umphrey Lee and Miss Amann (1945-1951), Correspondence from Dallas Historical Society and invitations (1936), Correspondence from friends/Christmas cards
5 Club Certificates – Pi Gamma Mu certificate 1931, Library Association Certificate
6 Programs – 1940 Dedication Program Fondren Library, 1949 Fondren Science Building, 1925 Commencement , Golden Anniversary of Texas Library Association, 1963 Memorial Service of Bishop A. Frank Smith
7 Speeches/Papers – Paper "SMU 1913 – 1915,""SMU Beginnings" speech, personal history, Southwestern Library Association speech draft, undated
8 Taped Interviews – Notes taken from taped interview with Dorothy Amann, November 14, 1960
9 Magazine/Newspaper Articles – SMU News Digest, June 15, 1940, The Library Journal, October 1, 1941, vol. 66, no. 17, News clippings on SMU and personal, SMU Guide from 1950's
10 Correspondence between others regarding Miss Amann after her death
Box Folder
2 1 Birthday Books – Personal birthday tribute books, 1966 photo included
2 Datebook 1948 - Personal
3 Datebook 1949 - Personal
4 Memorial Book
Box Folder
3 (Oversize) 1 Dorothy Amann's Diploma from Eastman Business College
2 Newspaper – Full page featuring SMU Cotton Bowl win, Dallas Morning News, January 1, 1949
3 School Photograph
4 Certificate from Mortar Board
Box Folder
4 1 Cuttings of Original Library Plans – Templates
2 Calendars – SMU 1917
3 Notebook for Dr. Hyer's faculty selection
4 SMU War Memorial Service program, 1919
5 Spirit Materials and "M" Books