University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Diane Gail Emery, 1991-1997

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Emery, Diane Gail
Title: Diane Gail Emery Papers
Dates: 1991-1997
Abstract: The papers of Diane Gail Emery, anti-smoking activist who helped ban smoking in the Texas State Capitol.
Accession No.: 98-273
Extent: 3 in.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Diane Gail Emery (1966-1997), who battled cystic fibrosis all her life, was a passionate activist for health care reform and the right to a smoke-free environment. Along with Patricia L. Young, Emery sued the Fort Worth nightclub Caravan of Dreams under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1993. She claimed that the club discriminated against her and other patrons with respiratory problems by not providing a smoke-free area. Despite losing, Emery felt encouraged by the case as the appeals court did not dispute her assertion that the ADA covered respiratory illness. In 1996, she also proved to be a key voice in persuading the State Preservation Board to prohibit smoking in public areas of the state Capitol building in Austin and in the Dallas-Fort Worth.

Despite the challenges presented by the cystic fibrosis, Emery was valedictorian at San Angelo’s Central High School; graduated with highest honors from the University of Texas at Austin, earning a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy; was a member of the Trinity Writers Workshop; studied philosophy at Heidelberg University in Germany and Northwestern University in Illinois; and had such a high intellect and writing ability that lawyers involved in tobacco litigation would ask her to review and critique their pleadings. Emery was a writer and social activist until her death in 1997.


Diane Gail Emery Papers, 1991-1997, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

US GenWeb Archives. “The San Angelo Standard – Times Online. Funeral and Death Notices, December 1, 1997.”National Genealogical Society. http://files.usgwarchives.or/tx/tomgreen/obits/1997/120197.txt

Scope and Contents

The Diane Gail Emery Papers, 1991-1997, relate to her work as an anti-smoking activist in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and her role in banning smoking the Texas State Capitol. The collection includes correspondence with various airlines regarding their efforts to accommodate respiratory-challenged individuals, government reports on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the effects of smoking, newspaper clippings about Emery’s legal challenges, and legal documents such as briefs, sample briefs, rulings, and pleadings. The materials concern her research into the ADA, discrimination in the United States and Texas legal code, cigarettes and cigarette smoke, tobacco and its health effects, and lung cancer and other respiratory illnesses.


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Emery, Diane Gail, 1968-1997 -- Archives
Antismoking movement -- Texas -- History.
Smoking -- Law and legislation -- Texas.
Dallas (Tex.) -- History.
Fort Worth (Tex.) -- History.
Texas -- History.
Texas State Capitol (Austin, Tex.)

Related Material

Andrews, Michael A., Papers, 1980-1994

Anti-Smoking Archive:

Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights Archive, 1968-1994

Cahan, Dr. William, Papers, 1945-2000

Schiller, Esther, Papers

Smokefree Education Service, Enc., Records, 1994-1998

Young, Patty, Papers

Legilsative Task Force on Cancer in Texas, 1974-1988

See at the Dallas Public Library: Mayoral, Robert Folsom, Papers.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Diane Gail Emery Papers, 1991-1997, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

This collection is unprocessed.

Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.

Detailed Description of the Papers



2.325/N140 Appeal Emery vs. Dream Spirits th Circuit, 5
Complaints Against American Airlines
Love Field
Smoke Free DFW/Dallas
Letters of Support
Evaluation and Transition Plan
2.325/N141 Biography/Obituary
Clippings and Notes
Caravan of Dreams Deposition, 1994Emery vs. Caravan of Dreams Case Notes and Ruling Proceedings
2.325/N142 Videotapes - On the Road for Rights and Passive Smoking