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Exhibit highlights Texas women in history
The walls are covered in bookcases, filled with antique and modern treasures of history. In the Rare Books Room, dated pictures of honorable Texas women are perched next to their respective artifacts in glass cases.
The University of North Texas presents “Revealing Texas Women: Hidden Voices in Special Collections,” a free exhibit running from Jan. 15 to May 11.
The collection explores the ways in which women contributed to Texas history by chronicling the lives of pioneering women writers, artists, businesswomen and leaders.
“It is uncommon that you get to see women portrayed in a powerful role,” RTVF freshman Chelsea Beeson said. “I think it is very progressive of UNT to dedicate an entire exhibition to this subject.”
Morgan Gieringer, head of the archives and rare books department, said the purpose of the exhibit is to highlight Texas women, namely some who may not be as well known.
One of these was Katharine Minor, a member of the Ariel Club, the oldest women’s club in Texas. It was founded in Denton County in 1904 and furthered social causes in the area.
Minor’s original display items were exhibited under her husband’s name, Fred.
Her story brings new and literal meaning to the exhibit’s title, Revealing Texas Women, as her preserved documents are now listed under her name.
Some of the other women featured are Anne Rice, a Texas-based science fiction author, poet Naomi Shihab Nye, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Katherine Anne Porter, boot-designer Enid Justin and Sarah Tilghman Hughes.
Hughes was appointed in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy to become the first woman to serve as a federal district judge in Texas. She was the one who swore in Lyndon Johnson as U.S. president after Kennedy’s assassination.
“It’s interesting to think that this exhibit coincides with the 50th anniversary of the assassination,” Gieringer said.
The exhibit also coincides with National Women’s History Month, which is in March.
“I think this exhibit is great,” Rare Book Room employee Sam Ivie said. “Since we’ve combined the archives and rare books, we will be having more displays like this. We’ve also improved our displays so now they look more like a museum.”
The Rare Book Room is open every Saturday and every weekday. Gieringer said the display is a small part of the archives so curious viewers need to ask to see it.