Southern Methodist University

Friends of the SMU Libraries/Colophon Records

A Guide to the Collection


Creator: Southern Methodist University
Title: Friends of the SMU Libraries/Colophon Records
Inclusive Dates: 1970-ongoing
Abstract: Friends of the SMU Libraries/Colophon is an organization formed in 1970 to "provide opportunities through which associates may become acquainted with each other and with the resources of the university library system; to share enthusiasm for learning, books, prints, and related materials, and to establish Southern Methodist University’s libraries as centers of cultural activities enriching the whole community." Since 1970, Colophon has provided the SMU libraries with various gifts and financial donations and its membership has enjoyed many social activities associated with being a member. This collection includes business records, records that document the building of Colophon collections, records of the group’s activities, and other records.
Accession No: SMU 1992.0162
Extent: 11 boxes (5.5 linear feet)
Language: Material is in English
Repository Southern Methodist University Archives, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

Historical Note

The first meeting of The Friends of the SMU Libraries/ Colophon took place on September 3, 1970 in the offices on the third floor of the Science Information Center. Founding members included SMU professor Charles Ritcheson, Mrs. Elizabeth Prothro, Rabbi Levi Olan, SMU professor James Early, Charles G. Cullum, and Mrs. Eleanor Swank. The founders agreed that the purpose of the organization was "to provide opportunities through which associates may become acquainted with each other and with the resources of the university library system; to share enthusiasm for learning, books, prints, and related materials, and to establish Southern Methodist University’s libraries as centers of cultural activities enriching the whole community." The members selected the name "Colophon" for the group because it was a term which referred to the graphic device by which printers marked their books. In the first year of its existence, Colophon recruited 159 members, increasing to 200 members by the 1971-1972 academic year. Only months after its founding, Colophon invited the former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson, to the campus to discuss and promote her recently released memoir. The magnitude of this event was emblematic of the drive of the membership of Colophon.

In 1972, Colophon chose to establish the "Colophon Moderns Collection," which attempted to collect the literature that best reflected the "contours of the spirit-soul-mind" of the United States from 1950-1975. Quickly the group acquired a large collection of poetry from the Beat Movement, as well as many definitive authors of that generation, from James Baldwin and Donald Barthelme to J.D. Salinger and John Updike. By 1991, the Colophon Moderns Collection numbered nearly 1,400 volumes. In 1995, the University celebrated Colophon and the 25th anniversary of the Colophon Moderns Collection by hosting an exhibition of the collection. (The exhibit catalog is found in this collection).

Throughout the years Colophon hosted many literary and artistic celebrities of national and international renown, including Larry McMurtry, John Graves, Tom Lea, José Cisneros, Kim Edwards, Ray Nasher, Ron Kirk and Deborah Crombie. By 2009 the group had donated more than $500,000 to the Southern Methodist University libraries. These donations were used to purchase materials that were beyond or outside of the libraries’ budgets. Since its inception in 1971, Friends of the Libraries/Colophon continues to be important to SMU libraries and the campus in general. Membership has grown and includes many prominent Dallas families and SMU supporters.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Colophon Papers include a wide collection of material that covers the breadth of the group’s activities. The collection encompasses records from the group’s founding in 1970 to recent years and contains correspondence, business records, membership rolls, annual reports, published materials, and speeches.

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is organized into 5 series:
Series 1: Business and Financial Records
Series 2: Activities
Series 3: Collections
Series 4: Gifts and Memorial Donations
Series 5: Publications and Speeches


Access to Collection:

Collection is open for research use.

Publication Rights:

Permission to publish materials must be obtained from the Director of the DeGolyer Library.

Copyright Statement:

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain copyright authorization.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following terms in the Southern Methodist University Libraries' online catalog. Researchers desiring related materials may search the catalog using these terms.
Friends of the SMU Libraries/Colophon -- History.
Southern Methodist University -- History.
Friends of the library -- Texas -- Dallas -- History.
Universities and colleges -- Texas -- Dallas -- History.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Friends of the SMU Libraries/Colophon Records, Southern Methodist University Archives, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University.

Acquisition Information

Transfer, Multiple Dates.

Finding aid written by

Aaron Sanchez, 2009.

Encoded by

Lara Corazalla, 2009.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Business and Financial Records

This series contains many of the financial records and correspondence of the day-to-day operations of Colophon. Included are minutes from board meetings, membership rolls, annual reports, financial reports, and correspondence.
Box Folder
1 1 History and General Information about Colophon
2 Staff
3 Membership
4 Annual Reports
5 Mailings/Printing Data (undated)
6 Mailings/Printing Data 1970-1972
7 Mailings/Printing Data 1973-1975
8 Mailings/Printing Data 1975-1976
9 Mailings/Printing Data 1977-1979
Box Folder
2 1 Mailings/Printing Data 1980-82
2 Mailings/Printing Data 1983
3 Continuing Education Course Sponsored by Colophon
4 Publicity Committee
5 Books Wanted by Colophon
6 Correspondence Regarding the First Publication by DeGolyer Library
7 Colophon Expenditures 1970-1973
8 Colophon Expenditures 1974-1980
9 Financial Information 1970-1972
10 Financial Information 1973-1974
Box Folder
3 1 Financial Information 1975-1983
2 Annual Business Meetings
3 Board of Directors (Minutes, Officers, Agenda, and Correspondence) 1970-1972
4 Board of Directors (Minutes, Officers, Agenda, and Correspondence) 1973-1974
5 Board of Directors (Minutes, Officers, Agenda, and Correspondence) 1975-1976
6 Board of Directors (Minutes, Officers, Agenda, and Correspondence) 1977-1979
7 Board of Directors (Minutes, Officers, Agenda, and Correspondence) 1980
8 Correspondence 1970-1983
Box Folder
4 1 Correspondence (Elizabeth Prothro) 1970-1983
2 Correspondence (Robert S. Sparkman)
3 Colophon Collection 1991-1992
4 Colophon Collection 1992-1993
5 Colophon Collection 1993-1994
6 Colophon Collection 1994-1995
7 Colophon Collection 1995-1996


This series is an incomplete collection of items pertaining to events programmed by Colophon. It includes correspondence, personal notes, invitations and newspaper clippings. Also included in this series is information on the many trips Colophon took to various places—both national and international. Lastly, correspondence, receipts, and organizing information regarding the yearly Colophon auction is contained in this series.
Box Folder
4 8 Colophon Program List by Academic Year
9 Programs 1970-1971
10 Programs 1971-1972
11 Programs 1972-1973
Box Folder
5 1 Programs 1973-1974
2 Programs 1974-1976
3 Programs 1976-1977
4 Programs 1977-1979
5 Programs 1979-1981
6 Programs 1981-1982
7 Programs 1982-1983
8 Programs 1983-1987
9 Program 1995 (25th Anniversary)
10 Program 2010 (40th Anniversary)
11 Colophon Programs that were never carried out
12 Social Activities
Box Folder
6 1 Trip – Europe 1974
2 Trip – Kansas City 1975
3 Trip – Houston and Austin 1976
4 Trip – Southwestern Medical School and New Orleans 1977
5 Trip – Kimbell Art Museum and Austin 1981
6 Trip – Washington, D.C. – 1988
7 Trip – Misc. - 1989
8 Auction Early and Undated Material
9 Auction 1979
10 Auction 1980
11 Auction 1981
12 Auction 1982
13 Auction 1984 and 1986
14 Auction 1989


This series documents the decisions that shaped the creation of the various Colophon collections, mainly the Colophon Moderns Collection. The included correspondence deals with suggestions on the criteria for works to be included in the Colohpon Moderns Collection.
Box Folder
7 1 Acquisitions Committee
2 Minutes of Acquisitions Committee
3 General Material of Committee on Acquisitions
4 Collection of Moderns

Gifts and Memorial Donations

This series documents individuals and groups who donated gifts to Colophon in honor of and to remember various individuals important to their lives, the SMU community, and the greater Dallas community.
Box Folder
7 5 Gifts – Honorary, Memorial, and Matching 1971-1980
6 Gifts – Other than Cash 1970-1979
Box Folder
8 1 Gifts – Designated 1971-1977
2 Gifts – Chamness Memorial 1980-1982
3 Gifts – Donations, Gifts of Books, Special Cash
4 Gifts – Charles Oliver Memorial, Ina Mantooth Foundation 1975-1976
5 Gifts – Various
6 Gifts – Colophon to SMU Libraries

Publications and Speeches

This series contains many of the various items published by Colophon including broadsides, speeches, newsletters, Colophon exhibit catalogs, keepsakes, and general invitations.
Box Folder
9 1 Event Mailings 1988-1989
2 Event Mailings 1990-1991
3 Event Mailings 1992-1993
4 Event Mailings 1994-1995
5 Event Mailings 1997-1998
6 Event Mailings 1999-2000
Box Folder
10 1 Exhibit Catalogs 1978-1990
2 Exhibit Catalogs 1991-1995
3 Exhibit Catalogs 1998-2003
4 Friends Newsletter 1982-1991
Box Folder
11 1 Colophon Broadsides 1-3
2 Published Speeches/DeGolyer Keepsakes
3 Misc. Event Mailings
4 Misc. Catalogs and Pamphlets
5 Student Book Collecting Contests
6 Auction Catalogs
7 Exhibit Catalogs from University of Illinois
8 Misc. Publications
9 Misc. Publications