Texas Tech University Archives

Short Bios on Notable Women from Texas Tech History

Faye LaVerne Bumpass graduated Lubbock High School as valedictorian in 1927 and received her bachelor’s degree in 1932 and her master’s degree in 1934, both from Texas Technological College. Between the years of 1932-1941 Faye taught Latin and Spanish in Texas high schools and served as a visiting instructor in Spanish during the summer at Texas Tech. She extensively traveled Latin America between the years of 1945-1951, working as a teacher of Latin and English as a second language in Lima, Peru. In 1948, she completed her Doctor of Letters degree from San Marcos University.

Beginning in 1957, Faye served as an assistant professor in both English and Foreign Languages. Her broad teaching experience would come in handy as she wrote several textbooks on bilingual education. Her testimony before Congress in May of 1967 on bilingual education was the only one selected for publication in the Congressional Record proceedings (Vol. 113 No. 81). In 1969, she became one of two women to acquire the high rank of Horn Professor, a rank previously only held by male professors. She continued to teach as a tenured faculty member at Texas Tech until 1974.

Related collections within the University Archives and the Southwest Collection holdings:

Faye LaVerne Bumpass Reference File
Faye Bumpass faculty file, 1941-1978
Homage to Faye LaVerne Bumpass. Third annual Gaye LaVerne Bumpass lecture papers.  Dept. of Classical and Romance Languages and the Latin American Area Studies Program at Texas Tech University, 1981.

Born in Cleburne, Texas, Beatrix Aldrena Cobb came to Lubbock in 1958. She received her Ph.D. from the University Texas. She worked with M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston before returning to Lubbock to become a professor of psychology at Texas Tech. Beatrix’s work with special problems in rehabilitation led to her promotion as Director of Research and Training in Mental Retardation. She wrote and edited textbooks on rehabilitation and royalties from two of those books, which were sold in the campus bookstore, were donated to a scholarship fund named after her. Beatrix held the distinction of being one of the first two women to achieve the rank of Horn Professor, which is the highest academic rank a professor at Texas Tech can hold.

Related collections within the University Archives and the Southwest Collection holdings:

Beatrix Cobb Reference File
Cobb, Beatrix A. et al. "Pscyhology at Texas Tech University: Legacy and Legend, a Chronicle of the Origin and Development of the Department of Psychology, 1925-1987." Texas Tech Press, 1988.

Mary Woodward DoakMary Woodward Doak was born on February 15, 1877, on the Bar Bona Ranch in Live Oak County, Texas. She received her B.A. in English and government from the University of Texas in 1925 and her M.A. in English and sociology in 1929 from Texas Technological College, where from 1925-1945 Mrs. Doak served as Dean of Women and a professor in the English Department. She continued to teach in English from 1945-1949 until her retirement in 1950.

During her tenure she was very active in promoting women’s education. She organized the Tech chapter of the Association of Women Students in 1929, and worked to establish the Council of Women Graduates in 1927 which helped the Lubbock chapter of the American Association of University Women become officially affiliated with the national association in 1949. The Forum, an honorary service organization for senior female students was established in 1937 largely due to her efforts. In cooperation with Margaret Weeks, Dean of Home Economics, she inaugurated the Women’s Recognition Service in 1932 which continued until 1947 with sponsorship from the Quarterly Club and the Association of Women Students. The first women’s dormitory on the Texas Tech campus, built in 1934, continues to bears her name. Additionally, a scholarship was set up under her name by the Lubbock chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma.

Related collections within the University Archives and the Southwest Collection holdings:

Mary Woodward Doak Reference File
Mary Woodward Doak faculty file, 1933-1952
Warren P. Clement oral history interview [sound recording], 1981
Virginia Black Landwer oral history interview [sound recording], 1982
Mrs. George Langford oral history interview [sound recording], 1973
Margaret Woodward Weeks Papers, 1925-1967
Susan Wesendonk oral history interview [sound recording], 1975

See also:

Andrews, Ruth Horn. The First Thirty Years: A History of Texas Technological College, 1925-1955.

Mrs. Lucille S. Graves is noted in her oral history interview, conducted in 1974 by the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, as being the first African American student at Texas Tech. She came to Tech with a bachelor’s degree and was working on her master’s degree in the summer of 1961. It was Mrs. Graves’ persistent petitioning for entrance into the college that paved the way for other African Americans to attend Texas Tech.

Her 10 minute interview discusses how, when repeatedly refused entrance into the college on the grounds that the its charter, Senate Bill No. 103, specifically outlines that Texas Tech is a college for white students, she in turn sought the help of the NAACP. Robert Cabiness Goodwin, President of Texas Tech, was contacted by the NAACP and was told a lawsuit would be filed if Texas Tech did not allow Mrs. Graves to attend. 

Mrs. Graves shared her excitement at getting a call from Texas Tech President Goodwin, who told her that if she could get to the college within 15 minutes before registration shut down she would be able to enroll. She was so nervous she had to get a neighbor to drive her and, despite forgetting her transcripts, she did indeed make it to the college to enroll within the time limit.

Her quiet enrollment led to a peaceful, non-violent integration of the traditionally white college.  In her oral history interview, Mrs. Graves harbors no ill-will toward the college nor its administration against their initial refusals to allow her attend. Her determination to gain the additional education she so desperately wanted shines through and perhaps it was because of this and her strength of character that she was  able to achieve her goals in life.

The book, Remember When? : A History of African Americans in Lubbock, Texas, gives a more detailed biography of trail blazer Lucille Sugar Graves. Besides breaking the race barrier at Texas Tech, Mrs. Graves was also the founder of Mary and Mac, the first black private school in Lubbock, Texas, on September 17, 1955. She chose the name of her school after the children’s nursery rhyme on the reasoning that “This poem depicts the act of boys and girls in their desire to become useful in this society.”

Related collections within the University Archives and the Southwest Collection:

Lucille Graves oral history interview [sound recording], 1974.
Robinson, Thelma and Katie Parks. “Schools.”  Remember When? : A History of African Americans in Lubbock, Texas. Lubbock: PrinTech, Texas Tech University, 1999: p. 101-108.

See also:

Lucille Sugar Barton Graves bio from the Handbook of Texas

Sarah Michie (Mrs. Victor Harris), daughter of Professor J. N. Michie, first head of Tech’s Department of Mathematics, became the first woman graduate of Texas Tech to win the doctoral hood. She got her BA in English at Tech in 1931 and her Ph.D. at the University of Virginia. (The First Thirty Years, 1956)

Ophelia Powell-Malone holds a place in Texas Tech history as the first African-American to graduate with a bachelor's degree. She transferred from Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas, to attend Texas Tech shortly after the college quietly integrated. A home economics major, Powell-Malone received her degree in 1964 and went on to become a teacher in New Mexico. Later she worked as a dietitian at Langston University and in nursing homes in Lubbock and Houston. Mentor Tech, a division of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement, chose Powell-Malone as one of two trailblazing individuals to honor in the naming of their program, which was established in 2002. (photo courtesy of Mentor Tech)

Related news articles on Powell-Malone:

Mentor Tech bio on Ophelia Powell-Malone
Ophelia Powell-Malone paved the way for progress, TTU 5/16/2014
2014 marks 50th anniversary of first African-American Tech graduate, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal 5/16/2014

Mary Jeanne van AppledornMary Jeanne van Appledorn was born October 2, 1927 in Holland, Michigan, to John and Elizabeth van Appledorn. As a child, van Appledorn studied piano, as did her older sister Ruth. Following the death of her father in 1944, she and her mother moved to Topeka, Kansas (where her sister was a music teacher at Alma College) for van Appledorn's senior year of high school. Van Appledorn graduated from Topeka High School in 1945 as valedictorian. She then went on to study both piano and theory at the University of Rochester's prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where each year she was awarded the George Eastman Honorary Scholarship and in 1948 received her Bachelor of Music with Distinction in piano. She subsequently received her Master of Music Degree (theory) from the Eastman School of Music in 1950 and accepted a position at Texas Technological College (now Texas Tech University) in the fall of 1950. She received her Ph.D. (music) from the Eastman School of Music in 1966.

As an educator, Dr. van Appledorn taught at Texas Tech University from 1950-2008. She taught a wide range of courses during this time, from undergraduate music theory to graduate composition courses. Dr. van Appledorn served as chairman of the Division of Music Literature and Theory (1950-1968) in the school of music, and played an important role in the development of the curriculum of the undergraduate and graduate music degrees, alongside Chairman of the School of Music, Gene Hemmle. She also founded and served as chairman of the annual Symposium of Contemporary Music at Texas Tech (1951-1981), and obtained the commission of many new works by renowned composers such as Dr. Howard Hanson (Streams in the Desert, 1969). In 1989 she was named a Paul Whitfield Horn Professor, the highest faculty rank obtainable at Texas Tech University.

Related collections within the University Archives and the Southwest Collection holdings:

Mary Jeanne van Appledorn Reference File
Mary Jeanne van Appledorn faculty file, 1950-1993
Mary Jeanne van Appledorn Records, 1912-2009 (63 boxes)
Mary Jeanne van Appledorn oral history interview [sound recording], 1976
Mary Jeanne van Appledorn oral history interview [sound recording], 2000

Margaret Watson WeeksMargaret Watson Weeks was born on February 5, 1886, in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. She began her career teaching grade school in Canada and the United States and received her B.S. in home economics education and M.S. degrees in nutrition from Columbia University in 1922 and 1925 respectively. During the formative years of the Texas Tech, Weeks served as the Dean of the Home Economics Department from 1925-1953.

Her many contributions included helping to organize the Home Economics Club in 1925; establishing the Home Economics Loan Fund; helping to form the Double Key Honor Society in 1930; and the first Texas chapter of the Phi Upsilon Omicron National Honor Society in 1938. With Mary Woodward Doak, Weeks inaugurated the Women’s Recognition Service in 1932 which continued until 1947. She was also responsible for successfully orchestrating the construction of an addition to the Home Economics Building in 1952 and a women’s dormitory built in 1958 was named after her as well.

Related collections within the University Archives and the Southwest Collection holdings:

Margaret Watson Weeks Reference File
Margaret Watson Weeks faculty file, 1925-1953
Margaret Woodward Weeks Papers, 1925-1967(1 box)

Elizabeth Howard WestA librarian, educator and historian, Elizabeth Howard West served as the first librarian at Texas Technological College in 1925 and founded the Lubbock branch of the American Association of University Women (1926). Born in Pontotoc, Mississippi, on March 27, 1873, West received a degree from the Industrial Institute and College at Columbus, Mississippi. She taught in the public schools before moving to Texas in 1895. She received both her bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Texas in 1901. She began her library training in 1905 and became a cataloger at the Texas State Library in 1906. West also worked as an assistant at the Library of Congress, was the Texas State Library archivist (1911-1915), the director of the San Antonio Library (1915-1918), and elected as State Librarian in 1918, making her the first woman department head in the Texas state government.

West had actively pursued research in Spanish and Mexican archives, and from 1930 to 1932 worked as a Library of Congress research assistant on the European Historical Mission. She published frequent articles in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly and the American Historical Review. She was a charter member of the Texas State Library Association and served as its president from 1914 to 1916. She also helped to found the Southwestern Library Association and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Delta Kappa Gamma, Daughters of the American Revolution and the Philosophical Society of Texas. West also directed the Southwestern Library Association's Regional Literature Program in Texas. She retired as college librarian at Texas Tech in 1942 and then worked as a historical research assistant for the Tech history department until 1947. Following a heart attack, West completely retired and moved to Pensacola, Florida, where she died on January 4, 1948.

Related collections within the University Archives and the Southwest Collection holdings:

Elizabeth Howard West Reference File
Elizabeth Howard West faculty file, 1923-1948
Elizabeth Howard West Papers, 1835-1939 and undated (1 box)
Elizabeth Howard West, 1924-1930 (see U 147.5 President's Office Records
Elizabeth Howard West, 1934 (see U 147.13 President's Office Records
Goldia Hester Papers, 1901-1965 (1 wallet)
Virginia West oral history interview [sound recording], 1964
Ilse Hildegarde Wolf Papers, 1926-1942

See also:

Andrews, Ruth Horn. The First Thirty Years: A History of Texas Technological College, 1925-1955.
Gracy, David B., II. The State Library and Archives of Texas: A History, 1835-1962. (Chapter 2)
Hester, Goldia Ann. Elizabeth Howard West: Texas Librarian. Austin: University of Texas, 1965. (Thesis)
Winfrey, Dorman H. "Elizabeth Howard West." The Handbook of Texas Online.

Mina Marie WolfMina Marie Wolf was born on August 14, 1910, at Sagerton, Texas, and attended public schools in Stamford, Texas, from 1920-1929. From 1929-1932, she attended the newly established Texas Technological College in Lubbock, Texas, from which she received her B.A. in chemistry in 1932. While in graduate school at the University of Texas Mina was discouraged from pursuing a career as a chemist by a faculty member due to the difficulty of finding jobs in that field for a female and returned to Texas Tech in 1935 to get her M.S. in Foods and Nutrition and served as an instructor for a semester. She returned to Texas Tech in 1940 to be an associate professor in the foods and nutrition department of Home Economics and received her Ph.D. in Nutrition and chemistry from Columbia University in 1942.

Mina married Arch Lamb in 1941 and together the couple left a lasting impression on Texas Tech history through their long standing support for the college and its students. Dr. Mina Lamb was a member of numerous professional and local campus organizations. During the war years she taught numerous Red Cross nutrition and canteen courses as well as served on the Food Ration Board in Lubbock. Before her retirement from Texas Tech, Dr. Lamb had been honored as a Piper Professor in 1965 and had donated $10,000 towards funding a new laboratory for assessment of nutritional status in humans. In an interview in 1990, she stated that her proudest accomplishment was establishing the federally funded Women, Infants and Children (WIC) supplemental food program at the Lubbock Children’s Health Clinic where she had volunteered for 18 years as a teacher of nutrition.

Related collections within the University Archives and the Southwest Collection holdings:

Mina Wolf Lamb Reference File
Mina Wolf Lamb faculty file, 1938-1975
Mina Wolf Lamb Papers, 1942-1946 (1 wallet)
Mina Wolf Lamb Papers, 1926-1942 (1 wallet)
Arch G. and Mina Wolf Lamb Papers, 1832-2002 (64 boxes)
Ilse Hildegarde Wolf Family Papers, 1878-1973
Ilse Hildegarde Wolf Papers, 1926-1942



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