A Guide to the Cordelia Sloan Duke Papers, [ca. 1900-1966]
Born near Belton, Missouri, Cordelia "Cordia" Jane Sloan Duke (1877-1966) was the daughter of A. R. C. Sloan and Belle Wingert. Raised in Overbrook, Kansas, Duke taught school in Oklahoma to members of the Cherokee Nation. Around 1906, Duke moved to Sherman County, Texas, where she taught school near the northern border of the XIT Ranch. In 1907, she married Robert L. Duke (d. 1933), the foreman of the Buffalo Springs division, and later the general manager, of the XIT ranch. The couple had three daughters, whom they raised at XIT. Duke recorded in a diary her experiences at the XIT Ranch, excerpts of which were published in several newspapers and magazines as well as 6,000 Miles of Fence (1961), which she co-wrote with Joe B. Frantz. In addition, Duke became the first woman in Texas to serve as a game warden when the lands surrounding her ranch were selected as a wildlife sanctuary in the 1920s.
"Duke, Cordelia Jane Sloan."Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed February 9, 2011. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fdu11.
Composed of correspondence, typescripts of dairy excerpts, notes, and photographs, the Cordelia Sloan Duke Papers, [ca. 1900-1966], chronicle Duke’s experiences as a rancher, writer, and game warden. Correspondence concerns familial affairs, the XIT Ranch, the publication of excerpts of her diary, and the XIT Cowboy Association, of which Duke was the head historian. As head of the XIT Cowboy Association, Duke’s correspondence to former workers and their families who lived at XIT, documents her large-scale effort to cull information on the history of the ranch. Drafts of typescripts of her diary and notes pertain to her childhood in Kansas, her experiences as a teacher in Oklahoma and Texas, her arrival in Texas, and life as an employee at the XIT Ranch, while also discussing the lives of other families on the ranch and neighbors, her activities as a mother raising her family and the hardships she endured, descriptions of wildlife and flora, and the changing way of life in the region, especially after much of the XIT land was sold to other ranchers around 1912. After the death of Duke’s husband in 1933, notes and diary excerpts describe many of his roles that Duke engaged in, such as leading cattle drives and maintaining their ranch. Additionally, photographs in the collection depict members of the Sloan and Duke families.
This collection is open for research use.
These papers are stored remotely. Advance notice required for retrieval. Contact repository for retrieval.
Cordelia Sloan Duke Papers, [ca. 1900-1966], Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
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