Every once in a while I come across something that just makes my jaw drop. Human beings are apparently capable of nearly anything and small traces of all kinds of craziness get left behind. This particular story starts in an unlikely place–a Fondren Library scrapbook that covers library related events from the late 1940s to the early 1960s. As you might expect this is fairly bland material but when I saw this article I was simply stunned:
Anything jump out at you? Anything at all? Does it strike you as a bit odd that a housekeeper at the Rice Hotel would leave $5,000 (Five thousand dollars in 1940! I’d love to know how she amassed that!) to memorialize an English professor? Well, I instantly knew where I’d seen her name before. There’s a letter from her in the correspondence files in English professor George Williams’s papers. Its not much of a letter–being only barely literate and relating exclusively to the fact that it was really hot in Houston–so I will spare you. But as I’ve mentioned before George Williams left notes for me in his files about the people he was corresponding with. Here’s his note about Miss Boord:
Williams struggled with her name and he got the number wrong but I suspect his assessment is correct. As I’m writing right now I have a dim sense that there is some other material either from or about Miss Boord in the Stockton Axson collection in the Woodson. Contrary to the news clipping above she passed away in 1939. She was only 50 years old and she died of ALS.
The Axson Eighteenth Century drama collection that they bought in 1955 is fantastic, by the way. (And part of it is digitized if you’d like to take a look.) I’m agog that two people as different as Jesse Jones and Willa Boord both had a hand in its purchase.
Bonus: The sun finally came out today and it brought spring with it. Thanks to alert reader owlcop who snapped this picture of the greenery from the top of the new parking garage.