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DeGolyer Library

Archives of Women of the Southwest


Established in 1993, the Archives of Women of the Southwest is one of the special collections of DeGolyer Library. The primary mission of the Archives of Women of the Southwest is to document the historical experience of women in the Southwest, with special emphasis on Dallas and North Texas, as well as a regional focus that includes Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and the Spanish Borderlands.

The Archives of Women of the Southwest relates to a significant set of University interests and programs, including the SMU sponsorship of an annual Women's Symposium, the longest continuously running program of its kind in the nation. The Women's Center at SMU and the University's nationally recognized interdisciplinary Women's Studies Program in SMU's Dedman College provide students the opportunity to develop knowledge and leadership skills as part of their undergraduate experience. The Archives holds collections that are important to SMU students in these programs and other researchers seeking to understand and document women's roles in shaping the history of our time and the issues of the day.


Housed in the DeGolyer Library, the Archives currently has over 200 collections that fall into two areas: letters, diaries, and journals of women who settled in or traveled through the West in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and the papers of 20th and 21st century women who have influenced women’s roles in society and shaped the culture, arts, business, social issues, law, and politics in Texas and the Southwest. Examples of the latter include papers of leaders in women's organizations and social and political reform movements; papers of outstanding women in the professions, the arts, and voluntary service; papers of families and of women in private life; records of women's organizations and organizations concerned with women's issues; and oral history interviews. The collection comprises letters, diaries, speeches, photographs, scrapbooks, periodicals, and other print, audio and video materials. Researchers are encouraged to consult the library catalog online and contact reference services at to discuss their interests.


We are grateful for the generosity of the founders of the Archives, those who have served on the Advisory Board, and those whose donations support our collecting mission and provide greater access to collections through research grants, processing, and outreach. Inquiries about the donation of materials or a financial contribution should be directed to 214-768-0829 or or please consider giving online.