A Guide to the Ruth Mentor Collection, 1884-1909, 1931-1937
Ruth Mentor was an educator and historian from Tyler Texas. She was named a Texas Treasure by the Texas State Legislature.
Kidd-Key College was founded in the 1860’s in Sherman, Texas. Originally named Sherman Male and Female High School, the school was converted to a women’s college and renamed to North Texas Female College in 1874. By the 1880s, the school was facing financial difficulties until Lucy Ann Thornton Kidd (a widow who would eventually remarry and become Lucy Ann Kidd-Key) was recruited to head the school. Under her leadership, the school emphasized the fine arts, especially music, and the school reached a peak enrollment of 500 students before WWI. The school was officially renamed Kidd-Key College and Conservatory in 1919 in honor of it’s long-time president. The college faced declining enrollment after WWI, in part due to it’s old-fashioned emphasis on “lady-like” behavior and compulsory church attendance. The school’s financial troubles were exacerbated during the great depression, and the school closed it’s door in 1935.
The first Saengerfest (singer’s festival) was held in New Braunfels in 1853, sponsored by the New Braunfels Germania male singing society. Yearly Saengerfests were held until interrupted by the Civil War and then resumed in 1870. The festivals continued to gain popularity, though they generally became less focused on specifically German music. The fests were suspended during WWI, but began again on a modest scale in 1921.
The Ruth Mentor Collection, 1884-1909, 1931-1937, consists of the diary of Neta Warren of Center Texas, the correspondence of Jennie Templeton of Davila, Texas, several journals and a catalog from Kidd-Key College and Conservatory, and programs from the Texas State Saengerfest.
This collection is open for research use.
Ruth Mentor Papers, 1884-1909, 1931-1937, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Esther Kirchner, February 2016.
Detailed Description of the Papers